Thursday, June 28, 2007

Saving the album at a time.

Yeah, yeah... late to the party, not jumpin'on the bandwagon, etc. I have to be honest and admit it took me a while to really get into Seymore Saves the World. I can't really pinpoint why I didn't like them prior to the release of the new CD, but for some reason I just wasn't interested. One night, I was listening to local radio station 89.3 The Current. There was this nerdy, poppy, upbeat song that spoke to me. As often happens when listening to 89.3, I ran to my computer to see what was being played. Son of a gun! Seymore Saves the World!

The song that was playing, "Love Song," comes from their new self-titled album. I feel like I'm listening to young teenagers in their basement. They wanna record, they're gonna record, but it's just for them. Maybe no one will hear it, but that's ok. It's all for fun and self-gratification. There aren't too many bands that lead me to that conclusion, but Seymore's gentle, geeky lyrics just put me in that "awwww" mood. I'd actually seen them perform live at the Minneapolis Take Cover event at the Varsity in February, but didn't really get a great vibe from them. Now I find myself really excited to see them on 7/7/07 when they open for Zibra Zibra and Har Mar Superstar at First Avenue. It promises to be a very solid, danceable show. So start preparing your self with this little ditty.

Download mp3:
Love Song

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

First Post!

As I'm now officially a staffer over at, I thought I'd throw up a link to my first real post.

White Light Riot CD Release - June 23, 2007

Hope you don't mind some shameless self promo... like you have a choice.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Villains of Verona

The big show this weekend here in Minneapolis was the White Light Riot CD Release. This concert will go down on my list as one of the Best Of 2007. The Alarmists played their usual solid set and White Light Riot definitely put on a show for the massive sold out crowd. The best part came at the end when lead Mike Schwandt literally flung himself into the crowd while singing "My Generation." It was almost too much to handle.

I always love finding new obsessions, and this party at the Fine Line left me with one. The Villains of Verona is a band from the outskirts of Chicago, but their sound has a universal appeal. They mix some classic bubblegum pop with heavier rock riffs, which creates a need to kick off your shoes in order to get down and boogie. Lead singer Rachel Verona's vocals will bring you back to the beginnings of Blondie... if she'd sung more poppy tunes. Think "The Tide is High" without the ska... wait, is that possible? As for the other band members, I hesitate to call them a "backup band" as this quintet seems to contribute equally to the sound being blasted forth.

The sold out crowd at the Fine Line seemed to appreciate the VOV and there was dancing to be had. I saw more than one ass shaking out there. This new discovery is a reminder to you. Show up for opening bands. You may find something wonderful you weren't even looking for.

Stream some music:
Villains of Verona on PureVolume

For more on the Villains of Verona, check out these links:
Official Website (must have Flash)
Villains of Verona MySpace

Friday, June 22, 2007

Frightened Rabbit

God. Another freakin' Glasgow band I'm obsessing over. This happens quite a bit. This newest obsession is a "keep it in the family" band called Frightened Rabbit. They say there's no one else in the band "because we don't have any other friends who are awesome." Yes, I love these boys already.

Also, look how cute they are... are you kidding me? So it's time again for some indie-pop-punk to groove to in the car. ...or when I just can't stand work anymore and need a pick me up. Well, I can just play a few Frightened Rabbit songs and feel a bit better for having done so. Their rousing beats and upbeat vocals lend me to the happier side of my musical life. It's one of those bands where the accent gets me, and the music just fills my heart with a happiness for having listened.

Unfortunately, there are no US tour dates currently scheduled. Although, if you're lucky enough to live close to Dublin (Peter), you could check them out at the Oxegen Festival in July.

Download mp3s:
An Incident
The Greys
Be Less Rude

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Sorry I've been AWOL. That whole Stone Arch Festival thing really did me in! You should see my ridiculously burned feet, knees and head. Yes, I wore sunblock... 60 spf! But to no avail.

New posts will resume tomorrow, June 21st. Be patient. I'll be back with plenty of new stuff for you.

Cheers -

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Stone Arch Festival of the Arts

The Stone Arch Festival of the Arts has been my pet project since January. I have booked three of the four stages at the festival and believe the lineup is pretty amazing for a first-timer putting all this together. If you're anywhere near the Minneapolis area on Saturday and/or Sunday this weekend, please stop on by. It's FREE!

June 16/17
10am - 6pm each day
Car Show, Live Music, Food, over 250 fine artists, a Youth Arts Quarter and more.

It's supposed to be beautiful this weekend so please come on by!

