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The Black Dog inspires creativity -- its high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and spacious tables encourage daydreaming, journaling, doodling and other precursors to art making.


THE SHOWS




Twin Town High (vol. 8)

Your Locally Grown Alternative Newspaper


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Music Everywhere
Friday 29 June @ 13:46:56 (Read: 18282)
Music

Propping up the Fourth Estate


by DWIGHT HOBBES

Bill Borea, anchor of Minneapolis Television Network’s cablecast forum “Spectator” (MTN–Ch. 17), is, to say the least, a well-rounded fella. Pretty much self-made, to boot. He never studied television journalism, but has more than held his own, on for just about half of the hour-long show’s almost 20 years of existence. He does have a University of Minnesota B.A. in psychology with a political science minor. And heavyweight, bodybuilding titles as Mr. Natural Minnesota and Mr. Natural Nissan Hard Body. He has wrestled more than 500 professional bouts and sports a respectable film career as a screenwriter, actor and stuntman (doubling for Michael Rapport in “The Naked Man”). Borea, who goes by his birth name William Edmund Reau III on the show, spoke with Pulse about “Spectator.”

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Lost Armada–Empty Houses
Friday 29 June @ 13:33:15 (Read: 18900)
Music
CD Review:

by GALEN WADE

I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or a band by its press photo. The band pic that accompanied Lost Armada’s EP Empty Houses (Floyd’s Bark Records), showed four young, sardonic-looking dudes posing in their Sunday best in front of a fireplace. It’s a jab at the American family Christmakuh photo, and I thought one more group of pop-punksters vying for a side stage on the Warped Tour–one of them even had hair like that guy in Coheed and Cambria.

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Music Everywhere
Thursday 28 June @ 14:03:14 (Read: 17898)
Music

What’s New With Sexual Chocolate and the White Boys?


by DWIGHT HOBBES

Sexual Chocolate and the White Boys hit a bump, are getting back on track and will gig, woodshed and, by winter, start their third album. In the meantime, help keep the Twin Cities safe for vintage-style R&B/soul music.

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Bad Brains’ Build A Nation
Wednesday 27 June @ 13:14:58 (Read: 12833)
Music
CD Review:

by LOREN GREEN

Twenty-five years ago, Bad Brains were among the most important hardcore bands in the world. They inexplicably fused reggae with faster and more technical punk than their contemporaries. Over time, they changed styles, replaced and reintroduced members--even changed monikers. Build A Nation is the group's first release since 1999 (as Soul Brains). It has been billed as a return to their early days, despite having explored new styles over the years.

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Music Everywhere
Tuesday 26 June @ 13:20:41 (Read: 10606)
Music
Bedlam Theatre Is Back At It

by DWIGHT HOBBES
Ten-Minute Play Festival | June 27 through July 1 | see www.bedlamtheatre.org
|

Here’s a disclaimer right now: I been a Bedlam Theatre fan since I first set foot in the place. So, the fact that they are producing my play “Dues” doesn’t create any conflict of interest. I’d be writing about The Sixth Annual Bedlam Community Ten-Minute Play Festival anyway. Unless, of course, Lydia Howell had headed me off.

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The Red Flags – Supro Sampler
Tuesday 26 June @ 12:57:51 (Read: 12645)
Music
CD REVIEW

by GALEN WADE

The four-piece rock outfit, The Red Flags, is fronted by one-time Magnolia, Mike Leonard. Side note--after moving here from sunny South Dakota, The Magnolia’s Off the Hook was probably the first local record I ever purchased. And my interest in The ‘Nolias (as us fans referred to them) was bolstered by the fact that a guy in my summer session French 1102 class, worked at Kinko’s with a guy in the band. Whether Leonard’s C.V. includes a stint at the copy shop, I’ll never know. C’est la vie, mon ami.

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Southerly
Monday 25 June @ 12:59:06 (Read: 10980)
Music

Storyteller and The Gossip Columnist


by DWIGHT HOBBES
June 27 at the Triple Rock Social Club | 9 p.m | $5/$7 |

Know the problem with calling someone a genius? The word is so used up it no longer means anything. Which makes life real interesting when you come across an artist along the lines of Southerly, aka Krist Krueger, to whom the term inarguably applies (actually it’s a band, but this guy does all the singing and writing). Krueger’s songwriting range alone is fascinating: He’s inventive across genres and is an excellent case of that rare combination--amazing art that still has commercial appeal (sorry, but being gifted does not mean only five people like what you do). The album Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist gives you an incredibly seductive blend of a rural folk sound with moody rock as the backdrop for wizened poetry. And Krueger’s matter-of-fact vocals are perfect for the material. With Jeff Hanson, Hallelujah The Hills. $5/$7 at the door. 8 p.m., 629 Cedar Avenue on the West Bank in Minneapolis.


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Pert Near Sandstone
Monday 25 June @ 12:42:21 (Read: 10715)
Music
Music Review

by DWIGHT HOBBES
June 29 at Project Earth—Harmony Park, Clark’s Grove, Minn. | 8 p.m. |

Pert Near Sandstone is all-the-way, doggone good bluegrass music played with both fun and finesse. Their newest album, Up & Down The River, bears this out in spades. “Down In The Holler” is foot-stomping, knee-slapping, hand-clapping square-dance music at its best. And has delightful, hayseed lyrics to go along with it. “C’mon darling, go with me/ down in the holler/ ’neath the old oak tree/out in that shade/ where the old quilt lay.” “The Story of Me, You & Your Mama” is a sweet, country rag that’ll have you nodding with and singing along in no time flat. It’s got your typical scalawag crooning, “Well, I wanna be with you, girl/ yeah, I wanna be with you/ but what’ll your mama say about that?” And there’s the intriguing “Summer Skies,” an exquisite foray into delicate guitar-and-mandolin picking. The words are pensive, wistful. “Ever-changing, these summer skies/ the moon is out/ a storm is nigh/ the same wind that brings these clouds/ will carry them away.” In the short, these fellas take themselves and us on one gorgeously impressive outing.

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Music Everywhere
Monday 25 June @ 11:56:36 (Read: 9686)
Music
Chris Shillock—show up for the integrity, stay for the brilliance

by DWIGHT HOBBES
Poets of Chris Shillock’s caliber don’t come along everyday. Hell, we’re lucky when they show up at all. Exhibit A, from “A Night Like This”—“Anything can happen when the moon is on the brink. You could meet your enemy; he’s buying you a drink. You could find your savior then betray him with a kiss, because anything could happen on a night like this.” Among his books are “The Revolutionary’s Creed,” “Testament of Fear” and “Irregular Conjugations.” And he has just finished an album vocalist-composer Tabatha Predovich titled Invisible Jazz. And “A Night Like This” is on it. After a June 23 listening party for the album, Chris Shillock spoke with www.pulsetc.com about his craft and a few other things.

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Managers
Friday 22 June @ 13:19:18 (Read: 4395)
Music
by DWIGHT HOBBES

You go to a club, catch So-And-So doing a tremendous show and are stoked. You spend the night drinking up, throwing down on the dance floor and testing your ability to get lucky. Next day, maybe, you swing by the record store and pick up Whatever-It-Was on disc, go home slap it on the box and, while you're listening, peruse the packaging, checking out the photos, etc. Perhaps you read the liner notes. If you do, you've forgot about "thank yous" before you even finish reading them all. However, in there, quite likely, was a nod to someone who, fairly anonymously, keeps it all together for So-And-So, Whatever-It-Was or Who-Did-It-And-Ran.

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Music Everywhere
Thursday 21 June @ 12:56:22 (Read: 4548)
Music
Doing Something About Misogynist Hip-Hop

by DWIGHT HOBBES
June 22 at The Turf Club | 9 p.m | $7 |

We could sit around until Satan shits ice-balls, waiting for men to do something about the misogyny in Hip-Hop. The only result would be seat-cushion-sized calluses on our collective ass. There simply aren’t enough civilized males like Truthmaze, Toki Wright, A-Quil and others to go around.

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Gravy Train!!!! —All the Sweet Stuff —
Wednesday 20 June @ 13:05:22 (Read: 3979)
Music
CD REVIEW

by LOREN GREEN


All the Sweet Stuff is the San Francisco band Gravy Train!!!!’s fourth release and first on Cochon Records. This release continues in their style of trashy electropop, but, with production cameos from various San Francisco dance groups, the album has a slightly cleaner, poppier feel. Think Le Tigre and Fannypack, but more vulgar and sex-centric. Their press release proudly proclaims Gravy Train!!!! is “channeling pure vanity and glamour a la Divine in John Waters’ Female Trouble.”

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Music Everywhere
Wednesday 20 June @ 12:49:08 (Read: 4291)
Music
Poetry: Rodrigo Steps Up

by DWIGHT HOBBES
June 22 at at The Loft/Open Book | 8 p.m | $FREE |

I haven’t had anyone’s poetry hit me quite the same way as Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria’s album Desconocidos since Sonia Sanchez. It has that quality of fire to it, talking much smack about life of color on the mean streets—and doing it with a world of immediacy. Take “I Cross Borders,” which goes, “Borders/I cross borders/I jump borders/I run through borders/So I can break borders/I wake up and I am still dreaming in borders/I get dressed and cross 3 borders/I cross borders like people wear masks/I do it innately/I do it unintentionally/Sometimes I don't want to but it happens eventually/I cross borders so much I should work for taco bell/I run into borders with neighborhoods that look like hell/And I run through them with my eyes closed/I walk through them with my heart screaming/As I walk through these borders I try to grasp meaning.”

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The Mood Swings - No Limit
Tuesday 19 June @ 14:06:57 (Read: 4308)
Music
CD REVIEW

by GALEN WADE

I like girls with guitars. It's not a fetish thing, it's an empowerment thing. I think parents in America should put guitars in their daughters' hands, the way Russian parents put tennis rackets in theirs. With that in mind, No Limit is the newest six-song offering from female-fronted The Mood Swings.



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Music Everywhere
Tuesday 19 June @ 13:46:45 (Read: 4577)
Music
Jessy Greene, Artist Of Consequence

by DWIGHT HOBBES
June 22 at The Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant | 11 pm. | $3 | 21+

Singer-songsmith-violinist Jessy Greene is a fascinating artist of undeniable consequence. A pair of albums, hotshot awards and the respect of front-line peers to prove it. An appearance at a prestigious venue this Friday for an admission price too affordable to pass up.

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Music Everywhere
Monday 18 June @ 14:57:06 (Read: 4383)
Music
Bear Clan Music

by DWIGHT HOBBES
Matthew Laughing Bear Shipquist is a fascinating fella. I just get the heebie-jeebies hearing him refer to what he calls Bear Clan Music (something about that word, "clan," for some reason, doesn't do it for me). I can get past that long enough, though, to appreciate his being a throwback to the way old days when, for instance, The Grateful Dead would give Warner Bros. Records indigestion by making as much of The Dead's music free as they could. That included, along with sneaking bootleg albums to headshops, openly inviting fans to record Dead concerts. Yeah, there'd be an area by the stage where you could go, set up your tape recorder and have yourself one hell of a souvenir to take home at the end of the show. Bear has two discs in circulation, Bear-Essentials: Live Honey and Long Cold Winter, a slew of free mp3s you can download at the site "Bear On The Web" and, if you go to "Bear luvs ya baby" on the internet, you'll find the incarnations-Bear solo, Bear & The Eclectic Honey Band, Bear Clan Music Cooperative plus more free mp3s.

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Review on The Takeovers
Friday 15 June @ 15:17:23 (Read: 3963)
Music
There’s a first time for everything (and everybody)

by MICKEY CAULFIELD
Oregon-based indie rockers The Takeovers may not have chosen the right opening track for their sophomore album, Bad Football. The first song, "You're At It," gives the impression that this album is going to be a suicidal train wreck that strains to reach the pitches (not in a good way) and is altogether a bland and generic, if not mediocre, stab at making some indie rock. This is not what Bad Football is, but for a first-time Takeovers listener like myself, the first song is at the very least a turn-off. But from there it really picks up! The second song, "Little Green Onion Man," features a catchy bass riff and vocals that owe more than a little to John Lennon. Not a bad combination at all. The Takeover's decision to release this song on 7" as the single is not a mistake.

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Music Everywhere
Friday 15 June @ 14:01:28 (Read: 4331)
Music
The demise of Blacktop Badge, the future of Sunshine Behavior

by DWIGHT HOBBES
Well, I’ve got good news for you and I’ve got bad. The good news is that a young band of energetic upstarts, Sunshine Behavior, has can’t-miss written all over them and should be able to look forward to a very rewarding future. The bad news is that Blacktop Badge, a crew of seasoned warhorses, who had can’t-miss written all over them and should’ve been able to look forward to one helluva career have called it quits. You just never know how things are going to shake out.

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Music Everywhere
Thursday 14 June @ 13:54:20 (Read: 4425)
Music
Sam Kuusisto resides in Soulville

by DWIGHT HOBBES
I love it when an artist like Sam Kuusisto crosses my path. It’s like the good Lord decided, “I’m gonna give you a break, today, and let the sun shine just little bit brighter.” See, God knows I’m a soul-music junkie. And, soul singer Sam Kuusisto is a one-man wrecking crew who cooks like grits on the griddle and, in quintessential fashion, puts his own indelible stamp on everything he does. For good measure, this cat don’t believe in playing a thing safe: He’s been known to cover such don’t-even-try-it sacred cows as The Isley Brothers, Van Morrison, Jr. Walker and the All-Stars, hell, even James Brown. Talk about a tall order. Well, hold on to your seats, ladies and gentlemen, because no matter whose material he does, Sam Kuusisto breaks you off somethin’ that ain’t nothin’ nice.

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Marnie Stern’s In Advance of the Broken Arm
Thursday 14 June @ 13:25:35 (Read: 3813)
Music
CD REVIEW

by DANIEL MCGRANE
The explosive tunelessness of “Vibrational Match,” with its searing guitars, attention-deficit drumming, and Marnie Stern’s girlish squawk, rushes through the speakers with a blend of youthful urgency and excitement. This first track on Stern’s In Advance of the Broken Arm vibrantly displays her axe gusto while hinting at her capabilities as a songwriter and arranger as well. Starting with a Camptown races fever in the drumming and guitar shredding, the song turns itself on its head as that focus becomes an intriguing trance of a launch pad for the rest of “Broken Arm.” Ultimately, however, this ship gets held up on its takeoff.

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Chris Katris’ Songs From the Basement
Wednesday 13 June @ 12:13:36 (Read: 3890)
Music
CD REVIEW

by MICKEY CAULFIELD
There's a reason Chris Katris' fifth album is called Songs From the Basement and not Songs From an Actual Studio. It's not that it's necessarily "bad" in the traditional sense--he nails all the licks, he hits all the notes, it's all solid. It's just all been done before. The album's first song, "Turning the Corner," sounds more than a little like Clapton ... but why would someone listen to a moderately enjoyable Clapton imitator when they could just listen to Clapton himself?

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Music Everywhere
Wednesday 13 June @ 11:44:03 (Read: 4324)
Music
New Primitives Give Opening Bands A Break

by DWIGHT HOBBES
Much as a band like New Primitives rocks you to the bone, making it well worth your while to get down to a club and bump your butt until the cows come home, there’s a residual benefit. Headliners do the late set, keeping the bartender busy and, accordingly, putting a dollar-sign-induced smile on the owner’s face. Nothing wrong with that. But, they also afford low-profile acts with invaluable exposure. You know: the opener. Sometimes the crowd-warmer isn’t worth the time and space he, she or they take up. Sometimes, you discover an exciting up-and-comer. Offered for your appreciation are three richly deserving outfits: Quilombolas, Public Property and Sunshine Behavior, who’ve all opened for ace Afro-Cuban rocking New Primitives.

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Music Everywhere
Tuesday 12 June @ 11:40:23 (Read: 4352)
Music
Oh-h-h, Dessa


by DWIGHT HOBBES



I was on the phone with Nate Santos from 2 Wurds, figuring out when I could see his band perform, when he said somebody named Dessa was there and asked whether I wanted to talk to her. I had a vague recollection of someone having mentioned the name in conjunction with Hip-Hip and, being you can’t throw most Hip-Hop on me in a bucket of water, hell, no I didn’t want to talk her. But, being a nice guy, I said, “Yeah, sure.” She got on the line and, if memory serves, was coached by Nate to ask if I wanted to hear her EP, False Hopes. Great, just what I needed. A disc I had absolutely no interest in hearing. But, again, being such a nice guy, I gave her my mailing address.



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Music Everywhere
Monday 11 June @ 11:57:31 (Read: 4906)
Music
Music on DVD: Casual Confusion CD release


by DWIGHT HOBBES




AAs emerging power-trio Casual Confusion continues getting a leg up, they may find themselves in an enviable Catch-22. That’ll happen. A given band hasn’t garnered enough followers to consistently headline-- yet have trouble generating exposure, because name bands, scared of being upstaged, won’t do a gig with ungodly axe-monsters opening the bill. CC’s manager, Dan Batdorf, avoiding specifics, acknowledges, “A lot of [bands] have shied away from doing anything with us.” Small wonder.

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Music Everywhere
Wednesday 06 June @ 11:16:41 (Read: 3962)
Music
Music on DVD: Mint Condition, Robin Trower


by DWIGHT HOBBES



St. Paul homeboys Mint Condition are about to release their newest album (no title yet) in August. And at this moment, they are deciding on the first single, which will be out sometime this month. I’ve heard about half the album and, take it from me, the material is first rate. Well worth the anticipation. ’Til August gets here, though--along with the chance to catch this band in action--there’s “Live from The 9:30 Club” (DVD).

Filmed in Chocolate City, USA, aka Washington, D.C., the 80-minute video is so enjoyable it seems to go by in more like eight minutes. Highlight: You get a fascinating look at the guys offstage as they talk about their craft and eachother as they revisit the center where they stayed out of trouble as youngsters long enough to get on the good foot and became international superstars. Providing even higher light is “Swole,” a house-rocking number that you won’t find on any of their albums--including the new one--and a show-stopping rendition of “Breaking My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes)” for which frontman Stokley cuts the total and absolute fool.

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Music Everywhere
Tuesday 05 June @ 12:11:18 (Read: 4478)
Music
The Pines: Sparrows in the Bell


by DWIGHT HOBBES




Sparrows in the Bell by The Pines (Red House Records), is a masterpiece. Buy it, listen and, then, don’t forget to be glad these guys are around.



That’s all there is to say. On the basis of your friendly neighborhood columnist getting paid by the word, though, let’s see whether we can’t milk the thing a little bit. How about: This caliber of artistry reminds even the pickiest music lovers why they fell in love with music? From connoisseurs of symphonic classics to fussy blues junkies, it’s about natural magic. Which, The Pines create like they were born to do intriguing things to your heart, soul and mind.


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Music Everywhere
Monday 04 June @ 11:00:41 (Read: 3955)
MusicOVERLOOKED GEM: “American History X”


by DWIGHT HOBBES




There is no way on God’s green earth “American History X” will ever get the attention it deserves as a contemporary classic. Our society is too much founded on sheer, enduring cowardice and just doesn’t have the stomach for such straightforward fare. Every patronizing, condescending do-gooder who simply finds it bad taste to come right out and say, “Nigger!” should be forced to sit and watch “American History X” repeatedly, without so much as a bathroom break. Particularly pseudo-liberals, who keep their racism in the closet, pretending to respect everyone.

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Music Everywhere
Friday 01 June @ 11:13:15 (Read: 4000)
MusicBobbi Miller Strikes Again: Sin Cities 7


by DWIGHT HOBBES



You have to wonder, sometimes, about the mind of Bobbi Miller. She’s one hellacious singer and a charismatic performer, but that thinking of hers—well, it is, you could say, kind of off-center. For instance, a couple seasons ago, at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, she was producer, director and anthologist for something she called Intoxicating. It was a campy revue she did with song-and-dance cohort Michelle Langner, comparing falling head over heels in love to being drunk as a skunk. And it played like a house on fire.



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Music Everywhere
Thursday 31 May @ 12:17:42 (Read: 3782)
MusicTheater review: You Want To See Little Shop of Horrors at 10,000 Things Theater Company


by DWIGHT HOBBES



10,000 Things Theater Company is touring a barebones production of the off-Broadway hit “Little Shop of Horrors.” You can almost hear scoffers snort, “Yeah, right. That’s gonna work.” Well, I got news for them. Yeah! Right on! You’re damned right this stripped down vehicle works. Couldn’t work any better if the show’s composer, Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, had written it to be performed this way. And audiences can thank the ingenuity of Michelle Hensley, 10,000 Things’ founding artistic director. She made what some might consider an impossible task look very easy, creating in a small space with makeshift props what big-time producers spend a fortune to pull off.


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Music Everywhere
Wednesday 30 May @ 11:26:00 (Read: 3874)
MusicAn Interview with Sha Cage: Priestess of the Word


by DWIGHT HOBBES


Sha Cage, aka Lady Sha: Priestess of the Word, has caught fire. Small surprise. You could see it coming from her earliest days on the Twin Cities stage. And now, the skilled actor and working playwright sustains a steady rise, putting both gifts together as a spoken wordsmith. Heading up the Minnesota Spoken Word Association with her other half, e.g. bailey, she�s behind an umbrella operation that runs the talent agency TruRuts Endeavors, the film company Tru Life Films and Speakeasy Records, releases by Truthmaze, Sister Mimi, Buss One and, naturally, e.g. bailey and Sha Cage. Sha spoke with www.pulsetc.com about her CD debut, Amber People, which drops June 2 and already has garnered national attention.



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Music Everywhere-Re-run
Tuesday 29 May @ 12:18:59 (Read: 3797)
MusicFilm: Overlooked Gem “Deuces Wild”

by DWIGHT HOBBES




When Jennifer Hudson, who’s been in the business for about all of 20 minutes, can walk off with an Oscar, besting veterans who’ve been at their craft for years, you know for sure what you figured all along: the fix is in and artistry is an asterisk. Sure, the profoundly gifted Forrest Whitaker won Best Actor for “Last King of Scotland,” but you can chalk that up as glitch. Hardly breaking news as far as Hollywood goes, but it doesn’t mean folk that love damned good movies should just say to hell with American cinema. You simply have to look hard and find worthwhile fare. Accordingly, presented for your discerning consideration: a Best Picture caliber flick that got lost in the proverbial sauce and that certainly deserves a look-see. So, go check it out on DVD.



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Music Everywhere
Tuesday 29 May @ 12:10:56 (Read: 3931)
MusicOVERLOOKED GEM: “Snatch”



by DWIGHT HOBBES



How “Snatch” stayed below the mainstream radar defies logic. This flick has it all: a strong cast with a pair of A-List stars to boot, an airtight script and smart directing. On top of which, it’s just plain funny as hell. If you haven’t caught up to Brad Pitt and Benicio Tel Toro in this sardonic romp about a diamond heist, hurry up and visit your friendly, neighborhood video shop.


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Music Everywhere
Friday 25 May @ 12:19:30 (Read: 3938)
Music

by DWIGHT HOBBES


Film: Overlooked Gems

When Jennifer Hudson, who’s been in the business for about all of 20 minutes, can walk off with an Oscar, besting veterans who’ve been at their craft for years, you know for sure what you figured all along: the fix is in and artistry is an asterisk.



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Music Everywhere
Thursday 24 May @ 13:27:52 (Read: 3850)
Music

by DWIGHT HOBBES



Film: Last King of Scotland


“Last King of Scotland” (DVD) is a flawed gem. Emphasis on gem. Thanks to a tour de force turn by Forrest Whitaker-–who pulled off one of the rare occasions when the institutionally rigged Academy of Motion Pictures actually acknowledged premier artistry when it bestowed on Whitaker the Oscar for Best Actor Award for a hard job damn well done.


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Music Everywhere: James Curry is two guys, and they’re both cool
Wednesday 23 May @ 13:52:01 (Read: 3800)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES

Gifted duo James Curry (a/k/a Brian Tischleder(vocals, guitar) and Casey Fearing (lead guitar, vocals) render folk music, the real rural deal, with a beautifully poetic edge.

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Music Everywhere
Tuesday 22 May @ 16:00:16 (Read: 3732)
Music


by DWIGHT HOBBES

Entertainment Plus: Your host is Sol Testimony



Soul Sounds Open Mic & Jam Session is not your run-of-the-mill hoot night. Not by a long shot.



Produced and hosted by Twin Cities spoken word veteran Sol Testimony, the event’s motif is a collage of mediums. Y’ got music, stand-up comedy, hip-hop, spoken wordsmiths of course and more-– including, if you’ve got a script laying around, a short play (give or take, oh, five minutes or so). And guest visual artists get showcased. One thing y’ don’t got, though: foul-mouth rappers grabbing their crotches and referring to women and girls in misogynistic ways.


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MUSIC EVERYWHERE
Monday 21 May @ 10:36:56 (Read: 3850)
MusicMay is American Indian month in Minnesota.


Martha Fast Horse: empowering the community




by DWIGHT HOBBES

Martha Fast Horse personifies the West African proverb (yeah, we thought Theodore Roosevelt said it first) about speaking softly while carrying a big stick. Her voice conveys a personable demeanor and conversational bent. Her stick is her impassioned devotion to social change – via television, that inarguably effective means of reaching the public.

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Music Everywhere - The gigs you want, the demos you need:
Friday 18 May @ 11:50:44 (Read: 3830)
MusicBY DWIGHT HOBBES

Long gone are the days of bands and singers auditioning live for club managers. So, where demos used to be one of the final steps to getting anywhere—something you’d send a label exec after you’d built a following—these days the only thing that’ll follow you without one is your shadow. Without a demo, and a damned good one at that, you don’t exist.




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Music everywhere - Interview with New Primitives’ frontman Stanley Kipper
Thursday 17 May @ 14:07:50 (Read: 3838)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES


Powerhouse Afro-Cuban rockers New Primitives, copping the Minnesota Music Award for Best Reggae Band the last four years, have a long anticipated follow-up to their 2003 album, New Primitives, close to completion. American Nomads marks the first time guitarist-singer-songwriter Javier Trejo (who’s been with the band since just before New Primitives came out) records as a member. Also on hand: Chico Perez (congas, vocals), Brian “Snowman” Powers (tenor sax), Joel “Family Man” Arpin (drums), Zack Lozier (trumpet), DJ Triochrome (turntables) and Matt Stevens and Tommy Peterson alternating on bass guitar. Pulse of the Twin Cities spoke with founder and frontman Stanley Kipper (vocals, timbales) about his creation. FYI: homeboy can be a hazardous interview. The first time I met with him, Kipper waxed so exuberant, he gleefully punched and kicked me until I had to move out of striking distance. Next time, sitting with Trejo and Perez, he knocked over every coffee cup on the table. A week later, he greeted me at The Cabooze by banging his coconut-hard forehead square against mine. So, we did this interview over the telephone.



