Tropical Depression: I recorded a bunch of songs because I was on a yacht

Cover photo via artist
When you hear the name Tropical Depression, it may not sound like something joyful to let loose on your ears, but in all honesty, the Minneapolis band's self-titled debut is a wonderful treat. Their sound is sunny, blissed-out guitar synth-pop that has plenty of neat, slo-mo hooks. The album and band don't seem to take themselves too seriously either, which is such a rarity nowadays. 

The new project is something hatched from Vicious Vicious' Erik Appelwick with the help of Martin Dosh, James Buckley, and Adam Krinsky and tells of Applewick's adventures recording on a yacht. Via his Facebook page he shares, "The album is mostly an autobiographical account of the travels and tribulations, wanderings and meanderings, islands and beaches, party people, and paparazzi I encountered along the way from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Cape of Good Hope, Straits of Magellan to Micronesia."

Before the band's album release at Icehouse on Saturday, we caught up with Erik to chat about his adventures on the water and what influenced the sound on this album.

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Allan Kingdom: I stuck to what I like instead of what everyone else was doing

Categories: Interview

Photo by Jason Swenson
Allan Kingdom doesn't quit. Less than a week after dropping his first full-length album, Future Memoirs (produced primarily by Kingdom, with help from Jonathan Kaslow and Plain Pat of Kid Cudi fame), he was on his way to Canada to record with the Standard, his supergroup with St. Paul's Psymun, Spooky Black, and Bobby Raps. Kingdom's sound comes as a breath of fresh air in a local scene dominated by Rhymesayers Entertainment, due in part to his transient upbringing and the resulting familiarity with a variety of people, places, and ideas, as well as a refusal to let his music stagnate.

If you've followed Kingdom over the past few years, this compulsive drive to create should come as no surprise. The 20-year-old Winnipeg native was producing at the age of 12, releasing music videos with local legend Ben Hughes at 16, and sealing a management deal with Plain Pat at 17. On July 26, he'll perform along with Polica, Sylvan Esso, and a cast of other talented musicians at the second annual 10 Thousand Sounds Festival in downtown Minneapolis.

Gimme Noise touched base with Kingdom to chat about Future Memoirs, his working relationship with Plain Pat, and the meaning of "colorful" sounds.

See also: Allan Kingdom's ambitious hip-hop vision

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Michael McDonald: Working with Grizzly Bear pulled me out of my own little world

Photo by Danny Clinch
When you've collaborated with Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Prince and crushed it in the Doobie Brothers, can you hang up your hat and call it a day? Even if Yacht Rock, Family Guy, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin will never forget you, the legendary Michael McDonald believes there's always work to be done.

On Sunday, Michael -- or Mike, as he likes to be called -- returns to the Twin Cities to share an evening of songs that span his musical career. Before his show at the Mystic Lake showroom, McDonald shares with Gimme Noise the story behind his Grizzly Bear collaboration and a tale of the star that stopped him in his tracks.

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Courtney Barnett: I guess I'm still kind of lost

Photo by Leslie Kirchhoff

Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett developed a fast following through clever words and a casually indifferent demeanor. Anticipation since she unloaded the ingenuity of the slacker-noire hit "Avant Gardener" last summer and The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas had its U.S. release in the fall.

The former art-school student has been playing music in different capacities since she was ten years old, most recently psych-folkers Immigrant Union with Brent Deboer of the Dandy Warhols. She never thought her own rambling inner thoughts would travel outside the culture of Melbourne, Australia, but now -- embarking on a huge tour to promote the album in America -- her career has markedly taken off.

Before tonight's show at Varsity Theater, Barnett chatted with Gimme Noise about her narrative approach to songwriting and why she loves David Byrne so darn much.

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Nick Cave: Songs are memory machines

Categories: Interview
Photo by Bleddyn Butcher

Over nearly four decades, Nick Cave has been far from a typical rock star. His ever-changing artistic whims have colored music -- from the Birthday Party, to Grinderman, to his work backed by the Bad Seeds -- that is only tied together by its brooding passion. His last couple years have been focused on the 2013 studio album Push the Sky Away, and a new live album, Live From KCRW.

Before Saturday's show at State Theatre with the Bad Seeds, here are some of the highlights of Nick Cave's recent teleconference interview -- including two of Gimme Noise's questions -- answered thoughtfully and a touch acerbically.

