Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tonight: Rock Against Rape @ Triple Rock Social Club



Read MFR's review of Kitten Forever's Born Ready here. With MCVL, Hangun Man, and Tough Tough Skin.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tonight: Gospel Gossip @ Turf Club



$3
21+

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Video: Low - "Santa's Coming Over"

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DJ Earworm - "If I Were A Free Fallin' Boy" (Mashup of Beyonce and Tom Petty)



Download: DJ Earworm - "If I Were A Free Fallin' Boy"

This is a mashup by DJ Earworm of Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy" and Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'", and it's rather astonishingly put together. Tip of the hat, Mr. Earworm. Watch his video for "Reckoner Lockdown", another bit of his mix-up handiwork, at the top of the post.

DJ Earworm MySpace Page

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Video: Jake One Feat. Brother Ali - "The Truth"

Show Announcement: Murzik, Bella Koshka @ Kitty Cat Klub



Saturday, December 13th
Kitty Cat Klub
9:00pm, $5
Murzik
Bella Koshka
The Nightinghales
Captain Yonder

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sweet Art Alert: Michael Rea





I just found out about Michael Rea, an artist who creates large-scale installations out of exclusively wood. The full rock band set up is what initially got my attention, however, he has some other truly awesome pieces.

The article that caught my eye can be found here at Fecal Face, and you can visit his legit website right here.

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Video: The Hold Steady - "Stay Positive"

Top Ten Songs On Elbo.Ws Reviewed In 50 Words or Less: 11/01/08--11/15/08 (the Holy Fuck, this is Egregiously Late edition)



Oh, sweet baby hay-zeus, this is so, so late. I bow my head in shame. Naturally, the tracks here don't necessarily reflect what is currently on Elbo.ws.


1. Jay-Z - "History"

Download: Jay-Z - "History"

An intentionally leaked track from J-ova's upcoming The Blueprint 3, the Kanye West-produced song combines "Ye's recent forays into vocoder-town with his more 80s-inspired hook-ing. The result is a song that aims for gravitas, but falls short and becomes drab. Pails in comparison to Brother Ali's Obama jam.

Grade: C

2. Sam Cooke - "A Change is Gonna Come"

Download: Sam Cooke - "A Change is Gonna Come"

Like "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime", this soul classic now sums up an entire era in a single line: "It's been a long time comin'/but I know/a change is gonna come". If only we could elect a black president every year, just so we could trot out this song.

Grade: A

3. The Rock Steady Crew - Hey You (Justin Faust Remix) (Buffetlibre Dj's Rewind 2)

Download: The Rock Steady Crew - "Hey You (Justin Faust Remix) (Buffetlibre Dj's Rewind 2)"

Playful melodies and an exuberant atmosphere make for enjoyable, though hardly remarkable, listening experience, as the Buffetlibre (free buffet?) Djs created a sonic portmanteau between new millennial dance music and 80s pop. Gets just a little bit repetitive.

Grade: B-


4. The Killers - "Spaceman"

Download: The Killers - "Spaceman"

On a single from their latest release, the Las Vegas new-wave quartet pull back on the blatant Springsteen co-opting, but not so much that they've completely gone to the synth glam-and-glitz of their debut. Truth be told, some of that Vegas glitter would have resulted in a guilty pleasure. As it is, "Spaceman" is merely tolerable.

Grade: C

5. Robin Gibb - "Juliet (CatComplex remix)"

Download: Robin Gibb - "Juliet (CatComplex remix)"

Broken record section aside, this track seems more like a complete song--there's an attempt at dynamics--than the other Buffetlibre selections on this list. Still, this is different from every other dance remix how?

Grade: C+

6. Alaska in Winter - "Berlin"

Download: Alaska In Winter - "Berlin"

"Berlin" starts out with a calm cool of an organ line, which allows for open-ended exploration before patiently pursuing the policy of truth and finding a proper dance-pop chorus. This is how you layer and build musically, kids. Take note.

Grade: B+

7. School of Seven Bells - "Connjur"

Download: School of Seven Bells - "Connjur"

Though its considerable sonic charms wear off over time, this bit of Depeche Mode-esque synth-pop still has enough ethereal, shoegaze merit so that its pleasures may last a long time.

Grade: B

8. Canadians - "Neverending Story" (Giorgio Moroder cover)

Download: Canadians - "Neverending Story"

My adult self says, "not bad", and my childhood self, the one who grew up watching the adventures of Falkor, says "fuck yes!" I'll split the difference.

Grade: B

9. AC Newman - "There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve"

Download: AC Newman - "There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve"

The New Pornographer's leaders fascination with the Beach Boys yields more rewarding forays into melancholy, with a melody and arrangement that I'm sure Newman cribbed from a country's national anthem. "Twelve" is too short to be truly poignant, but Newman now has another winner on his hands.

Grade: B+

10. Brother Ali - "Mr. President, You're The Man"

Download: Brother Ali - "Mr. President, You're The Man"

Now, this is how you make an Obama celebration song. It's rushed, to be sure, but Ali expertly captures the feeling and mood of an entire generation, while rebutting the culture wars with on stinging line after another. Goddamn, Uncle Sam. Brother Ali did it.

