Reina del Cid & the Cidizens wrap up Amsterdam residency

Photo by Desiree Forget
Reina del Cid & the Cidizens | Amsterdam Bar & Hall | Monday, September 8
What a difference a year and nine months can make. In that time, Reina del Cid and her band the Cidizens took over the Amsterdam Bar in St. Paul on Monday nights and earned themselves a career. Tonight, the band will end their residency, which has taken their musical journey from bluegrass indie rock to evolve and integrate new experiments by trying new things with their sound.

Gimme Noise caught up with lead singer Reina before the band hits the stage for the last Monday night to find out what she has learned after playing 88+ shows during their residency.
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The Southern Theater Sessions: A dream DIY experience

Photo by Nora O'Brien

Batteryboy frontman Cobey Rouse has been a busy man as of late. In addition to getting his kids ready for the start of the school year, Rouse organized the second installment of the Southern Theater Sessions, a two-night concert that begins this evening at Minneapolis's Southern Theater. In addition to two separate Batteryboy performances, the Sessions shows will also feature the first ever performance of Adam Levy's solo material, a sure-to-be special performance from the Murder of Crows (featuring Low's Alan Sparhawk), as well as stripped-down sets from notoriously loud rockers Fury Things and Alpha Consumer. All set in the spare, intimate surroundings of Seven Corners' venerable Southern Theater.

These shows represent a rare, musician-only event, with no corporate sponsors/bookers/promoters assisting with organizing the gigs in any way -- only Rouse and his musical cohorts. Gimme Noise spoke to Rouse about the rewards and challenges of putting together shows like this, what initially inspired him to organize these Southern Theater shows, and what he has planned for his band's performances over the next two nights.

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Inside the ornate chamber folk of LOTT

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Inside the ornate chamber folk of LOTT

Photo by Jeremiah Satterthwaite

Leah Ottman has made her mark on the Twin Cities scene as part of We Are the Willows, Better Bones, and batteryboy. Now, the talented violinist/vocalist is ready to take more of the spotlight on herself, as she assumes the lead on her own project, LOTT. Her two singles feature looped violin work evoking Andrew Bird and Owen Pallett, deft classical influences, and rich vocals.

LOTT is set to play both nights of the upcoming Southern Theater Sessions II this Thursday and Friday, along with intimate, stripped down sets from Murder of Crows (featuring Low's Alan Sparhawk), the Honeydogs' Adam Levy, Fury Things, Alpha Consumer, batteryboy, the Daredevil Christopher Wright's J.E. Sunde, and Har-Di-Har. Ottman will be playing solo, as well as with batteryboy and Adam Levy on a few songs. Gimme Noise asked Ottman about her musical beginnings, how things are progressing with LOTT, and her thoughts on the forthcoming We Are the Willows album.

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The first taste of electro-rockers Tired Tongues

Photo By Matt Barnes

After the sudden dissolution of Twin Cities electro-rock duo Wiping Out Thousands, guitarist/beatmaker/producer Taylor Nelson didn't remain idle for long. He has partnered up with drummer Adam Szczepaniak (the Phoenix Philosophy) to form another electronic project called Tired Tongues.

They're still working on demos for an eventual debut EP, but have shared some teaser clips and the story of their new partnership. The first Tired Tongues show isn't until November, but here's an introduction and a small, tantalizing glimpse into what they sound like.

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Erik Koskinen: Playing music for a living is a highlight, so nothing gets taken for granted

Photo By Nate Ryan/The Current

Erik Koskinen | Turf Club | Thursday, August 28
On any given day of the week, Erik Koskinen is either leading his own top-notch band through a set in town, or lending his skills to a friend's performance or recording session. The talented singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/engineer makes everything he touches better in his own distinctive way.

Earlier this year, Koskinen released his newest solo album, America Theatre, a record that was three years in the making and was entirely worth the wait. Give it a good listen and you will agree that it is one of the best Minnesota releases in a year chock-full of local gems.

Koskinen is set to play the Turf Club's grand reopening tonight, along with Frankie Lee and Dead Man Winter. Ahead of the big show, Gimme Noise asked Erik a few questions about his plans for the rest of his year, and the projects he's been working on.

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Turf Club finalizes grand reopening weekend lineup

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Inside the joyful noise of Coax From Chuckanut

Photo by Stacy Griffin
Coax From Chuckanut | Aster Cafe | Sunday, August 24
A little quirky and a little bit rock 'n' roll, husband and wife duo Libby and Ryan Sutherland make up the Minneapolis band Coax From Chuckanut. On their self-titled debut album, Libby and Ryan mix heartfelt indie rock and folk adorably.

