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We’ve already posted that we’re excited for the next release in our catalog, a 45 with two new songs by Tree Party, but tonight’s show at the Cedar Cultural Center will also celebrate the release of even more new music. The Brass Messengers, have treated us to a long-overdue new album.

We listened to it last night while we were working on assembling the Tree Party singles, and one of them had just the right assessment of the Messengers’ new album: “This is such happy music!” The eleven new songs (plus a “Dancehall Remix”!) are filled with such joyous energy Thigmonasty has already become our cure for the rainy day blues…and there have been a few of those kinda days around here lately.

brass messengers thigmonasty

The first half of the disc is recorded live in Creation Studios with an enthusiastic audience, which is essential to the celebratory nature of the Messengers’ music. The group evolved out of the brass bands that played the Heart of the Beast‘s May Day parade, which is one of the biggest celebrations in the Twin Cities. Their two earlier discs present their interest in brass music from around the world, including Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America, and Thigmonasty has really successfully blended this with the dozen members’ other experiences in different bands around town.


While they often play covers ranging from cajun classics to Black Sabbath, Thigmonasty is entirely originals by the duodecet.* Trombonist J.B. McLain, who also performs around town as a solo guitarist, contributes several original songs which have more of a street band, New Orleans feeling. These are definitely the sort of songs which gets you moving, and which have that energy which vibrates within you when you see a performance by the Messengers. Tony Randazzo, the band’s tubist and also the album producer, offers songs with more of the Eastern European feel, highlighted by inventive, suspensful arrangements (especially the brief tune “Leo Nursha”). Another song in this vein is a re-recording of the title song from Paul Fonfara’s 7 Secrets of Snow, which we featured here. One last tune is by composer Andy McCormick (of Dreamland Face), and pays tribute to the ruler of Wisconsin’s mythical colony of dwarves. Or so we assume.

The second half, recorded without an audience features some of these more intricate arrangements, but there is still a lot of energy behind them, especially in Randazzo’s “Leo Nursha.” And as we mentioned, there’s a remix at the end of the album. It’s a surprisingly sweet conclusion, and works very well.

We think this is one of the best local albums of the year so far, but the best way to appreciate the Brass Messengers is surrounded by other celebrants smiling and dancing. We’re looking forward to doing just that tonight.

*Had to look that one up!

The Brass Messengers and Tree Party have a joint release show for their new music at the Cedar Cultural Center tonight. Details on the Cedar’s website here

Its interesting to visit seasonal records during their down-time. We don’t necessarily mean pulling out all the Christmas albums in August, although we do have a customer who tells us she does that every summer. Instead, we think of music with a strong seasonal connotation, which becomes an entirely different experience out of that context. For instance, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, which is commonly called “Winter Dreams,” has a very different feel this time of year. Then again, we find ourselves listening to a lot more Tchaikovsky in the winter altogether.

iced over

Tree Party’s most recent disc, Iced Over, now has a couple winters under its belt and we still enjoy the disc as much as we did the first time around. The album of songs centered around Minnesota legends isn’t entirely as wintery as the cover implies, but it is one which seems to get set aside when summer sets in.

We’ve been thinking the same is likely true for the summery-est of songs, too, and we’ve been working on a playlist of songs to re-visit in December when we’re trudging to the shop in snow drifts taller than Irene.

Between now and then, we’re very excited to be participating in Tree Party’s next release, a 45 on our in-house label of two new songs. The sleeves are distinguished by prints from the negatives member Joey Ford found in his father’s photography, and each copy of the single includes a postcard you can send to a friend to share the music. That’s right, each copy comes with two download codes: one for you and one for a friend!

The new single will be released a week from tomorrow with a show at the Cedar Cultural Center. Also performing are the Brass Messengers, who have a new album out as well. Details can be found on the Cedar’s website here. We’re not streaming the songs from the single yet, but here’s a peek at what the singles look like. This is the first of two new 45s with picture sleeves we’ll have out this year from Hymies Records!

tree party single

Tomorrow is Open Streets East Lake — from 45nd Avenue to Elliot Avenue the street will be closed to auto traffic and free for walking and biking. The street will be closed from 11am to 5pm. Businesses along the way will have fun activities for everyone! You can find out more about the event on its website here.

Here at Hymies we’ll be setting up the giant 20′ tent in the morning, courtesy of our neighbors at Nortern Sun, and hosting two of our favorite bands. Come by and hear Tabah at 12:30pm and The Southside Aces at 2:30pm! Here are some Bandcamp players where you can hear the latest recordings from each of these bands!

