Doomtree's All Hands: Where the Work Ethic Meets the Music

Categories: Interview
Photo by Kelly Loverud
L-R: Paper Tiger, Sims, Cecil Otter, P.O.S., Lazerbeak, Mike Mictlan, and Dessa

Any way you slice it, 2014 was a huge year for the Twin Cities' hip-hop Voltron. Despite concerns about P.O.S.'s severe medical condition, Doomtree never backed off their steady rise, dropping LPs from Mike Mictlan and Sims, playing a final Blowout, and touring like they're afraid of their own beds. So how does our favorite rap collective celebrate a year that saw them level up, yet again? They spent the holidays with their families, then got right back down to work to push the crew's newest full-length, All Hands.

Picking up where the crew's last collective effort, No Kings, left off, All Hands is a Molotov cocktail of heady social commentary, profound introspection, movie trivia, and rap nerdism, this time anchored by an even catchier suite of banger beats courtesy of Doomtree's in-house producers Lazerbeak, Paper Tiger, and Cecil Otter.

Ahead of today's All Hands Day festivities around town, Gimme Noise caught Lazerbeak juggling his newborn twins to discuss Doomtree's ongoing collaboration with Surly beer, the economics of their different projects, and how it all gets done.

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How a Minneapolis String Quartet Got Hired by Belle & Sebastian

Categories: Interview, Music
Photo by Stacy Schwartz
L-R: Josh Misner, Jesse Peterson, Erica Burton, and Cory Grossman; cellist Dan Lawonn filled in for the Belle & Sebastian session.

Glaswegian twee-pop collective Belle and Sebastian just released their ninth album, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, this week. Without looking at the liner notes, it might go unnoticed that several songs came together with the help of Minneapolis's Laurels String Quartet playing arrangements by another local musician, Andy Thompson. Their sumptuous additions were recorded last year at Humans Win! studio in Northeast.

Gimme Noise reached out to the Laurels and Thompson to find out how and why they got hired by Stuart Murdoch and co.

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PaviElle's Fear Not Is a Soul-Baring Experience

Categories: Interview
Photo by Bruce Silcox

PaviElle French skips the handshake and goes right for the hug. The dynamic performer we suddenly can't stop hearing about has her hair wrapped neatly in a blue silk scarf atop her head, and she's bundled in a tightly zipped red coat.

This passionate greeting is emblematic of the poet, playwright, and soul singer's artistry. She is no-frills, no-bullshit, and empowered to the core.

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White Boyfriend Are Breaking Up With Their Band Name

Categories: Interview
Photo by Chloe Krenz Photography
L-R: Nicky Leingang, Katharine Seggerman, and Dan Hansen

White Boyfriend | 7th St. Entry | Friday, January 16
Close college friends Katharine Seggerman, Dan Hansen, and Nicky Leingang have spent an intense few days figuring out the future of their synthesizer-bass-drums-and-occasional-banjo ensemble. They're about to be formerly known as White Boyfriend. As the Beatles (f.k.a. the Quarrymen), Linkin Park (f.k.a. Hybrid Theory), and fka Twigs (f.k.a. Twigs) illustrate, a new moniker doesn't signal the end of budding success, but it's still a process.

During an hour-long conversation at Seward Cafe, the three musicians and Gimme Noise say the words "white" and "boyfriend" in dozens of contexts as the brainstorming for re-conceptualizing their genre-bucking art continues. Why? It turns out the two words they chose for a project rife with humor, harmony, and open discussion of gender and race were having the opposite effect. Update: Here's the new name!

The festivities marking the release of White Boyfriend's self-titled debut album at 7th St. Entry could be the very last time their name appears on a flyer, but the mood seems cautiously optimistic.

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Road-Tested Dem Atlas Is Poised to Make His Mark in the Twin Cities

Categories: Interview

Photo by Jules Ameel
"I totally and intentionally don't want to be myself."

Dem Atlas | 7th St. Entry | Saturday, January 17

While cohorts pushed costumed crowds to the limit around the Twin Cities, St. Paul rapper Dem Atlas spent this past Halloween working in near solitude. It was then that he personally illustrated covers for 1,000 copies of his latest EP, DWNR.

The dreadlocked, mild-mannered 22-year-old says most of the black marker-adorned covers are "sad, distraught, melancholy faces," but there's also cartoonish playfulness in his artwork. Similar contrasts are found at heart of the EP's sound, a combination of early-'90s grunge's dreary harmonies and wistful pop sensibilities, and the jazz-influenced joyousness of West Coast alternative rap from the same time period. He refers to this synthesis of styles as "droan."