Gimme Noise caught up with Ryan and Libby before their album release at the Aster Cafe on Sunday night to talk about how they keep their relationship healthy and what it really means to be coaxed from a chuckanut.
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Jeff Bridges: In music, I'm finally able to realize my teenage dreams

Photo by Danny Clinch

Jeff Bridges and the Abiders| Pantages Theatre| Sunday, August 24
The week before his new sci-fi film The Giver is set to come out, actor Jeff Bridges exits a plane that has just touched down in New York. His assistant warns, "We are heading towards a tunnel, so if we lose you, we'll call back," before handing the phone off to the 64-year-old star. His deep, booming voice -- one that we've all come to know as it's filled out so many characters over the years -- carries across the miles between Minneapolis and New York. In those characters, Bridges is a man who has lived a hundred lives in his one. He laughs, "Isn't that weird? Isn't that funny? Making movies, I feel each movie is a little lifetime in itself -- a little incarnation of a different person."

This time the character he is looking to redefine is himself -- as a musician. It was surprising to see Bridges fill the role onstage after his Academy Award-winning role as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart, yet those who are close to the actor saw it coming, since he's been performing music since his teenage years. In the veins of country/folk-rock, Bridges's songs communicate as sagaciously as the characters he plays on camera.

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Strange Names have a Frenchkiss Records deal, and are Brooklyn-bound

Categories: Interview

William Nixon
Strange Names

Strange Names| Summer Set Music and Camping Festival| Friday, August 15
This September, the self-described "next-wave funk" men of Strange Names will officially relocate from Minneapolis to New York, where they will finish recording their upcoming full-length to be released on the independent Brooklyn-based record label Frenchkiss Records. By joining the label, started in 1999 by Les Savy Fav bassist Syd Butler, Strange Names find themselves in the company of an array of successful artists including the Hold Steady, Local Natives, and Passion Pit.

"It's been crazy," says Liam Benzvi, one half of the duo, who is originally from Brooklyn himself. He is quick to defend the importance of Minneapolis to the two, who have accomplished various local music rites of passage: they have been featured on City Pages' Picked to Click list, performed both at countless house shows and on the First Avenue main room stage several times, played ex-mayor R.T. Rybak's birthday party, and will be doing a set at this weekend's Summer Set festival at Somerset Amphitheater. "Just to squash this, though... I would always consider us a Minneapolis band. I don't really want to be a New York band, necessarily. There are so many New York bands."

The prospect of a new home and fresh start with Frenchkiss is also an appealing one to Benzvi's partner in crime Francis Jimenez, the other half of Strange Names, and a born and raised Minnesotan. "I'm kind of ready to go," he says. "I've been in Minneapolis for almost six years. It's time to make a move."

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Grolar Bears find happiness in the pursuit of symphonic funk

Categories: Interview
Photo by Joel Menk

Piñata Records Field Day| Nomad World Pub| Saturday, August 16
Homespun Minneapolis label Piñata Records has a reputation for signing acts with an old-school ethic and a modern aesthetic. Grolar Bears, led by bassist and producer Jonathan Kramer, put a slight twist on that formula, creating a lush, symphonic funk sound akin to the much lauded scores for African-American cinema created by the likes of Isaac Hayes and Quincy Jones during the 1960s and '70s. Synthesizing a myriad of takes by a host of talented local musicians, Kramer spent years crafting a soundtrack for a hypothetical film called Cos in 2012, and has spent the subsequent time forming a group of players to transform his deep, heady recordings into a powerful 12-piece live band.

Grolar Bears are releasing a 7-inch called "Midnight Stew" this weekend at the Piñata Records Field Day party at the Nomad World Pub along with a host of their label mates. Gimme Noise caught up with Jonathan at Diamond's Coffee to talk about movies, and the challenges of his unique style of recording.

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Enter the dream-like world of Coastal Cabins


Coastal Cabins are a young indie rock group out of Minneapolis composed of Jack Ross and Robert Marston. The duo just released their self-titled debut EP last week. Its delicate arrangements and rich vocals immediately caught my attention. Ross and Marston are students at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, who met in high school and bonded over their shared love of music and songwriting while working at a grocery store together.

Their sound belies their youth, and their songs have graceful depth that is refreshingly rare for a debut -- especially when you consider they recorded it on their own and self-produced the material as well. It's easy to imagine hearing a lot more from Coastal Cabins in the near future. Gimme Noise is happy to spotlight these talented young musicians and their story, as well as their gorgeous debut EP.

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