We’ll also be clearing out the storage space and have a few tables of FREE RECORDS for you to dig through, and also a couple boxes of FREE CDs. It’s gonna be a hot day so remember to bring a water bottle! We hope we’ll see lots of familiar faces on this second annual Open Streets East Lake.

We’ve had a hard time feeling inspired to post some new songs here on the Hymies blog lately because the news is so overwhelmingly depressing that we’re afraid to unroll the paper on our porch every morning. Still, we want to share a couple of songs from Circle Round the Signs with you. It’s the latest album by Al Scorch and the Country Soul Ensemble, and they’ll be performing here at Hymie’s this evening at 5pm before their show at the Turf Club along with Tin Can Gin.

al scorch

Circle Round the Signs has been on rotation here in the shop all summer, in part because Al Scorch’s songs are suited to the times. It’s surprising how much folk music isn’t really about anything anymore these days, but not so with Scorch and his band. Also, we appreciate any guy who would organize a bicycle tour of record stores in his hometown.

sommerfest signThe Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest begins today and runs through July 23rd. In addition to a series of great concerts, there will be a variety of free programs in the lobby including some hands-on things they’re calling “Experience Cafe.” One of those is a listening lounge put together by your friendly neighborhood record shop!

experience sign 2

The Orchestra provided us with some very comfy chairs, and we provided some portable record players and headphones, and a whole browser full of albums to enjoy before or after a performance. We selected a wide variety of music with a specific focus on Minnesota, both current local music and classic favorites. We were also allowed to raid their library and add a bunch of really awesome records by the Minneapolis Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra which span nearly a half a century.

listening lounge

We’re honored they asked us to be a part of this year’s Sommerfest at Orchestra Hall, and we’re really proud of what we put together for them. We’re also looking forward to several of the performances on the calendar between now and the 23rd — tonight’s show includes Copland’s Rodeo ballet and listening lounge 2the bacchanale from Saint-Saen’s Samson and Delilah. One we’re most excited about is Brahm’s double concerto later this month.

If you want to hear something by the Orchestra from our blog, here’s a post about one of their most famous records of all (and also a piece they’ll be performing this month).



A few years ago we were pleased as punch to find a single by the Ridgetop Westeraires, an early band featuring Wayne “The Train” Hancock. While we reckon its a rarity, we started spinning it whenever we’d DJ rockabilly 45s with our friends the Cactus Blossoms during their long Monday night residency at the Turf Club (and we shared it here on the blog).

Every once in a while we still dust off the ol’ turntable coffin and DJ a show or a wedding, but its not often enough we get to dig into our collection of singles by the likes of Eddie Cochran, Wanda Jackson, or lesser known rockabilly cats like Wayne Walker (check out this awesome cut with Grady Martin tearin’ it up on lead guitar). And we sure never thought we’d be asked to DJ at one of Wayne Hancock’s shows, but that’s just what has happened! We’ll be playing some of our favorite rockabilly and blues songs before his set at the Minneapolis Eagles Club #34 on Thursday.

Hancock calls his killer sound Juke Joint Swing, and that’s a term we like. A little country, a little rockabilly, and a bit of western swing rounds up to some good music. Here’s the title track from his latest album, Ride.

We will be open 11-4pm on the Fourth of July

A passage from one of our favorite histories of the United States – This is from Samuel Elliot Morrison’s lively and opinionated 1965 Oxford History of the United States:

It was America’s busy age, or one of them Eighteenth-century travelers scolded Americans for their indolence; nineteenth-century travelers criticized their activity. Each Northern community was an anthill, intensely active within and constantly exchanging with other hills. Every man worked, or at least made a semblance of it; the few who wished to be idle and could afford it, fled to Europe and dabbled in the arts or pursued some pallid branch of scholarship – the type of American expatriate immortalized by Henry James. Nothing struck European travelers more forcibly than the total want of public parks and pleasure resorts, of games and sports, or of simple pleasures like country walking. For the Northern American had no learned how to employ leisure. His pleasure came from doing; and as almost everyone worked for long hours six days of the week, and (except in New Orleans) the Puritan sabbath prevailed, there was not much time for recreation, and very few holidays other than Thanksgiving (still confined to the Yankee area), Christmas, and the Glorious Fourth.

So here’s a track from Night People, a late 70s Lee Dorsey produced by Allen Toussaint – It’s a good fit for this election year: a little bit cynical, a little bit jaded, but not downtrodden at all. Let’s leave all that hostility to the angry folks on the fringes so those of us with real shit to do can go on with our lives.

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