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'Round the Dial: the last one
Wednesday 16 May @ 18:29:24 (Read: 4188)
Musicby TOM HALLETT

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Virtue is more to a man than fire or water. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.”
–Confucious

SONG OF THE WEEK: “The Future”
–Leonard Cohen

For my final column, I thought it might be interesting to take a little trip back in time, both as an inspiration to the new pups out there buyin’ guitars and drums and a treat for longtime readers who will know of what I speak momentarily. I figured since I started my Pulse writing career with an exposé of a brand new pop band (The Beatifics), it would only be fair to wind ’er up with an exposé/catch-up with one of our greatest local outfits of all time, a band who never really (outside of their own fan base) got the props they deserved at the time, and one who’s still going strong today—fame, money, and glory be damned. Ladies and gentlemen, I bid you a fond farewell for now, and bring you ...


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The New Congress: R&B Aces
Wednesday 16 May @ 18:01:37 (Read: 3850)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES

R&B aces The New Congress constitute one of the best things there is about the Twin Cities music scene. Rich as the climate has been for ages, TNC have, since their 2005 debut, made it even stronger.

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Music Everywhere
Wednesday 16 May @ 17:57:24 (Read: 3792)
MusicIntroducing our new online music & entertainment columnist--

by DWIGHT HOBBES

Pulse of the Twin Cities, it turns out, is not dead after all, but merely making a transition to on-line availability. And will be running a daily arts column—well, mostly music but theater and spoken word, too—called “Music Everywhere.” Guess who’s been tapped to write it?: that would be me.

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The Umbrella Sequence: High anxiety
Wednesday 09 May @ 11:54:38 (Read: 4392)
Musicby ROB VAN ALSTYNE

Renowned literary critic Harold Bloom is arguably best known for his 1973 tome, "The Anxiety of Influence," whose central theory posits that all poets are hindered in their creative process by the ambiguous relationship they necessarily maintain with precursor poets. What holds true for anyone who's ever picked up a pen and attempted to dash off some witty couplets, seems doubly so for anyone foolhardy enough to grab a guitar and attempt to write a pop song. The bottom line is that no one lives in a cultural vacuum and anybody enough in love with rock 'n' roll to want to take a stab at making some of it themselves will likely bear the stamp of those who inspired them (for better or worse). It's an issue Ryan Ruprecht and his band, The Umbrella Sequence, are well aware of: given Ruprecht's airy tenor and his band's penchant for taut space-rock, the band has been barraged with Radiohead comparisons since its inception in 2002.

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Parts & Labor: Building steam
Thursday 03 May @ 10:45:37 (Read: 3910)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

"It's interesting to try combine things," says Parts & Labor vocalist/bassist BJ Warshaw, "but I also think we alienate a lot of people out there. The people that really like harsh noisy music can't get with us because we're too melodic and we sing. And also your average indie rock band-- we're a little too ballistic and strange for the average listener. But people that get into it really get into it and that's kind of a rewarding aspect of doing what we do."

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Space Camp: Back to basics
Wednesday 02 May @ 12:08:55 (Read: 4623)
Music
by ROB VAN ALSTYNE

With the current trend of ever grander and bigger rock bands dominating the national indie music scene (Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, etc.), I'm starting to worry that kids these days will think they have to round up nine friends and teach one of them to be a kick-ass tympani player before they can form a band. That's why it's refreshing to know that tried and true rock bands like Space Camp are still flourishing here in the Twin Cities--the kind of two guitars/bass/drums and no fancy bull outfit that may not have its sights set on world domination, but certainly creates a stirring enough rock racket in its own right.

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Dear Music: Stay classy, Twin Cities
Wednesday 02 May @ 11:55:24 (Read: 4133)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

Comedian Mitch Hedberg once said, "I saw this ad for a boxing match on HBO and they said it was going to be a fight to the finish--that's a good place to end." So here we are, at the cockshut of Pulse's run. We've still got a couple more issues to go, but this Tenth Anniversary Issue provides us a golden opportunity to look back at that most enduring of plot lines in literature (well, at least comic book literature): the origin story.

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The Twin Town Trip Guide
Wednesday 02 May @ 11:41:51 (Read: 3667)
Musicby MARK WHEAT

When Mark Wheat's first "Twin Town Trip Guide" column ran in Pulse's second issue, he was the host of KFAI's Local Sound Department. His column continued on a weekly basis in Pulse for over a year. Wheat and his cultured British accent are currently appearing on 89.3 The Current. This column appeared in the Apr. 16, 1997, edition of Pulse.

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Permanent on Surfaces: The Story of the Heave and the Ho's
Wednesday 02 May @ 11:36:48 (Read: 4086)
Musichttp://imgred.com/http://www.mkeonline.com/graphics/mke/img/oct05/slug13_300.jpg" align=left hspace=5 vspace=5 width=125>by SLUG

When Atmosphere rapper Slug began writing his semi-regular column "Permanent on Surfaces" for Pulse in 1998, Atmosphere was already an established hip-hop act in the Twin Cities, although they (and Rhymesayers) were just beginning to make waves on the national scene. Last we heard, they were doing pretty all right. This column appeared in the Nov. 25, 1998, edition of Pulse.

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Useful Noise: Let's get Twin Town High!
Wednesday 02 May @ 11:23:06 (Read: 3463)
Musicby KEITH HARRIS

Keith Harris' "Useful Noise" column ran in Pulse in the early years, and Harris has gone on to be the music editor at City Pages and The Chicago Reader. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Slate, Spin and The Village Voice. This column on the second Twin Town High release show appeared in the Nov. 25, 1998, edition of Pulse.

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The Books: The joy of cooking
Friday 27 April @ 13:27:04 (Read: 4855)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

"Well, we sell these oven mitts," says The Books' Nick Zammuto, "and so there were these two guys fighting over this oven mitt right in front of our van and it was about to come to blows and I wasn't just going to sit there and let them punch each other."

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Friends Like These: Call it a comeback
Friday 27 April @ 13:26:55 (Read: 4871)
Musicby ROB VAN ALSTYNE

With a few of the right breaks, Friends Like These could have been huge by now. A cocksure young rock band with giant buzzing riffs, charisma to burn and a seemingly endless wealth of power pop at their command, the band won pretty much instant love on the local scene and already on the cover of City Pages by July of 2004 in a story chronicling their equal parts hard partying/hard luck East Coast tour. The right breaks, however, never materialized, and the party came crashing to a halt: original drummer Matt O'Laughlin split, singer/guitarist John Solomon found himself in rehab, and the band became mostly inactive for months that stretched into a couple years. Rather than finding a way into the sunset, however, Friends Like These have picked themselves up and soldiered on, and now, nearly three years after the self-release of their four-song EP Deliver Us from Evil, comes another self-released EP of should-be hits, I Hate You, Volume 1: The Greatest Generation.

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Self-Evident: Ten years after
Friday 27 April @ 13:26:44 (Read: 5095)
Musicby BOB LONGMORE

It would be an impossible task to catalog the bands that have started in the Twin Cities in the past 10 years. Let's just agree that there are a lot. The local music scene is fertile--new bands pop up daily--but it's also volatile: Those bands usually don't make it beyond a few years. So how does an angular, mathy, indie rock three-piece now in their tenth year keep it together? "As long as we're enjoying it--let's keep doing it," says Self-Evident guitarist and singer Conrad Mach.

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The Gang Font, feat. Interloper
Wednesday 18 April @ 16:11:09 (Read: 4861)
Musichttp://imgred.com/http://a897.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/58/l_9d2d9d97d82fd09e80451d3175f2b030.jpg" align=left width=125 hspace=5 vspace=5>by CHRISTOPHER MATTHEW JENSEN

Hmmm … where to begin? The word "multifarious"? I can't say jazz. I can't say rock. The band says "punkprogfreefunkmathmetal," but I say that's a mouthful. This is an ensemble with a cast that reads like a Twin Cities audiophile's wet dream: David King (Happy Apple, Bad Plus, Halloween, Alaska) lays stick, Erik Fratzke (Happy Apple, Zebulon Pike) brings pseudo-metal guitar riffage with remarkable mathemagicianship, reknowned New York jazzbo Craig Taborn adds mostly avant-prog keyboards, and the famously mustachioed Greg Norton (Hüsker Dü, Grey Area) makes his grand return to four fat strings.

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JoAnna James: St. Paul Siren
Wednesday 18 April @ 16:10:56 (Read: 6200)
Musicby ROB VAN ALSTYNE

JoAnna James' voice is immediately evocative, the sort of singularly expressive vehicle born to make hairs stand on end. In the age of "American Idol," the musical landscape has seemingly been inundated overnight with legions of throat-searing showboats who can hit all the impossibly high notes and then some, so it's not James' technical prowess that makes her particularly noteworthy. It's her ability to marry those none-too-shabby vocal chops with an authentic charisma and soulful grit--the kind of thing that can't be learned in marathon vocal practice sessions so much as out living life--that sets her apart from the big throated pop/vocal pack.

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The Trimmed Hedges: It makes sense somehow
Wednesday 18 April @ 16:10:45 (Read: 5232)
Musicby ANDREA MYERS

I would be lying if I told you that the Trimmed Hedges aren't a little weird. Like most great art, the concepts behind the Trimmed Hedges' music and stage shows are over the top, almost dorkily theatrical and definitely a little giggle-inducing. The last time I saw them live, lead singer and ringleader Dominique Davis had a Bowie-style red lightning bolt painted across the side of his face, danced around animatedly while singing and making jazz hands, and ended the show by launching an imaginary rocket off the stage. What is remarkable, though, is that the Hedges have somehow funneled this weirdness into a collection of songs that are fresh, forward-moving and, for at least a few seconds, profound.

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Seymore Saves The World: Renewable energy
Wednesday 11 April @ 15:01:10 (Read: 4564)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

The Energizer Bunny ain't got nothing on Scott Hefte, a man with such enviably indefatigable energy levels that he manages to split his time between three equally active indie pop bands on the Twin Cities scene (Skirt, Superdanger, Seymore Saves the World). Although one would think keeping such an active schedule might make a musician run the risk of burnout, Hefte claims the constant bustle has just the opposite effect on his passion for making music.

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CD Reviews: Akai & Building Better Bombs
Wednesday 11 April @ 15:01:01 (Read: 5288)
Music

Akai
Pretty Songs About Ugly Things
Band Kids Unite
theakai.net

As backstories go, Akai's is pretty interesting. Hiromi Matsumoto was born in Green Bay, Wis., the son of a Japanese father and Polish/Swedish mother, and he began making music with his wife, Robbie, when they began dating. They're both Jehovah's Witnesses, and now their song "Beautiful" has been released as part of a Starbucks Music compilation called Off the Clock Vol 1: New Music from Up & Coming Starbucks Artists, by which they mean music made by people who work at Starbucks.

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Mary Bue: Wanderlust
Wednesday 04 April @ 13:42:50 (Read: 3990)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

Twenty-five-year-old Mary Bue likes the feel of the earth moving under her feet. Born in Princeton, Minn., Bue's been a college student in Duluth, a psychiatric researcher in Rhode Island prisons and an artist in residence living off grant money in the Florida Everglades (not exactly your typical local musician back story). This fall, Bue's whirlwind journey deposited her in the Twin Cities for the first time, and the stellar quality of her forthcoming release Boat with No Oars has me hoping she's lost the traveling bug for good.

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First Communion Afterparty: A farm near Portland
Wednesday 04 April @ 13:42:41 (Read: 4106)
Musicby CHARLIE VAUGHAN

Walking through downtown Minneapolis, I come across an old bum. He's holding a small cardboard sign that reads "Hungry and Separated from Family. Please Help." Except there's no punctuation or capitalization. It's a warm afternoon with a long low smear of cloud, the saddest color of gray, stretching over the city.

"Can you spare a few extra dollars?"

"Extra dollars?" I laugh. "Sorry, I'm a rock critic."

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CD Reviews: The Wannabe Hasbeens and A Paper Cup Band
Wednesday 04 April @ 13:42:30 (Read: 4024)
MusicThe Wannabe Hasbeens
Former Trans Future Vol. 1
Self-released
myspace.com/wannabehasbeens

It was surprising to read their press release and learn that The Wannabe Hasbeens are a relatively new band. Though they've been playing their asses off around town for over a year now, scoring huge gigs through battle of the bands contests (opening for Ike Reilly and playing at the Basilica Block Party, for example) and popping up on gig calendars at nearly every local venue, Former Trans Future Vol. 1 is the band's first EP. Is it possible that a combination of their clever name and their accessible, finely-tuned rock songs had me convinced that the band was already headed down the road toward Washedupville, when they're actually just beginning?

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Cloud Cult: Occupational honors
Wednesday 28 March @ 15:07:52 (Read: 4382)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

Having just witnessed Cloud Cult's mid-afternoon set at the Fader party at South by Southwest, the first question seems blindingly obvious and the answer rises up from the band in a chorus of yeas and amens: "It gets all over everything." "Clothes, amps, everything." "Drums." "This shirt was not painted on before this week."

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Abzorbr: Teetering over the abyss
Wednesday 28 March @ 15:07:44 (Read: 4256)
MusicANDREA MYERS

"I've been here since 10 this morning," Kristoff Krane tells me as I take a seat across from him in the back room of a coffee shop in St. Paul. His eyes are wild and his young face is unshaven, and a crooked smile stretches across his face. His drummer, Graham O'Brien, is seated to my right, and there is a static crackle in the air around the table where the Abzorbr band mates are seated. There's such a palpable excitement pulsating between the two young musicians that it's possible I just walked in as they were discovering how to dismantle an atomic bomb or mapping out a plan for world peace; in reality, though, they are talking about installing ProTools on Krane's laptop and planning out the final details of the CD release show for their first full-length album, Capable of Teetering, out Friday on Crush Kill Recordings.

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Walker Kong: Country living
Wednesday 28 March @ 15:07:36 (Read: 4290)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

Jeremy Ackerman is Bob Dylan in reverse. Whereas Hibbing's now-famous folkie began his musical journey with the far more typical trek from small town life up north to apartment dwelling in the city of Minneapolis, Ackerman, already a well-established indie-pop musician here in the Cities, decided to pick up stakes and head for the country two and a half years ago.

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Dear Austin: Excerpts from a SxSW diary
Thursday 22 March @ 12:17:39 (Read: 4193)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

Last week, I headed down to Austin's South by Southwest Music Conference, and, given the sheer volume of stuff going on, it was decided the best way to cover it was just to keep a running diary of events on the Pulse's Music Blog. You can check out the whole shebang at pulsemusicblog.com. We'll pick it up here the night before Day One. My companions are Jesse Stensby, Jerry Steller and Matt Perkins (of Vitriol Independent Promotions, vitriolradio.com) and Lindsay Kimball.

Nothing much is cracking other than an open bar at Sidebar, but we're rolling in half an hour shy of midnight, which is when Sidebar's shindig ends, so instead we meet up with the folks from Pirate Publicity for karaoke at Beerland. It's always a bit odd to meet people you've only dealt with via e-mail. It's not so much that they aren't like you expected--you just never expected anything to begin with. You begin to think you might kind of know these people, despite the fact that all you ever talk about is what bands are coming to town or what you're running in the paper that week. Which, by the way, sorry Brooke, but I still haven't sent you that tear sheet on the Annuals.

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Roma di Luna: For the people
Thursday 22 March @ 12:17:17 (Read: 4065)
Music
by NATHAN DEAN

Local folk duo Roma di Luna don't really give a damn about the recording industry. Sure, any Twin Cities indie act worth their salt will throw conversational barbs at Clear Channel from the stage if given the chance, but few have taken as populist and non-commercial an approach to their tuneage as the husband and wife team of Alexei and Channy Moon Casselle. Rather than ply their wares in more traditional music venues with attendant cover charges, the duo opted to begin their musical "career" as Roma di Luna on a corner at the Minneapolis Farmers Market--a spot far more likely to win them devotees among the aging-hippies-in-search-of-hydroponic-tomatoes crowd than movers and shakers on the Twin Cities music scene.

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Daniel Ellsworth: Purposeful Piantist
Wednesday 14 March @ 15:06:50 (Read: 4414)
MusicBY NATHAN DEAN

Technical proficiency isn't always a blessing when it comes to performing pop music. All too often those musicians who approach pop-craft with a background in millions of hours of memorizing scales and performing dexterity-enhancing exercises end up overstuffing their tunes with masturbatory showboating. There's a reason fret-burning guitar wizards like Joe Satriani have a limited following consisting largely of guitar nerds--and that's because the music, however technically "stunning," is devoid of soul.

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Blacktop Badge: Snow Blinding Rock
Wednesday 14 March @ 15:01:52 (Read: 4075)
MusicBY DWIGHT HOBBES

It's the first of March, day two of what has turned out to be a nasty blizzard (a white conspiracy, I believe, in retaliation against Black History Month). At venerable St. Paul rockhouse Station 4, the weather has taken quite a toll. Loch Ness Mobsters have cancelled-- that is, all except Ryan Simonet, who got the word late from his fellows and, since he's here, figures he may as well stay and rock a solo acoustic set. It holds everyone's attention (all half-dozen or so diehard souls) quite nicely, especially when he launches into a ribald little ditty about the perils of unprotected sex. Another band had better lines of communication: they all took the night off.

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The Hard Left: Lifers
Wednesday 07 March @ 15:47:48 (Read: 4314)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

It's easy to be excited about being in a band in your twenties. Free beer as gig payment may even seem like a good deal when there aren't any other responsibilities on one's plate. But fast-forward a decade or two and the life of a still striving rock and roller is often thought of as considerably less glamorous, one of the many reasons so many once fervently devoted musicians hang up their axes for good as they enter mid life. That's why it's always refreshing for me to discover a quality new act on the Twin Cities scene that's made up of local vets whose work I've already appreciated in other contexts. Such is the case with the Hard Left, a "new" garage rockin' quartet whose members have spent the better parts of decades living the rock (complete with bad-luck record label breaks, squalid living-out-of-a-van tours and self-destructive bandmates).

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Kymara: Not pulling punches
Wednesday 07 March @ 15:47:40 (Read: 4335)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES

It's hard to believe, but once upon a time women had to sway and sashay in a pretty dress and sigh about men in order to having a singing career. Joan Jett, Heart and some others sure as hell changed all that and, in the process, paved the way for an outfit like Kymara.

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WEB EXCLUSIVE: It's too late to stop now: The Belfast Cowboys
Wednesday 07 March @ 15:47:20 (Read: 4793)
Musicby CRAIG PLANTING

I stood at the second floor railing and tried to take in the commotion below me. My friend, Terry Walsh, had mentioned that his Van Morrison cover band, The Belfast Cowboys, had been gaining momentum, but he hadn't described anything like this. The Fine Line was booming. A couple was twirling in the aisle, forcing those around them to clutch their drinks to their chests. The dance floor--like the stage--was crammed with bodies.

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The Future: It’s About Time
Wednesday 28 February @ 15:31:36 (Read: 3851)
MusicBy charlie vaughan

"I never think of the future--it comes soon enough."--Albert Einstein

Yeah … and now what? That little gem pretty much sums up The Future. We could end this article right here if I wasn't getting paid for a thousand words. But I am getting paid, so we will have to disregard the wisdom of Einstein and crank on this bugger a while longer. Which is fine by me, as long as the check clears.

"No one gives two shits about us."

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Little Man: Gems in his pocket and on his CD
Wednesday 28 February @ 15:31:28 (Read: 5878)
Musicby NANCY SARTOR

Little Man's Chris Perricelli is a rock 'n' roll enigma: a multi-talented frontman with no discernible ego, whose big rock sound belies his modest 5'2" stature. Proudly wearing his Zen/Tao/Alchemist spirit on his vintage polyester sleeve, Perricelli is at once an old soul and a fresh young talent. Recently, the ever-gracious artist (and sharp dressed thriftster) sat down with me to talk about Little Man's new CD, Soulful Automatic.

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Mystery Palace: Bending to the breaks
Wednesday 21 February @ 17:07:20 (Read: 4198)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

Any discussion of electronic cum organic Minneapolis trio Mystery Palace should probably start with a primer on circuit bending, since it's the bedrock that the group is built on. Catching the group live can be a little perplexing--the rhythm section of Joey Van Phillips on drums and James Buckley on bass lay down a resolute foundation, but then there's Ryan Olcott, who looks a bit like he's fixing your toaster onstage. Sorry, I meant FoodTeam as Ryan Olcott, as he's listed on their MySpace page.

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Jake Dilley: A troubadour for Oompa Loompas
Wednesday 21 February @ 17:07:04 (Read: 4077)
Musicby ANDREA MYERS

There are a few initiations every college freshman must endure, certain rites of passage on the way to adulthood. There’s the first time you have to wash your own underwear, the first time you drink beer out of a funnel attached to a tube and, perhaps most importantly, the first time someone convinces you that if you watch “The Wizard of Oz” while playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, the music and the imagery, like, totally line up together, man. For Jake Dilley, who was a freshman at the University of Iowa in 2002 when he first witnessed the Oz/Floyd amalgam, the experience struck a chord in him much deeper than the usual stoned-out whoa, and it sparked an idea for a project that he would eventually pursue himself.

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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Jistoray: Power of the trio
Wednesday 21 February @ 17:06:47 (Read: 3813)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES

At the Nomad World Pub, I'm getting ready for Jistoray to take the stage – right after catching the impressive tail end of a set by Bill Mike – and I say to myself: Self, how in the ham-same is this trio, inarguably talented though they are, going to effect the kind of magic live they did on their album Footprints? The studio gave frontman Carl Torgerson the chance to overdub guitars and harmonize with himself on his compositions. In the flesh, there ain't but one of you and, son, you better be able to bring the goods for folks who were knocked out by the recording.

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Royalty, Etc. Records: Rock 'n' roll ascension
Wednesday 21 February @ 17:06:24 (Read: 4869)
MusicHere, once and for all, we're presenting Tom Hallett's entire interview with Royalty, Etc. Records founders Ty Morse and Jon Greenlee.

by TOM HALLETT

With the inexorable expansion of local, independent record labels that loosely follow in the venerable footsteps of some of their esteemed predecessors (nationally, that list would include the late Outpost Records, long-time outsiders like Bomp!, SST, Sub Pop and the early incarnations of New West, Bloodshot and Lost Highway Records, among dozens more; locally, the history speaks for itself--Twin/Tone, Reflex, Root Of All Evil, Red House, SMA, Treehouse and Am Rep are just a few of the more well-known), it's becoming harder and harder to suss whether an indie label is an honest, individual, scene-supporting outfit or merely a misguided (or worse, disingenuous) effort by a gang of childhood chums who'd like to further their own agendas and aid in the confusion that's following the final, inevitable death of the dinosaur-like major labels.

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Mel Gibson and the Pants: Like no other
Wednesday 14 February @ 16:29:50 (Read: 4444)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

One of the staples of lazy rock criticism has always been making easy comparisons to established figures. This is why a good 90 percent of mediocre record reviews tend to fall into the pattern of relying on convoluted phrases like "Neil-Young-meets-Brian-Wilson-at-a-dance-party-with-heavy-metal-overtones." That sentence was fun to write--it may even have been fun to read--but in terms of answering the fundamental question of what a band actually sounds like, it's essentially worthless. The real reason the cheap comparison is so prevalent, however, is that it sometimes feels necessary. Many casual music fans are only likely to check out something new if it's described in terms of something old that they feel they already have a handle on. Why am I going on and on about comparisons? Because local sextet Mel Gibson & the Pants, a hazy post-rock outfit fronted by a rapper, truly sounds like no other band. This makes them damn hard to write about.

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Midlake: More housecat than panther
Wednesday 14 February @ 16:21:13 (Read: 4580)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

When you call your album The Trials of Van Occupanther, you're practically begging for analytical music listeners to start fishing for the conceptual thread that could stitch the songs into a lovingly embroidered whole. After a couple of listens, you might begin to pick out the seams in Midlake's mini-masterpiece: The song's narratives are all told from the first person; there's a suite of three songs in the middle of the album ("Young Bride," "Branches" and "In This Camp") that revolve around marriage; there's a distinctly 19th century, sepia-toned feel to the whole affair; and the aforementioned Van Occupanther seems to be some kind of mad scientist who may have created a magical tonic, a plot that's straight out of H.G. Wells ("My science is waiting, nearly complete / One glass will last for nearly a week .... They told me I wouldn't, but I found an answer / I'm Van Occupanther"). Surely this all points to some kind of grand plan, right, Tim Smith?

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Royalty, Etc. Records: Rock 'n' roll ascension
Wednesday 14 February @ 16:14:45 (Read: 4264)
Musicby TOM HALLETT

This is the first part of a two-part interview with Royalty, Etc. Records founders Ty Morse and Jon Greenlee. Part two will run next week to coincide with Royalty, Etc.'s One-Year Anniversary Bash.

With the inexorable expansion of local, independent record labels that loosely follow in the venerable footsteps of some of their esteemed predecessors (nationally, that list would include the late Outpost Records, long time outsiders like Bomp!, SST, Sub Pop and the early incarnations of New West, Bloodshot and Lost Highway Records, among dozens more; locally, the history speaks for itself--Twin/Tone, Reflex, Root Of All Evil, Red House, SMA, Treehouse and Am Rep are just a few of the more well known), it's becoming harder and harder to suss whether an indie label is an honest, individual, scene-supporting outfit or merely a misguided (or worse, disingenuous) effort by a gang of childhood chums who'd like to further their own agendas and aid in the confusion that's following the final, inevitable death of the dinosaur-like major labels.

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Ice Palace: Veteran rookies
Wednesday 07 February @ 15:13:14 (Read: 4335)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

One could be forgiven for wrongly assuming that the members of Ice Palace were a pack of fresh-faced 20-year-olds. Their debut album, Bright Leaf Left, is bursting with the kind of wild-eyed passion typically associated with younger bands, and their time in the public eye has been marked by a rapid rise to local critical acclaim and radio airplay. Given that the current Twin Cities trend seems to be skewing toward underage buzz bands (First Communion Afterparty, White Light Riot, much of the Afternoon Records roster), I had wrongly lumped the members of Ice Palace in that category. All of which is my way of explaining that I was caught a little off-guard when I met up with three-quarters of the band for a happy hour drink to discover they were home-owning, child-rearing folks in their mid-30s.