Grade: A

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Monday, November 24, 2008

A Thanksgiving Message from "Drinking With Ian"



No, not our Ian, a different, perhaps only slightly more inebriated, Ian. He has a Thanksgiving message for you, one that we ourselves picked up from the Blip TV and the First Avenue Tweet. Happy Thanksgiving, "Drinking With Ian" fans.

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Wanna Be In A Video By The Melismatics? Sure You Do!



Minneapolis power-poppers, still truckin' behind this year's release, The Acid Test, are looking for extras for a new video they are shooting with director Justin Staggs, who has directed more punk-oriented clips for the likes of NoFX and Against Me! (Chicago, what what!).

The band today release details about the shoot, for Acid track "Digging Deep", today via their MySpace bulletin:

[The band needs] extras from the Twin Cities area next Tuesday, December 2nd from 9PM to midnight at The Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater.
Be a part of the action, babies!

If you are interested, just show up! If you need more information reply to this bulletin with any questions.

Many other people are helping us make this happen, so thanks to all involved!


Huzzah! The address to the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater can be found here.

The Melismatics MySpace Page

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Video: Romantica's Ben Kyle and Carrie Rodriguez - "Danny Boy"



Ah, damn it, now I'm all faklempt. Thanks a lot, City Pages.

Romantica MySpace Page
Carrie Rodriguez MySpace Page

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Video: St. Vincent - "Jesus Saves, I Spend"

Jesus Saves, I Spend

Download: St. Vincent - "Jesus Saves, I Spend"

So, I missed the net on this one. St. Vincent's very excellent "Jesus Saves, I Spend" has an equally cool video featuring her wit, charm and appreciation for the silly. I, for one, appreciate the silly too.

Buy it on Amazon.
Check out her MySpace page.

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Video: Brother Ali Interviews M.anifest, Performs New Track "Good Lord"

Sharp Teeth CD Release Party

Sunday, November 23, 2008

STNNNG To Have A Summer Bummer in 2009 (Plus: A Shit-Ton of Modern Radio Updates)


(STNNNG)

In a post yesterday, the Modern Radio label announced a flurry of activity for 2009 including, but not limited to, a re-release of Vampire Hands' excellent sophomore album Me and You Cherry Red (a sure contender for local best-of lists) with the out-of-print EP Cuz Its A Beach Funeral. Furthermore, a new spring tour is in the works, and will release material in March 2009 on the Secretly Canadian imprint St. Ives.

As far as other new albums are concerned, the debut from His Mischief will see release in February. The label doesn't give anymore information, but says that details will be forthcoming. With STNNNG's new 12" though, we get a completion date and a tentative title: "late Spring/early Summer" and Summer Bummer, respectively. The label also promises amazing artwork, which, you have to admit, is something for which there is at least a precedent.

At the risk of neglecting the other details mentioned, we direct you to the Modern Radio mainpage to read more.

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New Muja Messiah Video - "The Madness"



The first proper track off of Minneapolis rapper Muja Messiah's highly promising debut Thee Adventures of a B-Boy D-Boy (recently re-released nationally by Koch Records), "The Madness" gets a stylized video treatment by Six-Ton Productions. Stark black-and-white close-ups help accentuate the expressions on Muja's face, which makes for highly compelling viewing. (Thanks, Mike).

Muja Messiah MySpace Page

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Atmosphere to re-release God Loves Ugly in January



The third full-length (including the Lucy Ford compilation) from Atmosphere, God Loves Ugly, is significant in many ways. It's the first record that features Atmosphere's core line-up (Remember Spawn? He's in Overcast, and that's it), it's the first full-length after the Lucy Ford EPs, which established the themes of many Atmosphere albums to come, and it's the album that helped put Twin Cities hip-hop on the map.

Naturally, it's been out-of-print for a year.

But come January 20th, 2009, God Loves Ugly will be re-released not only in its original form, but also with a special edition DVD which, according to the Rhymesayers post, "originally released as the limited Sad Clown Bad Dub 4 (The Godlovesugly Release Parties) DVD" and features "2 hours of live performance footage, backstage shenanigans, several special guest appearances and music videos for 'Godlovesugly', 'Summersong' and 'Say Shh'." Not bad at all.

Watch a cartoon from the original DVD at the top of the post.

Pre-order the God Loves Ugly here.

Tracklisting:

1. Onemosphere
2. The Bass And The Movement
3. Give Me
4. F*@k You Lucy
5. Hair
6. Golovesugly
7. A Song About A Friend
8. Flesh
9. Saves The Day
10. Lovelife
11. Breathing
12. Vampires
13. A Girl Named Hope
14. Godlovesugly Reprise
15. Modern Man's Hustle
16. One Of A Kind
17. Blamegame
18. Shrapnel

Atmosphere MySpace Page

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Video: Doomtree Blowout DVD Advertisement



The Doomtree Blowout DVD, the first ever from the Minneapolis rap collective's label, will feature over 2 hours of live footage, promo videos, and a new False Hopes CD, with 12 new songs from each member of the crew. The DVD will be made available at Doomtree IV on Dec. 6th, and then later at Fifth Element on Dec. 9th.

