The Summer Has Begun

Hello again.

Have you been out to support your local music scene lately? Now that summer is upon us there seems to suddenly be a rather sizable increase in the number of concerts that will truly be awesome. I myself spent my memorial day weekend exclusively at rock clubs. Friday night I was at the triple rock, and saturday and sunday nights were spent at the turf club. For the record, the turf is now non-smoking, and is one of the truly great places to see a band play. Nancy actually spent her entire weekend at the turf club, she's a real trooper. the Stnnng were playing at the Triple Rock friday night, and as I had never seen them, but had heard they were great, i took my friend Peter up on his offer to be his guest list +1. While it is not really the style of music that I dig, the Stnnng (read as "stunning") are quite an energetic punk/rock band that really do put on a great show. And to be honest, that is the sort of reviews that I have read of them in the local papers and music websites, the live shows are exciting and intense, and the band appears to really love to play.

Saturday's show at the turf was a birthday party extravaganza for a local music website, how was the They celebrated 4 years of reporting on local shows. congrats, that is a lot of work, i can barely handle the occasionally monthly postings I do, and these people see nearly every show worth seeing in the twin cities. wow. the line up for their show was one of the more amazing that i have been privy to see. I missed the first to acts, but the last three were amazing: the Alarmists, White Light Riot and Alva Star. Alva Star's set was a little rough. they don't play that often, so perhaps they were just out of practice, or maybe John Hermanson had just drank to much crappy wine at the Turf Club, either way, it started out rough, vocals were off guitar chords were wrong, but it slowly improved as their set moved on. An unfortunate showing for a once great local act. Hopefully as they increase show frequency they will step up the performance as well.

white light riot album cover the alarmists - detail of soldiers album cover White light Riot and the Alarmists were both prepared for their sets thankfully. White Light Riot were an exciting four piece with one foot in the dance-rock pool, the other in clever rock, and one ugly lead singer with ill-fitting clothes. Were they great? of course. The Alarmists play something that started as brit-pop, decided that Coldplay have now lost their taste, grew up and moved on—all while frantically playing tambourine. The two sets inspired me to buy both bands albums. No one from white light riot could be found, presumably due to post-set riotous rock behavior, so I ended up with just the alarmists' disc, A Detail of Soldiers.

chris koza - patterns album cover Chris Koza's newest effort, entitled Patterns was released not to long ago. I picked up my copy a week or two ago when I went to see him play at the 331 Club on a wednesday night (i especially like to go to the 331 on Raleigh's texas taco tuesdays to eat the wondrous tacos... just fyi). The record is a really nice piece of work. It was recorded with the help of one Paul Marino (who some of the readers may remember from NHS) at Pachyderm Studios in cannon falls, and at Paul's home studio. The recording is really excellent. It is nice to find a piece of work from a band so early in their career that is really nicely polished. The arrangements are all very well thought out, very intelligent, and really compliment the songs. My favorite tracks off of the record are Midnight Rose, View From a Pier, Patterns, and Divine Andromedary. These four songs really capture the aesthetic that I get from the band, the experimental indie-folk-pop sound I picture when I hear the band play live. Of course, this is just my personal and subjective opinion. The only song on here that I don't think fits into the record is track 7, Fear of Mimes. The style of music and lyrics suddenly change on this one track, evoking a sort of 60's bubble-gum sort of feel reminiscent of some early Beatles head bobbers. Compared to the rest of the album this one song just seems trite and quickly contrived. Despite the one track—which i don't actually not enjoy, i just don't think it fits—I really am liking this album. I look forward to hearing what new things lay on the road ahead for Chris and his band-mates. (side note, some may think this review to be biased, as Nancy is friends with Chris, but he really is pretty good, and it seems the rest of minneapolis and st. paul think so too.)

the raconteurs - broken boy soldier album cover One of the most hyped new releases in past months has been the debut album by the Raconteurs I think i heard a plug for it just about everyday on the local indie radio station, not to mention random podcasts I listen to and such. Thus I was sceptical as to the actual quality of Broken Boy Soldier. Having actually enjoyed Brendan Benson's music for sometime, as well as The White Stripes', I felt that there was at least some small promise of quality accompanying the hype. Fortunately, all was not lost, and the album is good. It is a little strange however. Both Jack White and Benson share song writing credit on all songs, Lennon/McCartney style, however it seems apparent to me that the songs that each sings are those that they've written. The songs voiced by Brendan Benson sound like Brendan Benson songs. The Jack White voiced songs sound like 'the Raconteurs,' more than just Jack White with some different guys backing him (who by the way are the Greenhorns, they worked with him on Van Lear Rose too), they sound like real band songs. Perhaps it is the way in which each musician normally works that so differently affects the way that they come off on the record. Jack white is in a rather major and popular touring act that some of you might have heard of— the white stripes. Brendan Benson, has not been in many bands of national acclaim, he mostly is a 'solo' artist. Brendan's music has come from many sources, many backing bands, many extra musicians, his albums always much more a sort of a collaborative effort. Brendan's past has involved him playing many more roles in many more projects (to my knowledge) than Jack's past does. Thus, when the two bring themselves into a project such as this, it seems natural to me to see that Jack might view this as a seperate entity to his music making, a totally different band experience, while Brendan may see it as a new way to play the same sort of music he always does, his music with whoever happens to be around at the time. Or maybe its just the Voices, Jack's seems to change as the song requires, and Brendan always ends up sounding like Brendan. Either way, I liked the record, there are some real great tunes on it, a lot of 60's style rock songs, real "beatlesque" harmonies and arrangements, goodsolid instrumentation, and i really like the guitar tones.

tapes n tapes - the loon album cover And finally, I am not gonna say much about it as I have rambled on here enough, but the new Tapes 'N' Tapes, called The Loon, is awesome. It puts their original record to shame, which was intentionally lo-fi and sort of wierdly bad, and just did not show the sort of song writing that the new album achieves. It sounds nicer too. They were a smash as SXSW and I believe they have even been written up in the New Yorker... or was it the New York Times... either way, wow!

Looking forward to sunshine


I found out (at the sunday turf show that i did not describe) that two of my favorite local musicians are in a new band. Todd Hansen and Dave Campbell have both joined the forces of The Winter Blanket. Hurray! Based on line up alone this is probably my new favorite band. Cannot wait to see them play some live shows, everyone keep a look out.