Click Here for the full music schedule

Download and stream mp3s from Stone Arch artists:

Stream Aviette's Album here
Stook - When It All Comes Crashing Down
Stook - Deliverance From Your Eyes
Bill Mike Band - Secure
Stream Jonathan Delehanty's music here
Jeremy Messersmith - Novocain
Jeremy Messersmith - Snow Day
Jeremy Messersmith - 7:02
Beight - Listen to album here
Eliza Blue - Little Bird
Eliza Blue - Northshore
Eliza Blue - Turnstile
Catchpenny - If I Fall
Catchpenny - Leave the Light On
Romantica - On My Mind, Honey, and Mexico via PureVolume
Bellatrex - A Wink and a Smile
Bellatrex - I Got Rhythm
Andra Suchy - Fall Away
Spaghetti Western String Co. - Merton's Woods
Spaghetti Western String Co. - Chitarra Romana (Live on 89.3 The Current)
Justin Roth - Shine
Justin Roth - She Dances
Listen to clips from High on Stress here

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Long Winters...

A few months ago a friend made me a mix CD which included the song "Teaspoon" by The Long Winters. It was instantly one of my favorites on the mix and I've since begun picking through some of their older albums, finding them quite delightful.

The Long Winters hail from that grunge-tastic city of Seattle, Washington. Their sound, however, will leave you thinking of more sunny skies. They've been compared to R.E.M., but I find their sound to be a bit more fresh and poppy, but maybe that's just because R.E.M. has been around so long. This is no "Shiny Happy People." In fact, lead singer/songwriter John Roderick explained his music in this way, "I'm just writing songs for the people who are missing somebody, or are angry at somebody, or who otherwise might take issue with someone telling them that love is a precious flower that only needs a little water and a little sun." I believe that pretty much says it all.

Link to Download ZIP file which includes the songs: Pushover, Stupid, Blue Diamonds, Carparts, and Scent of a Lime:
The Long Winters ZIP file

More information on The Long Winters:
Official website
The Long Winters MySpace

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sad Saturdays: Katrina and the Waves

Now I know you're thinking... Katrina and the Waves? Really?

Yup. Really.

It's supposed to be beautiful here in our fair Twin Cities. 80 degrees, sunny. Perfecto! God, I'm even having a big freakin' BBQ with some of my favorite people.

So I'm online, looking for the perfect upbeat summery mix. "What better song," I think to myself, "than Walking on Sunshine!?" ...and then, I find this:

Walking On Sunshine (Live at the Borderline, London - 2006)

'nuff said.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


I've been obsessing lately about cookies. So I thought you might enjoy a little tune from the past.

Download mp3:
C Is For Cookie

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Hustle It Baby

Because I missed a day, I'm posting twice today. Like it.

Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wonder what would happen if the Beastie Boys or Aerosmith kicked it 'O Brother Where Art Thou?' style?" Well, even if you haven't, you're about to find out.

A Night in the Box is another band I was introduced to at the Afternoon Records Anniversary Party this year. They trio played a few old-timey folk songs acoustically in-between sets at the party, but they really kicked into high gear and knocked me out when they went on for their full set. I didn't expect too much except for maybe a nice nap. Hey, I'd been at the Varsity since 3pm so cut me some slack. I was assuming it'd be me, getting too comfy in a chair, starting some head bobs. Instead I got slapped upside the head and told to hustle it on over to the stage.

...and hustle I did, for these 3 guys made me stand up, shut up, and pay attention. It's rock and roll mixed with back-porch folk tossed in the air and infused with old school rap. That's a hard-to-find balance, but A Night in the Box pulls it off well. Their newest album, The Hustle, The Prayer, the Thief is a bit ridiculous. It's an album for those times when you don't know what you want to listen to. But it's gotta be uplifing, then completely insane, then plummet you back to earth and throw you onto the chain gang, where you can sing along with your fellow prisoners. If that sounds like a good time, well then you've just found your new favorite band.

Download mp3:
The Thief

For more information please check out:
A Night in the Box MySpace


Honestly, can you ever not enjoy a band with dual drummers? Especially when they share a bass drum? ROCK! Start your feet a-tappin' boys and girls. We All Have Hooks for Hands is in the house.

We All Have Hooks for Hands is a fairly new discovery for me, but I have to say they are already one my favorite bands to watch. There are times when I've been watching a band on stage and they are so into their own goodness, that they are unable to convey that feeling to an audience. This creates audience apathy, and it can be really sad. There's just no spark. Other times, I'm bored because the band is bored. You can just tell they're not enjoying themselves and it makes the whole experience of attending a live show disheartening.

Thank god that this never happens with We All Have Hooks for Hands! Besides the fact that they have a great band name, WAHHH is one of those bands that from the get go pull you into their world of kick-ass grooves. To be totally old school, they really "kick out the jams."