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They Might Be Giants Bring Back Dial-A-Song

Categories: Interview
Publicity Photo
Dial-A-Song returns!

(844) 387-6962: It's not a number scrawled on a bathroom stall, a wayward Tinder message, or some cruise company telling you you've won a free trip to the West Indies on the Caribbean Delight. These ten digits are the updated destination for Dial-A-Song, which They Might Be Giants are reviving for the first time in eight years, since they ditched the cassette tapes in favor of a busy signal and a busier career.

Dial-A-Song first came to be in 1983, when the newly formed alternative outfit swapped a new song into an answering machine residing in John Flansburgh's kitchen on a daily basis. They placed an ad in the Village Voice, which coaxed curious fans into calling up to hear the latest update to the regular rotation of 30 to 40 tracks, thus offering them a direct line to soon-to-be standards and fresh-from-demo cuts. Thirty-one years ago, this hotline was ideal for those who couldn't get to the show or pick up a They Might Be Giants record.

The advent of the internet would appear to have rendered such a notion obsolete, but there's more to Dial-A-Song than a quick phone call and a simple gag. We spoke with Flansburgh about the return of Dial-A-Song and why exactly They Might Be Giants decided to bring back the delightfully dated stunt.

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Synth Punks Yoni Yum Talk About Their Kinks

Categories: Interview
Photo by Teeter Dean
L-R: Wade Kapphahn, Jacob Laqua, Alex Pennaz, and Jessica Buns

Yoni Yum with Aby Wolf, Alpha Consumer, Kitten Forever, and K. Raydio at Girl Germs: A Live Tribute to Women in Music | Turf Club | Saturday, January 10
It's late December and the Kitty Cat Klub is hopping with revelers. Nearby, Yoni Yum drummer Wade Kapphahn is slowly, but persistently, sliding his hand inside the back of bassist Alex Pennaz's pants. Kapphahn then makes a statement for the record.

"I'm not a Juggalo," he explains, while detailing a story from his group's most recent tour to New Orleans with a glassy-eyed grin. "I'm just a wicked clown ninja from the dark carnival."

His train of thought doesn't falter when Pennaz bemusedly points out the location of his digits.

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Mike the Martyr Takes a Solo Shot with Marbury

Categories: Interview
Extensive Knowledge
Mike the Martyr's proper debut is a salute to a local NBA great.

"It's a big thing going on with that right now, actually. It's not popular anymore," says rapper and producer Mike the Martyr of boom-bap, the sample-based style of hip-hop production that dominated much of the '90s. "People don't really wanna hear that nowadays. It's 2015 now."

The crate-digging beatmaker proved the celebrated sound has plenty of life left on two of 2014's best local hip-hop albums, Muja Messiah's God Kissed It, the Devil Missed It and Manny Phesto's Southside Looking In. But Martyr is soft-spoken and casual about his accomplishments, more interested in what the future holds for his work. Meeting with City Pages in his apartment as He Got Game plays in the background, the young, gravelly voiced artist is eager to show off his wide collection of music amassed for sampling purposes.

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Pallbearer Is a Doom Metal Band That Loves Prog Rock

Categories: Interview
Diana Lee Zadlo
Pallbearer loves Kansas. What's next -- does Taylor Swift like Queensr├┐che?

Pallbearer | Triple Rock Social Club | Wednesday, December 17
Being the torchbearer of the modern American doom metal movement can be a tough job, especially when you list Kansas as one of your favorite bands. But it makes sense, according to Pallbearer bass player and vocalist Joseph D. Rowland, who says the band's progressive tendencies are just as important as its metal roots.

"I think we are just as much a prog-rock band as we are doom metal," says Rowland from the band's recently repaired van as he drives it from Lexington, Kentucky, to the band's home base in Little Rock, Arkansas. "We're huge fans of King Crimson, Yes, Kansas... bands that pushed the envelope. We like telling a story through the music as well as the lyrics."

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Dosh and Ghostband Join Forces for Def Kith EP

Categories: Interview
Photo courtesy of the artist
Martin Dosh and Jon Davis

Dosh and Ghostband with Mux Mool and Aby Wolf | 7th St. Entry | Saturday, December 6
Like-minded electronic artists Martin Dosh and Jon Davis (a.k.a. Ghostband) recently began collaborating as a duo, crafting textured soundscapes and performing powerful live shows that combine their individual talents into a unified whole. With Tuesday's release of the four-song EP Def Kith on Anticon Records, the duo bring together a string of ideas an influences with a specific intent to enliven the dance floor.

Gimme Noise sat down with Dosh and Ghostband to get some perspective on their process and how it compares to their work as solo performers.

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