New Arrivals

You are currently browsing the archive for the New Arrivals category.

#1 Pleasure Horse

pleasure horseThere are more than a couple bands in the Twin Cities who claim Gram Parson’s “cosmic American music” as inspiration, but few if any appropriate the very best of its stylistic medley as well as Pleasure Horse, whose self-titled debut has been must anticipated around your friendly neighborhood record shop. The band slowly evolved over its several years, staying focused on multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist Tim Evanson, who we first met as a member of the Flying Dorito Brothers. They were a Parsons cover band with a short-lived run much loved by many, and Evanson’s take on “One Hundred Years from Now” stuck to our ribs.

With lead guitarist Ben Mahowald, he’s kept the band going and growing. Pleasure Horse offers just a little of just about everything you’ve ever loved about country music over ten tracks: beer-soaked heartbreak and twang, and a little Tex-Mex and a little rock and roll. There’s a fuzz guitar on “Reasons” which recalls Grady Martin’s solo on a 1961 Marty Robbins single, and an organ on “News Radio” which sounds like it was borrowed from the first Lambchop album. Either song is an excellent example of the band’s innovative arrangements, which are so consistently inventive its impossible to pick a favorite moment on this album.

The album’s production doesn’t do its ambitions justice, as is evident from the rollicking opener “Company Spade,” which we really want to burst out of our speakers with the energy we know is in there, and sometimes the drums get lost. The band balances its rhythm section against pedal steel, brass, organ and fiddle, but feels boxed in and restrained. The songs are just so damn good it doesn’t matter. Some are solidly pastoral and narrative, like “Gracie” and “Oahe,” and others just fantastically catchy. Pleasure Horse hits that sweet spot on every song on this album.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Gotta Wonder”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“News Radio”

The release show for the first Pleasure Horse album is Friday May 8th at the Nomad World Pub. Also playing will be Suzie and Murder Shoes. Details here.

 #2 The Gated Community

gated communityWe Can Do Anything opens with a rich, bluegrass rendition of the Youngblood’s harrowing “Darkness, Darkness” (the only cover on the disc), but the ensuing eleven tracks aren’t as driven towards a cynical worldview as their first disc (heard here), which had a series of Dead Kennedys-as-a-bluegrass band moments. Hints of the way the political world creeps into daily life, whether welcome or not, still appear. In “Non (A French Song)” a laid-off factory worker laments malaise with a little more grace than the stumpjumpers on Charlie Parr’s latest (but not much), and the slow burning closer, “This World,” presents an open-eyed optimism in response to the oppressive pressures in the Youngbloods anthem which opened the album by embracing the here and now.

This doesn’t suggest Sumanth Gopinath’s lyrics are any less dense or intense, just that their focus has shifted in a new direction. Its almost as if he’s channeled John Hartford’s alternating sense of humor and stark sentimentalism and the ability to shift between the two with ease. The arrangements suit this well, especially in the balance between bluegrass roots and good old fashioned Nashville country — All the twang’s in all the right places. Remarkably, they get in all the requirements for “the perfect country and western song” as per David Allen Coe (though not in a single verse). A lovely duet, “Georgia,” is the album’s highlight, just enough George and Tammy to hit the heartstrings, and lushly produced. “I Wanna Get Drunk Tonight” is a hilariously fun song which would have fit perfectly in our post last week about bar fightin’ songs, and “Non (A French Song)” is good outlaw country fun. You know, it was Charlie Daniels who played the fiddle on that Youngbloods song.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Georgia”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Non (A French Song)”

The release show for We Can Do Anything is Friday May 8th at the Icehouse. Also playing is the Church of Cash, a Johnny Cash cover band. Details here.

People make a lot of jokes about the weird things Minnesotans do to survive the long, cold winters, although we’re so used to weird around your friendly neighborhood record shop that there’s not a lot left to surprise us. One tradition which has over more than three decades become a local institution is the Minneapolis Battle of the Jug Bands.

The rules are fairly simple: Your band gets 20 minutes. Your band has to include at least three traditional jug band instruments instruments — examples include jugs (duh), comb & tissue (ie, kazoo), washboard, washtub bass, spoons, etc. No electrified instruments. The competition for the coveted Holliwood Waffle Iron provides for a weekend of rowdy fun split over a couple West Bank bars.