The only bad part about WAHHH is the fact that they live in South Dakota. That means less shows for me, and that's something I'm very unhappy about. The nine musicians (violin, 3 guitars, 2 trumpet/key players, 1 bassists and 2 drummers) rock any stage's face off, creating an experience that you won't soon forget... in fact, you'll walk out asking yourself when they play next. The poppy music reminds me a little of Bishop Allen with a hint of The Shins and a touch of Apples in Stereo. Regardless, it's a party, and you're invited.

So when do they play next? Well, in Minneapolis we have to wait until July 24, when they hit the 7th Street Entry with labelmates Mouthful of Bees.

Download mp3:
Hold On, C'mon

For more information, check out:
WAHHH's MySpace
Afternoon Records

Monday, June 4, 2007

DW where is your new album?

Pretty much everyone who knows me is also aware of my love of all things Dan Wilson. Trip Shakespeare? check. Dan solo? check. Semisonic? Not as good, but still - check. Super nice and friendly guy? check.

Wilson's voice is one I grew up with all through high school and college. Trip Shakespeare's album "Lulu" has always been one of my favorite albums of all time. I have used the song "Down my Block" to describe the way I was feeling to more than one guy, and the song "Bachelorette" to start off every bachelorette party I had to attend in the post-college years. One of the things on my dream checklist was to see TS play live, but I thought it'd never happen. Happy me... Dan Wilson, Matt Wilson and John Munson played a short set at the benefit for Conrad last year in the First Avenue mainroom. I pretty much had a tiny heart attack, but managed to stay alert for the entire set. OH MY GOD. wheee!

Wilson, if you didn't already know, is also an accomplished songwriter. He recently won a Grammy for writing the song "Not Ready To Make Nice," which was recorded by the Dixie Chicks. Another song written by Dan, but recorded by Rachael Yamagata, is "I Want You." I have to tell you that this is definitely worth the 99 cents you'd have to pay iTunes to get it. It's sultry, it's sexy, and it says exactly what one feels when you can't have what/who you want... in other words, everyone can relate.

The good news is that Wilson has a solo album coming out "soon." However, this mantra has been repeated every time I've run into Wilson at a show, or seen him play. It's always soon. Well Dan, we are sick of waiting. I want my DW and I want it NOW.

If you hit up Wilson's myspace, you'll find a few of the tracks off his "soon-to-be-released" solo album. "Breathless" leaves ME breathless, and "All Kinds" will make you weep a bit into your pillow. Check them out. Until this solo album actually comes out, check out a few older DW mp3s. It'll have to do for now.

Download mp3s:
Everything I Own (Bread cover)
What A Year for a New Year

For more information on Dan Wilson:
Dan Wilson's MySpace

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Sad Saturdays: Hem

This is a new recurring feature of my blog. Sad Saturdays are days of self-torture where I actually have time to hit "repeat" on a song and sit and sob if I need to. It sounds probably worse than it is, but there are days where it just makes me feel better.

The first installment comes from the band Hem. Hem merges luscious orchestration with amazingly simple lyrics. What results is an emotional release that reminds us all that pastoral folk music really isn't dead. It's just waiting for rediscovery. Hem's music is comforting and somehow reassuring. It allows the listener time to just be. There is no heavy thinking, just an allowance for enjoyment of the music presented.

Sally Ellyson's clear and lush voice can literally take my breath away and give me that "I'm just about to cry" feeling. Couple that with the other seven members of the band's various instrumentalities and we have something very special. The song "Carry Me Home" is a sadly hopeful song and creates a sense of longing within me. I've had some personal things happen lately that more than once have caused this particular song to occupy a large chunk of my listening time. So please, enjoy.

Hold On, I know you'll carry me, and carry me, and carry me home.
Tell me nothing's wrong here

Download mp3:

MPR In-Studio performance (128k mp3)
MPR In-Studio performance (RealAudio)

For more information on Hem, please check out: Hem's Homepage

Friday, June 1, 2007

You Heartless Bastard!

Everytime I mention the Heartless Bastards to someone, I can't figure out if I like the music more, or if I just saying their name out loud. But then I throw the record on and I realize that even though I do enjoy saying their name more than many bands, it's the music that does it for me. Singer-Songwriter Erika Wennerstrom is one of the few female artists who can actually capture my attention for extended periods of time. Her smokey low-toned vocals make me swoon as the bass lines of Mike Lamping provide a subtle undertone that fits in exceptionally well. A few tracks off their new album "All This Time" saw extended bouts of the repeat button via my ipod, and that just doesn't happen very often.

The Heartless Bastards play the 400 Bar tonight in Minneapolis. Tickets are $12 - this one will sell out folks, so come early. 8pm doors.

Download mp3s:
Into the Open
All This Time

For more information on the Heartless Bastards:
Heartless Bastards Official Website