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The Shins: The weight of expectation
Wednesday 07 February @ 15:07:27 (Read: 4550)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

For better or worse, The Shins have been freighted with changing lives ever since a winsome girl promised a wayward boy they'd do exactly that in a certain out-of-leftfield indie film hit a couple years back. It seems unfair, though, doesn't it? Music's ability to impact us is in direct relation to where our heads are at when we hear it, and it seems like hundreds of thousands of people may have mistaken a plot device for an epiphany. Natalie Portman laid an awful lot of pressure on the soft shoulders of The Shins' "New Slang," but while the makers of "Studio 60" seem bent on convincing us through sheer force that the show within a show is actually funny, "New Slang" could conceivably change your life, provided its broken and then lovingly reset melody got at you at the right time. The Shins agreed to have the song in the movie because they really believed in the project and that guy from "Scrubs," right?

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CD Reviews
Wednesday 07 February @ 14:53:44 (Read: 4515)
MusicMC/VL
Stance
Self-released
myspace.com/mcvl


Mighty Clyde and Vicious Lee might not have an original bone in their bodies. They aren't treading any ground that hasn't already been covered by The Beastie Boys and Run DMC, but for anyone who feels like those bands gave up their body rockin' and metal guitar-sampling tactics too early in their careers, MC/VL are ready to drop a love letter to the gloriously banging electro '80s as a kind of Valentine's Day hangover.

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The Debut: Not for Elvis fans
Wednesday 31 January @ 16:45:50 (Read: 4228)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

When the four college buddies who make up local rock newcomers The Debut decided to make the move from their scholastic digs in Madison, Wisc., to Minneapolis they made the logical decision to move in together since only singer/guitarist Ben Gurstelle was native to the area. Clearly, this was a great move all around. It allowed the group to rigorously adhere to the kind of relentless practice schedule that leads to tightened chops and meticulous melodies, all of which are evident on their forthcoming debut This Record Is About Cars. Just don't go and try telling their neighbors the good news.

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Dance Band: We're not Stand Band
Wednesday 31 January @ 16:37:42 (Read: 4144)
Musicby PAT O'BRIEN

"This would be a great place to film an action movie," The Philanderer tells me. We are not yet seated at a table at Pizza Luce in Minneapolis' Seward neighborhood and already I can tell this interview is going to be interesting, to say the least. "See all that glass?" he continues, pointing to the floor to ceiling panes that run along the restaurant's second floor. "You could have ninjas and machine guns." "And Steven Seagal," adds drummer The Perfect Beat.

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Sexual Chocolate and the White Boys: White ain't nothing but a color
Wednesday 31 January @ 16:34:14 (Read: 4097)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES

Once upon a time, a Scottish group had the nerve to call themselves Average White Band and Wild Cherry daringly chanted, "Play that funky music, white boy!" all the way to the top of the charts. Now, we've got Sexual Chocolate & The White Boys and there are bound to be those who hear the name and wrinkle their nose up like somebody farted. Well, forget 'em if they can't take a joke. Just like the aforementioned outfits, SCWB are a strong enough band to call themselves whatever they want.

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Rock for a Cause: The Soc-rock-tic method
Wednesday 24 January @ 14:39:41 (Read: 4375)
Musicby ANDREA MYERS

Bill Mike is going to save rock and roll. In the corner booth of a hip coffee shop in South Minneapolis, Bill Mike (aka William Michel, aka "call me Mike") is sipping a strong cup of coffee and divulging his plan. I look to my tape recorder, praying that it's catching all of this, as I am too captivated to take notes.

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Cowboy Curtis: Feel good hit of the winter
Wednesday 24 January @ 14:30:04 (Read: 4055)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

Adulthood is never easy. The real world demands of paying rent, starting families and establishing a "career" have broken the spirits of many a formerly fancy free twentysomething as the clock pushes closer to 30 than 20. Unsurprisingly, this quarter-life crisis time period has taken the lives of many a quality local band. That's why it's so heartening to see a band like Cowboy Curtis, a group that's managed to weather the transition from high school to college and now the real world not only intact, but still palpably excited about the chance to make music together—even if it's only once a week after work rather than twice a day in between classes.

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Ela: In defense of poetry
Wednesday 17 January @ 14:59:05 (Read: 4482)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

The first time I heard local rock quartet Ela, their sound hit me like a brick in the face. The hard-charging electric guitar shards that introduced "Worry Worry," the first cut on the group's 2004 debut Stapled to Air, had me immediately salivating over the prospect of a fractured update on the Midwestern emo-rock sound pioneered by the likes of Braid during the late '90s. That was only for about two tracks, however, as the band's din suddenly made a sharp right hand turn into unhinged balladry on "I Don't Know if It's Helping." The zigging and zagging continued throughout the album's remaining tracks, with front man Bill Caperton just as likely to let loose with a blood curdling yelp as a pleasant vocal melody, guitarist Knol Tate's fretwork just as likely to bare its teeth with some serious shredding as placidly pluck a pop-friendly lick. The quiet/loud, fast/slow song dynamics were kept locked down by a veteran rhythm section, bassist Sean McPherson and drummer Peter Leggett, whose dexterity was already honed through years on the rhythmically intensive live band hip-hop circuit as members of Heiruspecs. The end result was an intoxicating hybrid, a prickly post-rock outfit with serious groove in its pants.

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Local CD Reviews: Duplomacy and Storyhill
Wednesday 17 January @ 14:44:45 (Read: 4645)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

Duplomacy
All These Long Drives
2024 Records

I'm going to have to find a new bed, because up until a few weeks ago, I was totally sleeping on Duplomacy. Now, however, their latest long-player, All These Long Drives, has found a place in my heart, and I'm finally ready to throw down on an album that's already been out for a good six months. On first listen, the songs sound unfussy and straightforward, but the second time through, tiny details stick out, and it's clear that a great deal of time and care was put into creatively embellishing Andy Flynn's heartfelt and weary songs.

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Aviette: The ideal Dave
Wednesday 10 January @ 16:26:50 (Read: 4715)
Musichttp://cdbaby.name/a/v/aviette.jpg" align=left hspace=5 vspace=5 width=120>by BOB LONGMORE

Can a band be noisy and minimalist at the same time? The first time I heard St. Paul based Aviette, their seemingly freeform style of music left me a little bewildered, but still wanting to hear more. With each subsequent listen, I hear something new. Their music is deceptive—on the surface, it sounds sweet and easy, but looking deeper, there is a darkness and complexity.

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Ron Sexsmith: The Canadian KG
Wednesday 10 January @ 16:26:37 (Read: 4244)
Musicby NATHAN DEAN

Ron Sexsmith is to singer/songwriters what Kevin Garnett is to basketball players. At first blush it may seem that any similarities between an unassuming cherub-faced 43-year-old Canadian troubadour and a 30-year-old sure-fire Hall of Fame seven-footer would be few and far between. But look a little closer and the parallels between the two men become flat-out uncanny: Consistent high quality output, a tireless work ethic, the utmost respect of their profession's peers, a focus on fundamentals over flash. And of course, tragically, an inability to grasp the brass ring (for Garnett an NBA championship, for Sexsmith enough commercial success that he can finally move up from renting his Toronto home to owning it). If there's any justice in the world, then Time Being, Sexsmith's recently released ninth album of sophisticated pop with a surfeit of winning melodies in 13 years, will change all of that (and Allen Iverson will somehow end up a Timberwolf and get KG that ring he deserves).

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Bribe the Ghost
Wednesday 10 January @ 16:26:18 (Read: 4212)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES

Chris Wilson is about as unorthodox a romantic as you’re likely to come across, and his band, Bribe the Ghost, has a sound to match.

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Mouthful of Bees: You can't teach heart
Wednesday 03 January @ 17:30:28 (Read: 4889)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

I'm on 46th Street, just crossing over Lyndale, when my cell phone rings.

"Steve? This is Kate from Mouthful of Bees. I just got out of the hospital, so I'm going to be about 10 minutes late."

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Year-End Best: The 20 '06
Thursday 28 December @ 15:22:40 (Read: 7845)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

People seem to think that critics are somehow supposed to be objective when it comes to reviewing things. Leaving aside the base-level ridiculousness of an objective opinion, would you even want that? Show me the scientific formula for a great album, or the checklist to mark off when it comes to judging a great single. If such a system could result in an Olympic gymnastics-style event, including graft and bribery, sign me up. I could use the scratch.

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Junkyard Empire: The thinking person's hip-hop
Wednesday 20 December @ 19:06:06 (Read: 4513)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES

Junkyard Empire featuring MC Brihanu provide one of the more refreshing experiences you're apt to have for quite some time; the kind of genuinely innovative ensemble that simply doesn't come along every day. Especially considering how interchangeable today's hip-hop performers generally are.

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Jessy Greene: On Green's Demon street
Wednesday 13 December @ 21:15:05 (Read: 4680)
Musicby ANDREA MYERS

[It’s not often that I have the opportunity to sit down with someone as genuine, humble and well-spoken as the lovely and multi-talented musician Jessy Greene. And it’s even more rare that all of the bits of wisdom I collected, which were recorded by my dying analog tape recorder, are completely and totally erased due to some sort of freak technical malfunction.As luck would have it, one of the better interviews that I have conducted in recent memory—which I intended to transcribe for you here—has been lost to the wayside. The following is an attempt to paraphrase our discussion and represent Ms. Greene as accurately as possible without the usual aid of notes or recordings.]

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Gold Standard: It's about the horns
Wednesday 13 December @ 21:15:00 (Read: 4667)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES

The guys in Gold Standard actually aren’t crazy about the band’s name. “We were just sittin’ around one day,” co-founder Dylan Nau recollects, “and somebody come up with it. We thought, hey, that sounds kinda nice. Somethin’ we all sort of agreed on.” Then, he regretfully adds, “Now, that we look back, we’re not too happy about it. But, it’s alright.” What do they know? The name fits just fine. It is a poor dog that doesn’t wag its own tail and the funksters at GS have nothing to be modest about.

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Luther & Bernard Allison: Blues legacy
Wednesday 06 December @ 16:07:01 (Read: 4335)
Musicby DWIGHT HOBBES

There are times when the term genius is an understatement. Witness late blues great Luther Allison. Fiery vocals. Allison galvanized audiences with brilliantly emotive guitar work and fiery vocals. He remains, to this day, a singular presence.

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Carbon Carousel: Growing Pains
Wednesday 06 December @ 16:07:10 (Read: 4407)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

“No matter what you’re doing, it seems like you will become, to some people, part of a scene: you’ll become more of an idea than you are a person who does things,” says Micheal Larsen, and the subtextual reference to his rap alter-ego goes by so quickly I won’t even notice it until I’m transcribing the interview. Larsen and his bandmates in Carbon Carousel—the name is an oblique reference to the endless recyclying of organic matter—are sitting in a booth at the Nomad World Pub, where bassist Casey O’Brien is getting ready to play a show with Abzorbr. To O’Brien’s right is drummer J.T. Bates; to my right is guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker. Across from him sits the man formerly known as Eyedea, no longer sporting a brush cut and a moustache, but instead clean shaven and long-haired, happy to just be Micheal Larsen, singer for Carbon Carousel.

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Local CD Reviews: A pair of new releases
Wednesday 29 November @ 13:44:43 (Read: 4770)
Musicby STEVE McPHERSON

Alpha Consumer
Alpha Consumer
Mary Ellen Records

A benefit one can draw from spending a lot of time playing music in lots of different bands is knowing what you don’t want to do when it comes to your own stuff. Jeremy Ylvisaker has at times been a member of Fog, Redstart, Mark Mallman’s band, the Melismatics and Carbon Carousel, to name just a few of the projects he’s worked with, but with Alpha Consumer, he’s honed his focus and produced an infectiously noisy pop analysis of modern consumer culture. Ylvisaker devotes himself to guitar and vocals here, with ace drummer J.T. Bates and Mike Lewis (who’s best known for playing saxophone in avant-jazz group Happy Apple) on bass.

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The Oranges Band: Saved by the buoyancy of citrus
Wednesday 22 November @ 14:46:09 (Read: 4361)
MusicBY STEVE McPHERSON

The Oranges Band’s 2005 release, The World and Everything In It, is perfect summer road trip music. Unified by a hazy, lo-fi luster, the record skips across influences on nearly every other song, from the Spoon-fed minimalism of opener “Believe,” through the Chuck Berry-esque swagger of “White Ride,” and on to the spy music exotica of the title track’s opening chords. Ringleader Roman Kuebler isn’t really all that worried, though.

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Guy Davis: Close to the bone
Wednesday 15 November @ 13:36:54 (Read: 4251)
Music
BY DWIGHT HOBBES

Guy Davis is that rarity of rarities, a black blues artist. In his line of work- acoustic music- there’s Taj Mahal, Keb Mo’ and, well, that’s pretty much it so far as high profiles go. Black audiences have deserted the artform in droves, just as they have electric blues (at least outside of cities like Chicago and New Orleans). White audiences have appreciably picked up the slack, but, the profoundly gifted Davis is one of a dying breed.

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Chooglin': Keep on keepin' on
Wednesday 15 November @ 13:37:04 (Read: 4615)
Music
BY ANDREA MYERS

“It is what it is,” says guitarist Jesse Tomlinson, when asked to define the sound of Chooglin’. “Some people will call it punk, some people call it rock and roll, some people call it ‘70s rock or garage, but it’s whatever we fucking play. Who cares.” Tomlinson smiles mischievously and glances toward his two bandmates, lead singer and guitarist Brian Vanderwerf and drummer Shawn Walker. The guys are sitting around the living room of their Uptown apartment, drinking cans of Pabst, playing their own record at my request and trying to come up with a good way to avoid answering my question.

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Savage Aural Hotbed: Pounding, heaving and sparks, oh my
Wednesday 08 November @ 12:57:10 (Read: 9198)
Musicby ANDREA MYERS

For years, the members of Minneapolis experimental industrial band Savage Aural Hotbed have toiled over shards of steel, pipes and barrels, learning to create sounds using instruments more common in a tool shed than a music store. After nearly two decades of fiddling and pounding and playing together, the group prepares to unleash a new album, The Unified Pounding Theory, that is rich with their signature metallic Brazilian-influenced beats and penchant for investigating and pushing the limits of sound.

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Twin Cities Vinyl Oddities: From atrocious to zany
Wednesday 08 November @ 12:41:15 (Read: 5010)
Musicby MAX SPARBER

Since Edison invented the mechanical cylinder phonograph in 1877, Minnesota artists have pressed a lot of platter. It’s a growing graveyard of vinyl, most of which will never enjoy any sort of reissue as a CD. Some of it doesn’t deserve to molder away in obscurity—St. Paul rocker Augie Garcia, as an example, is long overdue for a retrospective. But for every pressing of Garcia’s “Hi Yo Silver” (a terrific minor regional hit) there are literally hundreds of recordings of artists with suspect ability, questionable taste or uncertain audiences. Idly flipping through the records at any local record store will produce a bonanza of local albums with titles such as More Hymns from the 4th Synod Singers or The Ramsey Lutheran Church Singers present Songs Our Father Taught Us.

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Captain Beefheart: Not for the faint of heart
Thursday 12 October @ 10:22:01 (Read: 4471)
Musicby MAX SPARBER

Prior to punk, there was no rock music that was harder to listen to than that of Captain Beefheart. Beefheart, born Don Van Vliet, had a taste for noisy, free-form compositions that featured odd shifts in time signatures and thoroughly atonal melodies. He often snarled his lyrics over his music, and, like his friend and former schoolmate Frank Zappa (who produced 1969’s Trout Mask Replica, Captain Beefheart’s best-known album), his lyrics were playfully savage, gleefully transgressive. Beefheart loved a grotesque turn of phrase, such as this couplet from “Dachau Blues,” a song from Trout Mask Replica: “Still cryin’ ‘bout the burnin’ back in world war two’s / One mad man six million lose.”

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CD Reviews: Local and national grab bag
Friday 15 September @ 03:12:34 (Read: 5053)
MusicStuart D’Rozario
Songs About Now
Self-Released
songsaboutnow.net

Many of the albums that have passed through my hands recently as a critic and/or music appreciator seem to be increasingly fuzzed-out and muddled with effects and over-instrumentation. It’s not often anymore that a musician’s words come out clear enough that they are the first element to grab the listener’s attention, so it was especially refreshing to put on Stuart D’Rozario’s album and sit straight up amidst the scatter of promo records on my sofa, ears perked toward the stereo. There isn’t a lot of information available out there yet about D’Rozario, save for a track listing on his website and album credits that include many a favorite local musician (Noah Levy, Tommy Barbarella, Peter Schimke), but D’Rozario’s songs tell a tale far more interesting than the average press release bio.

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CD reviews: Jazz hands
Wednesday 30 August @ 22:15:59 (Read: 4729)
Musicby STEVE MCPHERSON

Roy Haynes
Whereas
Dreyfus Records
dreyfusrecords.com



Last January, Roy Haynes came to town for a three-night stand with his Fountain of Youth Band at the Artists’ Quarter; St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman declared it Roy Haynes Weekend. Whereas captures the highlights from Haynes’ long weekend at the historic jazz club and stands as a testament to the invigorating spirit of live jazz, not to mention the near boundless energy and enthusiasm of the octogenarian drummer. That’s right: the man was 80-years-young at the time of this recording. I have little doubt he could swing the pants off most jazz drummers a third of his age.

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CD REVIEWS: Local releases send music fans to record stores in, uh, record
Thursday 24 August @ 20:21:52 (Read: 7279)
MusicCafé Accordion Orchestra
Cinema
Self-Released
cafeaccordion.com

If Homer Simpson can ask the organist at Isotopes Stadium to play “Baby Elephant Walk” with a reggae beat for his Dancin’ Homer routine, surely the Café Accordion Orchestra should be able to pull it off with a gypsy flourish, right? Dan Newton and his intrepid old-worlders tackle songs from the movies on this, their sixth album. Recorded in a clean and no nonsense fashion, Cinema winds through selections from Mancini (the aforementioned “Baby Elephant Walk” from the film “Hatari,” as well as “Moon River” from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”) to Dick Dale’s take on “Miserlu” from “Pulp Fiction,” which is returned here to its Middle Eastern routes by way of the gypsy trade routes.

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Earthology Records: Making green CDs
Wednesday 16 August @ 12:31:42 (Read: 5870)
Musicby MEREDETH BARZEN

This is a freaky blue eyeball that moves. It's on this page for absolutely no reason whatsoever. “Yeah, I really like to do music, but there’s no way I could make 100 pounds of crap.” This privileged peek into the mind of Craig Minowa (of rave-worthy local band Cloud Cult) was revealed in a phone interview on a miserably hot summer day that just reeked of global warming. It also happens to be the discord that drove the musician to create Earthology Records, one of the first eco-friendly record labels in the country. Earthology and Cloud Cult represent rock ’n’ roll with a green guitar pick; music with an environmental conscience. Normally, “environmentalist music” would imply a vast catalogue of environmentalist pamphlets set to pre-recorded waterfall noises. These albums of dubious musical quality would sit comfortably in the back bins at Target, while the water nymphs and baby pandas that inevitably adorn their inserts would glance optimistically at every hippie walking by. But here’s the twist: Earthology churns out records that are both environmentally and musically sound: Cloud Cult’s music is solid, complex, listenable, challenging and dense, in addition to a host of other positive adjectives. In short, it sells.

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CD REVIEWS: Ophidiophobics beware
Wednesday 26 July @ 15:24:41 (Read: 4719)
Musicby Steve McPherson

Awesome Snakes
Venom
Crustacean Records
myspace.com/theawesomesnakes

How this band managed to stay off the “Snakes on a Plane” soundtrack, I’ll never understand. With nine songs with “snake” in the title and five songs with “awesome” in the title, Venom is a kind of concept album, but only if you consider doodling band names on your Pre-Algebra notebook in eighth grade a unifying theme.

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Dabrye: Motor City mech-hop
Wednesday 12 July @ 12:50:10 (Read: 4776)
Musicby Steve McPherson

Producer Tadd Mullinix will only allow two official pronounciations of the title of his hip-hop alter ego Dabrye- DAH-bree or dah-BRAY, for the record. When a man has many aliases (besides Dabrye, Mullinix makes music under the names James T. Cotton, SK-1 and several others), you start to wonder where a name like Dabrye comes from.



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HALFWAY HOME: Mid-year best
Thursday 06 July @ 11:16:28 (Read: 5620)
MusicBy Steve McPherson

It’s the first week of July, and you know what that means, dear readers: We’ve reached the halfway point of 2006. If you’ve put in any time at all watching the Discovery Channel, you know that there’s nothing the wild music journalists enjoys more than listing things. The prize, of course, is the Year End Best Of, but you can’t get started on that kind of thing on Christmas morning. We track these things relentlessly, so, like my brethren across the country, I’m putting my stamp on my favorites, local and national, so far.

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The Truth: Monster grooves
Wednesday 28 June @ 14:03:18 (Read: 4423)
MusicBy Dwight Hobbes

Monster alert, monster alert, this is not a drill. A true Dr. Funkenstein-type creation, an all-star ensemble called The Truth is a brand new band comprised of some of the baddest musicians imaginable, each a heavyweight in his own right. Everybody here has a bulletproof rep and has gigged with or is a member of one high-power entity or another.

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Small Sins: Big Within
Thursday 22 June @ 02:40:47 (Read: 4158)
Musicby Steve McPherson

“I find myself always getting tired of these different spaces,” says one-man-band Thom D’Arcy via cell phone when I ask him about the process behind recording Small Sins’ self-titled debut effort. “As soon as I figure out what’s wrong with them, I feel like I can’t work there anymore. Lately it’s this one air vent that’s really been pissing me off. I can’t find a ladder high enough to go block it, and I keep doing these vocal tracks and I can hear the fucking air conditioning and it’s really getting to me. That’s why I’ll have to move. But it’s been something equally retarded at any space I’ve been in.”


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Aimee Mann: Crafting narrative
Thursday 22 June @ 02:21:18 (Read: 4360)
MusicBy Steve McPherson

A majority of songwriters I hear treat songs more or less like diary entries. But there are also songwriters who treat songs like chemistry experiments, blending words and imagery together until they achieve a reactive compound. Here I’m thinking of Jeff Tweedy’s experiments with chance operations to mix up Wilco’s palette, or The Books work with found sound and snippets of spoken dialogue. And of course, the vast majority of music produced in these United States treats songs like candy bars or light beer. A song is a commodity, a blank screen onto which to project a pop singer’s personality, image and attitude in an attempt to sell more. And then there’s Aimee Mann.

“I’m from a different era,” she says by phone from Los Angeles.

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Club Profile: The Hat Trick Lounge
Friday 09 June @ 17:22:27 (Read: 7547)
Musicby Cyn Collins

The Hat Trick Lounge lives up to its name. Bookers Larry Englund and Robin Shaw pull many surprise rhythms and grooves out of their hats, bringing life and vibrant sound to this bar located in the heart of downtown St. Paul. They balance a very eclectic mix of new and established talent in this old bar which feels as intimate and cozy as the inside of a velveteen hat lined with neon and pinhole stars.

One side is an old Irish-style bar while the other features a stage with nearby seating. Regulars at the bar can hear the music and still hold a conversation; show-goers pay a small cover to fully indulge in the music spectacle and eat free chicken wings, veggies and other barfare.

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CD Reviews: More than you can shake a stick at
Thursday 25 May @ 16:34:43 (Read: 5652)
MusicThe Alarmists
A Detail of Soldiers
Instrument Control Studios

Most bands never pull off the trick that the whippersnappers in The Alarmists pull off with easy aplomb on their debut disc, A Detail of Soldiers. They start with a good song, follow it with a better one, then follow that with an even better one. Opener “Soldados” seems to encompass so many different touchstones in its simplicity that it becomes difficult to pick just one. The vocal melody lilts along like Traffic, and the crisply fuzzed guitar hook calls to mind ’80s fare like the Jam, but that doesn’t mean gridlock here. Instead, squiggly synth and backwards-masked effects zoom in through the background noise as the song slowly dissipates into the remainder of the album.

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CD REVIEWS: Review blowout!
Wednesday 12 April @ 23:03:09 (Read: 6355)
MusicEnvelopes
Demon
Brille Records

If you’re looking to fill your hip cachet quotient for the spring and summer, EnvelopesDemon might be just the thing you need. The part-Swedish, part-French band starts it out crazily enough with “It Is The Law,” a track that begins with a lone guitar playing what could be a Renaissance melody until new wave synths and Gang of Four-style drums crash the party. Boy-girl vocals? Check. A skittery refusal to coalesce? Check. Steve McQueen reference? Check.

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Kip Blackshire: Rock & B
Wednesday 04 January @ 15:30:28 (Read: 5932)
Musicby Dwight Hobbes

You have to be pretty good to transcend others’ limitations. Which is what singer Kip Blackshire finds himself doing. Bucking the big money media machine, he refused to market himself as just another R&B act. Maybe not the brightest idea when you consider the stranglehold fat-cats like Clear Channel, which owns some 1200 radio stations, aren’t particularly interested in originality. Fuck ‘em, basically is what Blackshire said in releasing his albums Kip Blackshire and The Eleventh Hour independently. “I could’ve signed a record deal. But I wouldn’t [compromise]. That’s not what I want. I always thought making a record is [about recording] somebody who’s worthy of being recorded.” Accordingly, he applies strong chops to balls-to-the-walls material.

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CD Reviews: Local and Independent
Wednesday 21 December @ 18:34:03 (Read: 5818)
Musicby Steve McPherson

The Notes and Scratches
Uh Oh
Tense Forms

This debut from Chicago collective Notes and Scratches comes in an unassuming enough package; it’s just chipboard with an endearing illustration of a cat riding a turtle. Leadoff track “The Hours” begins with chunky muted guitar, but the xylophone and singing saw hold forth the promise of something in the vein of pscyh-country shoegazers Mercury Rev. Seventeen seconds in, though, the drums come crashing through, and that’s when their real M.O. becomes apparent.

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Captian's log from the music blog...
Wednesday 21 December @ 18:33:47 (Read: 6094)
Music[Check your Pulse for all our ants on the pulse music blog! - web ed.]

Wednesday, December 07, 2005
flawless top ten


Steve McPherson (editor) said ... you guys on myspace? i saw this posted as a bulletin and i began to get excited, because a flawless top ten list is different than just a top ten of all time or something, because a great album can have lulls and problems and still be great, but there's something i truly value about an album that's a front-to-backer, an album you can put on and listen to all the way through and feel like you've gone someplace. so rather than bothering with doing it on myspace, i'm starting it here. so reply with your own top ten flawless front-to-backers:

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331 Club: The Fine Art of Collecting People
Wednesday 07 December @ 19:18:08 (Read: 6186)
Musicby Cyn Collins

The 331 Club is as hot as it is yellow. They give people different musical experiences every day of the week. This Northeast bar/music venue is nestled within a burgeoning arts community, a perfect location for experiencing it all.