Each year’s bill reads like a “funny band name” list — last year’s included The She Goats, The Hump Night Thumpers, The West Bank Temperance League and Show Me Your Jugs, for instance. Few of these pickup groups play regular gigs — although a striking exception is two-time winners of the Waffle, The Roe Family Singers, who have been playing every Monday night at the 331 Club for nearly a decade. The Minneapolis Battle of the Jug Bands has grown in recent years, in terms of the crowd and the number of contestants. It’s even the subject of an upcoming documentary (though we can’t say the trailer has us enticed to make it our once-a-year trip to the movies).

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“She Broke my Heart in 3 Places”

dumpy jug bumpersOne veteran of the annual event is the Dumpy Jug Bumpers, who have been playing a lot of show — just last month they had two residencies, one at Fulton Brewery’s Tap Room and one at the 331 Club. Their debut disc, Dumpin’ at the Savoy, will celebrate its release this weekend at our fifth annual Record Store Day Block Party, where the Bumpers will be joined by fourteen other awesome acts in a fun-filled full day of live music on two stages.

Dumpin’ at the Savoy is a lively tour of string and jug band esoterica. Nearly everything on the album comes from the twenties and thirties. The songs come from folks like the Mississippi Sheiks and the Hoosier Hot Shots, a big little jug band which enjoyed an extraordinary half-century run on records and in film and influenced none other than the man who murdered music himself, Spike Jones. Others are from lesser-known sources, like “Take A Look at that Baby,” a kazoo-y tune first recorded by the Two Poor Boys in the late 20s.

Some of the songs had a short hippy revival, like Gus Cannon’s “Viola Lee Blues,” written by his harmonica player Noah Lewis in 1928 and recorded by the Grateful Dead as an extended jam on their first LP. Still don’t confuse their “Take a Look at that Baby” with John Fahey’s song (he just used the title) or their “If You Don’t Want me Don’t Dog Me ‘Round” (originally the “Alabama Blues”) with J.B. Lenoir’s alarmingly contemporary 1965 song, “Alabama Blues.” The thing about traditional music is it’s not as static as the sticks in the mud would like. Titles come and go, and jug band music is a magically informal format.

Even their name is flexible: You can rearrange the letters and always come up with something fun. The Dumpy Jug Bumpers, The Juggy Dump Buggers, The Buggy Jump Duggers. Drew Temperante tells us the band evolved out of Alas, Alas, a great band which rarely plays because its members are scattered around the country. Hymie’s first heard Alas, Alas through our friends in El Le Faunt and his Travelling Circus, and we were lucky enough to once host a memorable Alas, Alas show around the holidays.

Teperante goes on to explain how the band went through nearly a dozen players before settling on its current line-up last fall, in which he’s joined by Tom Phelan on the harmonicas, Aaron ‘Muskrat’ Barck on the parlor guitar, kazoo and all-essential jug, and bassist Liz Draper. Rather than a jug band, the Dumpers consider themselves “a string band on the more blue, jazz and ragtime end of the spectrum,” he explains. “We pay close attention to detail in trying to emulate the feel in all these styles, including the classic jug band sounds, and tha’ts something we strive for as a band, whichever style song we’re playing.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Milwaukee Blues”

There’s an awesome revival of what we called “the good stuff” (in our post about Patty & the Buttons’ XXX hokum album) — folks are discovering songs nearing their centennial and giving them a new spin. The Twin Cities is full of bands playing traditional folk and blues, but enthusiasm for tunes from this era has been a growing nationally for years. The commercially-acclaimed Carolina Chocolate Drops have featured Charlie Poole’s “Milwaukee Blues” and our favorite Gillian Welch song (“Wayside/Back in Time” from Soul Journey) borrows lines from “Peaches in the Springtime” — They might not seem like it at first, but the Jumpy Bug Dumpers aren’t so far behind the times.

Of course, one thing which makes Dumpin’ at the Savoy especially fun is the band’s single original, “I Got the Stuff.” Just like Patty and the Buttons and so many other local favorites of ours, the Dumpys fit a new tune into a set of old ones seamlessly. We were genuinely surprised it was a new song!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“I Got the Stuff”

When we asked if the band would bring in more new songs, Temperante said they’ve been writing new material since recording Dumpin’ at the Savoy, but they’ll continue to focus on the making the original numbers fit in with the old stuff. “Learning the old songs is just so fun for us. We love the music so much we want to learn it and play it and make it exist beyond just the old recordings. It feels different than covering a contemporary song. It doesn’t feel like covering a song at all actually. It feels like the old songs are something we all own now, as a part of American cultural heritage.”

