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Twins' Midwest Music series to feature Tina & B-Sides, Tapes n' Tapes, Mallman

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: April 18, 2014 - 1:35 PM
The 4onthefloor was one of the first bands to play the Twins' Midwest Music Showcases last summer at Target Field. / Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

The 4onthefloor was one of the first bands to play the Twins' Midwest Music Showcases last summer at Target Field. / Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

The verdict is still out on whether or not the Twins stepped up their pitching this year, but the team did at least add a little muscle to their Midwest Music Showcase in 2014. Tapes n’ Tapes, Trailer Trash, Mark Mallman, the Cactus Blossoms and a reunited Tina & the B-Sides are all on the roster for the 10 Wednesday live music performances at Target Field, which include pre-game warm-up sets from the bands as well as random songs between innings.

Here’s the full lineup announced today by the team:

  • May 14: Tapes ‘n Tapes (7:10 p.m., Red Sox)
  • May 28: Mark Mallman (7:10 p.m., Rangers)
  • June 4: Pennyroyal (7:10 p.m., Brewers)
  • July 2: The Odd Fathers (12:10 p.m., Royals)
  • July 23: Trailer Trash (12:10 p.m., Indians)
  • Aug. 6: Cactus Blossoms (12:10 p.m., Padres)
  • Aug. 20: Crankshaft (7:10 p.m., Indians)
  • Sept. 3: Special Guest TBA (7:10 p.m., White Sox)
  • Sept. 17: Tina and the B-Sides (7:10 p.m., Tigers)
  • Sept. 24: Local contest winner (12:10 p.m., Diamondbacks)
Tina & the B-Sides

Tina & the B-Sides

That last slot will be awarded to via KTWIN 96.3 FM’s “Sound Factor” contest, judged by Prince & the Revolution drummer and the station’s Sunday night host of “The Sound,” Bobby Z. Those Tapes n' Tapes and Tina & the B-Sides gigs are of particular note, since those bands have been on hiatus -- although Tina Schlieske is also putting her old band back together for a First Ave gig on May 10.

As was chronicled in a story we ran last year off of 4onthefloor’s appearance in the series, the bands perform up on a balcony in the left-field corner and are given some nice screen time on the Jumbotron (and free game tickets and beer!).

This won’t be the only live music at Target Field this summer. KTWIN is reportedly planning a second installment of its Skyline Music Fest, which last year featured Soul Asylum and Big Head Todd & the Monsters on a stage along the third baseline. The perennial rumors of Paul McCartney performing there are also surfacing again with news of his summer tour plans. However, since the Twins are hosting the All-Star Game this year – when Kenny Chesney played there during the midseason break the past two summers – the timing of a Mac gig or any other big show could be difficult. But not impossible.

Prince signs 'landmark' deal with Warner Bros. to reissue 'Purple Rain' and tap vaults

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: April 18, 2014 - 9:46 AM
 
 

Prince is apparently no longer bad-mouthing Warner Bros. Records, and that’s very good news for fans. The record label announced today a new licensing deal with Minneapolis’ Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, the timing of which points to the approaching 30th anniversary of “Purple Rain.” A first-ever remastered deluxe-edition of the 1984 masterpiece will be the first product of the new/old partnership. More unreleased music from a variety of eras is also now promised.

“For Prince fans worldwide, the new partnership will open a veritable gold mine,” Warner Bros. proclaimed in the press release.

The deal will also include the release of a new Prince album. This may or may not be the same record with new group 3rdEyeGirl that was said to be coming via independent licensing company Kobalt Music Group. It was Prince himself who referenced the new record in the press release from Warner Bros.

Prince was less enamored with Warner Bros. in 1997 when he declared himself a "slave" of the record label. / AP Photo

Prince was less enamored with Warner Bros. in 1997 when he declared himself a "slave" of the record label. / AP Photo

Prince said, "A brand-new studio album is on the way and both Warner Bros Records and Eye are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful working relationship." 

Of course, Prince didn’t go back to the label that once "enslaved" him without getting something in return. The deal gives him back ownership of all his Warner Bros.-issued music, which extends from his 1978 debut “For You” through the ‘90s. Billboard magazine heralded the deal as “landmark” and a “new era,” alluding to uncertainty over copyright issues for recording contracts older than 35 years (like Prince’s).

Prince fans will no doubt be waiting with bated breath for details on the “Purple Rain” expanded reissue and other music to come. One legendary vault item that has always been on the radar but never seen the daylight is the actual "Purple Rain" live recording at First Avenue in 1983, which was used/molded into the “studio” version of the song “Purple Rain” and several other tracks on that album. Lord knows – or maybe just Prince knows – what other music there is to be unveiled.

Farewell Milwaukee, Fathom Lane take on First Ave and Jason Molina

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: April 17, 2014 - 1:04 PM
Farewell Milwaukee takes over First Ave on Saturday after frontman Ben Lubeck, second from right, contributed a track to the new Jason Molina tribute record. / Photo by Sara Montour

Farewell Milwaukee takes over First Ave on Saturday after frontman Ben Lubeck, second from right, contributed a track to the new Jason Molina tribute record. / Photo by Sara Montour

Besides being a nicely stacked bill of four Americana-flavored Twin Cities bands who haven’t had a lot of chances to play the main room yet, Saturday’s First Avenue lineup with Farewell Milwaukee, And the Professors, Fathom Lane and the Ericksons is also doubling as an unofficial local release party for “Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina.”

The two-disc tribute album -- brought to you from St. Paul-based nonprofit org/label Rock the Cause -- officially lands Tuesday following a nice international boost this week from NPR, which picked the benefit collection for its weekly “First Listen” feature (where you can stream the album for free). We wrote about the origins of “Farewell Transmission” last month before Rock the Cause headed to Austin’s South by Southwest Music Conference for a promotional day party. The cult-loved Molina, who fronted Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., died in 2011 after a long battle with alcoholism.

