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The Cooling

We have no idea what National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Contest is all about. We’re not really NPR listeners, but we do love working with local musicians — and we were glad to help Reina Del Cid create her entry in the contest by offering our tiny stage. And a tiny desk, whatever that’s all about.

The video was shot by Dan Huiting, who has been filming the ongoing “Practice Space” videos after hours here at Hymie’s (here‘s the most recent in that series). The audio was produced by Brad Matala of Essential Sessions.

Ramblin’ Bones


Here is the next video in our second season of local artists filmed after hours here at Hymie’s. Click here to see the first video, which features Wolf Council. This song is on Ben Weaver‘s new album I Would Rather Be A Buffalo, which is the first LP we released ourselves. We’re proud to have worked with Ben, who has performed on this stage many times over the years.

The Star Tribune‘s Chris Riemenschneider recently named this one of his favorite songs of the year (along with “My Love” by the Ericksons). Its been more than a year since the first time Ben performed it here at Hymie’s, and in that time he’s sung it on his “It’s All the River” bicycle tour down to New Orleans, as well as in all kinds of venues around the Twin Cities.

These videos are co-sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon, filmed by Dan Huiting and Lauren Josephine and mixed by Brian Herb of Mother of All Music. There are seven more videos in this season, so stay tuned!

Fish Story

The 2000 movie High Fidelity still comes up in conversation around here, and for many it seems to be the definitive big screen portrayal of life in a record store. We enjoy the movie and its very nice soundtrack, and we certainly get some smiles from the “Beta Band Effect” from time to time (what’s this?) but its not our favorite movie set in a record store.

Fish Story is a 2009 movie directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura. It begins in a record store five hours before a comet is to destroy the Earth. Two young men are doing what we do here every day, nerding out about records, when a man comes in and asks, incredulous, “Why are you open?”

They ignore him and continue to discuss music, as the clerk introduces his friend to an obscure band called Gekirin. Their final recording, “Fish Story,” pre-dates punk rock, although it sounds suspiciously like “New Rose” by the Damned.

We follow the song backwards through history — witnessing moments of heroism and terror, before finally meeting Gekirin in 1975 and learning how they came to record “Fish Story,” based on a mis-translated poem.

There is a scene in another movie, Almost Famous, when Jason Lee claims that rock and roll will save the world. It’s the kind of hyperbolic statement often associated with pop music’s need to justify itself, not so different from the way we feel about some of our favorite records. “This is important,” we tell ourselves, even though¬† we know well that in the big picture our records are inconsequential at best.

Fish Story is about those dreams, and how one of our records might save the world.

Prince on SNL

Rather than the standard two appearances for a song each, Saturday Night Live let Prince have eight uninterrupted minutes last weekend to play songs from his two new recent records. Prince packs a little of everything into the performance.

And since we’ve had several people ask, we’ll let you know that Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum (by 3rdEyeGirl) will both be released on LP as well as CD, and we’ll have both when they ship out to stores the last week of this month. The CDs have already been released — we’ve never understood why this happens sometimes, but we’ll bet it may have something to do with the challenges of pressing vinyl these days, even Prince has to wait an extra couple weeks sometimes! The cover for Art Official Age features Prince in his trippy three-eye sunglasses!


“Ghost Cop” is the first episode in what we hope will become an ongoing series about one of our favorite local punk rock bands, Braver.

Alan Jackson scored a huge hit with “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)?” in 2001, although hindsight suggests it was opportunistic schlock. The song was parodied by South Park when Jackson appeared to sing “A Ladder to Heaven,” about the boy’s attempt to climb to clouds to get a raffle ticket from Kenny.

Actually country music has a long history of patriotic records in poor taste, and Jackson’s song was far from the most shameful cash-grab of the era (Toby Keith can have that dubious claim). That got us to wondering how long until somebody hits the money button with a song about Uncle Sam kicking the snot out of ISIL.

Recently, we read about Al-Rahel Al-Kabir, a Lebanese band (whose name means “the Great Departed”) which writes humorous songs about political and social issues in the Middle East. We don’t understand a word of their latest song, but have read it mocks ISIL and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. From the audience reaction, the song must be world-class satire.

freedom wins againSadly, we’re guessing any song about ISIL in the traditional American style will be more like this 1991 single by Quarter Moon.


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“Freedom Wins Again” by Quarter Moon

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