The Decemberists Spanned Storied, Epic Catalog at Northrop

Categories: Concert Review
Photo by Mark N. Kartarik

The Decemberists
Northrop Auditorium, Minneapolis
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The title of the latest Decemberists album was inspired by one of American history's darkest tragedies, but the indie-folk heroes kept things light as ever at Northrop Auditorium Tuesday night.

What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, the Portland quintet's seventh album, takes its name from album cut "12/7/12." Frontman Colin Meloy wrote it about the contrast between his happy personal life and the country's sadness over the Sandy Hook shooting. That song, along with most of the new record's 14 cuts, was not aired live by the band in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,700.

See also:
Slideshow: The Decemberists Rock Northrop

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The Five Best Brock Lesnar References in Rap

Categories: Lists

Megan Elice Meadows via Wikimedia Commons
Paul Heyman's Client, Brock Lesnar
Last night, ESPN Sportscenter welcomed an unannounced guest in Brock Lesnar. He announced that he was shutting the door on his MMA career in favor of re-signing with sports-entertainment top dogs WWE just in time for this weekend's Wrestlemania. Lesnar's multi-year contract comes after weighing all of his possible options and ultimately deciding it was in his best interest to be the entertainer he was born to be while, in his words, receiving full-time pay for part-time work.

In honor of this big news for our local boy beast done good, we've assembled our five favorite Brock Lesnar references in hip-hop history.

See also:
The Top Five Wrestlemania Music Performances

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ECID Lets His Fur Show on New Album Pheromone Heavy

Categories: Interview
Photo by Daniel Soderstrom

ECID | Triple Rock Social Club | Saturday, March 28
Jason McKenzie doesn't cut the archetypal figure of a rapper with 10 years of experience in the underground game. For one, he's on time for a meet-up at a hip East Lake coffee shop. He also has an enthusiastic preference for the honey-sweetened café miel, and a cheerful and gregarious demeanor. "I look so young your neighbors think I'm dating the babysitter," he raps on his new record, and it's uncannily accurate.

McKenzie, better known as ECID, has paid his dues as a broke rapper long enough to remember recording his first rhymes onto a double-barreled tape deck.

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Rhymesayers Turns 20: The Best Songs of Each Year

Categories: Rhymesayers

Photo by Denis Jeong Plaster

Now that Rhymesayers is 20 years old, the Minneapolis rap label's output has piled up into something monumental. This becomes even more impressive when you break down what the label has done each year.

While few rap labels even hit the single decade mark, what makes what Rhymesayers' done even more impressive is that they've never taken even a year off between releases. Here's a look back at the definitive songs year-by-year.

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Watch Hippo Campus Make TV Debut on Conan

Categories: Television
Photo by Mark N. Kartarik
Hippo Campus's Nathan Stocker and Jake Luppen

The plucky, energetic guys in Hippo Campus had their biggest show yet this week. Following a busy SXSW and signing to New York label Grand Jury, the Woodbury-bred indie-rock foursome made their network TV debut on Conan the evening of Tuesday, March 24. Watch the video below!

See also:
Hippo Campus Are Waking Up Twin Cities Indie Rock

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The Top Five Wrestlemania Music Performances

Categories: Television
Screengrab via YouTube
Yup, Diddy did the Wrestlemania.

This Sunday is Wrestlemania, WWE's Super Bowl of sports entertaiment. Along with grapplers like Brock Lesnar, the Undertaker, John Cena and Daniel Bryan competing at this year's event, music fans will also be treated to live performances from Travis Barker, Kid Ink, David Guetta and Skylar Grey.

If those names surprise you, you might not be aware of the long tradition of live Wrestlemania performances from some of music's biggest acts. Snap into a Slim Jim and check out our picks for the top five musical performances in Wrestlemania history.

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Memory Lanes Block Party 2015 Lineup

Categories: Just Announced
Photo by Mike Madison
It's Tickle Torture, baby!

The Memorial Day Weekend bliss ahead is taking shape with the announcement of the yearly Memory Lanes Block Party lineup. On May 23-24, South Minneapolis's most-punk bowling alley will host 18 bands and five DJs.

Tickle Torture, who have emerged as the Twin Cities' Dionysian act of choice will top Saturday's entertainment, and Deke Dickerson & the Trashmen will bring garage rockabilly to Sunday's slate. The full details and lineup are below.

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The Ten People Who Won't Make It at Ultra Music Festival

Categories: EDM
Photo by Marta Xochilt Perez
These ladies survived. Can you?

Watching Ultra Music Festival's idyllic official after-movies, you might get the impression that UMF is some kind of utopian music-based society where the young and beautiful run only in slow motion, where everyone is welcome and everything is pleasant.

In some ways, this is true. You're more likely to have a good time than a bad one. But it is also possible to sabotage your potentially epic, super-memorable Ultra experience. Certain behaviors stemming from ignorance, naiveté, or just being kind of a party pooper can and will lead to a less-than-stellar UMF 2015.

Here are the ten people who won't make it at Ultra Music Festival. Don't let yourself be counted among them.

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Nobody Hates Kendrick Lamar

Photo by Christian San Jose
Kendrick Lamar

When Kanye West compares himself to past greats, he gets taken to task for it. When he compared himself to John Lennon at Bonnaroo, he got booed. When he compared himself to God, well, we all remember how that went over. There's a snarky listicle on Huffington Post titled "18 People Kanye West Has Compared Himself To."

That's because Kanye scares people. He pisses people off, as any real rebel must. 

When Kendrick Lamar compares himself to past greats -- to Nelson Mandela, for example, or to Tupac, as he does so blatantly on To Pimp a Butterfly -- he gets a pass.

Why? Why does everyone, from his sponsor Reebok to his reviewer fanboys like Peter Rosenberg and Anthony Fantano to crowds at Coachella, love Kendrick Lamar? 

They love him because he is not Tupac. Not even close. He is not a rebel. He is not the voice of any anti-establishment movement. At least not yet.

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I Met Prince (and Judith Hill) at Paisley Park

Categories: The Purple One
Warner Bros.
This man welcomed me into his Chanhassen palace.

Is my time as valuable as Prince's? Certainly not, said a journalist to himself as he drove 35 miles an hour on an ice-and-slush mixture that had already claimed several victims along Highway 212. Any of the ditch-nestled cars could've been heading to Paisley Park too.

In all seriousness, a semi-exclusive invitation to Prince's Chanhassen lair was a bit of a purple prize. Cloaked in just enough vagueness, the invite arrived early on Sunday, and instructions trickled in throughout the day. Was this a rehearsal session for his pop-up tour, or a definitive unveiling of the storied vault? Or a wild, suburban gray duck chase? And yet another writer succumbed to a self-referential story about entering this pop star's inner sanctum.

The snow collected on a medium-sized grouping of cars inside the Paisley lot, which sits next to the massive compound bathed in orchid light. "Wait in your cars," they said. "We're just about ready."

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