Ashley DuBose Finds Herself on Be You

Categories: Interview
Photo by Corban Lundborg
Ashley DuBose

Ashley DuBose | Bedlam Lowertown | Saturday, March 7

"I think everybody has a purpose," says R&B singer Ashley DuBose. "I think I have a purpose in my music, and it needs to get out to the masses."

In 2013, the masses far beyond the Twin Cities got an introduction to DuBose during her run on the NBC singing competition The Voice. After auditioning on a whim, she performed a dazzling cover of Rihanna's "Diamonds" and earned support from all four celebrity judges. Maroon 5's Adam Levine even said her voice "cuts like a razor through this entire place."

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Hotelecaster Capture Indie Rock Evolution on Farther Fewer EP

Categories: Interview
Photo by Jeremiah Satterthwaite
Hotelecaster, L-R: Marc Zazzaro, Kevin Scott, Stephen Lindquist, and Charlie Ward

Hotelecaster | Icehouse | Friday, February 27
"What's the point of making an LP unless you have a fan base that is awaiting an LP from you? And we don't have that... yet." That's Hotelecaster singer/guitarist Kevin Scott delivering real talk, and he definitely has a point. Right now, the Minneapolis indie band is putting out as much material as they can to lure listeners outside of their circle of musician friends.

"People in bands come to see us play more than our own girlfriends do," jokes his bandmate, guitarist Charlie Ward.

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Swami John & the Blind Shake Are a 21st-Century Surf-Rock Supergroup

Categories: Interview
O. Photo.
L-R: Dave Roper, Jim Blaha, Swami John Reis, and Mike Blaha

Swami John and the Blind Shake | Turf Club | Thursday, February 19
It all started with a text message three years ago that said, "Let's bend steel." What has since emerged is a revolutionary surf-rock collaboration featuring Twin Cities garage-punk stompers the Blind Shake and one of their heroes, "Swami" John Reis.

"He's so many people's favorite guitar player," says Blind Shake guitarist Jim Blaha. And why wouldn't he be? Based in San Diego, Reis spent the past 25 years building up seminal punk/post-punk projects Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, and Hot Snakes. Now he's convinced the Blaha brothers and drummer Dave Roper to trade in their sleek tracksuits for breezy Hawaiian shirts to perform as Swami John and the Blind Shake for the release of Modern Surf Classics.

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Babes in Toyland Bassist Maureen Herman on Addiction, Recovery, and Reunions (VIDEO)

Categories: Interview

Babes in Toyland Reunite 18 Years Later: Can They Take Us By Storm Again? from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

Babes in Toyland are one of the most influential all-female groups ever, inspiring the likes of Bikini Kill, Hole, and others male and female, musically and stylistically. The power trio of singer-guitarist Kat Bjelland, drummer Lori Barbero, and bassist Maureen Herman have not joined each other on stage in nearly two decades, but interest in them never waned. When a reunion tour was announced, the anticipation on the Internet was as deafening as their music used to be.

Though original bassist Michelle Leon re-joined the band for their last show in 2001, Herman remains their best-known bassist. But she endured some major personal struggles after her departure in 1996. She went on to become a successful writer, but also went through a period of a crack addiction, and suffered a rape that resulted in pregnancy.

Now sober, a proud mom, and living in Los Angeles, Herman is an advocate for survivors of addiction and sexual assault, and she'll soon to be telling her story in a new book. Just before her reunion show with her old bandmates at the Roxy, we spoke to her about all of it, and nothing was off limits.

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Pho Serve Up Hot Uptown Funk on Cash It

Categories: Interview

Photo by Apurv Agrawal
Mike Gill, Lukas Skrove, Rich Garvey [Rapper and Frequent PHO Collaborator], Patrick Horigan, Aaron Levin, Spencer Christensen [Shades], Demetrius Mabry, Luke Ibach, Joe Paris [Dog Shirt]

Pho | Triple Rock Social Club | Friday, February 13

While a Miles Davis record crackles in the living room of a northeast Minneapolis duplex, a storm of construction noise roars next door. Over the din, three members of the eight (sometimes nine)-man Pho crew are telling City Pages that there's still a market for funk in Minneapolis, and they're thrilled to be a part of it.

"I think now we're breaking through, but it took a while," explains guitarist Joe Paris, raising his voice slightly. "We didn't have something to jump on to be noticed right away. But I think it's been super rewarding to create our own scene."

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Kendrick Lamar Producer Rahki on the 2015 Grammys

Categories: Interview
Jathan Wilson
Producer Rahki Smith

This Sunday's Grammy Awards will reveal if Kendrick Lamar finally gets his Grammy -- a possibility that could change producer Columbus "Rahki" Smith's life forever. Last year, Gimme Noise spoke with the Minneapolis-bred producer about his production involvement in Lamar's Good Kid, M.A.A.D City for his work on the track "Black Boy Fly." This year, Lamar and Rahki's collaboration "i" is up for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, to talk about his whirlwind year.

"I don't throw this term around a lot, but he is a genius," Rahki says of Lamar. There is immense anticipation for Lamar's follow-up album, especially after Macklemore swept the 2014 Grammy awards and awkwardly apologized for his win to Lamar via text and Twitter. In a new conversation, Rahki compares Lamar to Kanye West, discusses his work on Aloe Blacc's breakout album, and gets inside the Grammys process.

See also:
The Grammys 2015: Who Should Actually Win

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Neil Weir's Old Blackberry Way Produces Some of the Twin Cities' Best Albums

E. Katie Holm
Neil Weir, owner of the legendary Old Blackberry Way studio

One of the fascinating Twin Cities community members featured in City Pages' People 2015 issue. Check out our entire People 2015 issue.

Despite the legendary echoes that still ring within Old Blackberry Way studio, owner Neil Weir has never felt the pressure of a musical tradition started by Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, Soul Asylum, and other Twin/Tone acts who recorded there.

The producer has been in the process of creating his own distinctive sounds since taking over the Dinkytown studio in 2003. "I don't think there was any pressure," Weir explains. "I just felt that this is a cool place that has a cool history."

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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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