How Hot Date Fell in Love and Accidentally Formed a Band

Categories: Album Release
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Photo by Benny Moreno
Hot Date | Bedlam Lowertown | Friday, February 13
"I remember thinking, 'Oh, god,' the first time I saw him, but he was talking to my friends, and I noticed him because he was gorgeous," Nora O'Brien of the St. Paul duo Hot Date is sharing the particulars behind her introduction to bandmate Eric Carranza..

"He beelined for me and said 'hi,'" she continues. "That same night, we broke into the basement of an empty building and sang Erykah Badu, and he smelled my hair. That was weird, but I let it happen." Hot Date's debut album, For Lovers, traces lines of jazz and soul and mixes it with infectious pop. Gimme Noise sat down with the duo before their album release at Bedlam Lowertown on Friday.
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Jonathan Rundman Embraces Taylor Swift-Level Pop on Look Up

Categories: Album Release
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Photo via artist
The world can change a lot in 10 years, as Jonathan Rundman is finding out. Back in 2004, the singer put out Public Library, a solo album that landed on many "Best of" lists. Soon after, Rundman took some time off to be a stay-at-home dad. When he came back to music, the scene had changed a lot -- to the point where an artist can be completely DIY and building their career at their own pace.

His new album, Look Up, which is out this week, has Rundman learning the keys and polishing what he did as a singer-songwriter to reveal the inner pop star that had been in hiding.
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RONiiA Build a Dreamy Fantasy World Within New LP

Categories: Album Release
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Graham Tolbert
RONiiA

RONiiA | 7th St Entry | Friday, December 12
Several years ago, Dark Dark Dark's Nona Marie Invie attended a showing of Ronia the Robber's Daughter in uptown Minneapolis. Invie was so taken by Ronia's plight that she eventually decided to adopt Ronia's name as a moniker for her latest musical endeavor: RONiiA.

Ronia the Robber's Daughter is a children's fantasy book, published in 1981 by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren and was repurposed into film several years later. Ronia, a young girl growing up amidst a clan of robbers, finds herself reaching out to an opposing clan of robbers, befriending one and finding means of bringing him food through the harsh winter. Watching the film, Invie saw herself in Ronia's character. The young girl's struggle for peace stayed with her.

"I've experienced lots of loss lately," Invie says. She and bandmate Fletcher Barnhill (Joint Custody, FUGITIVE) check in with us from the road, in a van headed back to Minneapolis after a spate of West Coast performances. Their counterpart, Mark McGee (Father You See Queen, Marijuana Deathsquads) chimes in from home. The three are in good spirits, preparing for their release show with Marijuana Deathsquads and Bliss U.K. at 7th Street Entry.

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Pony Bwoy's när-kə Is a Dark, Potent Acid Trip

Categories: Album Release
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Jacque Clark

When we checked in with Pony Bwoy last year, the duo were living and recording in their cold, cramped studio in northeast Minneapolis. Semi-homeless and grappling with the demands of musicianship, Jeremy Nutzman and Hunter Morley were more inclined to instruct readers to just sit down and listen to their music, rather than try to sell it with their words.

This week, Pony Bwoy release när-kə, a digital 13-track album that sprawls hesitantly out of a rumbling wall of bass, traveling through the murky veins of Nutzman and Morley's shared creative body -- two bodies, one mind. There is really only one appropriate word to describe the sound: acid. The kind you hold under your tongue.

After playing several local shows and modest touring dates for their self-titled effort, Pony Bwoy are waiting to play live again until their spring tour with Poliça, and a Twin Cities performance on Valentine's Day with Tickle Torture.

"We just have to step back and look at it for what it is, and not try to get ahead of it or make it into something that it ever was," Nutzman says. He is unsure if Pony Bwoy's music translates into a live setting.

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We Are the Willows Turn Love Letters Into an Orchestral Folk Masterpiece

Categories: Album Release

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Photo by Graham Tolbert
L-R: Peter Miller, Hilary James, Leah Ottman, Stephen Lindquist, Travis Collins, and Jeremiah Satterthwaite

We Are the Willows | Turf Club | Saturday, December 13
We Are the Willows' second full-length album, Picture [Portrait], is like a period film — dreamy, lush, and filled with nostalgia and yearning. Concept albums are always ambitious, and this one is no exception. Within, the Minneapolis indie folk act's lead singer, Peter Miller, has pieced together the story of his grandparents' courting days based upon 350 evocative old letters.