The 331 Club, at 13th Avenue and 3rd Street, is a comfortable space for a host of musicians and patrons, regular and new. Add in the dark cozy vibe, excellent entertainment for the low price of zero dollars, cheap drink specials, comfort food, ideal location and weekly musician residencies, and you’ve got one of the hottest venues in town.

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Aaron Gonecke: The (Almost) Lost Art of the Groove
Thursday 01 December @ 20:43:07 (Read: 6691)
Musicby Steve McPherson

“It sounds silly, and I don’t know if you could ever say this in your article,” confides Aaron Gonecke about half an hour into our interview, clearly not apprised of the kinds of standards and practices we follow at the Pulse, “but it’s almost like smoking grass for some people. They got their little ritual for getting ready to listen to music. They clean the record, they get their stereo on, versus popping in the CD and pressing play.”

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Chris Whitley, 1960-2005
Wednesday 23 November @ 17:18:41 (Read: 5654)
MusicThis past Sun., Nov. 20, singer/songwriter Chris Whitley died from complications associated with lung cancer. He was 45. I fondly remember a Whitley show at the Village Underground in New York City just after the smoking ban had passed in NYC, at which he defiantly lit up on stage, knowing full well he was breaking the law. He always cut a sharp-edged and gaunt figure at shows, wearing a white tanktop, jeans and a beat-up dobro.

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Tour Diary: Heiruspecs
Wednesday 16 November @ 16:53:06 (Read: 5616)
MusicFull disclosure by Steve McPherson: Twinkie Jiggles is my brother, but that only means that I have a full appreciation of just how funny and entertaining his tour diaries can be. Any and all bands who tour are hereby invited to submit tour diaries of their very own to musiceditor@pulsetc.com, since I’m hoping to run them regularly. This is just a little taste; for the whole story, you’ll have to check out the Pulse Music blog at pulsetcmusic.blogspot.com. So now, on to Twinkie's latest from the road.

Thu., Nov. 3, 2005
Heiruspecs, in one sense, have been together for 8 years and one month. But, in another sense, we've been together for two minutes. We are maneuvering around St. Paul picking up the last member of Heiruspecs. We are leaving for a one-month tour opening for founding Pharcyde member Tre Hardson. The tour is called "Slimkid's Liberation Tour." In my world, the tour is called, "Hi, I'd Like To Request a Balance Increase?" 2005. Gas is expensive, these rap kids are cheap and I don't stay fat for free. Heiruspecs is about overnight drives, killer trips to Subway, drink tickets (not free beer), and we all think Jennifer Tilly is attractive. We will start this tour driving straight to Colgate University in New York State. Colgate is a magnet for polo shirts, Keystone Light and Saabs. We will be meeting up with Tre Hardson in Philly on Tuesday. But we're going to play this one without him.

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CD Reviews: Local and Late-breaking
Thursday 10 November @ 20:18:40 (Read: 7381)
Musicby Steve McPherson

Mary Bue
East to the Sea

It’s surprisingly easy to mess up something as simple as recording a singer playing piano. The temptation is to get the best sounding piano, the best sounding mics and the best sounding room and just let the tape roll, but Duluth-based Mary Bue has done something much more than that on this 14-track disc. Instead of the pristine and antiseptic sound that dominates so many singer/songwriters’ albums, Bue opts for ambience and grit here and it’s fantastic.

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West Bank School of Music to hold 35th anniversary event
Friday 21 October @ 00:39:08 (Read: 5199)
MusicAfter a year of restoration, the West Bank School of Music (WBSM) is holding its 35th Anniversary Concert and Silent Auction on Oct. 22 beginning at 6 p.m. at the First Universalist Church at 3400 Dupont Avenue S., Minneapolis, headlined by Butch Thompson, Bruce Henry, Ellis and many of the WBSM faculty. The event is meant as a fundraiser for the school, which was founded in 1970 by composer/pianist Warren Park.

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33 1/3 Series: Everyday I Write the Book
Wednesday 31 August @ 03:53:23 (Read: 5870)
Musicby Steve McPherson

For a genre of writing that largely works in the vein of myth and legend, it seems appropriate that the origins of the famous quote, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture” should be shrouded in mystery. In these very pages last week, Tom Hallett attributed it to Frank Zappa. Others hold that Martin Mull said it in the Village Voice circa 1983. According to Alan P. Scott and his website, the earliest completely verifiable citation comes from Elvis Costello in an interview from Musician magazine in October of 1983, a full five years after the release of Armed Forces.

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CD Reviews: New and Re-issued
Wednesday 31 August @ 03:05:55 (Read: 5325)
Musicby Steve McPherson

Black Mountain
Druganaut
Jagujaguwar

By now, you may know that Black Mountain has been on tour opening for Coldplay, and you may also know that it hasn’t gone so well. I’d like to say that you know it’s a mismatch from the moment their disc comes on, but really, you only begin to get an inkling a minute into opener “Druganaut (extended)” when you realize that they’ve been playing the same essentially one-chord riff the whole time. Then, four minutes in, vocals actually come in. Most Coldplay songs are in the showers lathering up by that point, but Black Mountain hasn’t even gotten going.

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New Release
Wednesday 17 August @ 14:54:21 (Read: 5172)
MusicThe Mobius Band
The Loving Sounds of Static
Ghostly International

Here’s the dark little secret about this band: these glitch-pop meets indie-rock up-and-comers were once a jam band. I can tell you: I was there. Our paths have crossed intermittently since we were all at Wesleyan University, and I’ve watched in time-lapse as they’ve gone from a traditional improvisatory band to their current incarnation as next-hot-thing in the underground. That status is well-deserved and their full-length debut (following a string of self-released EPs) delivers on their promise.

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CD Reviews: Local & Independent
Thursday 11 August @ 02:40:04 (Read: 8346)
Musicby James Plante

Dear Machine,
Self-Titled
Self-Released


Dear Machine, (the comma’s part of the name) traffic in the kind of straight-ahead rock chock full of easy rewards that we’ve come to know and love from other TC bands like the Hang-ups and the Honeydogs. Singer Jason Shannon’s voice bears a striking resemblance to Eddie Vedder’s, but it’s not because he’s a gravelly baritone.

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Bon voyage, RVA
Thursday 14 July @ 02:44:34 (Read: 6191)
MusicAs some of you may already know, this will be my last issue as the Music Editor at the paper. When I started this job a little over two years ago I was familiar with about five local bands and had little idea where to begin with covering the local scene. Since that time I’ve been fortunate enough to meet plenty of great musicians, club owners, managers, writers, radio hosts and all-around nice people who give their heart and soul to the Twin Cities music community.

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CD Reviews
Wednesday 08 June @ 01:40:14 (Read: 6432)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Stephen Malkmus
Face The Truth
(Matador Records)


The truth Malkmus unfortunately faces with this, his third post-Pavement album, is that he might not have much gas left in the creative tank. Malkmus’ solo years began promisingly enough with his 2001 self-titled debut and then took a painful slip on the overly jammy Pig Lib in 2003. Truth, sadly, continues the downward slide.

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David campbell: Mr. Music
Wednesday 01 June @ 00:08:52 (Read: 8679)
Musicby Cyn Collins

If you see live music or listen to the radio, chances are you’ve seen or heard David Campbell—he’s omnipresent on the local music scene. New manager of operations at local label 2024 Records since January, co-host of the award winning local music radio program Homegrown, notorious events emcee, musician (with Accident Clearinghouse and new cover band E..L. No), Dave Campbell is reaching the goal he shares with Phish’s Trey Anastasio, “making my vocation and avocation one.”

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CD Reviews
Wednesday 01 June @ 00:08:46 (Read: 5797)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Brendan Benson
The Alternative to Love
(V2, 2005)


Brendan Benson rose out of the late ‘90s major label wreckage with a stunning sophomore album, Lapalco, back in 2002—six long years after his record-industry-sabotaged debut One Mississippi. Both records were stunning displays of power pop par excellence and now—after yet another lengthy wait—comes The Alternative to Love.

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Local CD reviews
Wednesday 18 May @ 12:31:31 (Read: 5532)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Polara
Green Shoes + 4 EP
(Susstones)


Ed Ackerson and his backing crew in Polara have been keeping a remarkably low profile as of late, and understandably so. Between Ackerson’s nearly nonstop production work (Sarah Lee & Johnny, forthcoming records from Tim Easton and Limbeck) at Flowers Studio and the other band members’ commitments, it’s amazing the Polara crew can even find the time to grab a bite to eat together, let alone concoct this tasty EP.

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SPMC rides again
Wednesday 04 May @ 22:10:11 (Read: 6378)
Musicby Cyn Collins

You’ll soon find SPMC bands, bookings, bus and “The Bob Song” at bars, backyards, basements, ballparks, barbeques, Bob Dylan, Bonnie and Clyde’s (up North) and Belfast . . . The SPMC and Turf Club house band the Mammy Nuns have left the building, and are hitting the road.

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SXSW: Dixieland delight
Wednesday 30 March @ 17:06:24 (Read: 6458)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

The bags under my eyes have only recently lifted. I’ve slowly regained the use of my legs after days spent in recovery from the 35 hours of car time logged between Austin and Minneapolis, where I learned, among other important revelations, that Alabama’s “Dixieland Delight” is hands down the best road song of all time and that sleeping is vastly overrated. Even as my life slowly slides back to its normal shape I remain a changed man—I have been to the indie-rock mecca that is the South By South West Music Conference and nothing will ever be the same again.

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CD Reviews
Wednesday 16 March @ 16:44:08 (Read: 7003)
Music by Nathan Dean

Pushpause
Pushpause
(Self-released)

Pushpause are a self-described “new (old?) band” from Minneapolis. New because this particular group of players hasn’t been working together very long, old because all are seasoned vets whose music careers in the cities span multiple decades.

Lead vocalist Cindy Russell got her start as the first singer for Babes in Toyland (back when Kat was still only playing guitar), and riot grrl fire still clearly burns in her belly, judging from the opening lightning bolt that is “Blackout City.” Things get quite kinky on “Task Mistress” (“You’ll be my cabin boy, I’ll tell you what to do,”) and elsewhere.

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CD Reviews
Wednesday 23 February @ 00:07:25 (Read: 6611)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Shawn Smith
Shield of Thorns
(Self-released)

Seattle rock scenester Shawn Smith is probably best known as the soulful front man in Brad (who are in turn probably best known for having Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam play guitar in their sporadically active side project). Those with an anti-Eddie-Vedder bias shouldn't pass up on Smith's work, however, as his R&B-laced, piano-driven tunes bear virtually no resemblance to PJ's Who-inspired rock anthems.

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Local CD Reviews
Friday 18 February @ 21:53:41 (Read: 6390)
Music by Nathan Dean

Blitzen
EP 1
(Self-Released)


Blitzen are some cryptic fellows. I know, for example, that the group features former members of such other esteemed local outfits as Skye Klad and the Minx and that this CD is the first in a series of three 3-song EPs that the band will be releasing.

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CD Reviews
Thursday 20 January @ 11:40:08 (Read: 5906)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Audible
Sky Signal (Polyvinyl Records)
Release date: 1/25/05


Philadelphia indie-pop outfit Audible is made up mostly of former Matt Pond PA members, and anyone enamored of that group’s goes-down-easy-guitar-pop should feel right at home with this new spin-off group (although don’t expect Matt Pond PA’s layers of strings).

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CD Reviews
Wednesday 05 January @ 16:19:14 (Read: 6887)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Fan Modine
Homeland
(Grimsey Records)

This release comes to us courtesy of stalwart Minnesota record label Grimsey, but doesn’t quite qualify as “local” since Fan Modine (known as Gordon Zacharias in the work-a-day-world) actually hails from North Carolina. After spinning Homeland incessantly, however, I find myself hoping Zacharias feels inclined to relocate closer to his record label’s base of operations.

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Timely return for “Masters of War”
Wednesday 27 October @ 20:57:12 (Read: 6233)
Musicby Brother Mark Treehouse

Brother Mark Treehouse (aka Mark Trehus) recently produced a CD EP remake of “Masters of War” featuring Dillinger “Dylanger” Four and Atmosphere that will be hitting Twin Cities music stores today, just six days before arguably the most important presidential election of our time. We asked him why he was getting into the production side of music rather than sticking with his retail gig (Treehouse Records, 26th and Lyndale). He wrote the following:

How it came about: Record shop b.s. turns into pipedream turns into reality. I told my manager (Dan Cote) as the ships were heading toward Iraq a year and a half ago that somebody should do a rock update of the Dylan tune “masters of war,” as its message still seemed entirely too appropriate some 40 years down the road from its original conception. He suggested I do it myself, with [legendary local punk band] Dillinger Four backing me up.

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mma: 2004 Minnesota Music Awards Ballot
Thursday 02 September @ 15:53:09 (Read: 6101)
Music 2004 Minnesota Music Awards Ballot

Vote Pulse!

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Fans and non fans: be prepared for the return of Slim Shady
Wednesday 18 August @ 09:10:28 (Read: 9945)
MusicMarshallengraved writes: "Fans and non fans: be prepared for Slim Shady’s return. Will the autumn see the return of Slim Shady, more offensive than ever? Many Eminem fans hope so. Now that its has been rumored that Eminem’s album is nearly finished (www.D12world.com), we might expect its release around October/ November 2004."

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CD Reviews
Wednesday 11 August @ 17:45:56 (Read: 7277)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

The Mendoza Line
Fortune (Bar-None / Misra Records

In their nine years together the Mendoza Line’s story thus far has been one of continuing refinement and ever so slight maturation, with each release sanding off just a little bit of the rough edges surrounding the group’s street-fighting folk-rock. By the time of 2002’s Lost in Revelry, the three headed Brooklyn-by-way-of-Athens songwriting team of Timothy Bracy, Peter Hoffman and Shannon McCardle was beginning to sound downright professional (thanks in part to the aid of a lot of slick session musician buddies).

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Matt Pond PA: Cryptic Stunners
Wednesday 21 July @ 16:58:32 (Read: 7520)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Emblems, the fifth album from Matt Pond PA, sounds like the conscious effort of a band trying to re-invent itself. The past staples of the group’s sound, sweeping orchestral passages and innumerable guest players, have melted away, replaced with a tightly rockin’ new-wave inflected approach. Clearly, Matt Pond (vocals/guitar) had a plan to overhaul his band’s sound — and it worked. Or … maybe it was all just an accident.

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Andy Kieley: 1975-2004
Wednesday 16 June @ 12:48:01 (Read: 9112)
Music“Geyser” drummer, band teacher and friend to many, dies mysteriously

by Aaron Neumann

I miss Andy.
I met him last spring at the California Building in Northeast Mpls, where we talked about music, Art-a-Whirl, his mom -- Genny Kieley, a writer who was at the building for a signing of her historical book “Pride and Tradition: More Memories of Northeast Minneapolis” -- and other such wonderfully important things.

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Claire de Lune: A soccer mom’s worst nightmare
Wednesday 16 June @ 12:47:42 (Read: 7487)
Musicby Ian Anderson

Meeting with local rock group Clair de Lune (CDL) was like picking up a group of eighth graders after soccer practice.

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Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born: Should’ve been in love
Wednesday 16 June @ 11:44:41 (Read: 9409)
Music by Rob van Alstyne

Next week marks the grand arrival of Wilco's new album, A Ghost Is Born, in record stores. Like its predecessor, the critical darling Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (the album which finally saw the acclaimed Chicago group break through to moderate commercial success and make the leap to playing venues larger than First Avenue's mainroom), A Ghost Is Born has been all over the internet and readily available for at least five months prior to the album's release. So you Wilco diehards already know what I'm about to tell you—A Ghost Is Born is the first non-great album of head Wilco-ite Jeff Tweedy's career.

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2024 Records: Local Label On the Rise
Thursday 03 June @ 12:41:01 (Read: 7980)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Nathan Roise caught the music bug early and fell hard. Spending his adolescent years in the surprisingly vibrant music scene of Mankato during the early ’90s, Roise saw plenty of quality rock ("It was really an amazing time, all of these great indie bands would skip the Cities to play Mankato—a really strong scene."). Roise, like so many other indie kids, was inspired enough by the experience to pick up an instrument and start making a racket himself, moving to the Twin Cities and playing in various bands (most notably Align, amongst various others). As time marched on Roise shifted gears away from his musician dreams (today he's a successful realtor by day), but continued to stay closely devoted to music and connected to the local scene.

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Askeleton Tour Journal
Thursday 03 June @ 12:09:18 (Read: 9361)
MusicAnonymous writes: "Tuesday May 18th 2004. Des Moines IA

Dear Queenie,

We left for tour @ 1 pm. We were planning on leaving at noon. Got the mini van packed with our great the night before. Everyone got dropped off at Jacy’s house. We all milled around for a while then kissed our loved ones goodbye and left town with a quick stop at the UHAUL for a pad lock for the trailer. "


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Al Green: Soul Survivor
Wednesday 24 March @ 12:21:12 (Read: 7452)
Music

by Tom Hallett



When soul/R&B singer Al Green first began honing his vocal
chops in the mid-Sixties, the word "soul" had a very different connotation
than it does nowadays. Today, Webster's dictionary has added a new definition
for soul: "The deep spiritual and emotional quality of black American culture
and heritage," or "strong expression of this quality in a musical
performance." That's something, huh? To have helped to create and nurture
a cultural phenomenon so powerful that stodgy ol' Webster's dictionary breaks
down and redefines the meaning of a word. One listen to Green's music is all
most people need to understand how and why the man and his contemporaries managed
to—and there's simply no other way to put it—change the world.

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Coming To A CD Store Near You...
Wednesday 17 March @ 11:42:04 (Read: 8696)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

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Coming Soon to a CD Store Near You....
Wednesday 10 March @ 13:29:02 (Read: 7652)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Super XX Man
My Usual Way
[Lelp Recordings]

With so many bedroom troubadours out there today (and surprisingly slick and affordable home recording technology becoming the norm) it’s getting increasingly hard to keep track of the best of the stay-at-home pop set. Scott Garred (aka Super XX Man) has been at it longer than most, however.

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Great music all weekend long
Wednesday 03 March @ 13:38:46 (Read: 7458)
Music

by Ed Felien


It's that time again, the first weekend in March, just before
the official start of spring, when old roosters crow at possibilities and young
people tear off their clothes as the temperature gets a stuffy nose above freezing.
It's the 25th annual Winter Bluegrass Weekend.

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Coming Soon to a CD store near you . . .
Wednesday 11 February @ 10:55:21 (Read: 8825)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

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Alone with ... the Bridge Club
Wednesday 11 February @ 10:49:08 (Read: 7983)
Musicby Troy Pieper

In the depths of a white house I met with three other people. They led me past their instruments, all arranged in what they called their "practice space," and into a small room. Under a bare bulb, amid the crumbling brick, the plaster flaking Silence-of-the-Lambs-esquely, I sat down. They closed the metal door, and as it scraped across the floor, I wondered would I ever again see the light of day. I realized I was alone with…the Bridge Club.

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Coming Soon to a CD store near you . . .
Tuesday 27 January @ 19:30:26 (Read: 8239)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

The Coral
Magic And Medicine
[Columbia]

A band since 1996, The Coral draw frequent comparisons to Love or Happy Mondays—basically because all three groups sound like world music-influenced psychedelic mod take on The Doors. Happily, this band (named England's best new group in 2001) managed to produce a cohesive album out of all their disparate influences.

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Shynola ... not just shoe polish
Wednesday 14 January @ 12:44:58 (Read: 16666)
Musicby Patrick Johnson

A faceless, finned creature swims awkwardly through an abandoned aquatic underworld full of iridescent gelatinous shapes to a crooning Thom Yorke. A beam of light shining from our new friend’s head finds familiarity—a home complete with a Lazyboy and a dinner table. Ketchup bottle included. A pixilated, low-res Atari game, where a mischievous squirrel pours his own shots from the bottle at a bar and a piece of bread with a face jumps out of a toaster singing background to a euro-disco track, hums along.

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Coming Soon to a CD store near you . . .
Wednesday 17 December @ 13:41:15 (Read: 8304)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

When a friend mentioned they felt that “Fluorescent Gaze” off of Oh, Fantastica! was a break from the pretentiousness that otherwise overwhelmed Aspera’s latest record I was baffled.

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Doane on the Street
Wednesday 10 December @ 12:17:11 (Read: 7980)
MusicPulse’s rock ’n’ roll soldier patrols the local scene for your own good

by Donny Doane

Well, here I sit on Thanksgiving Day night thinking of everything I have to be thankful for, which would easily fill volumes if I had to make a list. After spending the day with all the different sides of my family, I’m more than satisfied, being gorged if not quite sodden. Yet, that is. Usually, I get together with a couple of my cousins and hit the pubs after dinner, but being the occasional victim of foresight, I managed to fill my fridge with a few cases of beer.

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The Twin Cities Play the UK
Wednesday 19 November @ 12:46:55 (Read: 8141)
Musicby David de Young

Pulse talks about touring the UK with Dan Israel, Ben Weaver, Har Mar Superstar, Erik Brandt (Urban Hillbilly Quartet), Venus (All the Pretty Horses) and Raven.

At the time of publication, all of the aforementioned artists had either just been or were in the process of touring overseas.

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The Future of Music embraced at Red Bull Music Academy
Wednesday 19 November @ 12:23:14 (Read: 9308)
MusicAnonymous writes: "by DJ ESP Woody McBride, RBMA MR. X Representative

Just five days before airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in 2001, I was giving a lecture on techno music in The Village only a few blocks from the WTC at the Red Bull Music Academy."


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Doane on the Street
Wednesday 05 November @ 10:18:17 (Read: 8215)
Music - Pulse’s rock ’n’ roll soldier patrols the local scene for your own good -

by Donny Doane

With Halloween just past us, I thought I’d clear out some cobwebs and talk about some of the goodies I’ve been enjoying lately.

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Coming Soon to a CD Store Near You . . .
Wednesday 29 October @ 12:33:55 (Read: 11492)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

Caesars
39 Minutes of Bliss
[Astralwerks]

A mix between a punkier version of early Placebo and Murder City Devils, it’s baffling trying to figure out how Caesars ended up on the Astralwerks record label, which normally leans toward electronica-driven bands.

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Gee As Jesus Review
Tuesday 21 October @ 15:47:32 (Read: 8865)
MusicAnonymous writes: "Brother’s Gee Present “Gee As In Jesus Review”
Root of Evil Showcase
First Avenue
Minneapolis

Metal is not my favorite genre of music. Unless you consider bands like Black Sabbath or AD/DC, or any of the old school boys. However being a VIP guest of the Indiana legends known as the Brothers Gee at the Root of All Evil Showcase, I was obligated to witness one of the most horrific assaults to one's eardrums you can possibly imagine. Root of All Evil is a Twin Cities based heavy metal recording label and last Sunday was the label’s exhibition of all the bands that have recorded under the label. "


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This is my country: Randy Newman tells it like it is
Tuesday 14 October @ 19:03:38 (Read: 9055)
Musicby Tom Hallett

Decades before the term “politically incorrect” became popular in the modern lexicon, singer/songwriter/composer/pianist Randy Newman was the living embodiment of the phrase. While many of his peers in the early ’70s were living out a self-indulgent rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, Newman consistently banged out dead-on, cutting-edge social commentary.

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Ida: The Path Less Traveled
Wednesday 01 October @ 13:13:53 (Read: 8739)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

New York City avant-garde folk mainstays Ida have crafted beguilingly intimate tunes for nearly a dozen years. Formed around the core of Daniel Littleton (vocals/keyboards/guitar) and Elizabeth Mitchell (vocals/keyboards/guitar), the pair began working together shortly after graduating from Brown University, surfacing with their minimalist debut, Tales of Brave Ida, in 1994.

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Self-Evident: Skilled rock for non-prog people
Wednesday 24 September @ 13:00:56 (Read: 8498)
Musicby P.J. Morel

What’s wrong with complex music? Rock snobs roll their eyes with disdain at the mention of any band that happens to dig something other than the usual verse-chorus-verse pop arrangement. “It’s not rock,” they say. “Rock is folk music. It’s not a symphony. These guys should learn to play violins.” Granted, most of the bands they’re rolling their eyes at deserve the treatment. Seventies monsters like ELP and Kansas took orchestral rock to mind-numbing depths, drawing out a handful of guitar riffs into flimsy house-of-cards “masterpieces” that were easily recognized for what they are.

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The Weakerthans: Thinking Man’s Rock
Wednesday 24 September @ 12:54:46 (Read: 8864)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

The Weakerthans music is smart, not in a nerdy math-rock time signature kind of way either, but rather the sort of uncompromising flat-out literary smart that seems downright alien to most rock music. The fact that the band’s dense word play comes packaged in a folksy rock/pop-punk package makes it all the more intriguing. It isn’t surprising to learn that according to singer/guitarist John K. Samson’s calculations the distance between punk rock and Virginia Woolf isn’t particularly vast.

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Jay Farrar: Back to the Future
Thursday 18 September @ 13:02:13 (Read: 9091)
Musicby Andrew Brantingham

Seems like no matter how much he tries, Jay Farrar can't help sounding a little like himself. Farrar's new album, Terroir Blues, finds the 36-year-old artist and alt. Country icon striving to twist, undermine, explode and generally make strange the wonderfully atavistic sounds he has made since the beginning. It's this restless spirit that's always been at the heart of Farrar's creative vision (despite being pitted as a Luddite against his “visionary” former bandmate Jeff Tweedy because of the slower rate he chose to incorporate mechanical sounds into his music). It's what compelled him to walk away from Uncle Tupelo in 1994 just after it had finally been picked up by Reprise Records, the creative itch Farrar had to scratch when he put his successful follow-up band Son Volt on “extended haitus” at the dawn of the millennium And yet, and yet…

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Coming Soon to a CD store near you . . .
Thursday 18 September @ 12:51:31 (Read: 9358)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

Puffy AmiYumi - Nice (Bar None)
Dandy Warhols - Welcome To The Monkey House (Capitol)
Rachel’s - Systems/Layers (Quarterstick)
Mojave 3 - Spoon and Rafter (4AD/Beggars Group)
Audio Bullys - Ego War (Astralwerks)
Death Cab For Cutie Transatlanticism (Barsuk)
Deerhoof - Apple O (Kill Rock Stars)
The High Llamas - Beet Maize & Corn (Drag City)
90 Day Men - Too late or Too Dead +2 EP (Southern)
Stars - Heart (Arts & Crafts)
Portastatic - Autumn Was A Lark EP (Merge)
Her Space Holiday- The Young Machines(Mush/Dirty Loop)

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The Court & Spark: Bay Area Bliss
Thursday 11 September @ 14:19:04 (Read: 8153)
Musicby Andrew Brantingham

“In terms of Americana stuff, it’s not really my scene,” avers MC Taylor, guitarist and vocalist for San Francisco’s The Court and Spark. “I’m not hip to the whole countryish thing.” It’s a strange claim to hear from the front man of a band that the music world has confidently filed under “Alt Country,” or “Americana,” or whatever it is these days we’re supposed to call anyone who’s ever picked up a banjo. “We didn’t say we were going to make a band with country and western influences, it just happened over time,” continues Taylor. But much more has happened in the years that the group’s core members—Taylor, guitarist Scott Hirsch, and drummer James Kim—have been making music together.

