Remembering Tom Hallett, Twin Cities music writer extraordinaire

Categories: Obituary

Courtesy of Paul Dickinson
L-R: Tom Hallett with friend Paul Dickinson
Tom Hallett was a true rock 'n' roll writer. He lived the rock 'n' roll life like the Twin Cities' own Lester Bangs, and wrote about it in great detail. For decades, Hallett avidly attended innumerable shows, and celebrated our scene hard. Hallett's recent passing after a struggle with diabetes shocked many. He was 50 years old.

His friends include cohorts at publications featuring his writing (The Squealer, Pulse of the Twin Cities, 'Round the Dial) and innumerable musicians, but his reach could never be contained. As Gimme Noise gathered stories of Hallett from the people in his life, a consistent thread emerged. These folks spoke about his passion for writing, making mix-tapes, radio, and having good times with his friends at all hours. It's said by all that Tom was a sweet, funny guy who was well-loved by all. Here's a lengthy collection, they way he'd like it, of memories from some of the people who knew him best.

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Wits 2014 fall season lineup announced

Categories: Wits
Photo By Nicola Losik
Father John Misty is just one of the musical acts taking part in the fall season of Wits

MPR's hugely successful music and sketch-comedy show, Wits, has held the attention of Twin Cities fans for years now. But instead of staying put in the familiar confines of St. Paul's cozy Fitzgerald Theater, Wits is now expanding its reach for the just-announced fall season.

In addition to hitting the road for a show in Portland, Oregon, Wits has also branched out to include performances at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis as well as the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University. Here's the fall lineup of comedians, artists, and musicians.

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Top 10 must-see Minnesota music videos this week

Categories: Local Frames

Local Frames is a weekly column spotlighting the best new music videos featuring musicians and directors with Minnesota ties.

Mark Mallman's brand new video emphatically launches this week. We've also got new clips from Spooky Black, Jay Simonson, Origami Bones, and a Minneapolis-laden video from Mike Krol. We're also featuring two new videos from Adam J. Dunn's LAAB series from Actual Wolf and Sims, along with a recap from the Lowertown Guitar Festival, a tour highlight reel from Teenage Moods, and an in-studio performance from Hippo Campus. Enjoy!

See Also: Top 10 must-see Minnesota music videos this week (Hollow Boys, Jenny Dalton, Travel Mug, Lovely Dark, and more)

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Jeremy Messersmith plays "Bubblin'" on Letterman

Jeremy Messersmith in the middle of getting the Letterman bump

Wearing a "The Pirate Bay" T-shirt under a black jacket, Jeremy Messersmith played to his biggest audience yet on Wednesday's Late Show With David Letterman.

The Minneapolis musician chose his "biggest, strangest" song "Bubblin'" from his latest album, Heart Murmurs, for the appearance. His touring band and a string quartet intermingled sumptuously on the arrangement reminiscent of Aimee Mann's collaborations with producer Jon Brion. If there were any nerves present for this career-changing moment -- even bigger than a signature doughnut -- they didn't show up on camera.

See also:
Jeremy Messersmith lets it bleed

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Phantom Tails: We're fascinated by violence

Categories: Album Release

Courtesy of the Artist

Phantom Tails | Triple Rock Social Club | Friday, August 22
"Rides Battalion has a few different meanings," explains singer and guitarist Orion Treon. He and the other members of deep-space doom-funk quartet Phantom Tails are kicking back around midnight on the porch of Thug Mansion, the rambling south Minneapolis property that each of them has at some point called home, and that currently hides their practice space in its catacombs of a basement. Each cradles a beer in their palm. We are discussing their upcoming full-length release, Rides Battalion.

"The main thing is that the songs come at you one after another," he continues. "It's an army of songs connected that keep coming at you. All of the songs have pretty elaborate changes that really come into one flowing piece. That's the battalion part." There is a militaristic theme to the album as well, and references to violent incidents. "We're fascinated by violence, but who isn't?"

Keyboardist Sergio Hernandez cuts in. "What do you mean we?" He grins jokingly, laughing. Treon and Hernandez are still friends from when they met years ago, back when both lived in Texas. Treon claims to have played music with Hernandez for the past 20 years. Their close friendship is easily noticeable. Hernandez sits on the couch beside Treon and holds a cigarette with one arm draped casually over the back of the couch by his shoulder, almost as if moving to embrace his skinny frame. All four of the men have been a tight-knit group for many years, and their bond shines through in the sounds on Rides Battalion.

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New Century Sessions announces fall music lineup

Categories: Just Announced
Photo By Erik Hess
Mark Mallman is one of the artists set to perform during the fall season of the New Century Sessions

Beginning with a series of intimate shows late last year, the Hennepin Theatre Trust's New Century Sessions helped usher in a new music venue to downtown Minneapolis. The New Century Theatre is a modern, 250-capacity room in the heart of City Center, which provides a unique, personal concert experience for fans and artists alike.

To build on the success of their past seasons, the New Century Sessions have just announced a string of three new shows, which all feature talented local musicians.

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Top 10 concerts to see at the MN State Fair

Categories: Concert Preview
Photo by Erik Hess
We love you, Joan Jett.

The Minnesota State Fair begins this week! End of summer and all that, sure. But it means the beginning of a barrage of outdoor shows, fireworks, and beer-flavored gelato. Between the Grandstand and the myriad free stages, there's enough entertainment to make a fan feel like she's consumed one too many orders of walleye mac & cheese. (We kid. That would be impossible.)

As a helpful service to the busy fair-going public, here's our top 10 shows at the 2014 get-together.

See also:
Minnesota State Fair: Cheap and free things to do

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Passenger: I didn't feel the pressure then and I don't feel it now

Categories: Q&A
Passenger Instagram
Passenger| First Avenue| Sunday, August 24

The meaningful lyrics from Passenger's hit single "Let Her Go" only took Mike Rosenberg 45 minutes to write. So far, the breakup song has over 363 million views on YouTube, and has allowed the folk singer-songwriter to go from playing small pubs in England to world tours. In June, his new album Whispers was released, and it's just as full of thoughtful lyrics bashing social media as All the Little Lights but with a more upbeat tone.

Ahead of Sunday's First Avenue show, Gimme Noise talked with Rosenberg about his new album, social media, and his love for lyrics.

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Which version of your favorite band is worth seeing?

Courtesy the artist
There's always room for another Mike Love joke
At some point in the career of a band, the original members often reach an impasse and go their separate ways. Of course, there's still money to be made, so separate parties involved often hit the road and play their hits anyway. As a result, there often end up being multiple acts playing the same songs under the same name. Oops.

In recent years, as the stadium-sized egos of classic-rock bands and old-school rap groups have passed into their golden years, this has become an ever more frequent issue. Sadly, it often leads to mass confusion for fan bases who don't know which group they should be loyal to and fork over the cash to see. Lucky for you, we have five sure-fire tips to help you make your decision.

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How Tek wrote over 70 songs in prison

Categories: Rap/Hip Hop

St. Paul rapper and producer Tek was released from prison in June, and dropped a brand new solo album just a month later, handling production and recording duties himself. ...Like I Never Left is Tek's first fully individual musical statement since his collaborative effort with JessListen.

Gimme Noise caught up with Tek to ask about jumping back into music, and how he created so much material without any beats to listen to.

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