Tuesday, May 05, 2009

We've Moved!

Dear readers,

We are now full-time at www.minneapolisfuckingrocks.com.

- Ian


Tonight: Youth Group at the Triple Rock

*MP3: Youth Group - "Shadowland"

Sydney-natives Youth Group are playing tonight at the Triple Rock.


(Ian Anderson)


New Local Music: Magic Castles, Red Pens

Two of Minneapolis' more promising psychedelically-inclined bands (and that's saying something, considering you've got Daughters of the Sun and Vampire Hands running round the MPLS) have recently uploaded new music to their MySpace profiles. For Magic Castles, the new songs represent a substantial sampling of their upcoming second record, the self-recorded, self-released Dreams of Dreams of Dreams.

Based on the wide variety of mellow psych-rock presented by the band (including the Mamas and Papas-esque "Letterbox," and the comperatively uptempo, shuffling "The Ones We Love") the reality of Dreams seems to be that it will be another solid effort from the band. Check out more at the band's MySpace page.

Like Magic Castles, experimental nu-gazers Red Pens have a new album coming out, one that will be released in June. So it would seem that "Kick Me" (with its biting refrain "Who cares about tomorrow?/it will just kick me") and "Blue Lighters" would be a taste from said record. Bearing a strong similarity to Chicago's Star, both songs shine with a lo-fi tinge which should appeal to fans of uber-hyped bands like Wavves. Check them both out here.

Magic Castles MySpace Page

Red Pens MySpace Page

(Jon Graef)

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Best New Releases for May 5, 2009

Akron/Family - "Set Em Wild, Set Em Free" (Dead Oceans)

*MP3: Akron/Family - "River"
Buy it on iTunes.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - "Outer South" (Merge)

*MP3: Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - "Slowly (Oh So Slowly)"
Buy it on iTunes.

St. Vincent - "Actor" (4AD)

*MP3: St. Vincent - "Save Me From What I Want"
Buy it on iTunes.

Really, I highly recommend picking all of these up today.

(Ian Anderson)


Tonight: I'm In New York at the Mercury Lounge

*MP3: Now, Now Every Children - "Cars"
*MP3: Gliss - "Beauty"

Tonight I'm with Now, Now Every Children at the Mercury Lounge in New York. Gliss, The UK Takeover and Parachutes are also playing. It will be a great night. I'll be behind the merch booth and wandering around shmoozing, so please come say hi.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by at the merch booth at Bamboozle to show some love, it's great to get to meet so many readers - it's much appreciated!

Music starts at 7pm and Now, Now Every Children goes on at 8pm, so be punctual.

(Ian Anderson)


Tonight: Crystal Antlers, His Mischief, Building Better Bombs at the Triple Rock

*MP3: Crystal Antlers - "Andrew"
His Mischief - "Freaks Up Front"
Building Better Bombs - "Death Ships"

What a great bill. Crystal Antlers, His Mischief, and Building Better Bombs at the Triple Rock. Not only are Crystal Antlers a welcomed touring act, but I think everyone would be hard-pressed to find better support than His Mischief and Building Better Bombs. I think you should do this.

Crystal Antlers MySpace

(Ian Anderson)


Top Ten Songs on Elbo.ws Reviewed in 50 Words or less: 4/15 to 4/30

Hey, this is a couple of days late, so you get an extra track. Yay for everyone!

1. Download: Sonic Youth - "Sacred Trickster"

The legendary noise-makers first track for Matador aptly demonstrates that Sonic Youth are capable of sounding both youthful and sonic, even after nearly 30 years. Kim Gordon-sung track belies the band's punk influence, but melodies always remain the focus, even amongst suddenly-shifting chords and non-traditional song-structure.

Grade: B+

2. Download: Passion Pit - "Moth's Wings"

"Moth Wings," as compared to past singles from the rafter-hyped, college-formed blog-band, features a more carefully-considered variation (more subdued vocal work, less pronounced synths) on the band's excitable electro-pop sound. Maturation suites the band reasonably well. Some of the energy is gone, but if "Moth" is indicative of the group's new album, the passion remains.

Grade: B

3. Download: Dinosaur Jr. - "I Want You To Know"

On 2005's Beyond, the alt-rock pioneers musically picked up exactly where they left off their proto-grunge, burying all hatchets. The reunion continues, but without a compelling melody, the merits of "I Want You To Know" (taut band interplay, Mascis' sinewy solos, fuzz, fuzz, fuzz) don't quite shine through.

Grade: C+

4. Download: Sunset Rubdown - "Idiot Heart"

One of two off-shoots Wolf Parade offshoots, "Idiot Heart" revolves around a steadily building new-wave riff, constantly adding and subtracting new musical elements to augment a tale of an "idiot heart." Despite passionate singing, nothing here adds up to a pleasing whole.

