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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VAN STEE Going Under the Microscope During Nomad Residency

Photo by Kayla Sotebeer
VAN STEE | Nomad World Pub | Thursdays in December
Indie-rock quintet VAN STEE have continuously redefined their sound since last year's debut, We Are, weaving in traces of pop and shoegaze rock into their aesthetic. But that doesn't mean the transformation is complete. The group still feel they haven't settled on want they want to be yet.

This month, VAN STEE will push their musical boundaries further with a residency at the Nomad World Pub along with some musician friends. In his hilarious fashion, lead singer Charlie Van Stee shares what the band has been up to and what is on the horizon for the group.
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GWAR's Vulvatron: "Ebola Is Not Doing as Well as We'd Hoped"

Categories: Interview
Photo by Shawn Stanley
The live assault of GWAR is back!
GWAR | Skyway Theatre | Thursday, November 20

When Dave Brockie --the human avatar of GWAR's hideous, hilarious front-thing, Oderus Urungus -- passed away last year, it was only natural that many fans assumed that it would be curtains for the band. After more than 30 years of blasting worldwide audiences with various bodily fluids, GWAR's face, voice, and only constant member was no more. Who on Earth could fill his shoes?

No one, of course. But maybe two! At Brockie's epic Viking funeral earlier this year, GWAR raised eyebrows by debuting a new singer: the fetid Blothar, an ancient Scumdog warrior only recently thawed who belts out the band's heavy-metal ditties wearing the carapace of a spectral moon moose. But in September, they really popped some eyeballs out of skulls with the introduction of a new front woman: the busty, beastly Vulvatron!

Tonight, Vulvatron, Blothar, and the rest of the Scumdog army will invade Skyway Theatre, giving Minneapolis its first taste of the legendary group since Oderus's disappearance from this plane of existence. Gimme Noise took the big risk of calling up the blood-spewing Amazon to ask what we can expect.

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Psych Rockers Waveless Rise From the Ashes of Total Trash

Categories: Interview
Photo by Caitlin Angelica
L-R: Dustin McChesney, Jared Sather, and Hannah Fraser

Waveless | Hexagon Bar | Friday, November 21
It's a Friday night in New Orleans and Waveless are stuck without a show. A friend of a friend has an idea. She tells the slower and dreamier reincarnation of former Minneapolis hardcore band Total Trash to meet her at a French Quarter bar at 1 a.m. It will be there that she'll be joined by an oogle with a bleached mohawk, ripped clothing, head-to-toe tattoos, and numerous visible scars. He has a PA and promises to hook them up.

Their new friend begins rolling a joint in the middle of the bar and invites Waveless singer and guitarist Dustin McChesney to join him outside. The oogle lights the joint, attracting the attention of a homeless man carrying a massive battery. He wants a toke. The oogle refuses. The bum starts swinging at the oogle, who retaliates by dragging him into the street and repeatedly punching him in the face.

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Run the Jewels: "We're Gonna Be Working Together for Years"

Photo by Vic Michael
El-P and Killer Mike just making some Run the Jewels hand gestures. Nothing more.

Run the Jewels with Ratking and Despot | Fine Line Music Cafe | Thursday, November 20 (sold out)
Killer Mike and El-P have impacted rap in a big way yet again with the release of their second free album as the duo Run the Jewels in October.

They've since been selling out venues across the country on their recent tour. The record is a no-holds-barred representation of the advanced levels they're working on, pummeling through El-P's production with some striking bars and harrowing subject matter. Gimme Noise talked with Killer Mike and El-P about their upcoming show, and the hardest song to finish on their new album.

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