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TC music vet Todd Clouser spreading A Love Electric

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: July 29, 2014 - 6:20 PM


Todd Clouser

Todd Clouser

Another musician reared in Twin Cities jazz clubs achieving stardom abroad with a decidedly non-jazzy sound  – see also: José James and, to a certain extent, the Bad Plus – Todd Clouser is gearing up for a big international push behind the new release by his psychedelic trio, A Love Electric.

Renowned keyboard grinder John Medeski of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame joined the group during the recording of the album, and Grammy winner Patrick Dillett (David Byrne & St. Vincent, Soul Coughing) mixed the results. Titled “Son of a Hero,” the record is due Sept. 16 on Ropeadope Records. A video for the first single, “Be the Evolution,” is posted below.

Now based in Mexico City, Clouser is in town this week with A Love Electric to preview the album at Harriet Brewing on Thursday (9 p.m.). They will be back in town on the full tour for an Icehouse gig on Oct. 3.

Cheers at the White House

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: July 29, 2014 - 11:27 AM

Twin Cities artists and arts leaders were on hand Monday at the White House to cheer on Bill T. Jones, who was presented with the National Medal for the Arts by President Obama.

A multiple Tony-winning choreographer, dancer, director and company founder, Jones has a decades-long association with artists and arts institutions in the Twin Cities, especially Walker Art Center, under whose aegis he has developed, premiered and performed many works. He also directed "Dream on Monkey Mountain" at the Guthrie Theater.

On Monday, Walker director Olga Viso (left) posed with honoree Jones alongside Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, who are, respectively, founder and principal dancer of Ragamala Dance Theater.

President Obama appointed Ranee Ramaswamy (who supplied the image) to the National Council on the Arts in 2012.

Jones was one of 11 luminary winners of the arts medal, among the nation's highest honors for artists. The winner's roster included writers Julia Alvarez and Maxine Hong Kingston, musical theater composer John Kander, musician Linda Ronstadt and pioneering documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles.

Doomtree drops a "leaker" track from new all-crew sessions

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: July 29, 2014 - 9:26 AM
P.O.S., left, Sims and Lazerbeak during Doomtree's set last year at the Summer Set Music & Camping Fest. / Anna Reed, Star Tribune

P.O.S., left, Sims and Lazerbeak during Doomtree's set last year at the Summer Set Music & Camping Fest. / Anna Reed, Star Tribune

Good news/bad news for Doomtree lovers: The Twin Cities hip-hop septet issued its first new all-crew track in nearly two years this morning, a jittery electronic romp titled “.38 Airweight,” which comes from this summer's recording sessions. However, the group is not calling this the first song off its new record, and in fact the new record isn’t entirely finished and thus has no set release date yet.

Posting the song as one of his Tuesdays With Lazerbeak entries at Doomtree.net, producer/beatmaker Lazerbeak described the song as a “leaker.” He wrote:

“We've been in the studio making a ton of songs with a new album in mind and are super pumped with how things are turning out. Wanted to drop this leaker track off early while it's still fresh to let people know we're getting back at it."

The track -- available for download via iTunes -- boasts verses from four of the group’s five rappers (all but Dessa). P.O.S. starts it off, referencing controversial NYC subway shooter Bernie Goetz. Mike Mictlan comes in towards the end with a whack flurry of evocative lines, including the soda-generation shout-out to “children of the corn syrup.”

Introducing the song on 89.3  the Current's morning show today, Sims did spill news at least one other album: His latest solo effort is due to drop in September, he said. More info on that to come, no doubt.

Perhaps we'll hear ".38 Airweight" and a new Sims song or two might be on tap when Doomtree hits the Minnesota State Fair grandstand on Aug. 30 as part of the MN-Music-on-a-Stick concert. That’s also the week that the group’s limited-edition, 500-page book “Every Single Day” officially lands. It’s being sold with a “Best of False Hopes” compilation album.

And lest Dessa lovers feel left out by the new song, she dropped another wowza music video just yesterday for the song “Fighting Fish.” You can check it out here.

Marty Stuart puts the 'Superlative' in country music at the Dakota

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: July 29, 2014 - 1:46 AM

A few thoughts about the performance of Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives Monday night at the Dakota Jazz Club:

  • Stuart is a first-rate picker on guitar and mandolin. And his aptly named backup band has some top-notch players, too, especially drummer Harry Stinson and guitarist Kenny Vaughan, two of Nashville’s finest. The Superlatives are also fine harmonies singers, which was best demonstrated on their yodeling in harmony on the end of “In the Pines.”
  • Their 95-minute set covered bluegrass, gospel, hillbilly rock and all kinds of classic-sounding country, including Stuart’s biggest hit “Whiskey Ain’t Working,” a version of “Long Black Veil” and requested covers of George Jones (“Old Old House”) and Dave Dudley (Stuart didn’t know all the words to “Six Days on the Road” but he improvised lyrics in perfect cadence to the tune including this couplet: “I had a big time at the Dakota tonight/ if you think I’m happy, you’re right”) 
  • If I had to pick one highlight, it would be “Tempted,” which suggested Buddy Holly-meets-the Mavericks, with some dark, almost surf guitar.
  • Stuart truly knows country music, which is no surprise to any of his fans who watch his eponymous TV show on cable’s RFD-TV. But he is a historian of all music. He knew that Dudley cut “Six Days on the Road” in Minneapolis and that “Surfin' Bird” was recorded here, too. As for the Trashmen’s hit, he joked: “That’s what taking a bunch of pills and going to the studio will do for you.”  Actually, the trick was using a pencil to warble the recording tape to manipulate the voice of singer/drummer Steve Wahrer.
  • Speaking of history, the customized Telecaster guitar that Stuart was playing belonged to the late Clarence White of the Byrds.
  • Stuart let each of the Superlatives sing a number or two, and, during his turn at the micr, guitarist Vaughan reminisced about playing at the Longhorn punk bar in ‘70s. Afterward, he told me he’d met the Suicide Commandos in Denver, his hometown, and then his band, Jonny 3, opened for the Commandos and the Suburbs at the Longhorn. And he even remembered the name of the club’s proprietor, Hartley Frank. Talk about serious memory.
  • The Cactus Blossoms, a Twin Cities duo, opened with some priceless brotherly harmonies on original material that sounded like the kind of vintage country that Stuart would appreciate.  

McCartney, Bonham track to be heard on Wings' reissue

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: July 28, 2014 - 4:13 PM

Paul McCartney with Wings in St. Paul, 1976/ Star Tribune photo by Jim McTaggart

Paul McCartney with Wings in St. Paul, 1976/ Star Tribune photo by Jim McTaggart

Paul McCartney is reissuing another batch of Wings albums – including an outtake number featuring Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

This fall’s “The Wings at the Speed of Sound” reissue includes an alternative version of “Beware My Love” with Bonham.

Of course, Bonham also played on two tracks on Wings’ final album, 1979’s “Back to the Egg.”

In case you don’t get enough Wings live this weekend when Sir Paul plays at Target Field, “Venus and Mars” and “Wings at the Speed of Sound” will be reissued Sept. 23 with demos, previously unreleased tracks and, on the 3-disc edition, an interview with McCartney and a booklet of photographs..


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