The War On Drugs' Adam Granduciel: "The Idea of Success Freaked Me Out"

Categories: Interview, Q&A
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Dusdin Condren

The War On Drugs | First Avenue | September 22-23
It's been been a stellar year so far for Philadelphia's the War On Drugs. The band, helmed by songwriting wiz Adam Granduciel, will deservedly top many year-end Best Of lists with their third LP, March's Lost in the Dream. It's a lush, cohesive masterpiece, yet disparately, the album was written during an intensely dark period of the bandleader's life, as he battled crippling anxiety and self-doubt. Ahead of the group's sold-out First Avenue show on Monday, the guitarist opened up to us about the making of Lost in the Dream and his ongoing journey in self-maintenance.


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EMA's Sonic Evolution: From Pop into Harsh Noise

Categories: Q&A
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Photo by Alessandro Simonetti

EMA | State Theatre | Friday, September 19
"Disassociation/ I guess it's just a modern disease," resolves Erika M Anderson (EMA) with fragile disillusionment at the conclusion to her song "3jane," a reference to William Gibson's 1984 cult sci-fi novel "Neuromancer." The song serves as the thematic core to the South Dakota-born musician's third full-length record, The Future's Void, and more, it serves as her own raw self-diagnosis to the conflict of maintaining identity in the face of the digital age.

Following her acclaimed 2011 release Past Life Martyred Saints, EMA watched as her identity slipped further from her own control. It was part a result of the media. It was a part an inevitable side effect of success, but most importantly, it was something she had to address. Eventually, from the ashes of her own alienation The Future's Void took form and she confronted it all with grating and skeptic beauty.There's paradox that through feeling a loss of self, EMA has unleashed her most unwavering musical presence to date, but after Gimme Noise spoke with the artist ahead of her stop in Minneapolis with Spoon this Friday, it's apparent that grappling with nuance is something that pushes her art to its most riveting boundaries.


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Tobacco: If too many people like what I do, I'm doing something wrong

Categories: Q&A

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Courtesy of the Artist
Thomas Fec aka Tobacco

Tobacco | Triple Rock Social Club | Tuesday, September 16
In 2008, Thomas Fec released Fucked Up Friends, his first full-length record under the name Tobacco. The album received critical acclaim, and marked a departure from Fec's work as the frontman of Black Moth Super Rainbow. While Black Moth managed to maintain somewhat of a pop sensibility, Tobacco utilized the same analog instrumentation to create a more abrasive, less accessible sound.

This May, Fec released Tobacco's Ultima II Massage, an album three years in the making. Ultima is a barrage of heavy electronics, an attempt by Fec to "make something that was kind of hard to listen to," he tells Gimme Noise. A music video for "Streaker" directed by the notorious Eric Wareheim was put on YouTube, its violent and sexual imagery making a bold statement along with the innovative sound of the song itself and causing quite a stir in the electronic music community. Tonight, Tobacco will bring his special brand of analog chaos to the Triple Rock. Fec granted us a rare interview about Ultima and what motivates him to slip into the character of Tobacco.


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Vaski giving Target Field a taste of dubstep

Categories: Q&A

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Vaski | Target Field | Wednesday, September 3
When dubstep got big, 23-year-old Minnesota native Alex Presley blew up right along with it. The first demos he ever recorded by the name Vaski were immediately grabbed up by record labels, and his rich local following suddenly became an international one. Though his quick success led him to relocate recently to Los Angeles, Vaski continues to perform at his monthly residency in First Avenue's Record Room, the next of which will be Friday, September 12. He will also release a new EP this fall.

Today, though, Vaski is in town for a far different reason. He will perform at Target Field during the Minnesota Twins game as part of the Midwest Music Showcase, and is the first EDM artist ever to be asked to do so. Gimme Noise spoke with Vaski before he takes on this milestone about how he got started making dubstep and what the industry has taught him.


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Hawthorne Heights: After 10 years, it's fun to throw some curve balls at yourself

Categories: Q&A

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Photo from Facebook

Hawthorne Heights | The Garage | Tuesday, September 2
Hawthorne Heights' emo punk single "Ohio Is for Lovers" brought the band huge success, and their dark and heavy lyrics have carried them ever since. So far, the band has put out four albums, two EPs, and toured all over the world. Currently, they're celebrating the 10th anniversary of their signature album, The Silence in Black and White.

Ahead of their show this evening at The Garage, Gimme Noise caught up with bass player Matt Ridenour to talk about the album.

