Summer Music & Movies announces 2014 lineup

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Photo by Steve Cohen

The Walker Art Center's Summer Music & Movies series has consistently provided Twin Cities film and music lovers with a wonderful -- and entirely free -- night out that celebrates the eternal link of both creative mediums.

This year's lineup incudes Greg Grease (above) and his new ZuluZuluu project, the Cloak Ox, and more paired with iconic films. Showings and performances are every Monday night in August. Loring Park hosts the events on August 4, 11, and 18, and Walker's Open Field is the setting for the final night on August 25.  

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My six-week-old recognized the song I sang to him in utero

Categories: Music, Pop Culture
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Amber Taufen

The transportive power of music never ceases to amaze me. Whenever I hear the Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony," it's suddenly 1997 inside my head; I'm back in high school, daydreaming while sitting on my bedroom floor, and my little blue boombox's dial is tuned to my favorite radio station, which plays the song at least once a day. When Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" plays -- and I allow myself to really listen to it -- I'm back in 2006, and my dad has just had a fatal heart attack; to cope, I listen to sad songs that help me purge the waves of unmanageable emotions I'm feeling through catharsis, and Roger Waters helps me cry myself to sleep more than once.

Just a few weeks ago, the neurons in my brain connected a brand-new memory to yet another song -- and it's one of my happiest memories to date, so I know I'll enjoy hearing Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" every time it enters my aural sphere. Here's why.

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The Mercury Music Prize is far superior to the Grammys

Categories: Music
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Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen
This year's Mercury Prize winner, James Blake, performing at First Ave in May

For a high school/college kid in the early '90s, it was easy to get fed up with the U.S. mainstream's increasingly homogenized take on popular music -- especially whenever the disappointing Grammy Awards came around every February.

The Grammys have always had an elderly, buttoned-down air to their winners, and artistic merit is trumped by corporate strength on a consistent, embarrassing basis. Since its launch in 1992, the Mercury Music Prize has championed the best U.K. and Ireland albums and represented the tastes and trends of younger, more discerning listeners. Based upon its winners, it has always seemed -- despite its ever-present sponsorship straight from the start -- like an award for enlightened music fans instead of ignorant stuffed shirts.

See Also: James Blake at First Avenue, 5/1/13

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Arcade Fire are music's most unserious serious band

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If you thought that Arcade Fire would play it safe in order to win over the "Who the fuck are Arcade Fire" crowd that sprung up after The Suburbs won a 2010 Grammy for Album of the Year, you were mistaken. Instead they hired Zach Galifianakis.

The Canadian group toyed with their personas on their recent retro-tinged Saturday Night Live performance (assisted by Minnesota's own Mike Lewis on saxophone). They followed that up with a bizarre, celebrity-filled short concert film directed by Roman Coppola called Here Comes the Night Time, in addition to their Anton Corbijn-directed music video for new single "Reflektor." But the more peculiar and abstract that Arcade Fire get -- and the more they confuse the typical music fan -- the better it is for the creative industry as a whole.

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Is seeing My Bloody Valentine live worth the hearing damage?

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In 1991, My Bloody Valentine transfixed shoegaze fans with the masterpiece Loveless, but then retreated into the hazy shadows before eventually dropping off the musical map altogether. The prolonged wait for a follow-up finally came to an end earlier this year with their third full-length, m b v. Opinions on the new material varied from proclamations of another MBV masterstroke to queries of why the band even bothered. Regardless, we're talking about My Bloody Valentine's legacy once again.

Now, the Dublin quartet have just announced plans for a full-scale U.S. tour, including a highly anticipated local show at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul in November, which prompted Gimme Noise to analyze if MBV's thunderous sonic assault to your eardrums (and wallet) will ultimately be worth it, or if this is nostalgia simply getting the best of us.

See Also: My Bloody Valentine's comeback, mbv, wasn't worth the loveless wait


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The Uncluded: We cry a little, shake our asses a little -- it's nice

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Folk rock singer/songwriter Kimya Dawson and rapper/producer Aesop Rock have crafted numerous musical works and have fused their musical strength to form the Uncluded. The duo recently released their debut, Hokey Fright on Rhymesayers. They will be taking over The Cedar Cultural Center Stage with Hamell on Trial on Sunday, June 30.

Gimme Noise spoke with the dynamic duo after their show in Houston to find out how their obsession with words and common understanding of loss brought the Uncluded together.

See Also:
Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock sign to Rhymesayers as the Uncluded

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Teenage Moods at the Hexagon Bar, 1/17/13

Categories: Music
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Photo by Erik Hess
Teenage Moods
With Vanna Inget, Prissy Clerks & Ex-Nuns
Hexagon Bar, Minneapolis
Thursday, January 17, 2013


At no point during last night's stuffed Hexagon lineup would I have envied the "next band." All participants likely agreed that the excellent Ex Nuns got off easy by filling the first slot. Even fighting against the bar's back room of pool shooters and Lakers fans, fronter Ian Littleson's post-hardcore outfit brought enough of both Southern California bounciness and DC sneer to launch things from one snotty soapbox.

See Also:
Slideshow: Teenage Moods, et al. at Hexagon Bar


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The Script's Danny O'Donoghue on relationship advice and losing his father

Categories: Music
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Kevin Westenberg

The Script made a name for themselves with emotional, heartfelt songs like "Breakeven," "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" and "For the First Time." The Irish trio, made up of vocalist and keyboard player Danny O'Donoghue, guitarist Mark Sheehan and drummer Glen Power are back with a new album #3 that hit stores earlier this month. Gimme Noise talked with O'Donoghue ahead of The Script's performance at the Orpheum Theatre on Friday.

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The Zombie Pub Crawl 2012 playlist

Categories: Music
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Photo by B Fresh Photography; more from ZPC 2011 here.
Who wants to party with these brain-eaters?

Yes boys and girls, Saturday is that magical time of the year when zombies take to the West Bank's local watering holes and now Midway Stadium to get intoxicated with Brain Belt. The Zombie Pub Crawl is upon us, and with zombie-mania more in the media than ever, this year's should be the biggest yet. That in mind, we've compiled a playlist of certified zombie hits to get those undead toes a'tapping. Here's our top 10 songs about zombies.

See Also:
Zombie Pub Crawl conquers all
Zombie Pub Crawl 2012 music lineup unveiled
Five of our favorite DMX moments

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Esperanza Spalding on the Grammys, jazz and Q-Tip

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Sandrine Lee

Singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding made history when she received a Grammy Award in 2011 for Best New Artist. Up against music greats Mumford & Sons, Florence and the Machine, Drake, and teen favorite Justin Bieber, it was Spalding who walked away with the Grammy, making it the first time a jazz musician won that award.

On Sunday, Spalding will perform at the State Theatre, sharing tunes from her newest album, Radio Music Society. The album serves as a companion to Chamber Music Society, Spalding's last record. Spalding collaborated with new talent, including hip-hop artist Q-Tip who performs on and co-produced two tracks. Here's Gimme Noise's conversation with Spalding about her big award and her new album.


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