Watch the video at the top of the post.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Tonight: The Absent Arch CD Release Party @ Triple Rock



Presented by More Cowbell.

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Free Show W/Military Special, Gospel Gossip @ The Hexagon

Saturday: Strangelights Record Release Show @ Kitty Cat Klub


Download: Strangelights - "Zombie's Boots

Strangelights are the latest edition to Minneapolis' burgeoning and fertile psychedelic music scene, and its comprised of some of its best veterans. "Zombie Boots", one track from the EP Evius, which is being celebrated on Saturday, sounds not unlike Oasis around the time period they were wondering if living forever was a possibility. Of course, this being a band with members of First Communion Afterparty, there are the usual nods to the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Spiritualized. With songs that expand sonic consciousness by way of drones and reverb-y vocals, Strangelights demonstrate why they are another solid addition to a very promising scene.

Strangelights MySpace Page

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Review: Hold Steady and Drive-By Truckers @ First Avenue


Download: Drive-By Truckers - "Zip City"
Download: Drive-By Truckers - "World of Hurt"
Download: Drive-By Truckers - "Loaded Gun In The Closet"
Download: The Hold Steady - "Chips Ahoy"
Download: The Hold Steady - "The Swish"

It's been a rough year for Minneapolis. In September, we had the Republican National Convention, which spurred a massive infringement on civil rights across Twin Cities. Tempering a hopeful presidential election, Michele Bachmann was elected a United States Representative again – an ugly reminder of the hatred blossoming in our own backyards. People are feeling the economic crunch here, just as they are anywhere else.

And that's why it felt so good to see the Hold Steady play the other night. America's best bar band returned to America's best rock venue (First Avenue, in case you live under a rock) midway through their "Rock and Roll Means Well" tour with Drive-By Truckers for two performances Saturday and Sunday night. In a set full of jubilation at the saving power of rock and roll, the Hold Steady left me feeling completely refreshed.

I just want to say a few words about Drive-By Truckers. They were phenomenal. Even in the middle of the tour, they performed with explosive energy and teeth-gritting passion. But the Hold Steady is the home team, and the band I'm more familiar with, so I'll be focusing on them.

The Hold Steady is a band that's easy for Minneapolitans to care about. Their lyrics are peppered with references to familiar landmarks and people. Even if they're based out of Brooklyn, it always feels like we own a piece of them.

And when you see them live, it's abundantly obvious that they care about us, too. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Craig Finn spends the show pushing out towards the audience, reaching and screaming at fans. He bounces like an excited four-year-old and flails around, dancing like a punk teen dropped into the middle of a French house club. His sheer and undeniable ecstasy at being on stage is contagious – even the 30 something hipsters in the audience were doing the white guy wiggle.

The band mostly played from their latest, Stay Positive. I have really mixed feelings on the album. On the one hand, I really appreciate the lyrical content. It gets down into the gritty reality of college towns, addiction and, ultimately, hope.

Unfortunately the album was sonically stagnant. After 2006's remarkably perfect release, Boys and Girls in America, Stay Positive doesn't really seem to tread new ground. It's owes a little more to the Ramones than Springsteen, but it isn't a dramatic or terribly interesting shift.

Luckily, the songs translate really well live. The Hold Steady has always been a well put-together band live, delivering their albums with a sheen of excitement. The rapid staccato guitars of Stay Positive have a really heavily rhythmic sense to them. They batter the audience, compelling everyone to make awkward, jerky attempts at dance.

They, of course, hit all the old highlights, too. They opened up with "Positive Jam," the first track off their debut, Almost Killed Me. It makes a wonderful starting place. It declares everything important about the Hold Steady. Over its three-minute span, "Positive Jam" declares the band's ethos, its meaningful separation from the legacy of Lifter Puller and establishes a context for the rest of the set.

Afterwards, the band launched into "Constructive Summer" and "Sequestered in Memphis," which hit with a transformative, triumphant energy that sustained through the rest of the set. The boys banged through the rest of the set, hitting the highs off of Stay Positive (the desperate, break-down love song "Yeah Sapphire" being one of my favorites from the evening) and a good volume of songs from Boys and Girls in America.

My only real complaint about the setlist was how far back in the set "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" was performed. I've been to four Hold Steady shows and the 30-second mark of "Hoodrat" is where the audience always goes ballistic. I can't help but feel like it should have been a little further forward in the interest of getting the audience in motion earlier.

One really cool thing the Hold Steady did during their set was a cover of the Minutemen's "History Lesson, Pt. 2" with lyrics subbed in to pay homage to Minneapolis music. Tipping their hats to the whole experience, in addition to specific acts, the song was a nice little touch for those of us who grew up in matinee concerts just like Finn did.

At the end of the show, three-fifths of the band popped back up on stage with the Drive-By Truckers to play a few last songs. Let's talk about iconic things for a minute. Everyone has a different image of rock and roll, but for me, that image is now Craig Finn. It's him on the edge of the stage, screaming "I'm not f---ing sorry," pulling the microphone from its stand with one hand, waving around a bottle of Jack Daniels with the other.