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Speakin’ Out: MaD SoN of the Unknown Prophets breaks down love, life and progres
Thursday 11 September @ 14:16:12 (Read: 9360)
Musicby Brandon Bagaason

Recently, I met up with Northeast Minneapolis rapper and Northside resident MaD SoN of the Unknown Prophets (which also features MC/producer Big Jess and DJ Willy Lose) to talk about love, life and their forthcoming W.E.T. EP. It went something like this:

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The National : Big City Sinners
Thursday 04 September @ 14:57:30 (Read: 8239)
Musicby Sean McCarthy

The new album from The National, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, is a crowded landscape of displaced sexual deviants and lonesome women. So who knows what sordid escapades frontman and Brooklyn resident Matt Berninger was up to during the recent blackout in New York City. Back-alley threesomes with lost soccer moms? A midnight rendezvous with a long-forgotten ex-girlfriend?

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Left Foot Moses: Big City Bound
Thursday 04 September @ 14:55:15 (Read: 8543)
Musicby Tom Hallett

“What, were you born in a BARN?" How many times have somebody's parents yelled out that particular (rather inane) piece of domestic wisdom after a kid leaves a door open, tracks muddy footprints all over a freshly-scrubbed kitchen floor, or feeds the dog scraps from the dinner table? Well, if somebody asked the boys in Indianapolis' Left Foot Moses that question, they'd proudly snap to attention and say, "HELL YEAH!!" Though they only officially became a band around a year ago, the quirky, pop-savvy Indiana rockers have already conquered the fertile farm lands and scrubby urban back alleys of their home state, as well as attracted the attention and favor of legendary recording artists The Roach Brothers. The Roachies (comprised mainly of brothers Terry and Jamie Rouch and whoever happens upon their little patch of musical ground), who first garnered critical acclaim working with Backburner recording artist/cult fave Jack Logan, also run a recording studio called Big As A Barn (yes, it's really in a barn) in their hometown of Royal Center, Indiana. And that's where Left Foot Moses, or at least the band as a recording unit, was literally born.

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Art @ A Coffee House Near You
Thursday 04 September @ 14:44:20 (Read: 8314)
Musicby Mary Ann Vincenta

Art is to coffee houses what hair is to heads. It kind of appears naturally, erupting spontaneously, and is taken completely for granted, except when the walls are bald. Then you wonder, where’s the art? I need it.
Every coffee house has an art show. That’s a LOT of art—none of which particularly clamors for attention. It calmly hangs there reminding coffee lovers that artists are alive and well, endlessly immortalizing the fleeting fragments of their gestalts and their Weltanschauungs in innumerable and remarkable ways. The work never seems like decoration—especially when it’s very bad—or very good. Even when technique is limited there is always a serious dose of personality. When I go to drink coffee somewhere and I think the art is weak, there is always one piece that speaks to me, and I try to sit facing that one.

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Big Ditch Road: It’s Just That Simple
Wednesday 27 August @ 15:33:53 (Read: 7945)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Alternative country in the 21st century is an increasingly tricky endeavor. How can anyone earnestly sing about swinging screen doors and cleaning their tractor when you and I both know they program their TiVo and check their e-mail at night just like the rest of us techno-dependent humanoids? It takes a particularly talented and genuine outfit to be believable in the cowboy hat and flannel trade these days—a group like Big Ditch Road.

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Four fast and furious record reviews
Wednesday 27 August @ 15:32:08 (Read: 7801)
Musicby Donny Doane

Choplogic - Everything and Less

Diligence - A Star is Born: My Word and My Nuts From the Heart

The Kinks - BBC Sessions 1964-1977

Brassy - Gettin’ Wise

--

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Tommy Stinson: The Surreal Life
Wednesday 20 August @ 12:01:02 (Read: 12686)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Tommy Stinson’s life is too crazy to be fiction. Who spends their childhood years batting for the ultimate rock underdogs of the ’80s only to switch teams 20 years later and suit up for bloated arena-rock adversaries from the same era? Best known as the spikey-haired bass player for Twin Cities legends the Replacements during his formative years, Stinson’s spent the dozen years since that band’s dissolution seemingly adrift, living in L.A. and bouncing from one oddball project (the rock remix of Puff Daddy’s “All About the Benjamins”) to another (he really IS the bass player in the re-formed and ever on-hiatus Guns ’n’ Roses). What most people probably don’t know, however, is that in between the high-profile sideman work, Stinson’s created some great tunes (most of which haven’t reached store shelves).



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Local CD Round-Up
Wednesday 20 August @ 11:56:21 (Read: 8475)
Musicby Celeste Tabora


  • Ellis

  • Triangle Park

  • Telephone!

  • Chromatic Black

  • Gawker Showdown

  • Bozart

  • Revolver



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DJ's spin fat beats
Wednesday 13 August @ 11:35:03 (Read: 16295)
Musicstory and illustration by Alexander Hage

The music you’re likely to hear in the Fifth Element record store today is a far cry from the stuff Hip-Hoppers were making at its birth 20 or 30 years ago. Even the past five years have seen Hip-Hop grow significantly. Like all relatively new art forms in the long history of music, rapping and Deejaying are still rapidly evolving. An international body of artists that grows faster than the population of China is tugging Hip-Hop in several different directions simultaneously, from jazz DJs to rap-metal makers. Yes, they’re developing and improving, but not at a constant rate. As is lamented (ironically) by so many rhymers, rap has hit a wall, and is, for the most part, limited to lines about the rapper’s life, how he’s better than other rappers, and most commonly, rapping itself. Meanwhile, sample-based music has taken off, leaving the realm of back-up beats and progressing to the creation of entire moods and soundscapes in every genre between New York, Beijing, Moscow and Lagos.

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Golden Smog: Still magical after all these years
Wednesday 13 August @ 11:29:28 (Read: 8898)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

When rumors first began surfacing weeks ago that Golden Smog, roots-rock supergroup for the ages, were going to perform at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis, my first reaction was disbelief. What occasion could possibly be large enough to reunite the far-flung talents of Minneapolis’ finest, with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy (who lives in Chicago) and Big Star drummer Jody Stephens (even further—Memphis)? As it turns out, all it took was one little birthday party (for Dan Murphy’s girlfriend, Melissa Gorman).

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On the Road with Radiohead
Wednesday 06 August @ 10:55:09 (Read: 11163)
MusicA tour diary by Alan Sparkhawk of Low



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Doane on the Street
Wednesday 06 August @ 10:46:33 (Read: 8039)
Musicby Donny Doane

Pulse's Rock'n'Roll soldier patrols the local scene for your own good.

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Metal Madness - the Root of All Evil's 666teenth Anniversary Party
Wednesday 30 July @ 13:03:41 (Read: 9602)
Musicby Tom Hallet

A flickering, ominous glow from six half-melted black candles lights up the face of the man sitting, enshrouded in shadows and mystery, across the table from me. His familiar, long, dark mane of hair has been shorn to the scalp, bringing out the wicked twinkle in his eyes and the stark, primeval outlines of his multiple tattoos all the more. His voice, instantly recognizable from the sixteen years he’s spent as The Voice Of Metal on Twin Cities public radio station KFAI’s “Root Of All Evil” (1 a.m.- 6 a.m. Saturday nights on 90.3 or 106.7 FM), is surprisingly soothing, notched down several dial-spins from his standard hyper-sonic on-air delivery. I’ve just asked the man who’s hosted the longest running metal radio program in Twin Cities history; the man who’s responsible for St. Paul indie record shop Root Cellar Records; the man who helms one of the last bastions for metal/hard rock at his own Root Of All Evil record label, what his first major musical influences were. His reply is as shocking—nay, more diabolical, even—than the crudest, harshest, most spine-chilling black death metal cut he’s ever spun on his show.


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Denison Witmer - Old School Skills
Wednesday 30 July @ 12:55:50 (Read: 7811)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

In what amounts to the equivalent of an ice age ago in pop-music time—meaning approximately 30 years in the past—a different breed of recording artist dominated the airwaves and stalked the earth. The sincere introspective singer/songwriter was seemingly everywhere circa 1973 with artists like Jackson Browne, Carole King and Neil Young selling millions of records low in rock ’n’ roll bombast but high in genuine emotional sentiment. It was a truly halcyon time period commercially for any musician with strong personal neuroses ready to put them in song. Like all pop music moments though, it couldn’t last. The vacant gaze and stiff upper lip of punk music was set to sweep all the sensitive boys off the sandlot and any remaining stragglers could expect to get their asses kicked by the thundering sound of newly born arena-bound prog-rock. This was all happening by about 1976, which also happens, courtesy of a cruel twist of fate, to be the year big-hearted Philadelphian folk artist Denison Witmer was born.

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Grandaddy
Wednesday 30 July @ 12:53:12 (Read: 8838)
Musicby Sean McCarthy

The first time I listened to the new Grandaddy CD, Sumday, I was trapped in a traffic jam on 94 on my way to see the Twins. We crawled past several puzzled teenagers standing next to their brand-new truck and boat, both of which were jutting perpendicularly into two lanes of traffic. By the time we got to the parking garage, all the spots were taken, so the attendant instructed us to “just take one of them handicapped spaces.” The Twins won over living-embodiment-of-evil Bud Selig and his Milwaukee Brewers. It rained so hard on the way out that I had to sit in my car for 10 minutes just to dry my T-shirt enough so I could clean off my glasses. By comparison, Sumday seemed underwhelming.

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The Root of All Evil Roster
Wednesday 30 July @ 12:49:56 (Read: 8962)
MusicEarl Root raps about the bands playing ROAE's 666teenth Anniversary Bash

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The Winter Blanket
Wednesday 23 July @ 15:37:12 (Read: 8028)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Given the dominant “hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-frying-pan” musical mentality of pop music today it’s refreshing to find out that bands like recent Minneapolis-by-way-of-the-Quad-Cities transplants The Winter Blanket are still out there. Composed of vocalists/guitarists Doug Miller and Stephanie Davila, Paul Blomquist (drums) and Kim Murray (bass), the Winter Blanket’s evocative, spectral take on minimalist folk-rock as evidenced on their solid sophomore LP, Actors and Actresses, demands attention (in its own understated sleep-rock fashion, of course).

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Jets to Brazil: The future is now for Blake Schwartzenbach
Wednesday 23 July @ 15:25:04 (Read: 10676)
Musicby Wyn Douglas

In 1909, this guy named F.T. Marinetti wrote “The Founding Manifesto of Futurism.” Futurism turned out to be this aesthetically based philosophy where history (books, museums, art, etc.) was the enemy and embracing technology and anything new was the way to go. Sentimentality, of course, went right out the window.

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13 Years of Sex, Satan and Hamster Sandwiches
Wednesday 16 July @ 11:59:20 (Read: 8433)
MusicQuincy Punx Tell Us Where To Put It One Last Time

By Donny “Q” Doane

Photos by Tanya De Priest


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Joe Pernice: King of Pain
Wednesday 16 July @ 11:28:19 (Read: 8129)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Joe Pernice knows the magic of sad songs. Over the course of eight albums encompassing a wide array of musical genres, Pernice’s downbeat lyrical sentiment has been the one unifying constant. Pernice doesn’t struggle with his lyrical identity though: “At this point I’ve resigned myself to the fact that lyrically I am pretty much a dark guy.” This admission, from a man who once kicked off an album (2000’s Chappaquiddick Skyline) with the lyric “I hate my life,” probably amounts to the understatement of the year.

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Three-by-Three
Wednesday 16 July @ 11:25:19 (Read: 9883)
MusicCD reviews by Brooke Aldridge

HOW IT WORKS:

A 3 x 3 review begins by listening to a new release from start to finish. Three words are then selected to best describe the artist, mood as well as nature of the music. This is followed by a second listen, which leads to a 3 sentence summary of the recording. A third and final spin determines 3 specific tracks which feel most representative of the artist and the album overall.

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John Koerner's guitar: Stolen
Wednesday 16 July @ 11:12:30 (Read: 7806)
MusicSomeone broke into John Koerner's car on the evening of June 26 while it was parked in the back of his house in the Seward Neighborhood and stole his 12 string Gretsch guitar and Fender Deluxe Reverb Amplifier. The guitar was in a black hardshell case with black tape repair. What makes the guitar distinct is that Gretsch is misspelled: Gretsrh. It is natural wood with dark brown sides. The amp is more than 25 years old with a new reverb unit. It is black and about 20 inches tall and 2 feet wide.
A reward will be paid for information leading to recovery of the guitar and amp, and it can be returned with no questions asked.

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First Prize Killers: exceeding expectations
Wednesday 09 July @ 12:30:18 (Read: 9126)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

For a band birthed with exceedingly modest goals in mind (to play one show for a friend’s birthday party) Minneapolis’ First Prize Killers have already accomplished a lot, recently releasing one of 2003’s finest no-frills rock albums, The Powdery Parade, on local folk-rocker Martin Devaney’s Eclectone Records.


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Kathleen Edwards: Canada's alt. country 'it' girl is on verge of the big tim
Wednesday 09 July @ 12:25:57 (Read: 7739)
Musicby Louis Lenzmeier

Kathleen Edwards has had a fantastic, whirlwind year. The 24-year-old Ottawa, Canada native has gone from being a complete unknown, who, by virtue of crowd-wowing performances at the South By Southwest music industry schmooze fest, has become a more than recognizable talent in the singer-songwriter arena. Failer, her debut release, has already garnered enough attention to surpass the 30,000 mark in sales since its release this past January, and the likes of Rolling Stone have already anointed Edwards as one of ten artists to watch in 2003. It’s easy to see why, as Edwards’ potent blend of shit-kickin’ barn rock (lead single “Six O’Clock News”) and weepy ballads (“Mercury”) prove that she’s a haunted old soul dwelling in a young person’s body. Recently, the Pulse had an opportunity to catch up with Edwards as she was preparing for a show in Amsterdam.

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Into the Fog
Wednesday 02 July @ 13:42:33 (Read: 8198)
MusicThe opening moments of Ether Teeth, the second sonic trainwreck/masterpiece hybrid concocted by Fog (aka Minneapolis’ Andrew Broder) perfectly captures the feeling of being caught midway between sleeping and waking life. The dreamy suspended keyboard noises and sedately grooving acoustic guitar lick providing the comforts of sleep while vinyl squiggles and an indecipherable sampled chant act as the sonic equivalent of pestering bedroom sunlight beams forcibly moving one towards the coming day (the clatter of random percussion and eerie cello add their presence by track’s end). It’s a moment unlike any other I’ve heard on record this year—and the first of many breathtaking passages that take place on the uncompromisingly arty yet surprisingly accessible outing of the Twin Cities’ most highly touted experimental musician.

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So Fox
Wednesday 02 July @ 13:03:22 (Read: 9886)
Musicby P.J. Morel

St. Paul’s So Fox is about two things: nasty riffs and vocal chemistry. Lyrical profundity they ain’t got much, and their arrangements tend to be workmanlike; but with singers Arzu Gocken and Eric Odness trading sneers and the band slinging hooks, those potential shortcomings melt away in a blaze of sing along punk energy. So Fox is a punk rock multivitamin that packs a heavy dose of all the essentials.

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Los Lobos - and still the wolf survives
Wednesday 02 July @ 12:54:48 (Read: 8063)
MusicSince the release of their first full-length album, How Will the Wolf Survive?, in 1984, L.A.-based group Los Lobos has proven itself again and again to be one of America’s most distinctive and original acts. Driven by the eclectic partnership of multi-instrumentalists/singers David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, drummer Louie Perez, bassist Conrad Lozano, and the keyboards and horns of Steve Berlin, Los Lobos’ musical stylings cover rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, and traditional Spanish and Mexican music with equal ease and grace.

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Chris Mills - Midwestern Sonic Heartbreaker
Wednesday 25 June @ 12:16:03 (Read: 7983)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

While Jeff Tweedy and Co. may be trying to break my heart and all, fellow Chicagoan Chris Mills has already accomplished the feat with his latest weepy stunner and fourth album overall, The Silver Line. Self-released on his own Powerless Pop Recorders label after former stellar indie imprint Sugar Free records went AWOL, the album finds Mills expanding on his throaty country rock and embracing a lavish Phil Spectoresque production aesthetic.

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It's Corporate, It's Punk (It'll still kick yer ass)
Wednesday 25 June @ 12:13:34 (Read: 32861)
Musicby Chelsea LouvierThe ninth annual Van’s Warped Tour drops in to Somerset Wisconsin’s Float-Rite Amphitheater this Saturday for a party worthy of an Andrew W.K. anthem.

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The Long Winters
Wednesday 18 June @ 12:58:12 (Read: 8442)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

The history of The Long Winters begins not with the start of this project, but with the end of a previous one—the Western State Hurricanes, a Seattle outfit fronted by singer/songwriter John Roderick (who also spent time as a touring member of one hit “Flagpole Sitter” alterna-wonders Harvey Danger). Roderick, an Alaskan native infamous for his bad boy ways throughout the state of Washington, is rumored to have woken up in an emergency room with two broken hands, as well as hopped freight trains from Washington to California for a “vacation.”

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The Return of the Buzzcocks
Wednesday 18 June @ 12:51:21 (Read: 9625)
Musicby Holly Day

Formed in Manchester, England, in 1975, the Buzzcocks were one of the most influential bands to emerge in the initial wave of punk rock. For a while, before the advent of the second wave of punk rock, they were also one of the faster bands out there, with frontman and guitarist Pete Shelley leading the band on with his rapid-fire three-chord changes and highly sardonic lyrics.

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Wilco
Wednesday 11 June @ 15:32:51 (Read: 8787)
Musicby Eric R. Smith

Sam Jones’ debut film, “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” could have been just another rock documentary. Fortunately for viewers the subject of his film, Chicago-based band Wilco, proved more intriguing than anticipated and the chance events that unfolded on the first day of filming assumed monumental proportions. Jones has captured the creation of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, an album already poised to end up historically on a shortlist with the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Smiths’ The Queen is Dead among rock’s finest offerings.

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Idlewild
Wednesday 11 June @ 15:29:52 (Read: 11647)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

Upon hearing repeatedly that the Scottish rock band Idlewild put on an invigorating live show and that their songs owned power and vigor, I was elated to see them play at New York City’s Irving Plaza. The venue was packed with a wide array of scenesters, from Dolce & Gabbana-clad fashionistas to those holding on to the good ol’ grunge days of the early ’90s. New York locals The French Kicks had just cleared the stage. The majority of the crowd was facing the stage, anxiously anticipating the arrival of the band, for the moment when their chatter about the boys’ good looks would be overwhelmed by Idlewild’s heavy-hitting pop-rock sound.


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The Monarques
Wednesday 04 June @ 12:09:30 (Read: 8905)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

I went to the Monarques’ Web site this morning. Browsing through, I ended up on the “media” section and curiosity led me to the video of Har Mar Superstar and the Monarques live cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” from their First Avenue show on May 29th (http://www.monarques.com/video-20030529-love.html). It was a song never rehearsed by the band before performing it. And whaddya know, they pulled it off successfully. Normally, quicktime videos on the Web keep the viewer removed and detached from the spirit of the show, what with the tiny viewing window and all, but this one was the first and only experience I had with a Web-based download that made me feel like I really wanted to be there, jumping along and cheering them on with that full Minneapolis crowd.

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King of France
Wednesday 04 June @ 12:04:20 (Read: 9513)
Musicby P.J. Morel

Due to a scheduling glitch, Tom Hallett and I wound up writing about the same band this week. Not to worry though: I managed to get a pretty good interview with the band. So you can read this here article to get a handle on The King of France’s personality, then flip over to ‘Round the Dial to hear about their tunes.


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Work of Saws
Wednesday 28 May @ 11:42:44 (Read: 9015)
Musicby Rob Van Alstyne

Eccentric indie-pop doesn’t get much better than local favorites Work of Saws blend of quirk-driven folk jangle. Having first garnered attention with their self-released 2001 debut (a collection of no less than 44 short-attention-span tunes titled Motivation and Watertower Grammar), Work of Saws has been one of the higher profile bands in town. It’s easy to see why as the band manages to seamlessly blend elements of classic ’60s pop, ’90s college rock grit and the perfect measure of 21st century lyrical schizophrenia. As the band gears up to record its third album this summer, singer/guitarist Brock Davis was kind enough to take time out and answer some of Pulse’s burning questions.


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The Cramps
Wednesday 28 May @ 11:35:51 (Read: 12320)
Musicby Holly Day

When I was a kid, I always thought Morticia and Gomez Addams had the most perfect of marriages. They lived in a creaky old house decorated with dead animal parts, fostered each other’s strange hobbies—her carnivorous plants, his exploding trains—and loved each other to the point of obsession. They seemed, to me, the type of couple that would stay together forever, for the sole fact that anyone else that entered either person’s little world would probably run away screaming after the initial bliss of new love faded.

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Oddjobs - Local Hip Hop group makes good in Brooklyn
Wednesday 21 May @ 12:43:08 (Read: 9367)
Musicby Deuce Cities Styles
all photos by Nick George


Duece Cities Styles recently spoke with members of Oddjobs, who are currently pushin’ their new release Shopkeeper’s Wife with a national tour. About to rock a show in Tallahassee, Fla., Crescent Moon, Nomi, Advizor and DJs Deetalx and Anatomy gave us the word over the phone. From both sides of the Duece Cities, Oddjobs have made quite a name for themselves over the last few years. They have now relocated to Brooklyn, N.Y., last year representing Midwest Hip Hop. They’ve been holding it down ever since. We had a question or two for them and here’s how it went down:


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The Oddjobs Blotter
Wednesday 21 May @ 12:09:39 (Read: 8761)
Musicby Nick George

Photographer Nick George followed Oddjobs around the country, taking pictures all the way. Here is the journal that he kept on his travels.

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The Raveonettes - Great Danes
Wednesday 21 May @ 11:31:13 (Read: 8677)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

You know, it’s 2 a.m. and I’m covered in paint splotches and am on my last two cigarettes from a pack I opened this morning. It’s disgusting and, incidentally, it’s probably fitting that I’m listening to The Raveonettes. Sonically, they’re the apotheosis of this moment: Self-destructive, dangerous and dirty, gritty rock n’ roll. They are a Danish duo—self-confident to the core—that creates this mix of garage and surf rock with a twist of rockabilly.


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Stephen Malkmus
Wednesday 21 May @ 11:28:06 (Read: 8349)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Pavement, arguably the highest profile independent rock band of the ’90s, was always defined by their irreverent attitude towards fame, and their strong mischievous streak. Since capturing the national scene spotlight with the definitive slacker-rock opus Slanted & Enchanted (recently given the deluxe 10th anniversary re-issue treatment by Matador Records in an unnecessary effort to re-affirm its classic status), singer/guitarist Stephen Malkmus and the rest of his Stockton, Calif., crew were never too eager to keep the bright lights shining on them. They had all the right ingredients for crossover success (a good-looking front man, quirky charm and even a near miss radio hit with the cheeky “Cut Your Hair”) but never quite burst through to mainstream stardom, mostly due to their decision to spurn the advances of several major labels at the height of their popularity. Nevertheless, Pavement’s distinctive blend of jangly/jagged guitars and free association lyrical silliness pricked up enough youthful ears that it was subsequently bastardized into an entire genre of forgettable independent rock by a legion of imitators.

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I declare, I am feeling rather Faint
Wednesday 14 May @ 13:23:38 (Read: 9536)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

The Faint should be no strangers to you by now. Even though they’ve gone through a great many changes since their official beginning in 1998, they’ve consistently impressed with their active and danceable live shows as well as their ability to create a different kind of party CD with every new release.

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3X3 CD Reviews
Wednesday 14 May @ 13:08:49 (Read: 9273)
Musicby Brooke Aldridge

The 3x3 Philosophy: There is no wrong or right work of music! Each album is personal—unique to the artist—and worth listening to. Instead of utilizing the 20th century traditional star or point rating, 3 x 3 is an innovative review system designed to more accurately describe new releases as well as provide constructive feedback for artists.

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Arab Strap - Sinister Scottish Tunesmiths
Wednesday 07 May @ 10:19:35 (Read: 8336)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Having recently had the chance to attend the Macalester / Groveland neighborhood’s annual Scottish Country Fair I was presented with a vision of Scotland as a land of caber tossing, sword-fighting and pseudo-River Dancing good times. Needless to say, it was an interesting introduction to the land, and differed greatly from my only other source for Scottish info—post-folk duo Arab Strap. Scotland as depicted through the lyrical eye of singer Aidan Moffat (a native of Falkirk) is a strikingly more modern and depraved entity, a land of covert sex and drunken longing with nary a kilt in sight. Deriving their name from an exotic sex toy Moffat spotted in a mail order catalogue and featuring abrasive couplets like, “tell me you want me in your cunt/tell me you know sure what you want,” it’s safe to say that Arab Strap occupy slightly less family-friendly Scot terrain than Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart. “


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Fog
Wednesday 07 May @ 10:16:21 (Read: 7865)
Musicby P.J. Morel

It’s no secret that the turntable has had a hard time adjusting to new environs, musically speaking, though it hasn’t been for want of trying. Since hip-hop DJs first realized a record player could be used as an instrument back in the late ’70s, enthusiastic and often well-meaning pop musicians have tried using them in all kinds of music. They’ve tried adding a sample here, a scratch there (and of course many, many played-out dance beats) to the usual guitar, bass & drums formula. The results have been mixed at best, and the recent history of rap-metal has been downright distasteful.


