What is Jason Feathers, and what does it sound like?

Categories: CD Review
The cover of Jason Feathers' De Oro.

A collaborative project featuring Justin Vernon, Astronautalis, S. Carey, and Ryan Olson was teased back in 2012 during its creative stages. It recently arrived in gilded Ed Hardy font as De Oro, the debut record under the name Jason Feathers. 

The gathering of musicians comes with a string of alter-egos -- Creflo a.k.a. Jason Feathers (Astronautalis), Ephasis (Vernon), Toothpick (Carey), and _______ (Olson) -- and embellished back stories. Each player gets his own invented persona, which serves to represent the sounds reflected on the record. "OK, this ain't no college album, playboy," Creflo says at one point. "This is a professional album."

This week, De Oro -- which means "gold" in Spanish -- was made available as a streamable preview via Pitchfork. Here are our initial thoughts.

See also:
The secret Justin Vernon and Astronautalis project has emerged
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Franz Diego & J-Hard release Sense of Self at Conga tonight

​Dropped as a free download a few weeks ago, Franz Diego and J-Hard's collaborative album Sense of Self will be brought to life properly with an 18+ CD release show at Conga in Northeast. The Illuminous 3 veteran is trying out some new avenues on this one, and it's already one of the strongest local releases of the year.

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Purest Spiritual Pigs, 'Body Misses'

Categories: CD Review
Purest Spiritual Pigs is technically Helena Thompson's solo project. Primarily recorded in her basement, the ex-Her Majesty the Baby drummer has conceived eleven tracks that blend digitally-manipulated everyday sounds, a wealth of percussion, and a direct and often brooding vocal style to deliver Body Misses, PSP's first full-length release and a companion piece to its live production as conceptual art, which includes an array of local artists--musical, visual, and performance. As such, Purest Spiritual Pigs is not merely Thompson's project, but a team of collaborating artists.

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Haunted House's 'Lesh is More': An interpretation

Categories: CD Review
via Haunted House's Myspace
The record review is an aged beast. We don't necessarily need anyone to tell us if something is good, do we? It takes about as much time to acquire an album as it does to read about it these days.

That said, here is a wholly imaginary, associative, overly poetic and possibly offensive review of Haunted House's Lesh Is More, released about a week and a half ago to many smiles and craned necks at the Turf Club.

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Hank Williams III's Rebel Within leaked on Amazon.com

Categories: CD Review
hank williams rebel within.jpg
Hank Williams III, outlaw country artist and shit-talking Southern pride asshole of great esteem, has a new album coming out on May 25th, but for now you can check it out in entirety on Amazon.com. Just click here, and look to the right side of the page for the music-playing widget.

From what we've heard so far, his new album continues the synthesis of punk and country-western that has defined his career. Williams has greatly improved his songwriting (never his greatest strength) and the production is far tighter than previous albums. Best of all, he sounds even more like a modern version of his grandpa on this record than ever before, and that's saying something.

House Boat release "The Delaware Octopus"

Categories: CD Review
Take one part Dear Landlord (Zack Gontard, also in Twin Cities punk band Off With Their Heads), one part Ergs! (Mike Yannich), and two parts Steinways (Grath Madden and Azeem Sajid), and blend. What you get is House Boat, another Minneapolis-affiliated supergroup with flavors from all of the above mentioned bands.More »

More Than Lights' debut prescribes dose for those funky illz

Categories: CD Review
funky illz.jpg
When you first discover Minneapolis' own More Than Lights -- the eclectic septet and block party funk mob on the mic, strings, and electronics -- you might think they belong to an updated realm of "Sesame Street."

Toddlers aside, promo photos feature band members in various colored winter hats, which isn't a bad testament to their multi-flavored family vibe. Some of the tunes from their November 21 debut album, The Electric Prescription For All Your Funky Illz, are straight-up bursts of jubilation (sometimes simply thankful for the air in our lungs); others deal in the compassionate heat of some of life's chance moments. Either way, you'll want to warn the youth inside you: these pleasantries might induce lots of hand-holding, spontaneous ecstasy, and maybe a little jazz in those hips.

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Orange Mighty Trio take a musical roadtrip on "Infrastructure"

The music on Orange Mighty Trio's sophomore release, Infrastructure, ranges from the quiet, contemplative mood of opener "Point A" to the propulsive, restless urgency of "Driving With Your Eyes Open" to the chugging, train-inspired jump blues of "Orange Line," but no matter the tempo or approach, their music is always shot through with a tinge of Old World nostalgia. Part of it is down to the instrumentation: a piano, a violin, and a bass playing together without rhythm instruments are inevitably going to sound a little wistful, a throwback to simpler times. But a lot of it comes down to their gentle, way with a fragile melody, as on standout track "Convergence."

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Point of Departure: Kind of Bloop

Originally, Pong didn't have sound. When Allan Alcorn first designed it as an exercise for Atari founder Nolan Bushnell told him he wanted it to have realistic sound effects, including a roaring crowd and booing when a player lost a point. But Alcorn was running out of room on the circuit board and furthermore, didn't know how to even begin to generate those kind of sounds. So instead we got the now-iconic minimalist ping and pong sounds. And so does restriction lead to inspiration; the net, after all, makes the game possible.

When Miles Davis recorded Kind of Blue in 1959, by way of contrast, he was looking for a way out of the straitjacket harmonies of bebop. He'd begun this work with modal compositions on Milestones and 1958 Miles (or '58 Miles as listeners in the CD age came to know it from the new cover art), but for Kind of Blue he came into the studio with nothing but sketches--scales or melody lines for the improvisers to use. The results were, of course, legendary.

And now here is Kind of Bloop, an album that re-imagines Davis' album as the soundtrack for a vintage Nintendo or Sega videogame. If that simple description doesn't already give you a clear picture, you should probably just head over to kindofbloop.com, where you can listen to samples and also buy the album.

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CD Review: Volcano Choir, "Unmap"

Categories: CD Review
Volcano Choir

By Erik E. Martz

There is no "Skinny Love" on Unmap, the first album from Volcano Choir, the new side project of Justin Vernon of Bon Iver with Milwaukee experimental outfit Collections of Colonies of Bees. In fact, the closest thing to a traditional song on the entire album is looped and rhythmic advance single "Island, IS." There is, instead, a meditation--an extended session of noise and music making that seemingly has no compass and defies the listener to map its course. For those who simply expected another Bon Iver album, here be shoals.

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