Grade: C

5. Download: The Field - "The More I Do"

Axel spins his compositional wheels to create another hypnotic, minimalist (in song structure, if not actual sound) masterpiece of ambient techno. Absolutely gorgeous and shimmering.

Grade: A

6. Download: The Sounds - "Dorchester Hotel"

Chiming guitar chords, and an unabashedly dance-rock sense of rhythm, helps propel "Hotel"'s neo-new-wave-isms to a catchy climax. Not quite a lovely place, the "Dorchester Hotel," but all in all, worth a visit.


7. Download: John Vanderslice "Too Much Time"

The second single from the indie troubadour's upcoming Romanian Names, "Too Much Time" emphasizes the singer's more austere electronic inclinations to help buoy his tale of romantic woe. Another solid track from a solid singer-songwriter.

Grade: B

8. Download: Great Northern - "Houses"

Why does the chord progression and melody of "Houses" remind me of "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz? In spite of expansionist chorus, so little else of "Houses" seems distinctive enough to pick out of a hat of past alt-rock hits.

Grade: C

9. Download: Passion Pit - "Little Secrets"

Ah, here's that uber-synth-sound and yelping vocals that Passion Pit is known for. "Little Secrets" doesn't really divulge its pleasures until later in the song, when a good-time disco bridge helps almost lift "Secrets" into the stratosphere of satisfactory listening.

Grade: B+

10. Download: Major Lazer - "Hold The Line (DJ Edit)"

Gatling gun guitar-lines and dancehall vocals are sure to have people crowding the dance floor everytime. But what's with the horse sample?

Grade: B

11. Download: Iron and Wine - "The Trapeze Swinger"

Originally written for the film In Good Company, Iron and Wine's b-side acoustic-strumed guitar work bears similarity to Ryan Adams' "Oh, My Sweet Caroline." The easy-going folk-cum-soft-rock harmonies are a bit much, but additional touches (auxillary percussion, slide guitar) make the song palatable.

Grade: B

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Tonight: Dan Deacon at the Triple Rock


*MP3: Dan Deacon - "Build Voice"

Dan Deacon is in town tonight playing at the Triple Rock. I highly recommend this show if you are looking to get good and sweaty. Last I saw deacon was at a Pitchfork after-party in Chicago and was impressed by his ability to get up in everyone's face.


(Ian Anderson)


Tonight: Cloud Cult at First Avenue


*MP3: Cloud Cult - "Everybody Here Is A Cloud"

Cloud Cult is playing at First Avenue tonight. However, this bad boy is sold out. If you don't have tickets yet, call some friends.

(Ian Anderson)


Friday, May 01, 2009

The Hood Internet - "Two Weeks Of Hip Hop" (Grizzly Bear vs. Dead Prez)

*MP3: The Hood Internet - "Two Weeks of Hip Hop" (Grizzly Bear vs. Dead Prez)

The Hood Internet owns. It's that simple. Get more hood.

(Ian Anderson)


Tonight: Boston at TT The Bears

*MP3: Now, Now Every Children - "Have You Tried"
(via Bradley's Almanac)

I'll be in Boston tonight with Now, Now Every Children at TT The Bears partying down with Bradley's Almanac and the rest of the Boston Blog crew. Boston blogs Cheap Thrills, Ryan's Smashing Life, Boston Band Crush have all been very supportive of the show as well -- tonight will be fun. For pictures of our tour antics, check NNEC's blog.

If you're in Boston, come say hey, I'll be behind the merch table.

Be sure to check out
Bradley's Almanac, it's a great blog!

(Ian Anderson)

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The Radiohead Model, Chapter 5: The Gloaming


*MP3: Radiohead - "There There"
*MP3: Radiohead - "2+2=5"
*MP3: Radiohead - "A Wolf At The Door"

The word “gloaming” has its roots in the Old English word “gloming,” both which refer to the time in the evening when the sun has just passed over the horizon, creating the soft glow of twilight just after the time which photographers know as the magic hour. Its roots lie in the Dark Ages, when much of the Western world lay balanced between light and darkness, enlightenment and utter stagnation. The Gloaming became known as the time when strange and otherworldly things would begin to occur on the earth before the black of night. It was a superstitious word for superstitious people, but it would survive into the modern era and eventually become the subtitle for Radiohead's sixth album, principally known as "Hail to the Thief."

By 2003, Radiohead had seen the blaze of day in the glorious sunshine of their youth. In the space of ten years, they had ascended to a height known by few in the world of popular music, following a golden career arc from assimilating naiveté to elite sophistication (think The Beatles and the 1960s). In the early days of the 21st Century, the double punch of "OK Computer" and Kid A/Amnesiac was already viewed as a watershed moment. But the making of these albums had driven the band almost to the point of implosion. In their drive to create meaningful music, they had become more collaborative architects than a band. Never again, they vowed.