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Patton & Co. return with another heady musical concoction
Wednesday 07 May @ 10:13:18 (Read: 12799)
Music by Nic Netzel

From the distorted harmonics and avian sounds of the opening cu,t “Birdsong,” to the faux computer voice of “Aktion F1413,” Tomahawk’s Mit Gas provides accessible, yet still substantive and intelligent, hard rock.

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Big 10: CD Reviews
Wednesday 30 April @ 11:59:51 (Read: 8866)
MusicCeleste Tabora runs down all the hot new releases.

Aerogramme - Speep and Release
Sondre Lerche - Faces Down
The Datsuns - The Datsuns
Cave In - Antenna
Yoshimi & Yuka - Flower With No Color
Placebo - Sleeping With Ghosts
Owl & the Pussycat - Owl & the Pussycat
Turin Brakes - Ethersong
The Essex Green - The Long Goodbye
Portastatic - The Summer of the Shark

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The Umbrella Sequence
Wednesday 30 April @ 11:39:36 (Read: 8033)
Musicby P.J. Morel

“We’d play every night of the week in a phone booth if someone would have us,” says Aaron Hagebak, drummer of The Umbrella Sequence. He means it: in just over a year since forming, the local quintet has played a slew of gigs that would make established bands jealous, and a whole bunch of others that would make a high school punk band blush. Early successes at places like Big V’s and the Uptown Diner have led to the band playing bizzaro joints like Taco Toro’s (an all ages club-slash-taco stand out in Inver Grove Heightss) and the Hudson, Wis. YWCA. No job’s too big, no job’s too small, apparently. And in between they’re unrelenting quest for an audience, The Umbrella Sequence has found the time to record one of the most remarkable debut albums by a local band in a good long while.

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Pete Yorn: Nothing to Forget
Wednesday 23 April @ 12:56:41 (Read: 7837)
Musicby Louis Lenzmeier

Last week, Pete Yorn released his second album, A Day I Forgot. It’s a more-than-suitable follow up to his hit debut, musicforthemorningafter, and Yorn pleasantly avoids the sophomore jinx. The Pulse recently had the opportunity to chat with the singer-songwriter as he prepared for his upcoming tour in support of the new album.

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The Postal Service: Gadget Pop's Glorious Return
Wednesday 23 April @ 12:51:49 (Read: 18799)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Somewhere during the Nintendo era, long before anyone had heard that dirty little word “electronica”(damn you Prodigy!), there were pop-rock bands with a taste for synthesized textures and spiffy drum loops that people could be proud to love. (New Order and Depeche Mode are some prime examples.) As electronic music’s beats-per-minute factor continued to rise, however, it seems that tech-inflected pop-rock bands went the way of neon-colored clothes and big hair. In the present, electronic music and indie-pop occupy two distinct camps. Thankfully, the Postal Service has come along with their debut album, Give Up (SubPop), just in time to break down the divide between dance hall ravers and mopey indie-rock kids.

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The Songs of Silver Lake
Wednesday 16 April @ 14:07:37 (Read: 8211)
Musiccommentary from vic chesnutt & mark howard

1) “I’m Through”

Sample Lyric: “I’m through, through, through/Carrying you on my shoulders...”

Vic: “Well, this song is pretty old, I probably wrote it in 1988. And it had many meanings when I wrote it, several different meanings. At the time, I was trying to quit drinking. It was originally called “Pepe Lopez,” ‘cause I’d drink this kind of cheap tequila everyday. So I was singing to my—I don’t know—my nemesis, or my lover, Pepe Lopez, the liquor that I’d drink everyday. And also, I was trying to break up with the La Di Da’s at the time, which was my rock band. So this was kind of a song about our breakup, and also I was moving out of my house, I was kind of involved with these—my roommates—a kind of weird relationship. So it’s kind of a three-layered, three-tiered song, in that way. It all inspired that song, way back.”

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Vic Chesnutt: Short Chore, Great Reward
Wednesday 16 April @ 14:00:29 (Read: 10925)
Musicby Tom Hallett

The first thing that becomes clear when discussing singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt’s latest album, Silver Lake, with the disparate cast of musical characters who helped form and shape the record is that each and every one were absolutely mesmerized by the man himself. The second thing that strikes you is the awe and wonder they all have for the location where the sessions took place. The Paramour mansion is perched on the highest hill in Silver Lake, home to the original Walt Disney Studios lot, and a microcosm of everything that’s good about Southern California; lush foliage, trees and free-roaming wildlife, an incongruous slice of paradise nestled comfortably above the roar and din, the hookers, bums, junkies, cops, tourists and lost souls haunting “The Boulevard.”

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Cat Power
Wednesday 16 April @ 13:31:51 (Read: 11271)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

I was nervous before I went in to chat with Chan Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power. “She’s not going to be scared of me or walk out, is she?” I asked her permanently-pleasant publicist. He assured me that I was being silly, and that she is one of the nicest people I will ever meet. Still, I thought, this is a woman with a reputation.

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A Clear Bias: Clear Channel thinks Pro-War rallies are good business
Wednesday 09 April @ 12:47:20 (Read: 8766)
Musicby Katherine Glover

A leaked Clear Channel corporate memo with the heading “War Plans” instructed news staff at two of its radio stations to make sure that, in the event of a war in Iraq, their war coverage was “FIRST’ and “the BEST.” But their recent sponsorship of “patriotic” rallies across the country has raised serious questions about their objectivity.

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Of Montreal
Wednesday 09 April @ 12:32:50 (Read: 8273)
Musicby Tim Carnahan

“An Ode to the Nocturnal Muse,” track No. 8 off Of Montreal’s most recent album, Aldhils Arboretum, is a perfect example of their ornate, slightly melancholy pop explosions. Slow, rumbling power chords build a door. Then vocalist Kevin Barnes kicks it open with a grand, yet wry, declaration over crisp, climbing guitars. “I love to sleep!” Barnes sings, “I love my bed ‘cause it brings strange dreams to me. And life’s much better when I sleep!”

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James William Hindle
Wednesday 09 April @ 12:30:45 (Read: 7909)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

In the battle of depressive singer/songwriters with a knack for melody, chalk up another one for the United Kingdom (already the proud home of the genre’s dark prince, Nick Drake). The Brits have just scored another savagely good goal against the competition in the form of Yorkshire-bred James William Hindle’s sophomore outing and forthcoming summer release, Prospect Park. Hindle’s icy tenor possesses just the right amount of quaver to let the listener know his heart aches beneath his steely exterior, and the laid-back groove of his band injects his early-70s-styled singer-songwriter fare with just a hint of sinister sexuality on tracks like the slinky “Come Down Slowly.”


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Engaging Eight CD Reviews
Wednesday 09 April @ 12:03:21 (Read: 8205)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

Lo-Hi Say It More
The Music [S/T]
Sorry About Dresden Let It Rest
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks Pig Lib
MC Honky I Am The Messiah
Chromatics Chrome Rats vs. Basement Rutz
The Thermals More Parts Per Million
Idlewild The Remote Part


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Les Savy Fav: Hip Hop for Imperfection
Wednesday 02 April @ 12:24:09 (Read: 8253)
Musicby P.J. Morel

It can be difficult to believe, but there was a time when art was so important to people, so central to society in general, that popular reaction to a particular piece of artwork could actually spill into the streets. These days Marilyn Manson can’t get arrested for all his crass shock rock shtick; but back when Stravinsky debuted his “Rite of Spring,” for example, audiences were so outraged by what they heard that they looted the streets of Paris to show their displeasure. The composer had provoked an honest-to-god art riot.

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Bettie Serveert
Wednesday 02 April @ 12:12:51 (Read: 8149)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

I thought I had completely figured out Dutch rock act Bettie Serveert’s sonic battle plan by the time of their third album, 1997’s Dust Bunnies. Like their previous two Matador Records albums, Dust Bunnies presented a no-frills college rock guitar assault, marrying expert ax-man Peter Visser’s highly-charged riffs to the awkward yet soothing croon of front woman Carol Van Dijk (a dead ringer for Liz Phair in the understated vocal execution department). Bettie Serveert belonged in that tenuous realm of good-but-not-great bands, an undeniably talented group, but one who stuck too closely to the indie-rock playbook to leave a lasting impression.


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Scene Creamers
Wednesday 26 March @ 11:08:02 (Read: 9286)
Musicby Tim Carnahan

Emerging from the ashes of the legendary punk, gospel, soul hybrid Make-Up, Washington, D.C.’s Scene Creamers are set to launch some rock bombs at the forces of artistic commodification and conformity.



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Bobby Bare, Jr.
Wednesday 26 March @ 10:56:39 (Read: 8318)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Nashville’s glitzier side has been well documented throughout the years, so it’s easy to imagine Music City as little more than the stomping grounds of soulless songwriting mercenaries and prefab Faith Hill’s—the truth, however, is far different. Existing under the radar are a number of intriguing artists keeping country music’s proud heart beating with a decidedly anti-commercial and maverick attitude. Among that talented group is Bobby Bare Jr., the offspring and namesake of the late-’60s country star. Eschewing the traditional country style one might expect from his background, Bobby Bare Jr. first burst onto the national scene as part of a roaring rock ensemble, releasing two high-octane, deep-fried southern rock albums in the late ’90s on various major label subsidiaries.

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Gingersol
Wednesday 19 March @ 13:28:24 (Read: 8518)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Brooklyn-by-way-of-L.A. band Gingersol are riding high following the national release of their sophomore full-length, The Trainwreck is Behind You. The new collection, out on Rubric Records, is filled with compact, chimey-guitar pop gems peppered with just the right touches (oddball synthesizers, the occasional electric banjo) to keep the compositions left of the mainstream. Recorded over a lengthy stretch of time in guitarist Seth Rothschild’s home studio, Trainwreck is the product of an obviously talented and hard-working band willing to stretch out in many ways, (the riveting title track mini-ballad providing the strongest evidence).

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Wednesday 19 March @ 13:11:39 (Read: 8605)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a post-rock instrumental, multimedia collective from Montreal, Canada. The group was founded in 1994 by guitarist Efrim Menuck and bassist Mauro Denzzente. The band’s moniker was taken from the translation of “Buraku Empororu,” which is the first and least successful film by Japanese director Mitsuo Yanagimachi; it’s a vague, black and white film about a Japanese scooter gang. The minimal and patient peaks and valleys of the group’s compositions are a hypnotic listen on record, but when you combine the sound splices and the films of their visual collaborators during their live show, you will know why this band has generated such a buzz.

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The New Folk iMPLOSION
Wednesday 12 March @ 12:42:58 (Read: 8263)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

When we last checked in with Lou Barlow, somewhere around the time rumors of a quickly pending apocalyptic Y2K bug were reaching a fever pitch, the hyper-prolific songwriter had just tossed out two new and equally compelling albums (Sebadoh’s self-titled final album and the Folk Implosion’s glossy One Part Lullaby). It’s hard to fathom that nearly four years have passed since Barlow opened his wounded heart to the ravages of the fickle indie-listening public.

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‘All you industry giants SIT DOWN!’
Wednesday 12 March @ 12:28:45 (Read: 8418)
MusicLouis Lenzmeier sneaks his way into the Grammys

Ed. Note: when Louis called me about getting press credentials for the Grammys a few weeks ago, I was skeptical. We certainly couldn’t afford to send him, and I couldn’t believe that the corporate juggernaut that is the RIAA would want to give space to a little local ‘zine like ours…but they did! And by a happy accident, Louis said he was going to be in town anyways. So here’s the lowdown on what it’s like to be an outsider at the collective music industry pat-on-the-back that is the Grammys.

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Engaging Eight: CD Reviews
Wednesday 12 March @ 12:26:21 (Read: 10056)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

Kinski Airs Above Your Station
The Long Winters When I Pretend To Fall
Hot Rod Circuit Sorry About Tomorrow
Calla Televise
Arab Strap Monday at the Hug & Pint
Alaska! Emotions
Entrance The Kingdom of Heaven Must Be Taken By Storm
Electric Six Danger! High Voltage (EP)

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Even more CD reviews!
Wednesday 12 March @ 11:24:59 (Read: 8489)
Musicby Paul Dickinson

The Paybacks Knock Loud
Matthew Fox Pilgrim
Atom and his Package Attention Attention Blah, Blah, Blah
Scotty G’s Soul Sonic Revolution Orchestra [Self-titled]

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Calexico: I ve never really been but
Wednesday 05 March @ 13:09:37 (Read: 8654)
Musicby Anne Neujahr

“You’ve heard the term ‘alt. country,’ maybe our music is ‘all countries.’”

On the Mexican side it’s called Mexicali, on the U.S. side it’s Calexico, but really it’s one town split by an international border. Although a political boundary separates the U.S. and Mexico, Calexico, a band that takes its name from the town, knows no borders. Some have lumped Calexico’s music in with the “alternative country” crowd. Other writers have dubbed it “desert noir” or “desert rock,” but Calexico defies generalizations. With a unique fusion of bluesy country, mariachi and jazz, Calexico makes music that traverses genres.

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The Sea and Cake: Seminal Chicago indie rockers return with One Bedroom.
Wednesday 05 March @ 13:06:56 (Read: 8032)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

Shh: don’t tell MTV or commercial radio, but Chicago still has it going on. With bands like The Shipping News, Joan of Arc, 90 Day Men, and of course, The Sea & Cake, Chicago indie is still around, still going strong, still rocking hard and pushing the envelope, despite the recent musical focus on the East Coast.The Sea & Cake, a stalwart of the city’s experimental indie scene, has already produced six pretty and polished albums in its relatively few years of existence. (The band’s getting on close to ten now.) The Sea and Cake have become a force to be reckoned with in the world of indie music, and its members are envied, emulated, and carefully watched.

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Simian & Ladytron
Wednesday 26 February @ 11:46:28 (Read: 11265)
MusicCeleste Tabora previews the rockin'est electro-arty pop dance party of the year, featuring two of the UK's finest.

The UK’s Simian is an excellent hybrid of guitar rock and electronic pop. The sound that this foursome conjures up on their new full-length, We Are Your Friends, is filled with catchy hooks and danceable beats. At the same time, Simian doesn’t sacrifice the experimentation that distinguished their previous release, Chemistry is What We Are. Although the arrangements are rather straightforward, they show just how creative the band can be while working within the strict verse-chorus-verse structure of pop.



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M. Ward: The Magic is in the Mystery
Wednesday 26 February @ 11:38:15 (Read: 8279)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

With all the hype surrounding the current third generation post-punk resurgence sweeping indie rock, one can almost forget that riveting music existed before it was “artfully deconstructed” in the late 1970s. Portland, Ore.-based roots music sage M. Ward provides a staggeringly beautiful reminder of that in the form of his new album, Transfiguration of Vincent. An amalgamation of western-styled instrumentals, bluesy romps, folk elegies and the occasional homage to the sounds of Tin Pan Alley, Transfiguration of Vincent is a stunning achievement. Ward has produced a chameleonic take on American roots music that veers all over the map while never losing focus or collapsing under the weight of its own ambition (thanks in large part to Ward’s stellar guitar chops, the sonic glue that binds each experiment together).

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Rocking the Boat with The Tide
Wednesday 19 February @ 12:38:34 (Read: 8745)
MusicThis hot local foursome gets their fans the old fashioned way

by Donny “Doane do me like that!” Doane

For roughly the last year, I’ve kept my eye on the local quartet known as The Tide. In keeping with the band’s name, the dudes have shown a tendency to drift in and out of my life with a cyclical regularity. Eventually I got a copy of their latest disc, T.V. Is God. After that, I checked out their set at the Turf Club last summer. Needless to say, I’ve been impressed by both the record and their poise when the real %@!#$& flies.

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Jessy Greene s grand conspiracy
Wednesday 12 February @ 15:21:44 (Read: 9039)
Musicby P.J. Morel

What’s central in music? Drum beats, bass lines, a clutch guitar riff; everyone’s got their own theory about what carries the weight of a song, where the emotional center lies. Producers will talk at great length about their theory of song craft, what they think is primary. None of them ever thinks it’s the strings. No: even though strings have been a part of pop music since before the rise of rock ’n’ roll, people invariably treat them as musical garnish. The meat, it would seem, is elsewhere.

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Jeff Hanson: Minneapolis Voice from on High
Wednesday 12 February @ 14:27:23 (Read: 8054)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

With so many struggling musicians in the world its becoming increasingly hard to get noticed, to have that certain listener-captivating quality and leave the rest of the nondescript rock pack in the dust. Minneapolis’ Jeff Hanson has that ‘it’ in the form of his voice, an unbelievably high-pitched instrument showcased throughout his solo debut album, Son. At first listen it can be hard to get past Hanson’s windpipes and focus attention elsewhere, but with further spins it becomes clear that Hanson’s potent folk-pop is far from a one trick pony. “When I think back on all the music I’ve really enjoyed in life, it always had that certain twist to it that made it a little bit different from everything else and more interesting,” explains Hanson, 24, via telephone from his Minneapolis apartment. “I think my voice just makes people more interested initially, a little more open to giving it a listen. From there hopefully they can get into what I’m doing.”

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Engaging Eight: CD Reviews
Wednesday 12 February @ 14:24:34 (Read: 8367)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

1. Pavement “Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe”
2. Atom & His Package “Attention, Blah, Blah, Blah”
3. The Blood Group “Volunteers”
4. The Postal Service “Give Up”
5. Secret Machines “Secret Machines” (EP)
6. Hey Mercedes “The Weekend EP”
7. Calexico “Feast of Wire”
8. Fischerspooner “#1”

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The Coup Begins At Home
Wednesday 05 February @ 14:18:55 (Read: 8629)
Musicby Robert Czernik

Boots Riley is the mouthpiece for the Radical Hip-Hop band The Coup. Since releasing their first album “Kill My Landlord” in 1993, The Coup have carried on the “raptivism” tradition started by groups like KRS-One and Public Enemy. Their newest album, “Party Music” was set to be released on November 6, 2001. It’s full of deeply funky, humane, soulful music. The original cover art was pulled after September 11, because it portrayed Boots and Pam the Funkstress blowing up the World Trade Center. Boots recently talked with me about music, politics and that weird Minnesota phenomenon known as Prince.

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Nad Navillus: Precision Folk-Rock
Wednesday 05 February @ 13:12:42 (Read: 7949)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Technical skills have never been a prerequisite when it comes to making compelling rock music. Some of the greatest bands get by on the “four-chords-and-the-truth” program; conversely, those with the ability to dart dexterously up and down the guitar neck tend to create mind numbing and self-indulgent tunes—usually only enjoyed by other musicians or people on a healthy diet of hallucinogens. Which is why encountering an artist like Chicago’s Dan Sullivan (whose stage name is the cleverly-inverted Nad Navillus) is a nice treat; here’s a man who clearly knows his way around the scales but uses his skills in the service of intriguing and compact folk songs rather than lengthy jam sessions.

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A Whisper in the Noise: Writing and developing until they get it right
Wednesday 05 February @ 12:44:52 (Read: 8118)
Musicby Louis Lenzmeier

The Pulse recently had the opportunity to talk to West Thordson, the soft-spoken lead vocalist of A Whisper In The Noise. The band will be playing this Saturday, February 8 at the Uptown Bar and Café.

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A newcomer on the local music scene serves notice: That's MR. BIGGINS to you
Wednesday 29 January @ 11:23:44 (Read: 9626)
Musicby P.J. Morel

My dad knows a guy who’s in the conversion van business. This guy’s huge, and in more ways than one. First of all he’s one of the largest conversion van dealers in the state of Ohio (and they buy a lot of conversion vans in Ohio.) On top of that, he’s also a middle-aged former football player with a John Madden physique. This enormous man with an enormous personality goes by the endlessly funny name “Big Boy.” Yup, Big Boy: it was his nickname growing up—he was a big boy—and it just sorta seemed to fit. So it stuck. There’s something both charming and a little bit disconcerting about a childhood term of endearment persisting into later life. My dad drops in on this guy for a visit, and his secretary pages him, “Hey, you got a call on line three, Big Boy.”

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The Beatifics: Saving a place for pure melody
Wednesday 29 January @ 11:00:20 (Read: 8464)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

The Twin Cities are blessed with a remarkably diverse local music scene, with great bands that range in style from straightforward and endearing (the Jayhawks) to cheeky and ironic (Har Mar Superstar.) Many local bands place an emphasis on creative and unconventional approaches to songwriting. But while striving for something different is all well and good, sometimes it can be a breath of fresh air to hear straightforward, I-want-to-crank-this-up-in-my-%@!#$&ty-car rock ’n’ roll. Those in need of this sort of musical fix would be hard pressed to find better local talent than the Beatifics.

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Spirit In The Night
Wednesday 29 January @ 10:52:56 (Read: 9643)
MusicTom Hallett Channels Kingdom Of Ghosts' Glen Mattson

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really, it was. Mid-January in Minnesota, after midnight, sub-zero temps, freezing snow drifts, and here I was, walking down University Avenue in St. Paul to meet legendarily wild Glenrustles / Peasants / Katastrophy Wife / Satan On The Loose / Kingdom Of Ghosts co-founder / multi-instrumentalist Glen Mattson. Though I’d favorably reviewed the band’s self-titled, self-released 2001 album, calling it “Iggy-via-Thunders inspired” and “gleefully dark,” I was still a bit trepidacious about meeting this shadowy character in person, especially after he insisted we hook up at the gates of the abandoned State Fair grounds after midnight—“...and don’t bring nobody with you, neither,” he’d growled into the phone. “If I see so much as a glimmer of a headlight, this interview is off!” So I’d reluctantly agreed to his terms, filled a flask with NyQuil and vodka, and bundled up for the long walk.

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Jugbands battle for waffle iron
Wednesday 29 January @ 10:40:46 (Read: 9267)
Musicby Burt Berlowe

Over the past two decades, much has changed on the West Bank of the University of Minnesota campus. What was once a neighborhood of mostly white singles with a radical bent, now is home for the city’s largest and most diverse immigrant population, a growing number of families, and a business community that reflects these changes.

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U.S. Maple
Wednesday 22 January @ 12:36:34 (Read: 8631)
MusicThe “best live band in Chicago” returns with their high-stakes brand of old school showmanship

by Tim Carnahan

U.S. Maple vocalist Al Johnson vividly remembers an instance when the band simply could not rescue their music. Headlining a late 1990s student festival at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, the band worked its way through its elusive musical maze before an unresponsive crowd.

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Josh Ritter
Wednesday 22 January @ 12:28:49 (Read: 8287)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Some of the world’s best pop music was made in an effort to rip off earlier successes, but what separates classy emulation from cheap imitation? It’s hard to say really, but passion has something to do with it. Boston based folk-rock artist Josh Ritter, 26, has me pondering these issues at length thanks to his sophomore album, the immediately familiar—yet still riveting—Golden Age of Radio.

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Super Seven CD Reviews
Wednesday 22 January @ 12:01:56 (Read: 8261)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

You heard it here first, folks: Seven important new albums, a bunch of which have yet to hit the stands. Celeste will keep you in-the-know.

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Likehell: On The Inside
Wednesday 15 January @ 12:40:56 (Read: 10180)
Musicby Brooke Aldridge

It’s been nearly a decade since I first set foot in the Twin Cities. I came looking for music: to learn about the craft, submerge myself in the industry, to experience life as both performer and observer in the T’aj Mahal of the Midwest. I can still recall—as if it were but weeks back—Jonny Lang first being dubbed “Kid” by local papers; pre-Closing Time Semisonic; Flipp before the Kustom endorsements or hip trading cards; Cameron from American Head Charge as a shy, fresh-faced caffeine addict who played music in his spare time; Howard Hamilton working at Lula Vintage while putting together tracks for what would become his debut as The Busy Signals.

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Magic on the Mike
Wednesday 15 January @ 12:27:26 (Read: 8872)
Musicby Chris Clayton of Duece Cities Styles

Dance music is mindless, monotonous, electronic garbage that leads teenagers to abandoned warehouses where they pop happy pills, have unprotected sex, and worship a pagan god called Disc Jockey. Indie Rock is a leather bracelet, a cool used T-shirt/mesh baseball cap and the StrokesVinesHives hopped up on emotional problems enhanced by happy hour. Hip-hop is a Jah Rule guest appearance, a beat by the Neptunes and a Sean John jersey stained with Hennesey and cum—and if I subscribed to any of those popular misconceptions, I would probably be working for a successful record label instead of being poor and attempting to disseminate some truth (oh snap)! But honest writing doesn’t always have to be a product of negativity and blame, so before I beat the “most-pop-music-is-a narrow-minded, genre-creating capitalist-machine” horse to death, I’d like to explore a musical world where all the horses are still alive.

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The Top 22 of 2002
Wednesday 15 January @ 12:03:07 (Read: 10972)
MusicWho can pick just 10? Celeste Tabora runs down the 22 most memorable releases from the year that was 2002



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Interpol
Wednesday 08 January @ 11:45:43 (Read: 9114)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

It’s on everybody’s lips: whether or not you’re a fan, chances are you’ve said the word “Interpol” sometime in the last six months. Drummer Sam Fogarino, Singer/guitarist Paul Banks, Bassist Carlos D., and Guitarist Daniel Kessler rule the dark and moody side of the New York music scene. Blending the Smiths’ swirling and swelling guitars with Ian Curtis-like vocals, bass lines that are as infectious as the Cure’s and stylish hints of Wire and Slowdive, Psychedelic Furs and Bauhaus—well, it’s hard not to fall in love with Interpol.

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Still Standing: Minneapolis musical legends the Jayhawks are a case study in lon
Friday 03 January @ 11:10:09 (Read: 11442)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Over the course of seventeen years and through a rotating cast of many musicians (including the departure of founding member and co-frontman Marc Olson back in 1995), the Jayhawks, arguably Minneapolis’ most consistent purveyors of classic roots-pop melodies, have always stayed relevant. That’s more than can be said for most bands that make it past the decade mark, the majority of groups ‘maturing’ into bland copies of their former selves and inevitably starting to rewrite past glories. Rather than wasting time trying to recreate “Blue” (the band’s sole radio hit back in 1995), lead singer/guitarist Gary Louris, buoyed by other long term core members Marc Perlman (bass) and Tim O’Reagan (drums) have continued to push the boundaries of the Jayhawks sound, while never allowing changes in style to come at the expense of quality songwriting.