The two bands closed with "Rockin' In the Free World," a cover from Neil Young. A little cliché? Yeah. A lttle old? Yeah. Exactly the right note to close on? Hell yes. The Hold Steady and the Drive-By Truckers put on a rock show in the most ridiculous, spectacular sense of the phrase. Keep on rockin', indeed.

(April Wright)

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Tonight: Darker My Love @ 7th Street Entry

Saturday: M83 and School of Seven Bells at the Triple Rock


M83 and School of Seven Bells will performing tomorrow night (Saturday, Nov. 22) at the Triple Rock Social Club. I'll be out of town and can't go, so please check it out and buy a t-shirt for me.

M83 on MySpace
Download: M83 - "Kim & Jessie"

M83 - "Kim & Jessie"
M83 - Kim & Jessie


School of Seven Bells on MySpace
Download: School of Seven Bells - "Connjur"

School of Seven Bells Tour Footage

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Billy Corgan...Yikes



Just watch this. Via Stereogum. Also, is that Paul Stanley on the microphone encouraging Corgan? What the hell is Corgan. If this is some Andy Kaufman-style stunt, it's really poorly executed. This is like watching Robert De Niro's nightclub routine at the beginning of Raging Bull.

Cross-published on CIMI

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Beyonce - "I Am... Sasha Fierce"


Download: Beyonce - "Single Ladies" (Put A Ring On It)

It's good. Real good. Not great, but real good. There are four or five killer jams that include, but are not limited to, "Diva," "Video Phone," and "Ego," which are all on the "dance" element of the record. I got the deluxe version because I'm a square and rather enjoy the bonus videos.



Buy it on Amazon.
Check it out on MySpace.

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First Avenue Announces 2nd Annual "Too Much Turkey" Free Thanksgiving inner

2nd Annual Too Much Turkey free Thanksgiving dinner at First Avenue
All Ages-Open To The Public
Thursday, November 27, 2008 5-8pm
First Avenue, 701 First Avenue North, Minneapolis

First Avenue and Radio K are teaming up to bring you the second annual "Too Much Turkey" free Thanksgiving dinner. The idea is to provide a whole meal of food to those who have nowhere else to go on Thanksgiving day. In order to go, you have to do one of two things: either reply to rsvp@first-avenue.com or, on the day of the shindig, just show up! Too Much Love DJ Sovietpanda will be spinning tunes while you gnosh on some Thanksgiving goodness. Deets are above.

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New Plastic Chord - "Weathervanes and Lightning Rods"


Minneapolis-based septet Plastic Chord have posted a new song from their upcoming EP Electric Tendrils, which will be released on Dec. 13th, over at their MySpace Page. The song is called "Weathervanes and Lightning Rods", and its an upbeat number that's very personable, with horns and a loose drumbeat suggesting a swing influence. Check it out here.

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New Ryan Adams Video - "Natural Ghost" (Acoustic Version)



Performing a stripped-down version of "Natural Ghosts", a song from the recent Cardinology, Adams faces in front of a mirror at one point, perhaps the mirror (zing!) the conflicted feelings of the song's narrator. This is Adams definitely in Heartbreaker mode, with the director and editor adding some stylistic touches (dig the mirror shot, and the black/white as well) to give the performance an additional air of intimacy.

Watch the video of "Natural Ghost" at the top of the post.

Ryan Adams MySpace Page

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Reminder: Freeway @ Element w/Trama, St. Paul Slim and Muja Messiah

Tonight: Anti-Civ Records Showcase @ 7th Street Entry

Stream Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy in its entirety



Dear Lord, it's finally here. I've been hearing about this record since I was in junior high. You can stream the 17-years-in-making Chinese Democracy over at the Guns N' Roses MySpace Page. In his extremely apt observation, Chuck Klosterman said that writing up the album was like "reviewing a unicorn". Even just listening to the album as I type this is like hearing a unicorn. I just can't quite believe it yet. Even more surprising: the record's not half bad.

Stream it here.

Read Culture Bully's write-up here.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Video: Q-Tip - "Rap Renaissance"

Ticket Giveaway: School of Seven Bells @ Triple Rock Social Club


Download: School of Seven Bells - "Connjur"
Download: School of Seven Bells - "Chain"

Update: Congrats to reader Sam, who was the first to email. Thanks to every one who entered.

MFR is giving away a pair of tickets to the M83/School of Seven Bells show at the Triple Rock this Saturday. All you have to do is write to Jon, and be the first one to do so. Simple yes? Yes. Good times.

School of Seven Bells MySpace Page

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Video: Coldplay and Jay-Z - "Lost +"



I post this not because that I'm a huge Coldplay fan, but because I wonder how this new collaboration between Chris Martin's brit-pop stalwarts and Jigga fits into the discussion at large of Coldplay as a whole. Former MFR writer David Brusie and fellow critic Geoff Cannon have an interesting debate about the merits of Coldplay over at Vita.MN, and you can read that here.