RTC volunteers will also be on hand at Saturday’s show with copies of the album, which features My Morning Jacket, Murder by Death, Cory Branan, Sarah Jaffe, Centromatic’s Will Johnson, Squares, the Black Swans and a Minnesota cast that includes Communist Daughter, Gabriel Douglas, Luke Redfield, Enemy Planes – and two of the acts performing Saturday at First Ave, Fathom Lane and Farewell Milwaukee singer Ben Lubeck. "Farewell Transmission" will also be in stock in indie shops for Saturday's Record Store Day and can be orderd online, with all sales going toward Musicares and Molina's estate

Although not exactly party-starter tracks to get you pumped for the show – Molina’s stuff was dark, dark, dark – here are the two tracks in question from Saturday's lineup. Farewell Milwaukee’s latest album, “Can’t Please You, Can’t Please Me,” is also still streaming in full via Soundcloud. The album was recorded at Conor Oberst's and Mike Mogis' studio in Omaha with engineer Brad Bivens providing a similar touch as he did to Dawes' records.

Toki Wright & Big Cats unveil bold new sound

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: April 16, 2014 - 3:28 PM

In the midst of a Midwest tour that brings them Thursday to House of Rock in Eau Claire (with Dessa) and Friday to the Triple Rock in Minneapolis, local hip-hop vets Toki Wright and Big Cats dropped a freaky new track this week that shows off the more psychedelic, neo-soul- and electronic-styled music they’ve been making together over the past year. Titled “Echinacea,” the song finds Wright riffing in a mild but semi-manic tone on the herbal pill of the same name – and our hope for self-improvement in general --  while Big Cats (Spencer Wirth-Davis) lays down an eerie, hypnotic groove.

“Enchinacea” is the first track issued off Wright’s and Big Cat’s upcoming album, “Pangaea.” They debuted more tracks along with a new live format on Atmosphere’s Welcome to MN Tour in late February. Lydia Liza of Bomba de Luz sings backup at the shows, and Eric Mayson of Crunchy Kids is featured on keys. K. Raydio and Shiro Dame -- featuring Sarah White of Traditional Methods -- will also perform at Friday’s Triple Rock show (10 p.m., $10, tickets on sale here). They have shows spread around Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota in the coming weeks leading up to set at the Soundset festival in Shakopee on May 25.

Kill Kancer amps up its efforts with all-star PSA video, Cedar concert

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: April 16, 2014 - 11:55 AM
Karl Mueller, left, played with Soul Asylum at the Rock for Karl concert in 2004 while he was being treated for throat cancer. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Karl Mueller, left, played with Soul Asylum at the Rock for Karl concert in 2004 while he was being treated for throat cancer. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Nearly nine years after Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller died of complications from throat cancer, his memory has become the catalyst for a new organization/website, Kill Kancer, intended to help prevent cancer and promote alternative treatments – with the Twin Cities music scene’s support.

A new PSA video (posted below) was released just in time for Friday’s Kill Kancer fundraiser concert at the Cedar Cultural Center. Instead of some of Mueller’s rock-vet pals, though, the so-called “manifesto” video – put together by local videographer Dan Huiting with Rick Fuller and the Martin-Williams advertising agency -- curiously features a younger cast of local hip-hop and R&B stars, including Slug, Toki Wright, P.O.S., Ashley DuBose and No Bird Sing’s Joe Horton. Karl’s widow, Mary Beth Mueller, said this is a sign of the demographics Kill Kancer will initially target.

Mary Beth Mueller. / Star Tribune file

Mary Beth Mueller. / Star Tribune file

“We really want to reach the areas where it’s most preventable,” Mueller said, pointing to inner-city youths who don’t know about or don’t have access to healthier eating and living habits that can avert cancer.

Among Kill Kancer’s plans are planting gardens in urban areas that lack them, stocking food shelves with healthier items and working with Full Cycle to bring free bicycles into low-income neighborhoods (for the exercise benefits). That’s along with many other goals that Mueller has been dreaming up since Karl’s passing. “I just can’t get past this terrible [expletive] beast that is cancer,” she said.

The origins of Kill Kancer go back to the now-legendary 2004 Rock for Karl benefit/tribute concert at the Quest nightclub a year before Mueller’s death, where Soul Asylum, Golden Smog, Bob Mould, Grant Hart, Paul Westerberg and the Gear Daddies all performed. That set up the Karl Fund, which has funded research for new treatments at the University of Minnesota and now will benefit Kill Kancer.

Mary Beth said a friend’s private grant on the eighth anniversary of Karl’s death last year helped ignite the new efforts. So did last year’s inaugural Kill Kancer concert at the Cedar with Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner and Dan Murphy (one of their last local sets together), Golden Smog, the Magnolias, Curtiss A and Jordan Gatesmith.

Willie Murphy

Willie Murphy

Now comes the second Kill Kancer concert. Pirner is back in town and has put together a special video presentation to go with his performance at Friday’s show. Willie Murphy, Communist Daughter, Silverback Colony (led by 4onthefloor’s Gabriel Douglas) and Taj Raj are also all lined up to play the show, along with the “special guests.” The $25 tickets are still available.

“There are so many civic-minded, responsible musicians in this town, it’s amazing,” said Mueller, who is working with many of Friday’s performers for the first time. She also noted the irony of music being used to, you know, kill cancer.

“The tobacco companies have been using rock ‘n’ roll to sell their product for 30-40 years,” she said. “This is a great way to turn that around.”

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