ACTN Put Death in Pop

Categories: Interview
Photo courtesy of
ACTN | Icehouse | Friday, April 24

Gus Watkins originally conceived of ACTN in 2013 as a one-man act. "A part of the original thought behind playing solo was that maybe it would draw more people into the lyricism," he says. These days Watkins is joined by three other members onstage, but it's hard to avoid confronting his lyrics head-on sometimes due to subject matter that is raw, honest and reaching.

Tonight, ACTN will celebrate the release of their new single and video, "My Flesh is Weakness," at Icehouse with fellow synth-driven popsters, Beasthead. We had a chat with Watkins about the inspirations behind his current sound, what went into their new video, and how the group has evolved over the years.

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Basilica Block Party 2015 Lineup

Categories: Just Announced
Photo by Erik Hess
Say three Hail Marys and make your way to the Basilica of Saint Mary grounds in downtown Minneapolis for the Basilica Block Party in July. The two-day event will feature Weezer headlining on Friday, July 10, and Wilco on Saturday, July 11, along with O.A.R., Mat Kearney, Jenny Lewis, Jason Isbell, Fitz & the Tantrums, and plenty of other local and national acts to fill out the various stages.

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The Best Twin Cities Concerts This Weekend: 4/24-26

Categories: Concert Preview

Photo courtesy of Remedy Co.
Hiss Golden Messenger -- see Saturday!
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar.

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T.I.'s Five Best Under the Radar Tracks

Categories: Lists

Photo By Tony Nelson
T.I. What you know about him?
T.I. is a lot of things. He's an MC, a surprisingly great actor, a King, a Rubberband Man, and very, very prolific. With one of the most loyal fanbases in hip-hop, T.I.'s earned his following through a 15 year career that has seen him collaborate with artists across an impressive number of regions and scenes.

Along with an incredibly consistent catalog, he has a few gems out there that have gone overlooked for far too long. If you want to add a few new T.I. tracks to your playlist before his show at The Myth this Saturday, here's five great T.I. songs you may have never heard before.

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Nooky Jones Breathe New Life into Twin Cities Neo-Soul

Categories: Interview

Photo by Tim McGuire
Nooky Jones & PaviElle | Icehouse | Saturday, April 25

It's a little after 9 p.m. and we're crashing a Nooky Jones rehearsal in one of the practice rooms at McNally Smith in St. Paul. The crew of six is grooving through one of their tunes "Hello." Vocalist Cameron Kinghorn sways lightly on his feet towards the mic, his voice airy and floaty. The first word to come to mind to describe his vocals is "easy" -- like a dreamy burst of nostalgia.

There are interludes where each of the musicians is given his own time to flex and shine with improvisational solos, then all ease back into the base melody. They have an agreeable chemistry and all share a similar look of bliss while they're playing. The soulful group is rehearsing for their upcoming show with PaviElle at Icehouse on Saturday night, and we dropped in to catch up with the band before their big homecoming gig following a brief Midwestern tour.

See Also:
PaviElle's Fear Not Is A Soul-Baring Experience

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Sufjan Stevens Gets Epic and Emotional at Northrop

Photo By Tony Nelson
Sufjan Stevens
With Little Scream
Northrop Auditorium, Minneapolis
April 22, 2015

Occasionally, you go to a show and get completely blindsided by what unfolds in front of you. You expect a decent show with a few flourishes and quirks, maybe, but in the end what you've experienced can really only be described as epic--in the very accurate and not overused sense of that word.

Wednesday night at Northrop Auditorium, Sufjan Stevens and his band put on show so powerful that the fortunate fans in attendance will be talking about it for quite some time to come.

See Also:
Slideshow: Sufjan Stevens Wows Northrop

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Carnage Gets Up Close and Merciful

Categories: Local Music

Sean Smuda

Carnage | Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant | Friday, April 24

This Friday, Twin Cities hip-hop legend Carnage continues his tradition of groundbreaking live endeavors with his second Up Close and Merciful show at The Dakota. The room provides a more personal setting for his music, and Carnage will be joined on-stage by his band for a wholly different experience than his performances at more traditional hip-hop venues. We spoke to Carnage, whose new EP The Ultimatum will be available for the first time at the show, about what goes into his live performances, as well as the his unforgettable guest appearance on Eyedea and Abilities' "Star Destroyer."

See Also:
Carnage the Executioner Comes Into His Own

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Top 10 Must-See Minnesota Music Videos This Week

Categories: Local Frames

We start things off on Local Frames this week with a new video from A.M. Stryker. We've also got new clips from ACTN, Bain, Coastal Cabins, and a cool collaborative dual-video effort from Ruben and General B and the Wiz. We've also got live performance videos from Mystery Date, Sam Cassidy, BNLX, and Nicholas David. Enjoy!

See Also:
Top 10 Must-See Minnesota Music Videos This Week (False Teeth, UMAMI, Camp Dark, American Scarecrows, and more)

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Mid West Music Fest 2015: Like One Big Family Reunion, Only Louder

Photo via artist
Communist Daughter
Grab a friend, pack up your car, and head down to Winona this weekend to stay up late, drink too many beers, and listen to music spilling out of every venue at Mid West Music Fest. The festivities begin this Thursday for the hard-core folks, but there will still be plenty of fun left over for Friday and Saturday. Check out the schedule here.

Many of the artists that will be performing share their thoughts on why this festival is so special.

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Limp Bizkit Are Better Than Whatever Crap You're Listening to Right Now

Photo By Erik Hess
What I'm about to say, I say with no trace of irony: Limp Bizkit are pretty awesome. In fact, so far as I can tell, they were the last good thing alt-rock radio had to offer.

Let's talk about their musical merits. I know that Fred Durst got a little whiny there sometime around Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water. No doubt. But while Fat Freddy D's raps aren't the greatest, his screams have always been on point. Durst vocalizes the guttural rage of the disaffected suburbanite. You laugh at such things, because you're from a nice suburb, not some decaying post-industrial shithole, and so is everyone you met while studying psychology at Vassar.

See Also:
Limp Bizkit at Varsity Theater, 5/14/13

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