Here's my simple-minded take. As the band started to wander from Jeff Buckley territory over to ground covered on later-day U2 albums, they started to lose me, as what began as simple and sweet pleasures on Parachutes became something more bombastic--in a bad way. Still, I've been intrigued by what I've heard from Viva La Vida, which is admittedly not a whole lot. I've yet to buy Vida because I can haz poor haus!?, but I think that I might pick it up used somewhere down the line.

What say you, readers?

Download: Coldplay and Jay-Z - "Lost +" (via)

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Show Announcement: Get Down For Goodness Sake @ Varsity Theater

New The Secret Dakota Ring - "The Fade to Black"


Download: The Secret Dakota Ring - "23"
Download: The Secret Dakota Ring - "The Fade to Black"

Pop-rock duo The Secret Dakota Ring are released their second record, Cantarell last week. The twosome may be described as indie-pop by a few, but hearing the Dakota Ring's first single, "The Fade To Black", will remind those listeners of past hit-makers who've either been produced by, or prominently featured, Jeff Lynne. The orchestrations and high harmonies definitely recall a younger, more spry version of Lynne's work with Tom Petty in the late 80s/early 90s and with The Traveling Wilburys around the same time. Listen to "The Fade To Black" at the top of the post, along with another MP3 from a previous album.

The Secret Dakota Ring MySpace Page

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Flyer: Project Project @ Kitty Cat Klub



Project Project is a new evening of live bands, multimedia film, DJs, and visual artists. The evening will feature acclaimed local and international artists, including local electronic groups Nobot and Estate; artwork and graphic design from Miss Lotion, an artist from the UK; and, from a more local note, artist J.R. Sutton. In addition to art, there will be multimedia film screenings from the internationally acclaimed group PES, Wisconsin filmmaker Beeple and Minneapolis filmmaker John Thompson.

What's that, you say? You aren't getting enough stimuli from the event? Well, how about some DJs then, sucka? DJ sets will go on all night long, with Too Much Love alum DJ Bach. This will hopefully be the first installment of an ongoing series of media extravaganzas designed to melt your face, ears, feet, and anything vital bodily organ that you can think of.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Flyer: Nobot Free Show @ The Uptown

First Communion Afterparty Make, Star In Short Film



First Communion Afterparty star in a homemade short film entitled "Le Meurtre et le Merlot", which, if my rudimentary French is correct (and it probably ain't) translates to "The Death of the Merlot". Shot in glorious black and white, and spotted at the band's MySpace Bullentin.

First Communion Afterparty MySpace Page

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Triple Rock Announces More 10th Anniversary Shows


Triple Rock Tenth Anniversary Featuring Lucero
December 5 & 6
The Triple Rock Social Club
Minneapolis, MN
9 PM | $13 / $15 | 21 +

When Switchblade first announced the news of the Triple Rock's tenth anniversary shows, they stated that more gigs would undoubtedly be announced. In short, they were right. In addition to the pair of gigs that throwback rock act Lucero will be playing, the venerable venue has announced three more anniversary gigs, including a record release show for Dillenger Four's Civil War album, and a show for legendary punks Naked Raygun. Dates below. (via)

December 5th and 6th
Lucero

December 12th
Dillinger Four

December 14th
The Hanson Brothers (feat. members of NoMeansNo)

December 20th
Naked Raygun

All shows are 21+ and tickets can be bought either at the bar or through indietickets.com. But this isn't the end. More shows are promised to be announced. We'll keep you posted.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Show Announcement: Toki Wright, St. Paul Slim @ Inferno in Madison, WI

Reminder: Eyedea and Abilities, Kristoff Krane @ Turf Club

School of Seven Bells - Alpinisms


School of Seven Bells
Alpinisms (Ghostly International, 2008)
Grade: B

Download: School of Seven Bells - "Connjur"
Download: School of Seven Bells - "Chain"

Just to get this out of the way: Alpinism, in its singular form, is another name for climbing up mountains (which at least explains the album cover). Alpinisms, the debut record from School of Seven Bells, a trio featuring former members of The Secret Machines and On! Air! Library!, certainly feels as if its trying to scale newfound creative heights by incorporating many ideas into their music.

By incorporating elements of world music, synth-pop from late-80s era of new wave (the guitar tones on “Connjur” directly emulate Depeche Mode’s work circa Violator), and psychedelic sound-shifting, School of Seven Bells create a diverse mélange for the listener to explore. Opening track “Iamunderdisguise” suggests Enya discovering dub reggae, but with much, much more listenable results, and “Wired for Light” incorporates Middle Eastern motifs. Most of the tracks on Alpinisms are backed up by steady electronic hi-hat drums, much like the ones heard on My Bloody Valentine’s classic “Soon”.

Paradoxically, Alpinisms’s main flaw is that these elements tend to blur together over the course of an entire record. Not helping matters is when the dual female harmonized vocals veer toward the melodramatic, especially on tracks where Kate Bush’s ethereal singing style serves as a one-way ticket toward weepy willow territory, as on “White Elephant Coat”.

