Human Kindness Bash Out Midwest Angst on Not Apathetic

Photo by Nina Perkins
Human Kindness | Turf Club | Thursday, March 26

Minneapolis rock quartet Human Kindness packed a lot of ambition into their full-length debut, Not Apathetic. The eleven guitar-fueled songs are catchy, anguished explosions. Longtime Madison friends and bandmates David Lawrence Anderson, Alex Brodsky, and Willem Vander Ark all moved to Minneapolis to attend college, and eventually hooked up with Josh Olson to complete their lineup.

After self-recording their awesomely-titled debut EP, You Are So Loud That I Want To Die, the group enlisted the help of Hollow Boys' Ali Jaafar for their LP, recording it in his sonic playground, Ecstattic Studio. Ahead of their tape release show tonight at the Turf Club (where they will be joined by Gloss and Nancy's Raygun), we spoke about Ali's influence and how the culture of the Midwest helps shape their songs.

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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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BLVCK SPVCE: "It's About Cloud Rap"

Categories: Q&A

Serene Supreme

BLVCK SPVCE | Kitty Cat Klub | Saturday, November 15
The opening synthesizer notes on the BLVCK SPVCE track "HEVDBVNDS," deep and ominous, are reminiscent of the more barren yet threatening style of an East Coast rap soundscape. Once the verses hit, their flow is confident and cascades easily over the heavily trap-influenced beats, which serve to blur the lines between hip-hop and psychedelia. The group is determined to "change shit up in Minneapolis," says member 1990, and from what they've posted on the BLVCK SPVCE Soundcloud so far, this goal may not be as lofty as it sounds.

BLVCK SPVCE is composed of RP HOOKS, CONNYE, 1990, goodkarmaniles, and Dj Snuggles -- all successful local solo artists in their own right. The group members are currently working fervently on completing their debut full-length, and this Saturday they will perform with Chicago MC Alex Wiley at the Kitty Cat Klub (after Friday evening's show in St. Cloud). Gimme Noise met with BLVCK SPVCE to talk about Minneapolis hip-hop and the concepts behind their self-described brand of "cloud rap."

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Benjamin Booker: "I Was a Pretty Dorky Kid"

Categories: Q&A
Publicity photo
Benjamin Booker | Turf Club | Monday, September 29
Singer and guitarist Benjamin Booker's signature "Tent City Rivival" sound is what hipsters play to their children instead of lullabies. Booker's gravelly voice evokes a chipper Tom Waits with the timeless vocal simplicity of Bruce Springsteen (had The Boss been raised on the Bayou, not Long Branch). So you could imagine our surprise when a soft-spoken voice greeted us from New Orleans, prior to our phone interview.

Tampa, Florida, native Booker fell in love with New Orleans while working for Americorps' Hands On New Orleans program. The demo he recorded there on a shoestring budget, intended only for friends, landed in the right hands on the internet. Now Booker is opening for Jack White prior to even releasing a proper studio album.

Before Booker's Monday show at Turf Club, we spoke with the soulful 25-year-old about his red-hot career and the Plan B he'll never have to follow.

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Grumpy's Takes It Back to 1991 in Lollapalooza Cover Fest

Categories: Q&A

Lollygagloser | Grumpy's Downtown | Saturday, September 27
Forget the summer of '69. The summer of '91, also known as the Year Punk Broke, defined a generation. Nirvana hit big, but that summer also saw the debut of Lollapalooza -- at the time, an annual traveling music festival and freak show brilliantly summarized in the Simpsons' later "Homerpalooza" episode.

For those who miss the greasy hair and untucked flannels, Saturday is your day. Grumpy's Bar downtown is throwing a Lollygagloser party, with six cover bands recreating the original Lolla lineup and playing songs from Jane's Addiction, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, Butthole Surfers, Body Count, and Rollins Band. Those sets will come from a number of local musicians under the monikers of the Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Excellence (hey, it's another Simpsons reference), Kiss or Kill, Nine Inch Ailes, San Dimas, In Defence, and Disasteratti.

Taking place in the Grumpy's parking lot, the event will offer beer, grilled brats, and the promise of 80 degrees in September. Why hold it now? "The end of September seemed like a better idea than Halloween," says organizer Rainer Fronz. "Wasn't there a blizzard or something on Halloween?"

To get some more insight into the time warp event, Gimme Noise had a chat with Dari Kaveh of Disasteratti/Rollins Band, who have been hard at work learning Rollins's work. The main thing they've learned thus far, it seems, is that "Low Self Opinion" doesn't hold up very well.

See also: Top 10 must-see Minnesota music videos this week

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Ty Segall Is the Electric Warrior of Our Generation

Categories: Q&A
Photo by Denee Petracek
Ty Segall | Turf Club | Wednesday, September 24

He is the man that your head-banging, no-good punk ass needs to thank immediately for keeping rock 'n' roll brash, beautifully loud, unpredictable, and incredibly exciting.

Over the course of six years and dozens of albums, EPs, and singles, Ty Segall, the 27-year-old Orange County-bred and Bay Area-ripened rock virtuoso, has industriously infused an almost antiquated genre with new sounds and new life, as he blends the dark delights of Sabbath and the trippiness of psych with the million other brilliant strains of fuzzy tuneage that swirl forever through the hidden chambers of his kaleidoscopic mind.

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

Categories: Interview, Q&A
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
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

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


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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