Radiohead were done, at least in practice, with being difficult.

And so in 2002, the band picked up their guitars again and began rehearsing the songs which they would eventually record in a Los Angeles studio in under two weeks. In form, "Hail to the Thief" was a looser amalgamation of many of the ideas the band had worked on throughout their entire history, with the ripping and clanging guitars that began their career rejoining the band's more recent penchant for electronica. The album featured the band's first extensive use of laptop on many songs, and drummer Phil Selway seemed to be a full-time member again. Producer Nigel Godrich had effectively become yet another member of the band, giving the new collection of songs a clean and polished edge. Resident artist Stanley Donwood produced yet another of his gallery-caliber oil-on-canvases for the elaborate jewel case packaging. Rehearsed, recorded, mastered, and packaged in a year, it was the easiest time Radiohead had making an album since "Pablo Honey."

First leaked to the Internet, the album was released in June of 2003 to generous album sales and critical acclaim, although there was the sense among many that the band was not due its usual round of lavish praise. By the release of "Hail to the Thief," Radiohead albums had become epochal events in music. "OK Computer" and "Kid A" had taught listeners that this was a band whose every release would be uncompromising, essential, another strong push against the envelope in terms of sonic fidelity and imagination. Shockingly, "Hail to the Thief" seemed to tread those albums' water. Everything sounded fine, some of it even gorgeous, but that was precisely the problem. It wasn't a total masterpiece. To many, it was "Kid A" on autopilot. To many more, including the band itself, "Hail to the Thief" wasn't up to standard.

Of course, that standard was very high, perhaps impossibly high. But everything about the album seemed to have the ring of self-knowing pastiche. Every song title was given a parenthetical subtitle, as if to give added bloat to a 14-track album from a band recently known for leaner LPs. Song titles like “We Suck Young Blood” and “A Punch Up at a Wedding” seem campy and satirical, as if the band is making fun of itself. The album is cynical and dark, even by Radiohead standards, and though Thom Yorke's vibrato is allowed space again, it sometimes sounds tired and flat against the music.

It was rumored that Radiohead had rushed the album, their sixth and final with EMI, to get out of a record contract with which they were no longer happy. A more likely explanation is marriage, kids, and life itself. The men of Radiohead were in their mid 30s. They had given everything of themselves to the band and to each other for almost two decades. Perhaps, even as the world Thom Yorke so manically predicted began to form around them, it was time for Radiohead to settle into it. After touring behind Hail to the Thief, the band adjourned for a much needed hiatus. As the giant slept, Hail to the Thief would gain the reputation as one if its lesser efforts. With no record contract and few musical prospects, Radiohead was finally in limbo.

Thom Yorke had said that "Hail to the Thief" was an album about entering a modern dark age under a flag of ignorance. But there was still the album's mysterious subtitle, The Gloaming, which also relates to the Old English word 'glowan', referring to the actual glow of dusk itself, revealing new colors and deeper hues in the earth and sky. Almost like the sudden appearance of rainbows.

The Radiohead Model, Chapter 4

(Erik Martz/Ian Anderson)

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Electric Fetus to Launch New Download Service

The music industry may suck nowadays, but there's ample reason to hope that it's going to get better. Namely, smaller, more independent stores are embracing the new ways of doing business that, for some reason, the majors have a hard time getting behind. Specifically, Electric Fetus has, according to the Star-Trib, launched ThinkIndie, a music download service for unsigned local acts. The piece in question mainly focuses on locally beloved synth-pop trio Solid Gold, who, despite vast local success, nonetheless are label-less. Here's a taste of the lede:

When Minneapolis band Solid Gold first tried to make its music available on iTunes, the popular music-download service rejected the unsigned rockers...but starting today, local, unsigned bands will have a better shot with a music-download service that the Minneapolis music store Electric Fetus is helping launch.
The piece specifies how ThinkIndie differentiates from iTunes and similar digital competitors, when emphaszing the connection to local music, and how the expertise of the Electric Fetus staff proves itself as an asset. Read the rest of the article here.

So what do you think, readers? Are you psyched about an Electric Fetus digital store?

ThinkIndie website

(Jon Graef)

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NEW: Passion Pit - "Eyes As Candles"


*MP3: Passion Pit - "Eyes As Candles"

The new Passion Pit album, "Manners," will be out on May 19 via French Kiss. "Eyes As Candles" is the latest from the album, another great track. The album has leaked, but I urge you to pre-order it from Insound instead.


(Ian Anderson)


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