But Alpinisms is at its best when School of Seven Bells write straightahead pop songs with ambient twists, as on album highlights like “Face To Face on High Places”, the dreamy “Half Asleep” and soothing album closer “Canal”. Before returning to the world-music motifs that were present earlier in the album, the record takes an epic turn toward Krautrock with an 11-minute epic “Sempiternul/Amaranth”.

The song itself encompasses what’s both wrong and right with Alpinisms as a whole. At the track's beginning, the witchy vocals tend toward the grating. Once the group settles into a motorik groove, then it gets really interesting, as the trio finds new and exciting ways to explore sound and texture. By being experimental within some degree of convention, School of Seven Bells create compelling dream-pop music. It’s unfortunate that their dabbling with other forms doesn't succeed as well as it perhaps should, but hopefully future releases will retain that sense of adventurism while maintaining a greater compositional success rate.

School of Seven Bells MySpace Page

Cross-published on CIMI

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Meridene - "Kill The Memory"


Download: Meridene - "Kill The Memory"
Download: Meridene - "Oh! Lover"

Meridene are a one of a series of groups to come out of Eau Claire, WI, with a preternatural tendency to go for big, exuberant melodies. "Kill the Memory", the first single from their upcoming debutYou're Not Pretty, You're Worse, combines the piano jaunt of Tori Amos' "Cornflake Girl", with a Neil Young guitar stomp of his work circa Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere. There's also a few of the dry-witted touches that makes Cake's work from the early 90s endearing (horns, not-quite-monotone vocals). All in all, not a bad demonstration of the band's talents.

Grade: B

Listen to "Kill the Memory" and "Oh! Lover", a song from a previously released EP, at the top of the post.

Meridene MySpace Page

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Radio K Posts Videos of Marnie Stern, Of Montreal, Performing in the Studio


Marnie Stern live on Radio K from Radio K on Vimeo.

Radio K has had some high profile video sessions as of late, including two of indie rock's most notable talents. Glam-pop merchants Of Montreal stopped by to perform two tracks from their narrative concept record Skeletal Lamping. Another session comes from frentic guitar genius/nicest person on earth also played a session where she demonstrated her talents on two songs from her latest record, This is it...and That is That, and one from her debut, In Advance of the Broken Arm.

Watch the Stern video at the top of the post, and the Of Montreal session here.

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Video: Romantica - "The National Side"

Tonight: Greycoats, These Modern Socks, Adam Svec @ 7th Street Entry

Tonight: Kinks Tribute @ 331 Club W/The Deaths, Switzerland

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ticket Giveaway: Matt and Kim @ Triple Rock


Download: Matt and Kim - "Daylight"

That photo above makes a Matt and Kim show look fun, doesn't it? You can find out for yourself if it is, because MFR is giving away a pair of tickets to the new-wave-cum-hip-hop duo's show at the Triple Rock on the 14th. That's this Friday. All you have to do is be the first to email jon@minneapolisfuckingrocks.com. Winner will be announced as soon as I can respond to the email. So simple, yet it's so profound.

That's jon@minneapolisfuckingrocks.com for the email. This contest will be going on until noon tomorrow. Thanks!

Update: The winner is Tracy Miller. Thanks to everyone who entered.



Matt and Kim MySpace Page

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Black Metal Prank Phone Call


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Spotted over at the Chicago Reader Crickets blog. Too, too funny. Not only that, but it helps put into the perspective that "records ain't evil." Awesome on so many levels.

Cross-published at CIMI.

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Show Announcement: Trama, St. Paul Slim, Muja Messiah @ the Element

Tours: To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie


(To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie)

Boduf Songs + To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie:

11-15 Minneapolis, MN - Uptown Bar#
11-17 Milwaukee, WI - BBC Upper Level
11-19 Pittsburgh, PA - Garfield Artworks
11-20 Philadelphia, PA - The Fire
11-21 Richmond, VA - Ghost Print Gallery
11-23 Arlington, MA - Regent Theatre (Brainwaves Festival)
11-24 Providence, RI - The Living Room
11-25 New York, NY - Pianos
11-28 New York, NY - The Annex
11-30 Montreal, Quebec - Casa del Popolo
12-01 Cleveland, OH - TBA
12-02 Ann Arbor, MI - Yellow Barn
12-03 Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle *
12-04 Saint Paul, MN - Turf Club

# TKAPB solo date
* w/Zelionople

To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie MySpace Page

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Vampire Hands Announce Two New Records


A single sentence over at the group's MySpace blog informs us listeners that the psych-pop quartet Vampire Hands are in the studio recording not one, but two new records. They're currently recording them at the band's studio, Friendship Road. And that's pretty much it, aside from a series of live dates at the end of November. The two new albums will be the follow-ups to this year's excellent Me and You and The Cherry Red.

Vampire Hands MySpace Page

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Katy Perry Announces First Ave. Show



Katy Perry

March 24th
First Avenue
15+
6:30 p.m.
$18.00 adv | $18.00 door

Blase lipstick lesbianism is coming to Minneapolis! Tickets will go on sale November 14/15.