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Engaging Eight: CD Reviews
Friday 03 January @ 11:06:43 (Read: 9566)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

1. The Sea & Cake - One Bedroom
2. The Aluminum Group - Happyness
3. Trabant - Moment of Truth
4. Racebannon - Santa's Kickin' Yr Dick In
5. The Boxes - The Boxes
6. Denison Witmer - Philadelphia Songs
7. David Cross - Shut Up You %@!#$&ing Baby
8. Sybarite - Nonument

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Donny Doane wants to spend the night with The Donnas: A CD Review
Thursday 02 January @ 10:53:52 (Read: 6938)
MusicThe last time yours truly kicked it with California party girls The Donnas, I may have been a little rough on them. But hey, I was playing by their own rules—just having a little fun with them, that’s all. I harbored no mean spirit, just the wiseacre’s sense of delight. And nobody got hurt, least of all their careers.

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Unguided Missile
Thursday 26 December @ 17:10:05 (Read: 9856)
Musicby P.J. Morel

“You know, it’s kinda nice being in a band in your 30s, ‘cause now you can afford to be in a band,” muses Sean Williams, drummer for Unguided Missile. His attitude is reflected in his bandmates’ grins. Together they recently completed a CD that they’re proud to call “their first full-length.” Not that they haven’t been out rocking and rolling for a good long time: “When I was in my 20s, I didn’t have any money to put out a CD or buy equipment,” explains Kurt Allis, the band’s singer-songwriter. “It might have been a good thing, too, ‘cause that way all the crappy music didn’t get released.”

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Spotlight Time
Wednesday 18 December @ 10:37:41 (Read: 9137)
MusicLongtime side man Kraig Johnson finally faces front and center with The Program

by Rob van Alstyne

Kraig Johnson should be a familiar name to discerning Twin Cities rock and roll fans. Johnon’s banged out trusty rock in a variety of outfits since the mid—’80s (starting with Run Westy Run and including stints as a Jayhawk, Golden Smogger and presently as the guitarist in Iffy) all the while generally defying the aging process (seriously, how does he still look 25?) and steering clear of the spotlight. All of that is about to change shortly, however, as Johnson has recorded his first solo album and is in the process of shopping it around to labels for release early in 2003.

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Terrific Ten
Wednesday 18 December @ 10:32:12 (Read: 11858)
MusicCD Reviews by Celeste Tabora

1. Hot Hot Heat - Make Up the Breakdown
2. The Notwist - Neon Golden
3. LFTR PLLR - Soft Rock
4. Raised Fist - Dedication
5. The Delgados - Hate
6. Piano Magic - Writers Without Homes
7. V/A - Metamorphosis
8. The Blood Brothers - March On Electric Children
9. Engine Down - Demure
10. Steve Von Till - If I Should Fall to the Field

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Damascus Mile: A Simple Matter of Rock and Roll
Wednesday 11 December @ 11:56:44 (Read: 8997)
Musicby Louis Lenzmeier

Damascus Mile is like many local groups. They are just paying their dues, hoping for something bigger down the road. They are led by their much too-talented lead singer Jaired Johnson. He is accompanied by Chris Kreber on lead guitars, Tina Kordiak on drums, Riche Williamson on bass guitar, and JR Steinbach on keyboards. Steinbach is also the man behind the scenes for the group.

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The High Strung: A Brooklyn band with more craft, less of the usual arts-fartsy
Wednesday 11 December @ 11:51:07 (Read: 8599)
Musicby P.J. Morel

Don ‘t look now, but The High Strung could be the last unsigned band in Brooklyn. They ‘ve been doing this rock’n‘roll thing for a few years now, so you think that someone might have noticed them by now—scooped ‘em up and made a few bucks like they have with their friends and neighbors. That all four of these rough-rocking kids are Detroit born and bred (they even knew hot-%@!#$&-producer Jim Diamond before he was famous!) makes this band’s situation even more confounding. But the icing on the cake, the one that really has my puzzler sore, is the fact that these guys have some serious songwriting talent and a damn fine record in the can.

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Do you know your hip-hop history?
Wednesday 11 December @ 11:19:36 (Read: 9596)
MusicA commentary on Twin Cities Hip Hop Culture by DJ Kool Hanz of Duece City Styles

Hip-Hop in Mpls./St.P. .... where’s it been? Where’s it at? Where’s it going? Well, the answer to all three of those questions is the traditional, “Right here!”

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Martin Devaney's September Girls
Wednesday 04 December @ 11:17:12 (Read: 9089)
Musicby Tom Hallett

At first glance, you probably wouldn’t figure 22-year-old local singer/songwriter Martin Devaney for the kind of guy who’s juggling three or four separate (but equally complicated) on-and-off romantic relationships inside his head. An affable, endearingly humble fellow with a quick grin and a quicker wit, Devaney seems more like the kid who’d marry his high school sweetheart and eventually celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary with that same woman. And actually, he’s quick to point out that would’ve been just fine with him. Of course, if Martin’s love life was anything close to stable, we’d be missing out on some of the most insightful, fragile, downright shimmering little pop ballads to come out in the past few years.

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Scarlet's Walk - A Live Review: Tori Amos at Northrop 10/29/02
Wednesday 04 December @ 11:07:04 (Read: 8563)
Musicby Erin Anderson

Last year’s Strange Little Girls tour marked Tori Amos’ 10-year anniversary as a critically acclaimed cult performer who has gracefully weathered the music biz and somehow emerged a better artist in spite of it. To celebrate, Amos honored her fans by touring with just her piano—which is what she’s always done best, despite a slew of talented band mates and carefully crafted arrangements.

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Remembering Dave Ray
Wednesday 04 December @ 11:00:22 (Read: 8236)
Musicby Ed Felien & Dick Houff

So many people have already said such nice things about Dave Ray that you almost forget he had a wicked and salty sense of humor. And you could easily be the target if you were anywhere near.

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Sweet 16 CD Reviews
Wednesday 27 November @ 10:36:48 (Read: 8683)
MusicMedia Astronomer Celeste Tabora rockets through HOT HOT HOT new releases!

1. 30 Seconds To Mars - S/T
2. 2. Blue States - “Man Mountain”
3. The Walkmen - “Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone”
4. Death Cab For Cutie - “You Can Play These Songs With Chords”
5. Fat Boy Slim & Midfield General - “Big Beach Boutique II”
6. His Name Is Alive - “Last Night”
7. Homunculus - “Words”
8. I Am Spoonbender- “Shown Actual Size EP”
9. Sigur Ros - “( )”
10. Transplants - “S/T”
11. Owen - “No Good For No One Now”
12.Yeah Yeah Yeahs - “Machine” EP
13.The Sights - “Got What We Want”
14. Her Space Holiday - “Audio Astronomy”
15. Cave In - “Tides of Tomorrow EP”
16. Yo La Tengo - “Nuclear War” EP



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Rhombus: The Shape of Things to Come
Wednesday 20 November @ 10:09:57 (Read: 9284)
Musicby P.J. Morel

All right kids, time for today’s geometry lesson: a rhombus is a figure composed of four sides of equal length in which each of the opposite sides is parallel. This generally results in a pair of acute angles and a corresponding pair of obtuse angles, but as each pair of opposite vertical angles converges towards 90 degrees, the result is the special case of a completely orthogonal equilateral quadrilateral. In conclusion then (and to wit): a rhombus is kinda square, but it ain’t.

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Owen: Magical Bedroom Pop
Wednesday 20 November @ 09:57:33 (Read: 8121)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

The marvels of modern technology surround us in the form of wireless communications, ever cooler video game time wasters and flashy move special effects; but it’s only on rare occasions that one takes the time to stop and reflect on just what cool things gadgets can do. It takes something as transcendently beautiful as Owen’s No Good for No One Now—an album recorded in approximately a month using a Macintosh in the performers mom’s house—to remind me just how great things like microchips really are.

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All the Latest CD Reviews
Wednesday 20 November @ 09:32:45 (Read: 9073)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
Low - Trust
Pele - Enemies
Porcupine Tree - In Absentia
Negativland - Death Sentence of the Polished and Structurally Weak
Virgil Shaw - Still Feeling


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CMJ '02: Rock N Roll NYC
Wednesday 13 November @ 10:57:49 (Read: 10282)
Musicby Celeste Tabora & Paul Morel

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be immersed in the near-future of music? Even if just for a few days? Have you been faced with wanting to know what other bands are up to, but find yourself being too busy with your own band’s career to check anything out? The annual College Music Journal New Music Marathon—a.k.a. CMJ—held every fall in New York, is a good opportunity to answer your questions and solve these predicaments.

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Back on the road with the Dismemberment Plan
Wednesday 13 November @ 10:30:18 (Read: 8671)
Musicby PJ Morel

All right, I admit it. I just wanted to interview the Dismemberment Plan. They have a new album in the works, but it’s a ways away from being done. Their last album came out a year ago, and they’ve already been to town twice. But I did get the chance to pick singer Trevor Morrison’s brain on a number of topics, and hear about an intriguing new project for the band. Besides—if you missed the Plan before, that’s all the more reason to go now. Go now! The material on Change and their previous effort Emergency and I still sounds fresh and forward-thinking, and the Plan puts on a fantastic live show. And who knows?—maybe you’ll be inspired to make your own contribution to the band’s oeuvre, because the Plan has a fan-produced remix CD in the works.

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Ed Gein Fan Club: I Was A Punk Before You Were Born
Wednesday 06 November @ 09:49:52 (Read: 9791)
Musicby Chelsea40oz

When Ed Gein died of respiratory failure in July of 1984, a bored suburban punk rocker named Ollie Stench commemorated the event by writing “Ed Gein Fan Club” on a T-shirt with a permanent marker. Later, when that same sense of ennui led young Ollie to form his first punk rock band, they had a ready-made name. The ’80s origins come through loud and clear in the snotty, irreverent music of Ed Gein Fan Club. Some of the lyrics have dealt with the “third death of skateboarding,” the religious right, and contempt for Hessians. Although the band members remain modest—almost to the point of self-deprecation—about their musical skills, their sloppy and poppy sound is actually quite appealing, and their onstage shenanigans are downright entertaining. Although the band has admittedly been a little slow leaving the gate, 2002 sees Ed Gein Fan Club winning a growing following among Twin Cities audiences. This interview was conducted with Ollie Stench (founding member, original vocalist and bassist) and John 3:16 (guitarist) by Chelsea 40oz. Drummer “yermom” was not present.

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The Black Heart Procession
Wednesday 06 November @ 09:35:33 (Read: 8513)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

Watching the overly-excited hosts of MTV’s “Spankin’ New Music Week” makes me glad to tell you that there are bands out there that counteract the sugary-sweet confections of commercial radio or TV. One of the best examples of such a group is Black Heart Procession. I don’t think any one of those caffeinated MTV hosts could properly introduce this band in their usual shouting, wide-eyed way. No, this band needs someone with an air of dignity and poise to give them an intro…
Upon the breakup of their previous avant-garde project, Three Mile Pilot, in 1997, Pall A. Jenkins and Tobias Nathaniel hung around to start a new band. The duo recruited Mario Rubalcaba of Clickitat Ikatowi and Rocket from the Crypt’s Jason Crane as studio percussionists. They called the resulting group Black Heart Procession. Caustic Resin drummer Joe Plumer, and an already-occasional-collaborator, keyboardist Dimitri “Roman” Deswiski, joined BHP’s ranks for tours in the South and on the East Coast.

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Twin Cities CMJ Preview
Tuesday 29 October @ 17:19:41 (Read: 7679)
MusicThe annual indie hulabaloo that is CMJ takes place this week in New York, and Pulse thought it would take the opportunity to check in with some local acts who will be traveling to the Big Apple for the occasion. It goes to show that, as large and diverse as the indie rock universe can be, one event can mean very different things to different acts. In case you haven't heard, Har Mar Superstar has been blowin' up—for him, CMJ could be the venue for some major mass-media exposure. On the other hand, CMJ is a rare early opportunity for Tora! Tora! Torance! t o get some play: the band is just starting to get established locally and regionally. And Walker Kong is really a bit of a dormant veteran act, back again in fighting trim for their CMJ set. Here's what we heard from each of them.

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Future Bible Heroes: Synth-pop Vampires Suck Minneapolis’ Blood
Tuesday 29 October @ 17:08:07 (Read: 9924)
Musicby Patrick Smith

“Eternal Youth,” the gift and curse of the vampire’s kiss also happens to be the title of Future Bible Heroes second and latest album. It offers music by Christopher Ewen with Stephin Merritt and Claudia Gonson of The Magnetic Fields writing the lyrics and singing. Whereas Memories of Love, the Future Bible Heroes’ first album, sounded like a collection of songs, Eternal Youth maintains a continuity throughout the entire record and still does a fair job making each song sound distinct.

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Brad: Soulful good times from Seattle
Tuesday 29 October @ 16:48:35 (Read: 8272)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Soul music rarely comes to mind when enumerating the state of Washington’s musical past (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, the “grunge” legacy) or present (Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse). Which is what makes the sudden reappearance of Seattle’s shamelessly funky Brad, after a five-year hiatus, all the more refreshing. Led by singer / pianist / guitarist Shawn Smith and Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, it would be tempting to label Brad a “side project” band. An easy mistake—but a mistake nonetheless, as side projects rarely stay together for a decade at a time, and there are no traces of gimmickry evident in Brad’s highly organic sound. The potent blend of ’70s hard rock and R&B influences on display throughout the group’s third LP, Welcome to Discovery Park, is worlds removed from Pearl Jam’s anthemic, Who-inspired rock sound, despite Gossard’s pivotal role in both groups.

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St. Thomas: The Last Cowboy in Norway?
Wednesday 23 October @ 10:38:23 (Read: 8851)
Musicby Rob van Alsytne

Norway conjures up a lot of different images in the mind’s eye of the average American, but few would think to connect it with wide-open prairies and rustic folk. That is, at least not until the arrival of Norway’s pride and joy, St. Thomas, onto American indie-rock’s musical shores. Led by former postman-turned-balladeer Thomas Hansen, St. Thomas’ debut, I’m Coming Home, is yet another instance of outsiders providing a more compelling take on the (quickly tiring) Americana genre than their native counterparts.

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A few words with TVBC
Wednesday 23 October @ 10:18:56 (Read: 8195)
Musicby Holly Day

When art-rock band TVBC came out of their nine-year retirement last February, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this trio still had an audience. Packing the smoked-filled confines of the Turf Club with over 500 people, it was more than obvious that TVBC still had a huge local fan base to cater to. The trio of Paul Metzger on guitar, Freddy Votel on drums, and Scott Evans (replacing Pat Dzieweczynski) on bass, this largely instrumental art-rock band combines odd chord progressions and time signatures with raw energy and a garage band aesthetic.

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Roger McGuinn
Wednesday 23 October @ 09:40:41 (Read: 9043)
Musicby P.J. Morel

Roger McGuinn has achieved an odd sort of fame. He’s a guitar hero who’s rarely played solos. He’s also a brilliant songwriter, though his fame was eclipsed by that of his fellow band members. Perhaps most remarkably, in the mid ’60s McGuinn helped create one of the defining sounds of 20th pop music, though no one seems to have known it till the ’80s. For over 40 years now, the man and his jangly 12-string guitar sound have been a powerful stealth influence in the world of pop music.

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Stereo Totale
Wednesday 16 October @ 10:32:09 (Read: 8708)
Musicby Holly Day

Berlin-based Stereo Total makes the world feel incredibly and wonderfully small, bringing musical influences and languages from all over the world together in wonderfully tight little albums. While their eponymous U.S. debut was goofy and playful and verging on karaoke music, their newest album, Musique Automatique, is so suave and cool that just listening to it makes you want to wear pink Naugehide and smoke skinny cigarettes. Chanteuse Francoise Cactus’ voice is both sultry and geeky-innocent at the same time. She’s backed by an assortment of strange instrument samples and keyboards, electric guitars and disco beats, which provide a perfect accompaniment to the seven or eight languages she sings in. The very male side of Stereo Total, Brezel Göring, is just as paradoxically geeky and sexy. His deep voice is thick with a German accent, with lots of rolling “r”s and baritone grumbles. During live shows he lumbers around stage, his long arms and legs flailing about, trying desperately not to destroy anything over the course of their exhaustive sets.

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Moutain Goats: Redefining
Wednesday 16 October @ 10:13:52 (Read: 8343)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Jon Darnielle (aka the Mt. Goats) has got to be one of the more eccentric figures on the general freak show scene of independent folk rock artistry. For nearly a decade, Darnielle has cranked out a steady flow of lo-fi releases straight from the heart of Iowa; albums that have gotten by on little more than the hum of his cheap recording equipment, his overly nasal voice, and rudimentary guitar strumming skills. So, why do the Mt. Goats have a cult following big enough that three CD’s of compilation material were issued earlier this year? Darnielle’s music, simply put, is far more than the sum of its individual parts. Favoring a musical aesthetic completely devoid of sophistication, Darnielle saves it for his wordplay, whose deft characterizations and striking images are on par with a quality modern novelist.

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Kid Dakota: So Pretty
Wednesday 16 October @ 10:10:55 (Read: 9918)
Musicby P.J. Morel

Kid Dakota, the ongoing collaboration between local mainstays Darren Jackson, Chris McGuire, and producer Alex Oana, is back this week with a new album. Sorta. Of the eight tracks on So Pretty, being released on Low’s Chairkickers’ Music label, only three are new. They augment the five tracks that were previously released two years ago as the So Pretty EP; but they bring the total running time to over 46 minutes. Indeed, the newcomers are fairly epic compositions. They make for a good excuse to explore the guts of a very clever and original recording.

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12Rods: Rock Out of Bounds
Wednesday 09 October @ 11:16:21 (Read: 8708)
Musicby P.J. Morel

These are dark days for the word “progressive,” no less in music than in politics. Granted, “prog” rock has been about as cool as Dungeons and Dragons for about as long, but the current crop of garage rock revivalists have sent the stock of even modestly complex rock bands plummeting. Skill is out, production is out—even pop auteurism is getting the cold shoulder from the indie kids wearing vintage denim. In this deeply suspicious musical climate, 12Rods is releasing its highly anticipated third album, Lost Time, like a baby in the bull rushes. There’s no telling where this little fella might go: it’s got an awful lot of starch and character, but heaven knows it won’t be getting an easy start in the world.

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Northern Soul: Giljunko Gets their Rocks off in Duluth
Wednesday 09 October @ 10:25:03 (Read: 6519)
MusicDonny Doane takes a look at two recent offerings from a group of Duluth musicians: Giljunko’s The Accomodator, and Glijunko frontman Mark Lindquist’s solo effort, Evil Says “Eight Ball In The Side Pocket,” both on Shaky Ray records.

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The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up: Awkward Name, Awkward Sound
Wednesday 09 October @ 10:02:30 (Read: 8268)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Despite a housing shortage that would make the Twin Cities current situation look idyllic, San Francisco has continually managed to churn out great bands. The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up, a five piece band heavy on guitar splendor and emotive vocals, appear to be next in line for the highly coveted “great Bay area band” title based on the strength of their sophomore stunner Homemade Drugs. Or they would have anyway, if lead singer Paul Gonzenbach hadn’t decided to relocate to a farm outside of Portland, Ore., shortly after the making of his band’s record.

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Bruce!
Wednesday 09 October @ 09:26:31 (Read: 8810)
Musicby Jonathan Miller

On Mon., Sept. 30 there was one man in charge of Xcel Energy Center—The Boss.

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Under the Influence: David Bowie's Effect on the Twin Cities and Beyond
Wednesday 02 October @ 10:34:46 (Read: 9862)
Musicby Brooke Aldridge
assisted by Steve Hanson


Standing at The Lab nightclub in downtown St. Paul the Saturday before last, a single tear—unashamed—slipped down my right cheek. After 27 years of living as well as breathing music, I finally came to comprehend how absolutely it connects us all. Six weeks earlier, I’d embarked upon a trip to Chicago to see David Bowie play the Area2 festival at Tweeter Center. There, against the grand backdrop of a slowly sinking sunset, this smartly dressed gentleman pulled me into a wonderfully imaginative world and held me fast. As Bowie stylishly chauffeured his audience through three decades of songs, his influence on modern music became not only apparent, but undeniable. Even more striking, perhaps, was realizing his effect on the live music scene of two semi-obscure Midwest American towns: Minneapolis/St. Paul.

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Alex Oana: Back on top again
Wednesday 02 October @ 10:20:04 (Read: 8357)
Musicby Louis Lenzmeier

Alex Oana has won another award. Recently, the guy who’s worked with everyone from the Honeydogs to Kid Dakota to Spymob was named Producer of the Year at the 2002 Minnesota Music Awards for the second consecutive year.

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Sweet 16 CD Reviews
Wednesday 02 October @ 10:04:21 (Read: 8564)
MusicMedia Astronomer Celeste Tabora rockets through HOT HOT new Releases!

1. Apples In Stereo - Velocity of Sound
2. Ash - Free All Angels
3. Hot Water Music - Caution
4. Jets to Brazil - Perfecting Loneliness
5. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Plastic Fang
6. Karate - Some Boots
7. Matt Pond PA - The Nature of Maps
8. No Knife - Riot For Romance
9. Pulp - We Love Life
10. Q And Not U - Different
11. Rile Kiley - The Execution of All Things
12. Sonic Youth - Murray Street
13. Spoon - Kill The Moonlight
14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - S/T
15. Woodbine - S/T
16. Waxwing - Nobody Can Take What Everybody Owns

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Pop Cycle: Songs in the Key of D Minus
Wednesday 02 October @ 09:48:47 (Read: 8198)
Musicby Donny Doane

Summer camp blew this year. In general it wasn’t much to write home about, but since I didn’t send one letter home from camp, I may as well send one from here. After all, no matter where I am when I send a letter, it’s always to wherever I’m not. And that would be home. So here it comes, and there it goes. From wherever, to wherever.

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The Suburbs: At Long Last, the 'Burbs Return to the Cities
Wednesday 25 September @ 10:46:13 (Read: 10764)
Musicby Louis Lenzmeier

The Suburbs made quite a splash in the Twin Cities music scene in the era of slick suits and spikey hair. Sporting a raucous, danceable sound, The ‘Burbs kept the dance floor at First Ave. jumping, and became a local sensation. Although they released four albums on major labels like Universal and A&M, the band never made it big nationally, and the master tapes for their ’80s recordings have languished in record company vaults.

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Zombie Love
Wednesday 25 September @ 10:38:49 (Read: 8541)
MusicTom Hallett talks to Rod Argent and Colin Bluntstone of the seminal '60s pop band The Zombies

So I was talkin’ to The Zombies keyboardist/songwriter/co-founder Rod Argent (who formed the band, along with singer Colin Blunstone, bassist/songwriter Chris White, drummer Hugh Grundy, and guitarist Paul Atkinson, around 1962) the other day, an’ I sez, “Rod,” I sez, “I knew you was an Elvis fan the minute I heard the line, “My hands are shakin’ and my knees are weak...” in your new song, “Helpless.” He busted up, man. “Yeah,” he concurred, after his eyes had stopped watering. “You’re right, mate. It was Elvis who got me into rock ’n’ roll in the first place.” While we waited like streetcorner hooligans for his old bandmate and current touring partner Blunstone to arrive, he regaled me with fascinating tales of yore in a gruff, working-class English accent.

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Gomez: The New British Invasion?
Wednesday 25 September @ 10:31:15 (Read: 8117)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that, in American popular music, critical praise and commercial viability rarely coincide (Wilco and a few other notable exceptions not withstanding). Things aren’t quite so dire overseas, however, as attested by the sheer volume of quality pop music criticism England manages to support. Gomez, longtime critical favorites and surprisingly successful album sellers since their 1998 debut Bring it On won the coveted Mercury Prize for England’s best album, provide the perfect example of the Brits willingness to forego convention in their record-buying tastes. Led by three talented singer/guitarists (Ben Ottewell, Tom Gray and Ian Ball) with widely varying styles, the band’s sound is an amalgam of psychedelia, white boy blues and dubbed out beats that sounds like virtually no other group.

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Growing Pains
Wednesday 18 September @ 10:20:01 (Read: 9070)
MusicHas the expansion of the Minnesota Music Awards hurt the show or helped sustain it?

by Holly Day

Since 1985, the Minnesota Music Academy has been serving the music community in the Twin Cities and beyond. Or, at least, it has tried. Built solely on the efforts of volunteers and operating on a shoestring budget, the MMA has made a genuine effort to bring all facets of the music community into its fold, including fans, DJs, business interests and the youth population. However, it may be because of these very efforts that the MMA has lost much of the respect it once had within the very music community it’s been trying to serve—by stretching itself so thin and spending so much time trying to figure out exactly what it’s here for, the MMA has all but disappeared from the local music scene. The annual awards show, ordinarily scheduled for May, was pushed back until September, while other MMA regular music events, including the Icebreaker series and the Minnesota Musicians Do Minnesota Music shows, were cancelled entirely. With the Awards show date finally set for the 18th, and in a brand, spankin’ new setting, it seems as though the MMA is finally getting back on track. Fifteen bands are scheduled to perform at the ceremony, including Flipp, Basement Apartment, and the Honeydog’s Adam Levy.

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RJD2: The Revenge of RJD2
Wednesday 18 September @ 10:14:38 (Read: 6398)
Musicby Jerah and the DEuCE Cities STYLES crew

If you’ve heard him, then you know the deal. If, like me, you only “heard of” him, then it’s time to find his newest solo release, Dead Ringer. If you haven’t been too sure about buying hip-hop DJ mixes in the past, this is a perfect entry point. While it’s incredibly layered, it manages to be seamless, and maintains a simplicity that invites audiophiles of any style. After listening to it, I was so intrigued by the samples and soundscapes that I had to talk to this guy. This is what he had to say.

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Tim Easton: Traditional Folk Rock for Now People
Wednesday 18 September @ 10:02:30 (Read: 8227)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Hybrid genres are always an interesting proposition. What validity do silly tags like “electro-clash,” “trip-hop” or “alt-country” really have in terms of describing music? Arguably none, but they do provide convenient marketing labels for the record industry and therefore continue to flourish. Alt-country provides a particularly troubling example. Apparently in the age of Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks and other white pop/disco country, anyone packing an acoustic guitar and some authentic twang is operating in “alternative” terrain.

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Wire: Let Your Pink Flag Fly
Wednesday 11 September @ 13:25:01 (Read: 8225)
Musicby Holly Day

Wire was arguably one of the most influential “art-rock” bands to come out of England in the late ‘70s, surprising (and even losing) listeners again and again with their determination to not belong to any defined style of music. The band created albums that sounded wholly unlike the one that came before, their music touching on such disparate styles as punk rock, electronica and goth. As soloists, their individual projects have further included songwriter-heavy pop and even DJ music.

