The Courtneys: Toto's "Africa" is our tour theme song

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Photo by Andrew Volk

Vancouver trio the Courtneys have fashioned a perpetual summer. It lives in the playful demeanor of their self-made workout videos, personality quiz and snapback caps. It lives in their ability to not take themselves too seriously. And it flourishes on the ramshackle joyride of their spirited self-titled debut. It can be hazardous for any band to act as a conduit of the not-so-distant past but the Courtneys reference Flying Nun-era slackers with a fresh vitality that rings strong whether they're gushing over Keanu Reeves or confronting inner turmoil with Slayer maxims.

The sounds may be optimistic, but depth is tangible and Courtney Loove, Sydney Koke and Jen Twynn Payne are grasping at something pure. Indie queens Tegan and Sara have a history of nabbing promising female acts as support and catapulting them into the success they deserve (e.g. Waxahatchee) and so it's no surprise that the Courtneys have taken this role on the band's current tour. Ahead of their Monday performance at First Avenue, Gimme Noise chatted with drummer/lead singer Jen Twynn Payne about life as a Courtney.

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The best Twin Cities concerts of the week: 6/16-6/22

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Nick Cave -- See Saturday

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The best Twin Cities concerts of the week: 6/9-6/15

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The best Twin Cities concerts of the week: 6/2-6/8

Categories: Concert Preview
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Stacy Schwartz
Dan Wilson -- See Wednesday

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Sean Lennon: Prince producing a Yoko Ono album would be unbelievable

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Sean Lennon has been an artist and singer/songwriter from age five when he first made a cameo on his mother Yoko Ono's Season of Glass record in 1981. The "beautiful boy" got the bug and continued to collaborate musically and produce with his mother and ultimately released records of his own music. His '98 debut Into the Sun and Friendly Fire in '06 gave Sean his own voice that teetered between ripe for mixtape sunshine sounds and personal, sorrowful introspection.

Caught between the reality of being the offspring of a pop icon and his own personal interests as an artist, Lennon has found sturdy ground creatively with partner Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Starting their own record label, Chimera Records, Sean has produced and released his Mother's music, former bandmates Cibo Matto, as well his new band mixing '60s psychedelia, folk music he leads with Muhl, the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. Their new record, Midnight Sun, gives Lennon his own voice and approach to modern music with some wonderful results.

Appearing this Friday in the 7th Street Entry for a likely, very happening performance, Sean spoke briefly to Gimme Noise about his band and his parents' record collection.


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The best Twin Cities concerts of the week: 5/26-6/1

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Butch Hogan
Conor Oberst - See Sunday

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The best Twin Cities concerts of the week: 5/19-5/25

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Haim -- See Monday

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Two Harbors: We made this record so I could tour Abbey Road

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Most bands don't dare book studio time at Abbey Road before they've even written a song for their new album. But for local Anglophile indie-rock quartet Two Harbors, working in that hallowed venue was a longstanding dream. So frontman Chris Pavlich booked the studio time well in advance, figuring that the songs would come in due time. And the new material did eventually come together in a major way on their inspired new album, The Natural Order of Things, a confident, guitar-fueled collection that is the best work of the band's career.

Ahead of their celebratory record release show at Cause tonight, we were able to chat with the group -- singer/guitarist Pavlich, guitarist Kris Johnson, drummer Shawn Grider, and bassist Jeremy Bergo -- about how these new songs coalesced, what inspiration they draw from the Britpop era, how they got the striking artwork for their new album, and whether they got their picture taken in Abbey Road's famed zebra crossing.

See also:
The 10 most anticipated albums from Minnesota artists

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Edward the Confessor: We revolve around morose themes

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Sometimes after a long night of drinking, a few musicans can grow closer and define themselves as a band. This is the case for punk-infused indie rockers Edward the Confessor. Every Monday evening is set aside to rehearse, and this blustery day is no exception. After a hard night's work, practice always concludes with chicken wings and Brandy 7s at neighboring restaurant, Eli's in Northeast.

Singers/guitarists Rob Burkhardt and Sean Hancock, drummer Nick Larsen, and bassist Dillon Marchus (who was jokingly renamed "Derek" after a misunderstanding) have called it an early practice in order to sit down with Gimme Noise. 
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The best Twin Cities concerts of the week: 5/12-5/18

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Wye Oak -- See Thursday

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