You can hear the Duggy Bump Juggers recreate the past at our fifth annual Record Store Day block party, which will also serve as a CD release celebration for Dumpin’ at the Savoy. Details on our website here and on Facebook (of which the Jumpers do not approve) here.

It’s not yet April and already 2015 has been a banner year for power pop trios here in Minneapolis. One of the first local releases we reviewed here was New Noir by Mystery Date, which hasn’t been far from our turntable since. No less an authority than Maximumrockandroll picked it as“record of the week” recently, describing it as “strangely catchy and poppy, while also a little bit eerie and dark.” And if you finally unsnagged yourself from all the hooks on Rank Strangers‘ new album Lady President, you’ll find yourself caught up in them all over again: the band plans to release two more LPs before the end of the year.

And then there’s this disc which — to borrow a phrase from that Maximumrockandroll review — blew our socks off. What Tyrants’ debut, No Luck, is an addictive album at the nexus between garage rock, power pop and the down-on-my-luck, unemployed and unrequited-love tunes of Mike Ness. Brothers Sean and Kyle Schultz play their respective parts on guitar and drums with the sort of intuition we suppose you’re supposed to expect from brothers — and bassist Garrison Grouse walks through the trios tight arrangements with class and charm not at all removed from John Entwistle’s role on Live at Leeds. Absolutely everything about this disc succeeds in reminding us why we love rock and roll in all its glorious forms.

DSC07243What Tyrants’ first release was a single featuring an earlier version of this album’s catchy opener, “Far Out.” It fell flat on our ears last summer for its lo-fi production. There’s nothing wrong with sounding good, even in garage rock: its why, for instance, we love a good 45 of the Standell’s “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” played loud, and its why we love No Luck so much. Killer tunes “Lean on the World” have a fantastic drive, given the same healthy li’l nudge by their clean drum sound. Recording engineer Ali Jaafar knows how to hit that garage-y sweet spot, even though his Ecstattic Studio is actually in an attic (and incidentally, give a listen to this recent compilation of other surprisingly diverse Ecstattic recordings). The record has the right rough edges, especially in its reverb-tastic vocals and crisp lead riffs, and you’re going to find it best played loud.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Muffins”

And you should, because it touches on all the things that makes one want to play a record loud. The trio approaches classic arena rock in the magnificent “Feeling Alright (I’m Okay)” — a song which we think oughta join Dave Mason’s “Feelin’ Alright” and the Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll” in the great canon of rock songs about, you know, feelin’ alright — with the same stunning success as their take on the whole garage rock thing. Shades of rockabilly make “4s and 5s” a fun song, just before good old fashioned punk rock steals the scene moments later in “Scuzz,” where Grouse and Kyle Schultz jumps into an unexpected psych rock breakdown just before the end of its minute and forty second mania. You can, by the way, hear and download the whole album here.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Far Out”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Feeling Alright (I’m Okay)”

There’s even a few little hints of the rhythm & blues vis-à-vis new wave Sean Schultz and Grouse have been performing together with ol’ Hymie’s favorites Black Diet, as in the Television/Blondie-ish rocksteady beat of “Blue in the Face.” What Tryrants put the whole mix together with originality and striking sincerity — its like they raided our record collection and found new ways to make our favorites work together. And it all works so well: If we may borrow again from that Maximumrockandroll review of the Mystery Date album, “these guys clearly believe in what they’re doing.” This is one of our very favorite local releases yet out this year. You’ll be hearing it a lot around here.

What Tyrants have an album release show for No Luck this Friday, April 3rd, at the Triple Rock Social Club. Also playing are Fury Things, Some Pulp and Ripper. Details through Facebook can be found here, as well as on the Triple Rock calendar.

 

Looking into the long history of Rank Strangers, who played their first local show at the Uptown Bar’s “new band night” twenty-five years ago, isn’t as simply surreal as falling into Lewis Carroll’s rabbit hole — its like trying the explain the experience to someone who thinks you’ve had too much to drink. And Mike Wisti, who has fronted the band since its inception, hardly helps since he seems to enjoy the unexpected as much as we enjoy the scattered albums throughout the band’s storied career.

