Cock E.S.P. on 20 years: Breaking up is just another thing we're bad at


Cock E.S.P. is a Minneapolis-based noise outfit that marks their 20th anniversary this year. And whether or not you are someone who can sit down and really enjoy the experience of listening to their music, it's pretty difficult to argue with the pure intent and ethos behind their work. They exist in a space where making a statement about the current musical landscape is a far more important goal than any other, and that statement seems to be that music, like any art form, needs to be transgressive in order to stay interesting.

For a band that's been around in some form or another for two decades, they don't appear to show much sign of slowing down. Their last full-length release, Historia de la Musica Cock, is likely their most ambitious work to date. It serves as a sort of tribute to the last century of experimental music and art through short, violent blasts of noise, each track rarely exceeding 40 seconds. Also worth mention are the hilariously low-brow, play on word references to everything from French composer Claude Debussy to Dadaist painter and sculptor Marcel Duchamp sprinkled throughout the song titles. It's a dense piece of work that flies by in just under 38 minutes.

Ahead of tonight and Thursday's shows at the Hexagon to commemorate their years together, which are poised to be their most improvised and unhinged yet, founding member of the band Emil Hagstrom was nice enough to sit down and answer a few of Gimme Noise's questions.

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Basement Alumni archives

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The Church's Matt Saint-Germain: It was impossible to book weird music in the Twin Cities

Categories: Basement Alumni

Here's a night at the Church.

By Kyle Imes

Thinking back on Minneapolis DIY venue the Church now, my memory is a little hazy. What I do remember is a huge, open room with what you could hardly call a stage in the middle of it, and a tiny exposed kitchen off to one corner. All of the windows were covered by huge sheets of fabric, presumably to keep anyone outside from seeing what was happening inside, and at any given time, the place might be swarming with hordes of sweaty, eager people looking for a weird time. You usually got it.

The Church hosted countless amounts of these kinds of shows over its 16-plus years of existence, and served as a platform for many artists and musicians, local and otherwise, to showcase their work. Long since defunct, the venue remains an important part of the underground music scene in Minneapolis.

Matt Saint-Germain booked many a show at the Church in the early aughts, and went out of his way to spotlight acts that many other venues wouldn't have touched, including a young Animal Collective. Matt was nice enough to sit down with Gimme Noise and reminisce about it.

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STNNNG's Nate Nelson revisits his basement show past

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STNNNG's Nate Nelson revisits his basement show past

Nate_Nelson_end_of_a Rick_show.jpg
Here's Nate Nelson at the end of a Rick show in 2000.
By Kyle Imes

There has always been an underground music scene in the Twin Cities in some capacity, but it's easy to overlook. Before Facebook and MySpace, finding the basement, loft, or re-purposed public space was largely word-of-mouth. Thanks to a friend's older brother, I was allowed to tag along to my first basement shows in the late '90s. These often completely unhinged shows changed my perception of what live music could look and sound like. Basement Alumni is a column to revisit the nascent days for many of our local musicians. 

Guitarist Nate Nelson (STNNNG, Pony Trash, Chambermaids, among others) was a regular at a good chunk of the shows that I attended back in the late '90s and early '00s. He played in Rick, Pennie Arcade, United Snakes, and Church of Gravitron
 in those days, and was in the audience on plenty of other occasions. In a conversation with Gimme Noise, he recalls those formative years. More »