Miller lived with his grandparents while he was in college. His grandmother Verlie would sometimes speak of the letters her eventual husband Alvin would write. His interest piqued, Miller asked to read them, but she insisted they'd be of no interest. Finally, when Miller graduated from college, she gave them to him as a gift.


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Moonlight Grammar Is the Punk-Turned-Rapper Handing You a Tallboy

Categories: Album Release
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Photo by Shane Schlosser
Moonlight Grammar | 7th St. Entry | Wednesday, December 3
"I was at the Mall of America buying a bull horn for my album release show, and I stopped off at Hooters for some shots of whiskey this afternoon, so I'm a little..." Alan Fashbaugh a.k.a. Moonlight Grammar trails off as he rocks his hand back and forth in a so-so gesture to indicate his tipsy state. "Have you ever been drunk in the afternoon with a mall full of people? It's trippy."

The hip-hop artist, set to release his newest album, The High Tide Recordings, is at times playful and at others as intense as his lyrics during a conversation at an Uptown coffee shop in late November.
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Sweetz P. Stays Aggressive on Life Behind Barrrs

Categories: Album Release
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KCP Visuals
Chicago-born, Minneapolis-bred rapper Sweetz P.

"People that were born there are still there, or died there," Amber "Sweetz P." Hill tells us of Altgeld Gardens. The rapper is carefully inspecting a chicken wing over her plate at Muddy Waters, looking up seriously from beneath a dark ski-hat and curtain of dreads."That's the type of place it is."

Altgeld Gardens is a housing project on the South Side of Chicago. Built for returning African-American WWII veterans, it is both a historic landmark and an ongoing prison cell of sorts -- the bars of which are formed metaphorically by both inside and outside forces.

Though Sweetz P. and her extended family have called Minneapolis home for many years now, those formative days spent in the Gardens are what so decisively shape her sound and aesthetic on Life Behind Barrrs, the full-length she will release as the final act of a trilogy this Tuesday. Much like her previous work, Life Behind Barrrs is rife with trippy trap-induced beats, laden by Sweetz's throaty vocals combining artful storytelling with an ample dose of braggadocio and swag.


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Hardcore Crayons Return Triumphant With Zozzled

Categories: Album Release

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Sharolyn Hagen
Minneapolis trio Hardcore Crayons

Hardcore Crayons | Triple Rock Social Club | Friday, November 21
Gimme Noise recently bro'd out with Minneapolis experimental rock trio Hardcore Crayons over some Hamms in the hopes of uncovering the secret to their staying power.

What we found was surprisingly simple: drummer Jake Kirkman, guitarist/vocalist Dan Chizek, and bassist/vocalist Dominic Hanft have built a band on a solid foundation of friendship and their shared laissez-faire, don't-give-a-fuck approach to maneuvering any aspect of being a musician -- other than actually making the music itself.

Rather than burning out on their own ambition, Hardcore Crayons has turned their band into what Jake sees as a "sanctuary." In anticipation of Friday's Zozzled release show at the Triple Rock, here's more from our conversation.


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Prince Hosting Online Listening Party from Paisley Park Tonight

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The release of one new Prince album is enough to make major waves throughout the music industry. But when the Purple One decides to release two records on the same day, you know he's going to officially command the headlines. Today, Prince's solo record with producer Joshua Welton, Art Official Age, and his full-band album with 3rdEyeGirl, PLECTRUMELECTRUM, are released. But you know that the musical festivities won't end there.

Prince is hosting a listening party from Paisley Park tonight, which will be live-streamed online beginning at 9:30 p.m. Central Time.

See Also: 53 Things You Might Not Know About Prince


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Claire de Lune Breaks Down Tiny Deaths' Debut EP

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Photo By Zoe Prinds-Flash

For nearly two years, Claire de Lune has poured her creative energy into her new musical project with Grant Cutler, Tiny Deaths. Today, their self-titled new EP has finally been released to the music world. To celebrate the grand occasion, we not only have a stream of the captivating album for you to enjoy, we also have an insightful track-by-track breakdown of the EP by Claire herself. She candidly shares the inspiration behind her new songs, how they were transformed in the studio by Cutler's deft production, and how losing a love in your life is similar to the dead of winter.

See Also: Claire de Lune on Tiny Deaths: I made songs I would listen to


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