10 Best Upcoming Concerts of 2015

Categories: Lists
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Photo by Brigitte Sire
Sleater-Kinney finally return in 2015.

The Sony hackers have ruined what was left of the movie industry, but there are still quite a few resonant happenings in the realm of forthcoming live music. Concerts in the Twin Cities region (and occasionally beyond) are already shaping up to be a spectacle in the new year. And it seems like a million of them are happening at Turf Club.

A ton of lineups, confirmations, and "special announcements" await us in the months to come, but Gimme Noise is giving props to the early birds who got us some info more than 10 days in advance! (Apologies to fans of Hozier, Idina Menzel, and Nickelback, but this list is not for you.) Here are 10 concerts we're excited about for 2015.

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The Best Country Albums of 2014

Categories: Year-end blitz
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Here's my imitation of executives in Nashville: "Let's put the one that sounds like a Lionel Richie ballad right after the tailgating song with the AC/DC power chords."

This year's country-music crop boasts some marvels, but I've never found less to like in the albums pumped out of Music Row, where sequencing three strong tracks in a row is as long-gone a tradition as Nudie suits. Even the best big-biz album on this list, Miranda Lambert's Platinum, demands editing on the consumer end: You'll like a lot, and you'll skip more than you should have to.

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In Defense of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Prog Rock

Categories: Concert Preview
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Photo by Mark Weiss
Top this, Bing Crosby.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Xcel Energy Center | Tuesday, December 30
Though Trans-Siberian Orchestra frequently enjoys positive reviews from the national media, public opinion has waned on the New Jersey-based stadium rockers. We hear that this overambitious, towering merriment is hackneyed, the ticket prices are astronomical, and each year, as their ever-expanding canon of operatic Christmas carols tours the country, TSO become more difficult to defend.

Recently, TSO were panned by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, LA Weekly, and Houston Press, among others. This Kozelekian takedown on The New Gay related their sound to "Satan's performance in 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' crossed with a special holiday sale at Target where three underprivileged orphans are trampled to death and not discovered until the following morning."

I know critics are gonna keep saying TSO sucks. I know their schlocky holiday epics are tired maelstroms that are made for dudes with Cool Uncle Syndrome. The operative criticism against TSO is that it's overwrought. The lights, the power chords -- it's all too much for a nice, humble holiday. But I prefer my chestnuts roasted over pyrotechnics.


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The Best Twin Cities Concerts This Weekend: 12/19-21

Categories: Concert Preview

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Photo by Albert Watson
Haerts -- see Saturday!
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar.


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Andy Cirzan Is the Ultimate Christmas Music Crate-Digger

Categories: Holiday
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Andy Cirzan in his element.

As a junkie to his fix, as Santa to milk and cookies and chimneys, so is Andy Cirzan to Christmas music. The 57-year-old Chicago native has been making influential mixtapes (his 2014 mix has just been posted) for more than two decades and, for the last 15 years or so, has been making annual appearances on Chicago radio to spin holiday music that most humans never knew existed. He keeps on digging and digging and digging, and somehow he keeps managing to sift out the gems from the vast winter-wonder-wasteland.

Cirzan recently appeared in the new documentary Jingle Bell Rocks!, which traces the spiritual (really) journey of filmmaker Mitchell Kezin as he tries to make sense out of his life through holiday music. Cirzan never planned to become one of the world's foremost collectors (his archive numbers in the thousands of records) and authorities on the genre. Fortunately for those who share his love of the best of seasonal sounds, his obsession had other ideas.

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Da Rich Kidzz Rap About Weird Weather in HBO Documentary

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HBO sure picked the perfect time to air their environmentally focused documentary, Saving My Tomorrow. The Da Rich Kidzz track that was featured in the film, "Weird Weather," took on added significance in a week that saw temperatures in the Twin Cities go from 50 degrees to 10 degrees in a matter of a day.

The young north Minneapolis hip-hop group -- featuring members of Y.N.RichKids of "Hot Cheetos & Takis" fame -- augmented a segment on how a warming Earth will generate more extreme weather events with a two-minute track that illuminates just how harsh and unpredictable the weather can be here in Minnesota.

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Top 10 Must-See Minnesota Music Videos This Week

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

A premiere of the fresh new Heiruspecs video kicks things off this week. We've also got new clips from Doomtree, RONiiA, Whatever Forever, Dan Israel, G√úSTO, Four Letter Lie, Ecid, and a fitting holiday-themed vid from Eric Mayson. We're also featuring a special Bob Dylan performance for a lucky audience of one. Enjoy!

See Also:
Top 10 Best Minnesota Music Videos of 2014

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Even Death Row Records Has a Christmas Album

Categories: Holiday
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Death Row Records
You better watch out...
If you grew up an outspoken hip-hop fan around the holidays, chances are some well-meaning Secret Santa stuffed your stocking with a little holiday compilation called Christmas on Death Row. Yes, this album exists.

Christmas on Death Row is an album that's puzzled used CD store clerks since its release in 1996. It's still baffling that the label that gave us The Chronic, Doggystyle, and nationwide gangsta rap hysteria devoted its resources to a full-length album of Yuletide tunes.

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The 30 Highest-Paid Musicians In 2014

Categories: Lists
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Photo by Sayre Berman
Miley is smiley 'cause she made $36 million in the last 365 days.

Glitz. Glamour. And obscene, seven-figure weekly paychecks.

Such is the life of the rich and famous pop tarts, rock stars, rappers, and superstar DJs who enrich our lives with their inspiring music, spectacular tours, semi-nude Instapics, and endless drug-taking, DUI-ing, sex tape-ing antics.

Can you imagine making $100,000 a day? Well, even the poorest among Forbes' highest-paid musicians of 2014, like Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, pull down that many greenbacks every 24 hours.

Others, meanwhile, mint that much moola in 60 minutes. All day. All night. All year.

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The "Save Big Money at Menards" Jingle: A History

Categories: Television
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Screengrab via YouTube
"Menards Guy" Ray Szmanda

Certain homegrown songs get played quite a bit in the Midwest. While we've undoubtedly heard Prince's "When Doves Cry" and Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train" for decades, there's one song that seems to explode across our airwaves more than any other. It's been a hit on every terrestrial radio station within the state's limits and is instantly identifiable by anyone who has ever spent time with their television or radio on.

Of course, I'm talking about The Menards Jingle.

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