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“Good to see you again,” David Letterman said as he shook Craig Finn’s and Tad Kubler’s hands on last night’s episode of “The Late Show” on CBS. Dave probably didn’t know how true a statement he was making.
After an uncharacteristic four-year idle between albums, Finn’s and Kubler’s Minnesota-rooted Brooklyn band, the Hold Steady, finally return full-steam with today’s release of their sixth album, “Teeth Dreams.” They earned a primo Letterman slot to promote the new record, not only because it fell on the eve of its release but it happen to have to high-profile guests in former President Jimmy Carter (who pretty well explained everything wrong with the world in 15 minutes flat) and actor Josh Charles (whose surprise offing on “The Good Wife” which was all the buzz in the TV world Monday).
The song they played for Letterman, “Spinners” – which sounded a bit heftier and more wicked live than it does on the record – is a good indicator of what to expect of “Teeth Dreams.” After 2010’s poorly received, over-produced “Heaven Is Whenever,” the band doesn’t back off entirely from the bigger/better-polished sound, but it does stick closer to the seedy storytelling and dirty two-guitar formula of early albums. There’s no piano like before, but plenty of organ and a lot that sounds familiar. At least a couple tunes enter new territory, though, including the twangy, dramatic builder “The Ambassador,” which is also one of a handful of tunes spiked with Minnesota references (“You came back to in south Minneapolis”). Another standout, “Almost Everything,” is the band’s first true all-acoustic tune a decade into its run.
Twin Cities fans have yet to get a local date on the band’s “Teeth Dreams” tour, but you can be sure they’re coming. Those guys know to wait till summer if they can.
Prince, we hardly knew ya. At least not like this.
The Purple One answered questions from fans and Arsenio Hall — and even played advice guru.
Prince has never seemed so normal, so comfortable and so un-self-conscious on television as he was Wednesday night on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Yep, that Arsenio who had Prince as a guest back in the early ‘90s.
Except for Hall’s opening monologue, Wednesday’s hour-long program was devoted to Prince. With the New Power Generation and 3rdEyeGirl, he played two new songs (“FunknRoll,” “Mutiny”) and one old one (“She’s Always in My Hair”), and Liv Warfield, one of his former backup singers, offered a tune from her new album.
In conversation with Arsenio and the studio audience, Prince – wearing a series of turtlenecks and fur- or fringe-trimmed vests -- was quick, funny and short but to the point.
Here are some things Prince revealed:
Photo: Arsenio Hall Show/ CBS Television Distribution
Prince/ AP photo
A local legend is joining the late-night wars, at least for one evening.
Prince's appearance Wednesday night on "The Arsenio Hall Show" won't be limited to a musical performance. Promotional material insists that he's "taking over" the program, which makes you wonder if his well-received turn on "New Girl" has him convinced that he can handle a comedy monologue.
It's not the first time Prince has appeared on one of Hall's programs. He famously burned a Star Tribune review of one of his shows on the set of "Arsenio." Will he play pyromaniac again? Will he announce the release date of his long-anticipated new album?
Find out at 10 p.m. tonight on WUCW, Ch. 23.
Whether or not you caught Poliça on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last night, you may still want to check out the online clips of the band’s performance. The Minneapolis throb-pop quartet played a powerful version of "Spill the Lies," a highlight from its "Shulamith" album, for the ABC airwaves (posted below). It also played a second song not featured in the broadcast – a song not featured on any of their records, in fact. It’s a cover of Lesley Gore’s 1963 girl-power anthem “You Don’t Own Me.” Obviously, it sounds quite different and darker (and pretty awesome) in their hands. Click here to see the clip.
The other interesting post-script on last night’s Kimmel appearance was drummer Ben Ivascu’s wardrobe choice, a “Drone, Not Drones” T-shirt. That’s the most high-profile appearance yet of the mantra made famous by Low’s Alan Sparhawk at Rock the Garden, and it is particularly good timing.
Minneapolis scenester Luke Heiken, the man behind the campaign, is putting together a 28-hour drone concert Doctors Without Borders benefit concert, tentatively scheduled Feb. 7-8 at the Cedar Cultural Center with a rotating cast of musicians (including members of Low). More details on that soon.
Anyone who envied Ivascu's T can buy their own shirt at Dronenotdrones.com, also benefitting Doctors Without Borders.
Dale Watson hasn’t yet left that overpriced condo heap known as Austin, Texas, but he might be closer to affording a little lake place here in Minnesota after his appearance last night on “The Late Show With David Letterman.” The old-school honky-tonk hero and Lee’s Liquor Lounge mainstay took to NBC to tout his new album for Red House Records, “El Rancho Azul,” which became the St. Paul label’s first release to ever make it to Billboard’s country album charts (it debuted at No. 57).
Letterman himself reportedly got a listen to the record and made the request to get Watson on the show. You can tell by the clip below he was genuinely excited to have him. The performance might have been the biggest broadcast audience Watson has played to since his last time on “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Dale will be back in our neck of the woods for another Lee’s gig on July 29. He’ll also be at Rollie’s in Sauk Rapids a night earlier. Then he will return less than a month later to the Minnesota State Fair – where he’s a favorite player on the Heritage Square stage – for multiple sets Aug. 22-23.
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