Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner Is Embracing Change While Trusting His DIY Instincts

Photo by Michael L. Smith

"It's bleak," jokes Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner, referring to the release of his band's upcoming untitled record. The album is nearly ready, but needs more funding to get it out the door. As a result, the band is trying their hand at PledgeMusic, selling band nostalgia, original art, and unique deals such as a "lifetime guestlist" to help get the record out of the studio and onto your iPod.

Pirner is up front about the perks and pitfalls of crowdsourcing a record, but he's excited for the new music to get to fans. The band has seen a lot of change in recent years. With the death of original bassist Karl Mueller and other member turnover, it's a new start for the group, and Pirner is beginning to embrace those changes.

Gimme Noise spoke with Pirner, who now lives in New Orleans, as he returned to Minnesota for a tour of mid-sized Midwest cities with John Mark Nelson, American Scarecrows, and Carnage the Executioner.

See also:
First Avenue at 45: Our First and Favorite Shows

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Fort Wilson Riot Continue to Chase Their Sound Ahead of Icehouse Residency

Photo by Dave Mendolia, cutup by Jesse Draxler

Fort Wilson Riot have been slowly evolving their electro-tinged R&B sound over the last few years. That change in sonic direction has been made easier with the addition of a full five-piece band during their live shows and studio sessions, which allows Amy Hager and Jacob Mullis to expand their rich sonic palette even further.

Ahead of their two-night residency at Icehouse (which begins on April 12 and continues on April 19), we are pleased to premiere "Tryin,'" the first of two new singles the band are releasing in conjunction with those performances. We were also able to talk with Mullis about the sessions that produced these new tracks, and what the band has in store for their Icehouse shows and beyond.

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Bryce Dessner Is Redefining Classical Music for the Modern Era

Photo by Anne Mie Dreves
The Music of Bryce Dessner | Walker Art Center | Friday and Saturday, April 3-4 

While Bryce Dessner is predominantly known as the guitarist in the National, he is a classically trained musician and scholar, with a Master's degree in music from Yale. In recent years, his compositions have been performed in illustrious locations throughout the world, like Carnegie Hall in New York, the Barbican Concert Hall in London, and the Walt Disney Performance Hall in Los Angeles. During that time, he's worked alongside a host of renowned composers, including Steve Reich, Philip Glass, David Lang, and the Kronos Quartet, while firmly establishing his own distinctive voice in the world of contemporary classical music. 

This weekend, the Walker Art Center and the SPCO's Liquid Music Series are celebrating Dessner's unique musical gifts, as well as the talents of his contemporaries who will be joining him on Friday and Saturday. Ahead of these special shows, Gimme Noise was able to chat with Dessner from his Paris residence, where he shared his inspirations for his current work, how his approach to his classical pieces are similar to his songwriting with the National, and what we can expect from these upcoming performances.

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Diva 93 Is Bringing Awareness and Attitude to the Twin Cities Scene

Photo by Ronnie Droher
Diva 93 | Hexagon Bar | Friday, April 3

Diva 93 is the musical brainchild of Jess Buns, who describes her current endeavor as a "bitchy, lusty, rusty vocal+synth+bad beats project." Since 2012, Diva 93 has put out a wide array of compelling releases that fluidly blends experimental electronic numbers and tone poems. The results are often arresting and challenging, providing (along with Buns other musical outlet, Yoni Yum) a distinctive sonic layer to the modern Twin Cities sound.

In anticipation of Diva 93's PUNISH/ABANDON/REWARD tape release show at the Hexagon this Friday, Gimme Noise caught up with Jess to chat about the show's eclectic line-up, how hyperbolic ​fantasies weave their way into her lyric-writing process, and the ​responsibility that comes with being a​n engaged​ feminist in the local punk scene.

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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"

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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

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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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