Any conversation with Wisti might take convoluted turns and quickly end up miles from Die Tucke des Objekcts, the last Rank Strangers album, which was released in 2009. Reading interviews with Wisti, let alone speaking with him yourself (which Dave did for City Pages a couple years ago) offers something deeper than the absurd rabbit hole — even his most casual observations are laced with insight and wit that take far longer to work through your system than a cake which says “Eat me” and makes you big.

Wisti’s journeys into the unexpected have made him one of the most successful recording engineers in the Twin Cities — his Albatross Studio has lent its subtle immediacy and warmth to several of our favorite records of recent years. And its wound Rank Strangers up tight with three albums’ worth of new songs. The first, Lady President, was delivered to record shop just before the new year, and the band has begun an ambitious series of in-store performances (they’ll be here Sunday afternoon along with the Union Suits) with the remaining releases planned for this fall and winter. If it seems like a lot all at once, it may be because Rank Strangers haven’t released an new record for several years.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“When the Pendulum Swings”

rank strangersThe band has seven albums and a series of scattered singles under its belt — and was once said to have been scouted by major labels in those heady mid-90s when that might have actually meant something — hard as it is to imagine Mike Wisti as a big label character like Craig Finn, we sure would enjoy his Spin interview. Music writers have wondered why this band isn’t famous for years, all the way back to an epic 1996 portrait by Brad Zeller, one of our favorites critics. They responded by writing a song about it.

Whether or not Wisti would still go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, Rank Strangers are as inventive as ever on Lady President, “unconnect[ing] the dots and utiliz[ing] the element of surprise,” as they say. To our pleasure, the album is less rooted in the Guide By Voices less-is-more/more-is-better lo-fi foundation, and built upon surprisingly familiar bases. “Its a Riot,” for instance, starts like an outtake from Armed Forces but becomes a striking recreation of a 70s Kinks song.

The maddeningly dense lyrics — typed out on an insert which looks like a lost section of “Industrialized Society and Its Future” — find the band less confrontational than on Die Tucke des Objekcts, almost a little weary with the opening two tracks, “When the Pendulum Swings” and “Children of the Czar.” The first introduces a “Burn Down the Mission” mentality which returns on the second side with “The Last Piranha,” and the second seems downright resigned. Both are built on bright melodies which belie the often oppressive alienation in the lyrics.

Like Feste, the clown in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night who “is wise enough to play the fool,” Rank Strangers don’t follow the same rules as the rest of the cast. Free to say anything without consequence, the band subtly mocks herd mentality in “Ringtones” and outright dismisses the King’s authority in our favorite track on the album, “The Governor.” Its joyous declarations accented by unexpected angular changes and a at one point an interplay between a guitar perfectly fuzzed and another magically, mysteriously melodic.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“The Governor”

Duality drives much of Lady President, in lyrical references to the birds and the bees, shirts and skins and the Tin Man, but also in arrangements like “The Governor.” For a band which rarely follows conventional song structure, Rank Strangers seem consistently in tune with the concept of counterpoint — employing it in an almost-baroque tradition, for instance, with the relationship between Wisti’s vocal and bassist Davin Odegaards’ line in “Its a Riot,” while at the same time telling us in the chorus “its so old its new.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Ivan After 5″

Last year the band put out a sampler CD, and posted the cover art for Lady President and its two sequels, Ringtones and The Box. We’ve already posted on the precarity of releasing multiple albums at the same time (or in sequence), and increasing your total catalog by 20% seems audacious (we estimated there, but we expect Wisti is going to do the math and let us know the actual number). We just don’t believe the next two records will be as this one — they must have stacked all the best tracks on this first album!

Rank Strangers second record shop performance to promote the release of Lady President is here at Hymie’s this Sunday at 4pm. The Union Suits will be playing an opening set. 

Here is a local band that’s been around for so long we’re surprised they haven’t recorded more. More than a half dozen years have passed since they released a full length disc, In the Winepress, and broke up for a while. By the time they first played here at Hymie’s a couple years ago, they’d recruited Matt Engelstadt as a new bass player and already started playing some of the songs on their new album, out this weekend, as well as a great tune they’d released on a split single with the Knotwells.