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Passenger: I didn't feel the pressure then and I don't feel it now

Categories: Q&A
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Photo by Shervin Lainez
Passenger| First Avenue| Sunday, August 24

The meaningful lyrics from Passenger's hit single "Let Her Go" only took Mike Rosenberg 45 minutes to write. So far, the breakup song has over 363 million views on YouTube, and has allowed the folk singer-songwriter to go from playing small pubs in England to world tours. In June, his new album Whispers was released, and it's just as full of thoughtful lyrics bashing social media as All the Little Lights but with a more upbeat tone.

Ahead of Sunday's First Avenue show, Gimme Noise talked with Rosenberg about his new album, social media, and his love for lyrics.

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Inside OK Go's songwriting magic

Categories: Gimme Songs, Q&A

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Photo by Gus Powell
OK Go| Fine Line Music Cafe| Saturday, August 16
In Gimme Songs, musician Mark Mallman talks songwriting with his peers and heroes. This week, a conversation with OK Go bassist Tim Nordwind before Saturday's show at the Fine Line.

It's rare, but possible for an artist to bring two equally compelling components to the table. Nobody ever says Woody Allen's screenplays outshine his directing capabilities, and I feel the same way about OK Go. If the band had never released a single video, they'd still have a collection of albums better than most bands out there. I spoke with bassist Tim Nordwind about something other than inventing groundbreaking online content. We simply talked about writing super good music.


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Welcome to Chris Strouth's giant dollhouse

Categories: Q&A
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Self-portrait by Chris Strouth
Safe as Houses | New Century Theatre, Minneapolis | September 4-6

You might already know that Chris Strouth often Makes No Sense at All with his contributions to Gimme Noise. But he also makes interdisciplinary art and music under the handle Paris1919. His latest performance piece, titled Safe as Houses, is an ambitious gathering of creatives for the purpose of exploring what security truly means and where to find it, and continuing from where his Antarctica piece left off.

The Kickstarter-funded multimedia performance turns the New Century Theatre into an enormous dollhouse, and masked dancers are dolls directed by choreographer Deborah Jinza Thayer. With vocals by Blue Sky Blackout's Christian Erickson, Wits' Janey Winterbauer, Mayda and Alan Subola (the Vibro Champs, the Bad Companions), Paris1919's ensemble will score the 40-person, interdisciplinary mélange. Gimme Noise pointed a few questions at Strouth and he shot a few entertaining answers back.

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Remembering DJ Man-X: Three friends pay tribute

Categories: Q&A
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Via Facebook
DJ Man-X

Thomas Spiegel, AKA DJ Man-X, was one of the originators of house music in Minneapolis. His famous House Nation Under a Groove party series began in New York City, and when he moved to Minneapolis in the late '80s, he continued the events at the 7th Street Entry. At the time, this kind of music was really only played in Chicago, Detroit, and New York, but Spiegel and his collaborators helped start a large underground scene here in Minneapolis, which still carries on today.

Sadly, Spiegel passed away in late 2012, but his musical legacy lives on today, both literally and in spirit. In the literal sense, local techno DJ DVS1 acquired his entire collection of more than 25,000 records, which have worked their way into his sets in all corners of the world. In the spiritual sense, his take on what made a good party good are still important parts of the house and techno scenes here today, 25 years later.

To pay tribute, several of Spiegel's favorite local house DJs have come together to throw a party in his memory. On August 9, the Entry will become the House of Spiegel once again. No expense will be spared to bring in a ridiculous amount of speakers and to properly decorate the venue, which were trademarks of any party Spiegel threw. To get an idea of what Spiegel meant to Minneapolis, Gimme Noise spoke with stalwarts of the underground dance music scenes.

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RIP DJ Man-X, founder of House Nation Under a Groove


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Off With Their Heads' Ryan Young riding bike to Denver for charity

Categories: Gimme News, Q&A

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Erik Hess
Off With Their Heads at the Triple Rock in 2013

Off With Their Heads' Ryan Young likes to challenge himself. That's why he scheduled a 900+ mile bike ride from Minneapolis to Denver where the musician is betting that his stubbornness will overcome his conditioning.

Young and fellow musician Brad Lokkesmoe (Dear Landlord/the Gateway District) first planned the trip on a whim, later deciding they should help out a good cause while they push their limits. The two have launched an Indiegogo project to raise the funds, using only a minimal amount for their own travel expenses (food and lodging) and donating the lump sum remainder to save.org, a local suicide awareness organization.

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Off With Their Heads return home

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