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John Vanderslice: Living in a Headphone World
Wednesday 11 September @ 13:21:26 (Read: 8212)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Recording tech geeks and interesting rock songwriters tend to be mutually exclusive groups. Just because a person knows their way around mixing boards and amps doesn’t necessarily mean they can write a song of any merit. Bay Area bleep-blip pop auteur John Vanderslice, however, demonstrates both technological know how and stunning songwriting smarts on his latest long player, the ambitious Life and Death of an American Four Tracker. Arguably best known for his role as the proprietor of San Francisco indie recording studio Tiny Telephone, Vanderslice has clearly utilized the luxury of his day job’s location to the fullest, resulting in an impeccably crafted and studio-intensive work.

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Tool at Xcel Energy Center 09.04.02
Wednesday 11 September @ 09:49:17 (Read: 9234)
Musicby Nicolas Buron

September 4th: a day thousands of Minnesotans had circled on their calendars, not as a birthday or a holiday, but for a concert. Personally, my calendar says “Tool!!!” on the 4th, in big red letters that spill over to the 5th.

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The Rakes: Pass The Lies
Wednesday 04 September @ 11:04:56 (Read: 11537)
Musicby Tom Hallett

It’s closing time at St. Paul’s Turf Club, and local pop/rock outlaws The Rakes have just poured themselves offstage following a blistering run-through of tunes from their two self-released albums, 1999’s Wood And Wire, and this year’s Pass the Lies. As singer/songwriter/guitarist Aaron Pruitt, guitarist Steve Dupuis, and bassist Jon Sawyer greet well-wishers and top off their drinks, fresh-faced young drummer Brian Mondl leans back against the bar, wipes a sheen of sweat off of his round, smooth-shaved head and grins.

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French Kicks: Not Just Another Band from New York
Wednesday 04 September @ 10:53:41 (Read: 8428)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

When I told a friend of mine recently that I was writing an article about New York’s French Kicks, he sounded curious. I proceeded to give him the facts about the band: (Drummer/vocalist) Nick Stumpf and Matt Stinchcomb (guitar and vocals) have played together since middle school in Washington D.C.; but it was after attending Oberlin College in Ohio that they relocated to Brooklyn, with friend (and original French Kicks bass player) Jamie Krents. They launched French Kicks in 1998 after meeting Alabama native Josh Wise, who plays keyboards and guitar. Following the release of their self-titled debut EP and the follow-up, Young Lawyer, they went on the road for several months with Nick’s brother Lawrence Stumpf replacing Jamie on bass.

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The Flaming Lips: Battling Pink Robots
Wednesday 28 August @ 10:15:13 (Read: 8362)
Musicby Holly Day

Nobody has more fun putting records together than The Flaming Lips. Over the past 20 years, the band—composed formally of Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins, and Steven Drozd since 1993, with Coyne and Ivins together since 1983—have managed to release some of the strangest, most experimental, and comedic albums on the Warner Brothers label. They’ve somehow managed to stay on the major recording label despite such bizarre works as 1997’sZaireka, which required the listener to play four CDs simultaneously in order to truly experience the recording.

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Mile Marker: The Joys of Being Self-Sufficient
Wednesday 28 August @ 10:11:31 (Read: 8407)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

This Chapel Hill-to-Chicago indie art-rock group, formed in 1997, likes to burn the candle at both ends. Their reputation as an “art fag” band reached its peak at a performance where all the audience could see was a TV projecting the word “entertainment” while the band played behind a screen. (Two-thirds of the audience requested a refund.) Since their inception the lineup has never been very solid, but this is not an example of a flighty band.

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Taj Mahal
Wednesday 28 August @ 10:02:14 (Read: 8492)
Musicby Andrew Ewell

For nearly forty years Taj Mahal has been considered by critics and musicians to be one of the greatest living links to the blues tradition. In the late 1960s, when artists like Paul Butterfield and Eric Clapton helped popularize post-war era Chicago blues by performing the songs of urban bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, Taj Mahal took a different route. Paying tribute to musicians like Mississippi John Hurt and Sleepy John Estes, Taj Mahal soon became the most respected and popular heir to the country blues tradition. But when he takes the stage with his band this Sunday at the Minnesota Zoo, it will not be as an aging bluesman recapturing his past, as an anachronistic troubadour from the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta, or as a nostalgia-peddler of any sort. Taj Mahal’s music is at once traditional and progressive, and he manages to pay homage, on album and in performance, to his predecessors while simultaneously expanding the range of what we call ‘the blues.’

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Pickin’ The Scabs And Lettin’ It Flow: 10W40 Gets Lubricious
Wednesday 28 August @ 09:59:18 (Read: 8782)
Musicby Donny Doane,

“We’re not a roots band anymore,” says 10W40 honcho James “Scab” Edlund. This isn’t the first time he’s made that assertion about one of his outfits, and it probably won’t be the last. Roots are a good beginning, but growth requires branching out, and sometimes, going out on a limb. “Doll House,” the opening cut on their new CD Food, Drink, Speed and Mathematics, does just that. Somewhere in the uppermost branches of the tree, it ranks as the most atypical 10W40 tune yet.

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Tommy Keane: Pop for the Ages
Wednesday 21 August @ 10:18:24 (Read: 9156)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

The annals of rock history are filled with countless disaster stories of bands and artists who seemed on the cusp of great commercial success only to have it all go terribly wrong. After hearing the eight hundredth ‘almost famous’ tale connected to an obscure artist, it’s easy to become desensitized to the ‘should have been a star’ tag. Then one hears an artist like Tommy Keene, forty-something creator of some of the most instantly accessible and chart-worthy pop/rock of the last twenty years—not that you’ve ever had the chance to hear it on the radio.

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Sweet 16: Celeste Tabora blasts through 16 HOT HOT HOT new releases!
Wednesday 21 August @ 09:58:27 (Read: 8821)
MusicCD reviews by Celeste Tabora

1) Seldom - Romance
2) Various Artists - How We Rock
3) Guttermouth - Gusto
4) Vex REd - Start With A Strong and Persistent Desire
5) Matt Keating - Tiltawhirl
6) Mudhoney - Since We've Become Translucent
7) Tegan And Sara - If It Was You
8) Tara Jane O'Neill - TJO TKO
9) The Bangs - Call + Response EP
10) Tommy Keene - The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down
11) Wavuenfold - 3FOLD a compilation of three EPs
12) Liars - They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top
13) Blood Brothers - March On Electric Children
14) Sing Sing - The Joy Of
15) Melochrome - This Is Motion
16) Woodbine - S/T

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The Elements of Hip Hop Style
Wednesday 14 August @ 09:18:59 (Read: 9810)
MusicThe Emcee and the DJ Element

by Jeb Middlebrook


Hip-Hop has proven itself as a music that moves people: to sing, to dance, to rap. But can it move society? On a local level, can it move the Twin Cities? A current movement, Hip-Hop organizing, makes explicit the political struggle in the musical culture and translates rhymes into speeches and dances into marches.

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Elvis For Sale!
Wednesday 14 August @ 09:09:04 (Read: 9394)
MusicOr, Heaven Was An Answer To A Prayer


Earth celebrates the 25th anniversary of The King’s death


by Tom Hallett


“Man, I was tame compared to what they do now. Are you kidding? I didn’t do anything but jiggle.”
—Elvis Presley, 1972



“Before Elvis, there was nothing.”

—John Lennon

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Enon: Rock by any other name...
Wednesday 14 August @ 09:04:59 (Read: 8612)
Musicby Celeste Tabora


Billy Joel once sang, “It’s only rock n’ roll to me”—but what would he say to Enon, who insist that they not a rock and roll band? I would hope that The Piano Man would talk sense into Matt Schulz, Toko Yasuda, and John Schmersal, because they do the rock n’ roll thing better than the majority of bands who proudly wear the RNR title.

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Deuce Cities Styles Checkin' Fab 5 Freddy at the Walker
Wednesday 07 August @ 10:08:25 (Read: 8551)
Musicby Jerah, Locks & Kool Hanz

Entering the Walker was different this time. It seemed like we had just entered a new club that had been built to feel like a school gymnasium, and hip-hop was about to take the court. Recognizable local talent was beat boxin’ on the stairs. Crowds of break dancers cheered and marched through the halls. Graffiti writers searched for artists to sign their black books. It was opening night For One Planet under a Groove and everybody who could afford the $14 cover turned up. Not too bad, considering you could chill with Fab 5 Freddy while listening to maybe the most-slept-on DJ of his caliber, Peanut Butter Wolf.

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Jay Bennett Enters the Spotlight: Ex-Wilco sideman shows he has his fair share o
Wednesday 07 August @ 09:55:23 (Read: 8415)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

With the absurdly large amount of press that Wilco’s finally-released Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has been garnering, the absence of their lead guitarist/studio wizard Jay Bennett is all the more glaring. Bennett was unceremoniously booted from the group shortly after the completion of the album for which he co-wrote eight of the eleven songs, purportedly due to disagreements during the mixing process of the record. For longtime Wilco fans his departure was a difficult shock to overcome, many having pegged him as the prime force behind the groups evolution from Tom Petty’s lovable stoner cousins to masterful psych-pop practitioners during his nearly seven-year tenure with the group. Fortunately Bennett has moved on with a new recording project, a collaborative effort with longtime friend and fellow songwriter Edward Burch, who ended up releasing their debut on the same day as Wilco’s long-delayed opus. Even more amazingly, the album is nearly as compelling.

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Droplift? Can We Call Mix-N-Matchers Music Artists?
Wednesday 07 August @ 09:28:17 (Read: 8386)
Musicby Louis Lenzmeier

I have to admit I am a fan of customization. I love to open something up and mess around with it to see what the end result will be. There are some people in the music industry who share the same sentiment.

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All the Latest Plastic: CD Reviews
Wednesday 31 July @ 11:09:43 (Read: 8902)
Music by Paul Dickinson

Valender
Danny Commando Y Los Guapos
Someday I
TVBC

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Josh Rouse: Quality Happy Music
Wednesday 31 July @ 11:04:09 (Read: 8611)
Musicby Rob Van Alstyne

Josh Rouse plays what I like to call “adult” rock music. No, I’m not referring to the horrific images of Michael Bolton and Celine Dion that I may have inadvertently conjured in your head, but rather the laid-back mature songwriting of artists like Ron Sexsmith and Freedy Johnston. Like those artists, Rouse acknowledges the possibility of crafting quality rock without channeling played-out themes of adolescent angst. His third full-length, Under Cold Blue Stars, rocks sedately and smoothly, hitting its stride devoid of power chords but buoyed by a sexy groove. The musicianship and production are tight throughout, with bright keyboard and drum loops serving to augment the traditional electric rock lineup. Elegant touches of cello and trumpet also serve to heighten the relaxed musical atmosphere. The result is far from standard singer / songwriter fare. “I wish I would have recorded in the beginning under a band name like Sparklehorse did,” says Rouse. “I just couldn’t think of a name I wanted to have follow me for years. My records always sound more like a band to me than some singer/songwriter thing. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing musicians and definitely make an attempt to have it sound like a band versus just a bunch of musicians backing me up as the center of attention.”

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Sweet Sixteen!
Wednesday 24 July @ 11:44:51 (Read: 8990)
MusicCeleste Tabora blasts through 16 HOT HOT HOT new releases!


1 Pere Ubu “St. Arkansas”

(Spin Art)

Sometimes weird is good. Like Tom Waits, or Ween. Sometimes weird is just weird. Like Weird Al and Pere Ubu. It’s like, you know it’s weird – but you just can’t get inside it. You just want to nod in acknowledgement of it’s strangeness and then walk briskly in the other direction. It’s tribal, the vocals remind me of Mr. Waits, but it’s just too ‘out there’ or maybe not ‘out there’ enough…



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Dave Pirner: A Record to Call His Own
Wednesday 24 July @ 11:43:44 (Read: 8696)
Musicby Chris Hegeholz

Leaving his band at home for the first time ever, Soul Asylum lead singer, songwriter and musician Dave Pirner will release his debut solo album, Faces and Names, July 30. He then takes off on a short, 13-city tour to support the record. Beginning in Columbus, OH on July 27, it will wrap up just three weeks later on August 14th in Denver, CO. Hardcore Soul Asylum fans need not fear the implications of Pirner’s solo work, however: the band has been working in the studio, and has already laid down several tracks for their next release due out in 2003. They are currently shopping around for a new label.


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Taking a Stand for Innovation
Wednesday 24 July @ 09:41:16 (Read: 6813)
MusicAmerican Analog Set and Her Space Holiday play outside traditional rock boundaries

by Rob van Alstyne
Given the near deafening amount of attention surrounding garage-oriented rock these days, from the bluesy racket of the White Stripes to Nirvana-in-waiting Aussie upstarts the Vines, one might be tempted to believe that raw rock ‘n’ roll is the only style worth paying attention to anymore. Fortunately a double shot of innovative music devoid of any stylistic straitjacket is about to roll in through town and shatter any of those misperceptions.

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The Possibilities: Coming In Waves
Wednesday 17 July @ 11:44:49 (Read: 7849)
Musicby Tom Hallett

“We were listening to The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the Smile sessions when we were 16 years old—riding around mowing the grass in the summer,” says Bob Spires, 26-year-old bassist/singer/songwriter for Athens, Georgia pop-rockers The Possibilities. One listen to their 2002 Parasol Records release, Way Out, is enough to make that claim believable to even the most jaded old ‘60s pop aficianado. Literally swooping in on a wall of Phil Spector/Brian Wilson-inspired keys and lush, layered vocal harmonies, the album follows the brilliantly damaged musical paths of those larger-than-life luminaries, veering off just long enough here and there to nod at later (yet similar) travelers like Pink Floyd, Big Star, and Teenage Fanclub.

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The White Stripes: The Aesthetics of Rawk
Wednesday 10 July @ 10:06:10 (Read: 6931)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

What will be the claim-to-fame for today’s rock music generation? For the most part, today’s mainstream rock bands are the mutated byproducts of rock and roll genres that have already been established. Few genuinely new and avant-garde options are available to the public, almost as if Big Brother is sheltering us from music he feels we will not consume. It may be that our only hope for originality would be to try and reinvigorate what rock history has already given us.

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Puffy AmiYumi Are Cuter Than You
Wednesday 10 July @ 10:02:52 (Read: 8121)
Musicby Yuko Sakata

Don’t question. Don’t try to analyze. Just go with it, because there is no rule to the music of Puffy AmiYumi.
The casually charming and surprisingly powerful Japanese duo is now storming across the country, moving eastward from California. Their nonchalant, down-to-earth voices will easily fill any performance space with positive and healthy energy, and if nothing else, one thing is for sure—you are guaranteed to have fun at their concert.

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Superchunk: Success on Their Own Terms... Dedication and creativity secret to in
Wednesday 10 July @ 09:49:31 (Read: 7013)
Musicby Rob van Altsyne

Superchunk are an indie-rock institution. Since storming out of Chapel Hill at the dawn of the ‘90s with guitars ablaze, the band has channeled post-punk melodic energy better than any other group. Like all great groups, however, Superchunk’s sound has shifted over the years. Once typified by spiky guitars and high-rev riffs, the band has managed to gradually incorporate new instruments (keyboards, brass, orchestration), differing song tempos (not every Superchunk song hurtles along at 90 mph anymore) and even new singing styles (McCaughan’s lovely falsetto dominated nearly every track on 1999’s Come Pick Me Up after being in hiding for years), without alienating an ardent fan base—and continually astounding critics. Along the way singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan and bass player Laura Balance also managed to form Merge records, at first a venue for self-releasing their own material, and now arguably the best independent label in rock, home to a wide variety of eccentric and important artists.

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Sweet 16: Celeste Tabora blasts through 16 HOT HOT HOT new releases!
Wednesday 03 July @ 10:17:15 (Read: 7197)
Musicby Celeste Tabora

1 Fiver “Here It Comes”
2 Superdrag “Last Call For Vitriol”
3 Nik Freitas “Heres Laughing At You”
4 And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead “Source Tags & Codes”
5 Radar Brothers “And The Surrounding Mountains”
6 Doves “The Last Broadcast”
7 Enon “High Society”
8 Mazarin “A Tall Tale Storyline”
9 The Prom “Under The Same Stars”
10 The Shins “Know Your Onion”
11 The Vines “Highly Evolved”
12 The Gossip “Arkansas Heat”
13 764-HERO “Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere”
14 Track Star “Lion Destroyed The Whole World”
15 Haven “Between The Senses”
16 Nathan Larson “I Must Learn To Live Alone”

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Sister Hazel: About to Change Your Mind Again
Wednesday 03 July @ 09:59:35 (Read: 7383)
Musicby Louis Lenzmeier

The Pulse is talking to Sister Hazel and the Spin Doctors, both of whom are coming to the annual Cities 97 Basilica Block Party. In next week’s issue, look for an intriguing interview with the Spin Doctors as they talk about their peak popularity of the mid 90s and what they have been doing since then.

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We May Be the Ones: Paul Westerberg Speaks to his People
Wednesday 26 June @ 10:55:47 (Read: 10997)
Musicby Tom Hallett

“We may well be the ones/To set this world on its ear/We may well be the ones/If not, then why are we here?”

--Paul Westerberg, 2002

It’s a wet, blustery afternoon in mid-June, and I’m talking via speakerphone with notoriously reclusive Paul Westerberg from my office in St. Paul. He’s comfortable at his home just a few miles away, but says he’s “got that second wake-up grog,” after he and his 4-year-old son Johnny awoke to rolling thunder around four a.m. He’s amicable as we gab for a moment about the weather, but seems a little taken aback at how loud my voice sounds over the ancient communications device we’re chatting through. I’ve been up for hours, nervously anticipating speaking with one of my favorite songwriters of all time, drinking coffee and listening to his latest album, Stereo/Mono, over and over. “Man,” he grumbles half-jokingly, “you sound like you’re right down the hall.”

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My Morning Jacket: The Slow Climb to Success
Wednesday 26 June @ 10:29:57 (Read: 7611)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

When My Morning Jacket released At Dawn near the beginning of 2001, the American record buying public simply wasn’t ready. What other explanation could there be for a record as captivatingly rendered and achingly beautiful somehow getting lost in the indie-rock shuffle? Released on a tiny, albeit great label (Darla records), the band didn’t even have a booking agent at the time, ensuring that shows in promotion of the album outside of their Louisville, KY home were few and far between. Singer-guitarist Jim James, 24, had done his best to make sure At Dawn would be an all consuming effort for his band: “We just put the record together until it felt right. We wanted the record to have peaks and valleys, places you could hide in it and places where it exploded. It was important to just keep adding parts until we felt the listener could get everything out of the record that they needed. That’s what we aimed for because that’s what my favorite records have always done.”

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Wayne Kramer: The other Motor City Madman still drives a muscle car ...just more
Wednesday 26 June @ 10:26:29 (Read: 6740)
Musicby Donny Doane

It’s no secret that Wayne Kramer has a little history behind him. He’s one of three surviving members of Detroit’s legendary MC5, and the most prolific of those. But things haven’t always gone his way. After a veritable roller coaster ride that started with the MC5, then made stops in squalid drug addiction and incarceration, Wayne’s grabbed the old bootstraps, so to speak, with a solo career that began in the mid-Nineties on Epitaph Records. His current run has been far steadier, and easily surpasses his desultory post-5 years. A lot of his tight (or loose) brothers from way-back-when didn’t make it to the present, having made the ultimate sacrifice in not conceding to adulthood—or survival, for that matter. Kramer’s a smart guy, and his latest, Adult World (Muscle Tone), is a smart album by a guy smart enough to realize that it helps to be an adult to survive in an adult world. But that still doesn’t mean you can’t rock...or mouth off from time to time.

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Mark Mallman: Twin Cities piano crooner turns out a remarkable new album with Th
Wednesday 19 June @ 10:36:12 (Read: 6646)
Musicby P.J. Morel

Perennial Twin Cities favorite Mark Mallman is back with a new album this week, The Red Bedroom. Though it’s only been a year since his last project (a collaboration with the band Vermont) and two since his last proper full length, the new recording shows that he has matured a great deal as a recording artist. While Mallman has always been an excellent songwriter, his past projects have tended to be somewhat inconsistent. Stage-ready rompers have coexisted uneasily next to heartfelt piano ballads, and the whole has been strung together by noodley synth interludes. The Red Bedroom, by contrast, is a tight and unified piece of work, with individual tracks so thematically linked that it becomes a concept album of sorts. And yes, the songs themselves are quite wonderful.

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Shangoya: Hot Fun In The Summertime
Wednesday 19 June @ 10:27:51 (Read: 7845)
Musicby Tom Hallett

Today, you can see and hear Trinidad-to-Twin Cities transplant Aldric “Peter” Nelson’s musical legacy across Minnesota, the midwest, and America in general- from world beat-friendly Minneapolis clubs like The Cabooze and The Red Sea to local and internet radio programs hosted by Caribbean natives to national all-ages stages teeming with rhythm-influenced, teenage punk rockers. When the fiery young musical dreamer first emigrated to America at the dawn of the ‘70’s, however, things were very different.

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God Loves [Sl]ugly
Wednesday 12 June @ 13:01:35 (Read: 7091)
MusicInterview by RJ Wilson

Atmosphere’s new release godLovesugly, is an incredible follow up to last year’s Lucy Ford album. 2002 finds producer Ant and rapper Slug still taking on life and love, but with a slightly older voice and more confident sounds. Atmosphere have taken Hip-Hop to a new level, with images and lyrics that explore the depths of relationships, life, and the meaning of it all in ways only so called “Emo” music used to. Sometimes compared to fellow Midwesterners Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, other times to Eminem, Slug avoids the thuggish attitude of the latter, and the overwhelming angst of the former to make Hip-Hop that pulls the heart strings and boggles the mind lyrically. Atmosphere have become favorites in the Underground Hip-Hop scene, bringing attention to a much overlooked scene here in the Cities. I sat down with Slug to talk about the new album, touring, and the possibility of a Metal/Hip-Hop Atmosphere crossover.

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Ugly Cassanova: In Search of Odd Sounds... Modest Mouse frontman’s latest projec
Wednesday 12 June @ 12:34:52 (Read: 6735)
Musicby Rob van Alstyne

Isaac Brock has never been one to play it safe with his music. His unabashedly eccentric musical persona (heavy on herky-jerky rhythms, winding electric guitar figures and hypnotic phrasing) was the force that drove his band Modest Mouse from humble beginnings in rural Washington to a contract with industry heavy hitters Epic records in just a few short years. The shift to the majors did nothing to dampen Brock’s maverick musical spirit, however, as 2000’s Mouse effort The Moon and Antartica powerfully demonstrated.

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Los Hombres Calientes: Hot new sounds from the northernmost Carribean city
Wednesday 12 June @ 12:27:22 (Read: 6671)
Musicby Dan Emerson

CD store clerks may file Los Hombres Calientes’ recordings in the “Latin jazz” category, but Bill Summers considers the term misleading and inaccurate. What record companies lump into the vague, catch-all category of Latin jazz has African and Cuban origins, he contends. “When you really look at it, most of what is now considered ‘Latin’ was introduced by Afro-Cubans,” says Summers, who founded the New Orleans-based rhythm powerhouse that has become a world music phenomenon. The instruments identified with so-called “Latin” jazz—clave, bongos, congas, and timbales—have African roots, he notes. “Some of it is racially motivated; some people preferred not to put an African description to the music, so they called it ‘Latin.’ I associate ‘Latin’ with Rome.”

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Rock Book Corner
Wednesday 05 June @ 10:44:05 (Read: 7041)
MusicReviews by Celeste Tabora

THE SHARPER WORD
A Mod Anthology
Edited by Paulo Hewitt
(Helter Skelter Publishing)

KRAFTWERK
Man Machine and Music
By Pascal Bussy
(SAF Publishing)

WE OWE YOU NOTHING Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews
Edited by Daniel Sinker
(Akashic Books)

A JOURNEY THROUGH AMERICA WITH THE ROLLING STONES
By Robert Greenfield / Foreword by Ian Rankin
(Helter Skelter Publishing)

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Summer Burn: CD Reveiws
Wednesday 05 June @ 10:36:13 (Read: 6797)
Musicby Paul Dickinson

Sinnerstar “Craving Aches and Bitter Lemon Hearts”
(Sinnerville Records)

Speedealer “Second Sight” (Palm Records)

Matthew “Everybody Down”
(Ryko)

Powderfinger “Odyssey Number Five”
(Universal Records)

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Trans Am
Wednesday 05 June @ 10:33:24 (Read: 6811)
MusicBy Celeste Tabora and Paul Christensen

As a brand of automobile, the Trans Am has been on the decline since the 1970’s, becoming something of a nostalgia piece for aging hipsters. Trans Am-the-band, on the other hand, has seen its popularity rise steadily since its formation seven years ago, thanks to its clever fusion of punk and Krautrock. And while the band’s fortunes have been quite the opposite of its namesake’s, the two stand united by a characteristically American attitude that values both innovation and nostalgia.

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Built to Last: Luna
Thursday 30 May @ 16:24:32 (Read: 6597)
MusicBy Rob van Alstyne

Although music hipsters are reluctant to admit it, the world of independent rock is just as frequently driven by vapid trendiness as commercial pop music. As independent rock moves further towards mimicking the nasty habits of its older brother (the major labels), crafting a lasting career has never been harder. Many indie bands today quickly get hyped and overexposed but with considerably less monetary rewards involved than their big label counterparts. It’s no wonder that most great rock bands flying under the mainstream radar implode before the ever-obnoxious indie-rock cognoscenti deem them irrelevant.

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Martin Dosh returns to innocence with his debut album
Thursday 30 May @ 12:45:52 (Read: 7528)
Musicby M. Lee

Cynicism was ever-so-cool in my high school clique. We were all so eager to grow past our recently deceased childhoods that anything smacking of innocence usually earned a single raised eyebrow and some pat ironic quip or another. We learned how to do things like smoke (look at me, I’m soooo much older now, as if by magic!), how to drink espresso (look at me, omigod, I’m soooo addicted!), experiment with grim ideas (“Hell is other people”? omigod, that’s soooo deep!), and, basically, how to pretend that our younger days could have been nothing but dreadfully moronic.

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Quiet Riot, Kasio Keeps it Down
Thursday 16 May @ 00:13:55 (Read: 10047)
MusicEven against the normal Thursday night din of the Dinkytowner, the buzz issuing from the PA can easily overwhelm a solo performer. But for Kasio, quite possibly the most quiet and self-effacing musician to perform in that setting, it offers the ideal accompaniment. Playing the role of the pedal tone in Baroque counterpoint, the speakers’ hum provides the perfect underpinning for Kasio’s minimalist, unabashedly personal songs.

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