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Tonight: Devin The Dude and Muja Messiah @ The Varsity Theater

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Solid Gold - "Neon Rose"


Download: Solid Gold - "Neon Rose" (via)

Rift Magazine debuted this track from the synth-psych trio's just-released debut LP Bodies of Water. "Neon Rose" blends different influences and sounds (modern psychedelia and mariachi-style horns are the most prevalent examples) to create catchy, tight pop. Listen to it at the top of the post.

Solid Gold MySpace Page

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Ponytail Do Transcendent Daytrotter Session


Balitmore's Ponytail take the unique majesty of sonic squalor and use it to create epic, spacious jams. So what happens when you strip all of that down and give a loud, raucous band acoustic instruments? What does it sound like? The answer is Zepplin. Go to Daytrotter and listen to the group re-arrange four songs from its surely Best-Of contender Ice Cream Spiritual. The most striking example is "Celebrate The Body Electric (It Came From An Angel)", the intro of which sounds like Led Zepplin's "The Battle of Evermore". It's pretty impressive, actually.

Listen to the original, then head over here for the acoustic one.

Ponytail MySpace Page

Cross-published on CIMI

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Video: Gnarls Barkley - "Mystery Man"

Tonight: Runt CD Release Party @ The Triple Rock Social Club



Runt is a free compilation featuring 20 songs from bands mostly from the Minneapolis area. To celebrate, the bands are playing two free shows at the Triple Rock Social Club. The first is tonight, and the second on Wednesday, which may be free bacon night. Sweet.

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New Kanye West - "Heartless" (Mastered) - plus new version of the video


Heartless from kwest on Vimeo.

Download: Kanye West - "Heartless"
Download: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" (via)

Yeezy has released new versions of previously released material. The first is a mastered version of his song "Heartless", which finds West continuing in his new, dark musical direction while actually rapping, and another version of "Love Lockdown", the first single from his upcoming 808s and Heartbreak. Additionally, there's the VIMEO version of the "Heartless" video, which is at the top of the post.

Cross-published on CIMI.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Ticket Giveaway: O'Death and Lucy Michelle and the Velvet LaPelles


Download: O'Death - "Lowtide"

7th street entry.
o'death
drakkar sauna
lucy michelle & the velvet lapelles
Monday Nov. 10th

MFR is giving away a pair of tickets to this Monday's O'Death/Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles show at the 7th Street. All you have to do is be the first person to write in for the tickets @ jon@minneapolisfuckingrocks.com. Simple yes? For sure.

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Flyer Announcement: Eyedea & Abilities @ Turf Club

Old Crow Medicine Show - Tennessee Pusher


Download: Old Crow Medicine Show - "Caroline"

Old Crow Medicine School
Tennessee Pusher
Grade: B

Few things say Minnesota like the Prairie Home Companion. And few things say prairie the way Old Crow Medicine Show does. A while back, the modern bluegrass staples hit up the Prairie Home Companion Street Dance, infusing the event with some good, old-fashioned foot-stomping, banjo-pickin’ energy. The group is on the road in support of their latest album, Tennessee Pusher, which hit shelves late last month. Even so, OCMS served up a strong mix of songs from their three studio albums.

I can’t really impress upon you how badly you need to go see OCMS if you’re a fan of the band at all. In the studio, a lot of the band’s excitability gets skimmed off. For example, on their latest, “Humdinger” is a fiddle-driven, whiskey-swillin’ tribute to partying the night away. It comes off as a little flat and restrained on the album. Too perfect for its own good, “Humdinger” feels self-conscious. Live, however, perfect chords and immaculately executed bass get muddied up. Vocals shake with unbridled energy. And that’s exactly what the song calls for. “Humdinger” is supposed to sound like someone bought it a few drinks and a cup of coffee.

The energy OCMS puts into their live show pushes the band’s lyrical matter to the next level, as well. OCMS isn’t really a very happy band. On the new album, the subject of meth addiction is discussed a lot (Cocaine is heavily featured on 2004’s self-titled. I wonder what that says about Nashville.) All of their really great songs are tinged with regrets. The rattles and cracks in Ketch Secor and Willie Watson’s voices really push the sorrow and brokenness on Tennessee Pusher’s first single, “Caroline.” On album, the chorus of “Caroline” takes on an almost barbershop-quartet feel. Live, Secor’s imperfect tenor reinforces the desperation in his pleas. It creates a much better balance between what he says and how he says it.

And let’s be honest. For all the restraint they show in the recording of their songs, OCMS puts a bit of filler on their albums. With only 45 or so minutes to play, the band really had to pick the best of the best. I’ll go with that – I wasn’t terribly excited at hearing the irritating platitudes of the softly strummed, sparsely instrumented ballad “Always Lift Him Up.

Perhaps the coolest thing about OCMS playing the street dance (besides getting to see “Wagon Wheel” live, of course) was the way they played with Garrison Keillor. Covering a range of folk classics (including “CC Rider,” which OCMS covered on their self-titled), the band flashed some campfire-chanty cred. Seeing the boys get into it with an old Minnesota institution was a pretty sweet cap on a fantastic show.