See Also:
Grinderman at First Avenue, 11/23/10

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Extreme Noise's Bryan Alft: If you want to meet people in the punk scene, this is the place

Categories: Interview
Portland's Mean Jeans are in town to celebrate Extreme Noise's 20th

If you're passionate about punk and haven't visited Extreme Noise, it's time to reevaluate your life choices. The volunteer-run record store, tucked under a red awning on a busy stretch of Lake Street, is home to a jaw-dropping collection of punk, metal, and hardcore music, as well as patches, T-shirts, zines, and books. Long story short, it's punk rock heaven.

Throughout 2014, Extreme Noise is celebrating 20 years of business by holding a series of three weekend-long anniversary shows. The first, held at the Triple Rock in April, featured bands from the '90s, many of whom reunited for the weekend. For this weekend's shows, Extreme Noise focused on hosting their best-selling bands that don't often play in the Twin Cities, flying in acts from as far away as Japan.

Earlier this week, Gimme Noise sat down with Bryan Alft, one of around eight volunteers who played a fundamental role in setting up the anniversary shows, and talked about what to expect this weekend.

See also:
The Strike reunite for Extreme Noise's 20th anniversary

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Kurt Vile: Sometimes our shows are charming train wrecks

Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Kurt Vile is finally rolling through the Twin Cities in support of his terrific 2013 record, Wakin On A Pretty Daze. The record is a psychedelic exploration with an emotional foundation rooted deeper than his previous work. The Philadelphia singer/songwriter/guitar virtuoso is part of Sunday's stacked lineup at Rock the Garden.

During Gimme Noise's chat with Vile, we discussed the writing and recording process for his new album, how those songs have evolved in the live setting, how fatherhood has affected his touring schedule, and just what exactly is in the water in Philly that keeps generating such brilliant guitar players.

See Also:
Rock the Garden 2014 lineup

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I Self Devine and MN musicians join Cuban artists in new documentary

Categories: Interview
A still from Closer Than You Think
I Self Devine and Yrak Saenz

With the intention of creating cultural dialogue and social interchange through collaborative art, the US Cuba Artist Exchange is in the midst of an ongoing mission to bring together local and Cuban artists from a variety of mediums. As documented by 612im for an upcoming film about the project, titled Closer Than You Think, Minnesotan artists I Self Devine, Malamanya, Sarah White, and more join up with Cuban songwriters, rappers, and visual artists locally and in Cuba to create new work that aims to break down the barriers between the countries.

Gimme Noise sat with Mariesa Ryan, the executive director and co-founder of U.S. Cuba Artist Exchange, and program coordinator and featured artist Rafael Gonzalez, a.k.a. Tufawon, to talk about the project, which you can contribute to through Kickstarter.

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Ben Weaver: I'm doing things on my terms

Photo by Austin Aho
Singer-songwriter Ben Weaver has teamed up with his long-time friend Charlie Parr to put together a 7-inch vinyl that has each of them telling their own folksy-bluesy tales. Titled Ramblin' Bones Outlastin' You is their way of sharing something and giving each other a nod of approval -- although both are the most unassuming, humble musicians you could ever meet.

Before his release show at Bryant Lake Bowl on Thursday, Weaver spoke with Gimme Noise about how he's been getting to his gigs via bicycle and how Parr has influenced his musical career.

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Kyle Geiger: Sometimes you have to close a door before another one can open

Categories: Interview

This Sunday, Intellephunk's celebrated Sunday evening techno event Communion returns to Sound Bar in downtown Minneapolis for its opening party. Since 2007, Communion has played host to a vast array of local and international artists alike. For this year's opening party, Indiana-born and Berlin-bred DJ and producer Kyle Geiger will be bringing his unique brand of techno soundscapes to the patio.

Geiger has been quite busy lately, between the creation of his own label, Cubera, and working on his yet to be released debut album. He will be returning to Minneapolis on the heels of his performance at last week's Movement Festival in Detroit. While catching up with friends back in the states, Geiger spoke to Gimme Noise about the very beginnings of his interest in electronic music, and how his career has evolved from DJing at high school dances to writing and releasing his own music and performing on an international stage. Here's Geiger in his own words.

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