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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FKA twigs: "Emotion in Music Is All So Subjective"


FKA twigs' LP1 album art by collaborator Jesse Kanda

FKA twigs | Fine Line Music Cafe | Friday, November 14

Update: The Fine Line show is sold out, but details for twigs' Paisley Park appearance are on the next page.

Curlicues of baby hair snake around baby-smooth temples and disappear into spiral plaits. Perfect cupid's bow lips coo at a microphone. A voice both angelic and sultrily impish floats into the air. This is FKA twigs.

The FKA stands for "Formerly Known As" -- an acronym tacked on to her nickname twigs, which refers to the way her bones crack as she dances (she's particular about that lowercase "t"). Her original moniker "twigs" proved too similar to another musical group, so she added a few letters. Christened Tahliah Barnett in rural in Gloucestershire before making her way to London as a teenager, the now-26-year-old has been captivating music fans in-the-know since releasing EP1 2012.

The petite performer is touring across the pond now, selling out shows around the States, and for good reason. She's a damn good performer. Earlier this year, twigs played at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, giving discerning Midwestern fans a taste of the hype they'd only seen in fever-dream videos. Clad in matching patchwork pants, a midriff-baring top, and carefully coiffed pigtails, the singer crooned at the crowd over her blue-tinted sunglasses. The audience was in love.

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Amanda Palmer on The Art of Asking: "Things Boil Down to Fear and What It Makes Us Do"

Categories: Books, Interview
The cover of Amanda Palmer's book, The Art of Asking.

Amanda Palmer | Cedar Cultural Center | Sunday, November 16
Ask and you shall receive. Getting the answer you want is another story, but what Amanda Palmer implores us to do is just ask.

Whether it's requesting a tissue or a tampon (this is literally how the first line of the book plays out), a place to stay or a loan, a minute of a stranger's time or a lifetime with the one you love -- there is always vulnerability in the art of asking for something. There is a selfishness in asking -- even if it's something you don't directly benefit from -- whatever it is means something to you. Herein, Palmer asks everyone to jump headlong into the great unknown no matter what.

"So many things boil down to fear and what it makes us do," Palmer told us in a candid phone conversation about her new book, The Art of Asking. "So I wasn't surprised to follow the breadcrumbs all the way back to the house of fear, where it often leads."

See also:
Amanda Palmer on Neil Gaiman: He desperately loves to be surprised

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Inside BNLX's Ninth (!) EP, and Their Drone-Filled Future

Categories: Interview
Photo by Erik Hess
BNLX's Ed Ackerson going for it.

Between a heavy workload manning the boards at Flowers Studio, Ed Ackerson steers the punk and alt-rock group BNLX. The band has just put up its ninth EP, Flextime, and is geared for a live collaboration with Transmission DJ Jake Rudh later this month.

Streaming below, Flextime features a 20-minute drone song, a PJ Harvey cover, and two BNLX originals. Gimme Noise caught up with Ackerson to check on the status of BNLX Fest III, and learn about his run-in with Harvey many years ago. Stay tuned for a cute dog pic too.

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Vance Joy: "I definitely have dreams like Kanye West"

Photo by Darren Ankenman
Touch the sky, Vance.
Vance Joy | Varsity Theater | Monday, November 10
Sometimes it can feel like an artist out of nowhere jumps onto the music scene, and with Australian singer Vance Joy, it certainly seemed so, but behind that quick success was a lot of hard work. His single "Riptide" is more infectious than a case of chicken pox in a kindergarten classroom, and culls random thoughts into the love song.

Before his sold-out show at the Varsity Theater tonight, Gimme Noise chatted with the singer about Michelle Pfeiffer and Kanye West.
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Bands Can No Longer Afford to Practice in NYC

Categories: Interview
Photographs by Robert Menzer
Sylvana Joyce & the Moment

When Josh Copp moved to 248 McKibbin Street, he joined what the New York Times called "an instant artistic fraternity that is all but extinct in New York." That same 2008 profile made the building in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, briefly famous as a post-graduate animal house where residents partied non-stop and "people honk saxophones and bang drums at 3 a.m."

Today, dirty, dilapidated factory lofts are being renovated into expensive units that have attracted a different kind of tenant, professionals who value a good night's rest over music and mayhem. "Now it's a real apartment building," Copp says. "In the past, everyone would be rehearsing. In more recent years, we had to make agreements with our neighbors: If you let us make noise during the day, we won't make noise at night."

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Magic Castles Tap Into the Psychedelic and the Spiritual on Sky Sounds

Categories: Interview

Emily Utne
Magic Castles | Hexagon Bar | Saturday, November 8
While psychedelic music may have become momentarily trendy, you can always tell the true freaks from the kids who just want to name-drop Spacemen 3. Minneapolis's Magic Castles are emphatically in the former camp. Fronted by free-spirited songwriter Jason Edmonds, the five-piece won a devoted local following thanks to their envelope-pushing shows that can swing from punishingly heavy drone trips to sunny Laurel Canyon harmonies in the blink of a dilated eye.

Their sound streches far beyond our cities' borders, however. Brian Jonestown Massacre mastermind Anton Newcombe, a friend and supporter, invited Magic Castles to tour with BJM and co-released their newest LP, Sky Sounds, on his 'A' Records imprint. They just wrapped up a strong year that involved some heavy touring, including a gig at the landmark Desert Stars psych fest, a split EP with BJM for Record Store Day, and the release of Sky Sounds. We caught up with Edmonds at Caffetto, and he's not ashamed to admit that he's gotten at least one great song from a '70s children's novel.

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