They’ve never sounded as good as on The Future Was a Long Time Ago, a great album a long time coming. This “little band from Minneapolis” has always had a charming punk rock-ish interpretation of country music, which is highlighted here with shorter, quicker arrangements and exceptionally catchy hooks. On In the Winepress, Jon Collins’ lyrics about drinking and disenfranchisement had been so dense you’d have to read along to follow them (and find your glasses to do that), these eleven new songs are cleverly concise, if still about the same subjects.

the future

The songs seem seeped in the working class worries of what we’re now calling the “Great Recession,” which for a lot of us didn’t really end when the guv’ment saved the banks. Or something. As cheerful as the band sounds, there’s an oppressive sense of dread just underneath the rollicking surface, probably best captured in the concise lament which lent itself to the album’s title:

When the past goes it leaves a big hole
The future was a long time ago

The album opens happily enough with “Salt and Ice,” the first of several songs to highlight dual lead vocals by Collins and fiddler Pamela Laizure. They’ve got a great chemistry here, which reminds us of our favorite songs by This Bike is a Pipe Bomb (one of which is “Of Chivalry and Romance in a Dumpster,” if you’re wondering) and the Gr’ups. Does anybody remember the Gr’ups? They were awesome.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Salt and Ice”

A few years ago the Brian Just Band told us we got it all wrong when we described their first disc as a “summer record,” and so we’ve avoided giving seasonal tags to albums. That said, it sure seems like The Future Was a Long Time ago is set in a Minnesota winter, from the romanticized “Salt and Ice” to the way bus windows fog up late at night. It also seems like the themes in Collins’ lyrics are connected to songs like Gil Scott-Heron’s “Winter in America.” Here it’s contemporary crises like the impact of foreclosures on neighborhoods like ours, and the failed evacuation of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, but like Scott-Heron did in the seventies, Collins pairs politics with personal experience. “Banks” is a particularly successful example of this.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Banks”

Classic country music and punk rock have a complicated past, a stormy relationship going all the way back to CBGB’s, which really isn’t so strange when you think about it: both often focus on the feelings of the disenfranchised, especially those oppressed by economic conditions. There’s not so much difference between Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” and the tattered jeans Mike Ness wears with shame in Social Distortion’s “Story of my Life.” The dead man’s shirt in Chokecherry’s “Good Times (Are Over)” might end up on the same thrift store rack.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“The Future Was a Long Time Ago”

Chokecherry sounds better than ever throughout the album, which was recorded by Matt Castore at his A Harder Commune Studio. Instead of the flat, lo-fi sound of lots of folk-punk bands (like, again, This Bike is a Pipe Bomb) they’re recorded and mixed the way you’d want a good ol’ fashioned punk rock album to sound. Drummer Chris Schuck, who has been with Collins and Laizure all along, sounds great, which you can tell just listening to “Salt and Ice” up above. And two tracks feature the one and only Ross Fellrath of Whiskey Jeff’s Beer Back Band on steel guitar. He adds a particularly countryfied atmosphere to the title track. One thing we especially love about the album is how Laizure’s fiddle sounds, sometimes very country as on that song, and other times heavy, in the style of the 90s English band the Levellers as on “Downtown Dogs.”

Last week we drank a beer for breakfast and wrote about Bob Dylan’s Oh Mercy with a little wrought self-depreciation. Sometimes it feels like we’re just a few years from obsolescence — small business seems doomed in this country, especially something like a neighborhood record shop. All the while we’re not getting any younger, we know what Collins’ means when he sings about the cold wind and the “after-work bus with the windows fogged up, [when] you feel yourself growing older every day.” But that song doesn’t end with that gloomy image — instead Collins and Laizure remind us that “It’s alright.”

Chokecherry has two shows this weekend to celebrate the release of The Future Was a Long Time Ago. The first is at the Seward Cafe on Saturday night with an awesome bill of groups: Whiskey Jeff and the Beer Back Band, Diver Dress and Up the Mountain Down the Mountain. The second is Sunday afternoon here at Hymie’s, where they’ll be joined by Wisconsin folk musician Jake Duda. Every little detail you could ask for can be found here.

 

make out musicYou may have noticed some peculiar little sections stashed around your friendly neighborhood record shop — things like Music from Outer Space, Classical Gasp, and Difficult Listening. Our favorite of all of these is Make-Out Music, which is filled a variety of classic tunes for foolin’ around, from Marvin Gaye’s essential “Lets Get it On” to James Last’s Seduction. It’s our favorite little section in the shop.