OCMS MySpace Page

(April Wright)

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Show Announcement: Ackerson 2 CD Release Party @ the Varsity

Video: Young Son - "Influential Melodiez #4"

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New Music: The Whip - "Trash"


Download: The Whip - "Trash"

The press release for this track says that I should brace for being "impaled by synths". I, for one, am always up for a good impaling (indeed, I sleep in an Iron Maiden. Because I'm really fucking metal). And I certainly can't disagree with the fact that the Mancunian quartet The Whip do use a lot of synthetic keyboard sounds (ones that would do their Madchester ancestors proud), there's also a thick, chunky bass line and enough hi-hat-and-snare drum patterns to make dance-punkers, um, dance.

Too bad The Rapture got here first. In that group's scene-defining hands, a repetitive structure like the one heard in "Trash" could be thrilling, but The Whip don't introduce enough melodic or rhythmic variety to give the song any kind of distinction. "I wanna be trash" goes the vocal line. Dude didn't get his wish. Instead, he's musical compost.

Listen to the track at the top of the post. Leave a comment with yr thoughts. Let's get this conversation party started.

A much more interesting song, "Divebomb Kitsune", is streaming at the group's MySpace Page.

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New Kanye West Video - "Heartless"



(via)

Cross-Published on CIMI.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tonight: Lucy Michelle & The Velvet Lapelles @ The Nomad


(flyer via More Cowbell(

Every Thursday night in November, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles will play a show at the Nomad. This is the first show in a month for the quirky, compelling, and utterly unique quintet. The group is planning on playing new music. The show is free:

Set Times:
Poor Nobodys 9:30
Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles 10:30
Bitch n' Brown 11:30

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Two New Radiohead Remixes (One from Thom Yorke Himself)


Download: Radiohead - "The Reckoner" (Remixed by Stephen Murray)
Download: Thom Yorke - "Harrowdown Logic Jump Rmx" (Remixed by Thom Yorke)


Two new Radiohead remixes have come to light in very recent times. First off is one from Thom Yorke himself, in honor of the historic US election. The remix is of a track from Yorke's solo debut, The Eraser. Of the song, Yorke writes:

in celebration of nov 5th
jonnys burthday
amid bonfire and fireworks in the UK
and the dawn of a new era in politics in the USA
i humbly donate a remix of harrowdown hill that was finished ages ago during the band webcasts,
a small reminder of the dark days of Bush's....


Indeed, Yorke's debut, as much of the rest of his work in Radiohead, contained a lot of paranoia. Perhaps this will be the last of such material. If it is, it would be a shame. Thom Yorke is at his best when exploring despairing feelings.

Secondly, a remix by Stephen Murray, who has worked with Canadian artists such as K-OS and Nelly Furtado. There's a pronounced modern electro-hop vibe here, one that suits the music very well. Listen to both songs at the top of the post.

Cross-published on CIMI

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Video: Monkey Bee Short Film (by Jamie Hewitt)

New Iran - "Buddy"



Download: Iran - "Buddy"

Definitely in the same vein, production wise, as fellow pop layerists (wait, what?) Department of Eagles, Iran, much like the Grizzly Bear offshoot, take the template laid down by doo-wop, then add reverb and echo to create a shimmering, swooning effect. There's a little bit of Stephen Malkmus' lackadaisical sing-speak in the vocals, but I'd doubt that Pavement would have written something this produced. The explosion of fuzz toward the end hints at more experimental directions. But make no mistake, this is as straightforward a pop song as one could write.

Listen to "Buddy" at the top of the post. Their debut EP was released on Tuesday.

Iran MySpace Page

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

New Brother Ali - "Obama, You're The Man"


Download: Brother Ali - "Obama, You're The Man"

The politically-conscious and politically-active Minneapolis rapper crafts a soulful-rap song that recalls Marvin Gaye's early 70s efforts, with a bite and edge that only hip-hop could provide (i.e., the word "fuck" is used). Ali's joy at the historic victory is barely contained. While he spends the first two verses lauding Obama's achievement, and the fact that the Illinois senator has inspired the downtrodden, Brother Ali, like the President-Elect, says that we have a whole lot more work to do. But for now? Pure celebration. Listen to "Obama, you're the man" at the top of the post.

Brother Ali MySpace Page

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Ticket Giveaway: Little Joy @ Station



MFR is giving away a pair of tickets to Friday's Little Joy show at Station on Friday. All you have to do to win them is be the first to write in to jon@minneapolisfuckingrocks.com and tell us what your favorite simple pleasure in life is. You don't have to wax poetic, a simple "orange juice" or "reading a book" or "hobo murder." We won't judge.

For those of you who may not know, Little Joy is a trip named after a cocktail lounge in L.A. Such a detail might seem irrelevant, especially since the band's members have day jobs in groups like The Strokes and Los Hermanos. But like their namesake and name inspiration, the trio concoct compact music morsels that draw from lounge-pop, Tropicália, and Bacharach-esque pop songwriting. It makes for pleasant listening, and should make for a pleasant live show.

So write to jon@minneapolisfuckingrocks.com and tell us what your little joy in life is.

Update: We have a winner! Thanks to all of you who have entered. Much appreciated.

Check out the band's music here.

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