This is a rerun of a post from 2014, when Gus and Dave a lego model of the record store. The kids are home for spring break here in Minneapolis this week, and we talked about trying to re-build the model, but the consensus was that we’d have to disassemble too many other amazing creations to free up all the blocks.
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The folks at Jetsam-Flotsam Records have released a new 10″ with songs from two Minneapolis bands. The band on one side, Holler House, have performed here at Hymies and brought copies of the new record into the shop
Despite its status as one of the Great Midwestern Cities, Minneapolis’s independent music
scene is tight-knit and intimate, even spanning sounds and styles.
Take Holler House and Technician—two Minnesota rock bands that lean in different directions. It
almost seems impossible that Holler House—with its grimy, relentless chords, its heaving beat
and dubious melodies—could come from the same scene as Technician, let alone share a stage
with a band who controls their attack with such precision, its sheer chords tugging the melody
this way and that before unrolling lush swaths of harmony. But these bands, like so many in the
Twin Cities, are irreversibly tied—sharing bills, sure, but also previous bands and side projects,
professions and passions, babysitters and holiday dinners.
It’s no wonder that, on the heels of their respective 2016 debuts, Holler House and Technician
agreed to record a split together. Though each side captures their unique angles of
attack—Holler House’s cryptic dissonance and hypnotic power, Technican’s ‘90s worship,
complete with jagged melodies and vigorous agility—both sides share a tenacity, the sort of
intensity that rattles windows and shakes smirks onto faces.
The collaboration celebrates what’s wonderful about punk-rock in the Twin Cities: A unity of both
cause and commitment, an interconnectivity that fosters creativity, a passion that supersedes
labels and aesthetics, spans sounds and styles.
A remarkable relic from China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Songs of the Little Red Guards is a 10″ album from the late 60s with a similar package to the Ella Jenkins and Pete Seeger records American children were putting on their Fisher Price players at the time.
Although sung by a children’s choir, the songs reflect the turmoil of the times, in particular the re-establishment of Mao-ist orthodoxy. Titles such as “Let’s Help Pick Up the Rice Left in the Fields” and “Growing Vegetables for the Armymen’s Families” hint at the legacy of the famine which followed Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Foward while others enforce the Communist Party’s doctrine.
One of the most interesting songs is a tribute to Lei Feng, a relatively unknown soldier whose memoirs were published after his death in 1962 as Lei Feng’s Diary. The book expresses his admiration for Chairman Mao Zedong and the sacrifices he has made for the revolution in the form of selfless acts. The soldier was the subject of a propaganda campaign, and his story became part of the compulsory curriculum in schools.
The Red Guard was a student movement which began in 1966 in the middle school attached to Beijing’s Tsinghua University. After receiving recognition from the CCP the group quickly established itself in nearly every school in China. With the Chairman’s personal endorsement at a rally that summer, the group became an essential part of his Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
Party leadership in Beijing struggled to control the Red Guard, which became increasingly divided into factions as it grew, potentially out of control. The campaign against Capitalist or bourgeoisie remnants became violent in places, where assaults on Chinese cultural relics quickly became assaults on individuals. The People’s Liberation Army began suppressing the Red Guard’s most radical elements in 1967, and it was entirely eliminated, often with brutal force, by the summer of 1968. The Chairman, whose enormous personality cult was greatly enhanced by the Red Guard, was alleged to have a tear in his eye when he last spoke to Red Guard leaders.
If you’d like to learn more about the Red Guard or start such an organization in your own school, you will likely enjoy Carma Hinton’s 2003 documentary about the Cultural Revolution, Morning Sun. If you still think it’s a good idea, we have a little red book for you.
Marian Anderson, born in 1897 in Philadelphia, is often misrepresented as an opera singer. While she did often include arias in concert, she was largely a concert performer. In commemoration of her birthday this year, her hometown of Danbury, Connecticut has planned a celebration, according to a short Associated Press blurb in our paper this morning.
Anderson was the first African-American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, sang at two Presidential inaugurations, and christened a nuclear submarine.
In 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution refused Anderson permission to perform to an integrated audience in their Constitution Hall (in Washington DC), bringing Anderson into an unexpected international spotlight. President Roosevelt and Walter White, the secretary of the NAACP, orchestrated a performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, 1939. The performance attended by 75,000 people and heard by millions over the airwaves. Anderson began the program with “My Country tis of Thee.” Also performed was this recording of Schubert’s moving “Ave Maria,” one of the seven songs the twenty-eight year old Schubert based on Walter Scott’s epic poem, The Lady in the Lake in 1825.
Whenever a performing artist passes away, there is a rush of interest in their music. Fans flood stores looking for a favorite album or their most recent album, suddenly making a mediocre record a best-seller (let’s call this “the Double Fantasy effect”). Its a phenomenon that may be as old as record stardom — Enrico Caruso continued to enjoy commercial success long after his passing with new recordings still making news into the late 30s.
Presently the treatment of unissued recordings is a central issue in the settlement of Prince’s estate. We have mixed feelings on the subject. As fans we’re eager to hear more recordings, but also as fans we respect that he may have chosen to set the recordings aside for a reason.
This past weekend we were listening to Marvin Gaye albums, including the first two which were released after he was murdered in April 1984. Some good songs came out on the albums. One of the best of these was “The World Is Rated X,” which appeared on the Motown Remembers Marvin Gaye LP but was first recorded for his ‘lost’ 1972 album You’re the Man.
Columbia Records, with whom Gaye had signed after his tumultuous split from Motown, and to whom he’d delivered the enormously successful Midnight Love in 1982, was first to capitalize on his passing with an album of unissued recordings. The album Dream of a Lifetime collected unissued material and contained the hit “Sanctified Lady,” partly covering Gaye’s debts at the time of his death. Motown’s album followed the next year and included material from as early as 1963. Many of the early recordings on Motown Remembers Marvin Gaye were overdubbed to feature a more contemporary drum sound (the so-called “fat snare’ sound of the era) and new backing vocals.
Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait was inspired by conductor Andre Kostelanetz, who suggested he compose a portrait of a eminent American. Kostelanetz debuted the work with the Cincinnati Symphony in the summer of 1942, and it has since become a widely popular concert favorite.
The text in Lincoln Portrait is primarily derived from the speeches and writings of our sixteenth President. An impressive list of actors, politicians, astronauts and other celebrities have narrated the piece over the years. President Obama read the text with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2005.
Your friendly neighborhood record store will be open from 11am to 7pm today on this Presidents Day. We thought it would provide some solace to hear the words of a President who appealed to “the better angels of our nature.”
This 1968 recording from Columbia’s “Copland Conducts Copland” series is narrated by Henry Fonda.