Of course, what makes for make-out music is subjective. Chuck Klosterman writes in Fargo Rock City, “I went to high school with a secretly sleazy farm girl who once said it was ‘totally awesome to fuck to Faster Pussycat,’ and since this girl always had a lot of boyfriends, I assumed she knew what she was talking about.” National Public Radio, possibly one of the least sexy things that could possibly come out of your speakers, listed a make-out mix here which inexplicably includes a song from Swordfishtrombones and “Love Stinks” by the J. Geils Band. These, of course, are probably not the best authorities on the subject of getting laid.

Our own make-out mix (what, doesn’t everyone have one?) leans heavily towards sultry seventies tunes like Kellee Patterson’s “I’m Gonna Love You a Little More Baby” and a friend insists you can’t do better than Sade’s Diamond Life. We didn’t really expect there would be anyone up here in the chilly midwest making music like that, but we were wrong. Love in Blue by BAIN is a tight mixture of soft rock, jazz and smooth R&B which is surprisingly sophisticated and well-produced for a debut LP, and superbly suited for romance.

bain love in blue

Its eight tracks are leisurely paced, hardly topping a hundred beats a minute, making this just about the opposite album from the Blind Shake’s Breakfast of Failures, which we posted last week. The standout rhythm is in the breezy “Whereever,” but this track, “The Way,” is the most romantic. Leader Davis Bain and Jayanthi Kyle share vocals here, and alternate the lead on other tracks.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“The Way”

You can hear the entire album on their website by clicking the link above, by the way. Its a nice reminder that people are still writing original, sincere love songs.

Although Love in Blue leans in the direction of jazz, the solos are kept simple, pushing the focus towards its melodies. It seems like this is a band that might really cook, but would rather simmer just below a rolling boil, especially keyboardist Erik “Afrokeys” Anderson and the tight rhythm section — the result is a sensual tension that hits the sweet spot several times. The whole band sounds electric in “The One” at the middle of the second side, and deftly brings it down from there. We imagine this is one of the tracks that’s going to be really awesome live.

We’ve been surprised how these songs stick with us after a couple listens, making Love in Blue a good album for general listening, not just making out. Still, we recommend you find someone special and give it a try yourself.

BAIN’s record release show for Love in Blue is this Sunday at the Icehouse, along with Ashley Gold and DJ Fourfeet. Details here.

 

 

The Blind Shake may be the busiest band in the Twin Cities, with a track on Amphetamine Reptiles’ revived Dope, Guns and Fucking in the Streets series out this week and two albums slated for release in the spring, including a surf rock album with Rocket From the Crypt’s John Reis. They’ve also got a single out this year on a European label, where they’ll be touring next year. They just returned from an East Coast tour, and oh yeah — they’re releasing this awesome LP tonight at the Hexagon Bar. It’s easily one of our favorite albums of the year.

blind shakeAny new album by the venerable trio is likely to be a favorite of ours, but Breakfast of Failures is a resounding success sure to push this band into larger territory. They’ve never explored their sound as widely in a single record as on this album, which has all the furious urgency of their live sets, but a steadier approach to some of the arrangements, from the bombastic title track to the methodically paced “Dots in the Fog,” where Mike Blaha’s baritone guitar takes on the tone of a baroque keyboard over brother Jim’s mournful-sounding accompaniment. It’s consistently surprising that you’re hearing only a trio, especially during the wild frenzy at the end of “Pollen,” and this tightly-packed track, “Parachute”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Parachute”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Dots in the Fog”

Breakfast of Failures finds the Blind Shake bolder than ever before, but we still have no idea what’s got ‘em so riled up. “Youth Carnival Waste” hurls rage at someone who’s “kind are the worst,” we think, but we’re not sure who. We keep getting caught up in the song’s surf-styled drive and missing the lyrics. “Go Lie” seems the angriest of all, with a slower pace which sounds like Wire’s “Lowdown” or a track off Generic Flipper, and the cryptic admonishment “Go lie with your words.”

And we’re not sure if we’re being told to “Grab a parachute and dive,” or “die.” We’ve never been very good at deciphering lyrics around here anyway. Breakfast of Failures is a cathartic joy, an album which feels filled to the brim with manic demons who need to stretch their legs. Dave Roper makes it just about impossible to keep your feet still for twenty frantic minutes, and Mike and Jim Blaha explore just about every extraordinary sound a guitar can make along the way, running the range from rage to, um, rage. We get exhausted just listening to this album.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Breakfast of Failures”

The Blind Shake will perform tonight at the Hexagon Bar along with Joust, who are releasing a debut single, and Teenage Moods. 21+, 10pm.

« Older entries

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.