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Bad news first: The much-anticipated Babes in Toyland reunion will not be launched at the Lady Parts Justice party here on Sept. 27, as the band members had previously discussed.
Now the good news: The lineup for LPJ's so-called V to Shining V rally at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul – part of a network of shows happening that night around the country -- is mighty fine even without the Babes. The Jayhawks' Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Karen Grotberg, the Prairie Fire Lady Choir, Desdamona, Maria Isa, Lucy Michelle, Mayda and the Clash tribute band Rude Girl are all lined up to perform in support of reproductive rights and other issues facing women in upcoming elections. The event is free, but organizers are asking that you sign up and show your support.
Co-founded by Minnesota comic Lizz Winstead -- who will be home for next weekend’s event and serve as host -- the Lady Part Justice organization is throwing its so-called V to Shining V rallies (I don't think the V is for "Victory") in Los Angeles and many other cities that night, including another at the Contented Cow in Northfield.
Oh, and more good news: The Babes in Toyland reunion really is happening, just not at the Amsterdam on the 27th. Kat Bjelland, Lori Barbero and Maureen Herman have been rehearsing in Los Angeles of late, and Herman even posted a sample set list in one of several reunion-teasing Facebook postings of late.
Fans of one of Prince’s most classic jams, “Housequake,” might hear echoes of that 1987 party song in the latest track unveiled today ahead of his dueling Sept. 30 album releases.
The rather madcap tune is called “Funknroll” and was first played live by Minneapolis’ petite big-kahuna on "Arsenio” back in March. It will be one of the songs featured on “Art Official Age,” the record he’s issuing under his own name through Warner Bros. at the end of the month. The other disc, “Plectrumelectrum,” is a collaboration with his all-woman band 3rdEyeGirl.
“Funknroll” offers a sharp contrast to the slower, sultry, romantic tracks previously issued off "Art Official Age," including “Breakfast Can Wait” from last year and the more recent “Clouds” and “U Know."
Pre-orders of both albums are already available via iTunes and Amazon, where each record’s full track lists can be seen, and the songs issued so far can be downloaded. Most fans will probably be happy to note that “Fallinlove2nite,” his duet track with “New Girl” star and She & Him singer Zooey Deschanel, does not appear on either album.
Saturday’s Festival Palomino at Canterbury Park is the first of what organizers hope to be many years for the Trampled by Turtles-led, day-long strummer fest. It also happens to be the first big concert held inside the Shakopee horse track in many years. The last big music events we remember there were the Clear Channel Radio festivals of the early-‘00s (KDWB, Cities 97, K102), which were usually good-time, cozy affairs despite Sheryl Crow always seeming to be at them.
As is recounted in a Q&A with the Trampled fellas in this week’s Vita.mn, the festival was more the idea of First Avenue, which has had good luck working with the band on their multi-genre Bayfront Park concerts in Duluth. First Ave also brought in frequent partner Rose Presents (We Fest, Warped Tour, Soundset) to help handle logistics of the big show. This was all good news to Trampled, which had long been interested in starting a fest but lost money in the mid-’00s partnering on the Log Jam Fest in Ely.
“It seemed perfect: We’d help curate the music, and [First Ave] could do all the hard work,” TBT singer Dave Simonett said. “Them and Rose Presents, they know this stuff. Now, I don’t have to Google how to rent port-o-potties in Shakopee myself.”
The lineup predictably wound up being heavy on rootsy, stringy, old-timey and/or twangy kind of bands such as Spirit Mountain Family Reunion and Hurray for the Riff Raff (one of this writer’s personal faves from this year’s SXSW). But it also includes Florida soul man Charles Bradley, Seattle folk-rockers the Head and the Heart and TBT’s longtime Low, playing to their first 10,000-plus-sized Twin Cities crowd since last year’s legendary/notorious Rock the Garden set.
“These are all bands we’ve played with before,” Simonett explained of the Palomino lineup. “It ranges from Charles Bradley, who we only played with once but loved, on up to Erik Koskinen and Low, who we’ve played with and been good friends with for a long time. It’s all familiar faces, which seemed like a fun way of doing it.”
This will be Trampled’s first big Twin Cities show in support of their seventh album, “Wild Animals, not counting their live Current broadcast from the Cedar Cultural Center the week of release. They left town right after that, playing everywhere from David Letterman's set to the Newport Folk Festival (where they were joined by Mavis Staples and Norah Jones) to a sold-out headlining gig at Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver last month. Read our chronicle of the band’s chaotic mid-July run here.
The Canterbury gates will open at 1 p.m., and the music will run from 2-10 p.m. – mostly nonstop, thanks to the use of two stages. Tickets ($34, or $87 for VIP) are reportedly selling well but probably won’t sell out (it’s a big place). All the FAQ info can be found on the fest's site. Here are the newly announced set times:
How’s this for transatlantic exposure? Twin Cities-weaned rapper M.anifest is featured in a new video profile from London’s BBC, which filmed him in Ghana.
The real-life Kwame Amet Tsikata, who still maintains local ties after a decade as a Minnesotan, is back living in his native country and generating quite a buzz as a music maker there. He has won several trophies at the Ghana Music Awards and has been working with other African musicians of note, including Donzy and HHP.
In the clip posted below, M.anifest tells the BBC’s “Africa Beats” that he finds Ghana to be “a ridiculous place, and so that has ridiculously inspired me. It provokes everything that you can imagine in me.”
Performing for the BBC with a live band led by reputable Ghanaian musician Kwame Yeboah, he shows off two of the tracks he has dropped since relocating, “Debi Debi,” and “Someway Bi,” both of which come off his EP "Apae: The Price of Free" and are available via iTunes. He explains their meaning in the clip. He also has an evocative video for “Someway Bi” that shows off his new/old surroundings.
Formerly the frontwoman of ambient Minneapolis rock outfit Aviette and originally from El Paso, Texas, Holly Muñoz struck indie-rock gold after moving to the Bay Area to work with the San Francisco Symphony. She raised $50,000 via crowdfunding to make a solo album and landed one of her musical heroes, acclaimed tunesmith John Vanderslice, as producer.
The result is “Maps and Lists,” a deep, ornate, dark vs. light collection with lots of strings layering and moody guitar work that variously recalls Throwing Muses and Sharon Van Etten. Billed simply as HOLLY, she’s returning to town to promote the record Friday at the Cedar Cultural Center with a cast of friends including Dosh and the Starfolk (8 p.m., $15-$18.)
Fresh off performing with Posies co-leader (and R.E.M. sideman) Ken Stringfellow and his new FM Collective project last weekend in Seattle, Muñoz humorously recounted how, just a few months after moving to the Bay Area, she somewhat stalkerishly sought out Vanderslice.
“I went to one of his shows and was like, "Hey, John. I'm Holly. Do you want to produce my next record?," she recounted. His initial response was a polite, “No, but I know lots of people who can help you with that, and I'm happy to give you a tour of the studio.”
A week after handing off her demos, though, Vanderslice called her and told her it was on. She booked dates in December at his Tiny Telephone studio and went all in to make the record.
“I left my job with $2,000 in savings and launched that crazy ambitious Tilt campaign,” she said. “And now it's September and I'm playing with Dosh, going on tour, and getting ready to head back into the studio with John again? Pretty wild.”
Here’s the title track of the new album, which you can stream in full via Soundcloud.
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