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Posts about Music

Dan Wilson celebrates 2nd solo album with Electric Fetus performance

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: April 16, 2014 - 12:42 AM
Dan Wilson at the Electric Fetus / Photo by Leslie Plesser

Dan Wilson at the Electric Fetus / Photo by Leslie Plesser

When you’re Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/producer Dan Wilson, where do you go to celebrate the release of your first solo album in seven years?  Of course, the Electric Fetus.

That’s where Wilson made monthly trips to buy music when in lived in Minneapolis for all those many years. But he moved to Los Angeles nearly four years ago to further his songwriting/producing career, working with the likes of Adele, Taylor Swift and Pink, among others.

Between sessions with all those bold-face names, Wilson managed to complete his “Love Without Fear,” his second solo effort. On Tuesday, he was up early chatting on 89.3 the Current, doing interviews in the afternoon (as well as lunching with his singing brother Matt Wilson) and then singing and signing autographs at the Fetus in the evening.

Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar at the Fetus, the sweet-voiced Wilson performed four songs from the new album (including the title track and the new single "A Song Can Be About Anything") and one number from “Free Life,” his 2007 solo debut. There was nothing from his Semisonic or Trip Shakespeare days – or his Grammy-winning-collaborator-for-hire resume.

Wilson did slip into his “Words and Music” mode – the usual VH1 "Storyteller"-like format of his solo concerts – and talked about his songwriting process and what sparked a couple of songs in particular. He will give full concerts June 4, 5 and 6 at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis – with a different approach each night, though “Words and Music” will be the first show.

At the Fetus, Wilson got about150 people to sing along to “All Kinds,” from his first solo disc. Mid-song, he politely called their singing “super-nice but super-quiet,” which made us wonder if that’s a euphemism for semisonic.

After the half-hour set, Wilson spent an hour posing for photos and signing CDs (the deluxe version contains a hardcover book featuring lyrics that he wrote in calligraphy).

We didn’t stick around to see if Wilson did any shopping but, in a pre-performance interview, he told us he’d transferred his monthly habit of shopping at the Fetus for “a handful of jazz records and new pop releases” to the sprawling indie chain, Amoeba, in Los Angeles.

“I do there what I did at the Fetus – I bought old Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau, Beck, Sun Kil Moon.” 

Spoon, De La Soul, Guided by Voices top Rock the Garden 2014 lineup

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: April 15, 2014 - 4:58 PM
Spoon frontman Britt Daniel should appear happier playing Rock the Garden in June than he does in this photo from the Basilica Block Party in 2010. / David Joes, Star Tribune

Spoon frontman Britt Daniel might be happier playing Rock the Garden in June than he appears in this photo from the Basilica Block Party in 2010. / David Joles, Star Tribune

With a two-day music lineup to fill instead of the usual one, this year’s Rock the Garden festival outside Walker Art Center June 21-22 truly will offer a little something for everyone -- or at least everyone who listens to co-sponsoring station 89.3 the Current.

Posdnous of De La Soul at Soundset 2011. / Star Tribune file

Posdnous of De La Soul at Soundset 2011. / Star Tribune file

Two beloved indie-rock bands that have been in steady rotation since the Current took the air nine years ago, Spoon and Guided by Voices, will be paired together for the Sunday RTG lineup along with fellow garage-rocky guitar wielder Kurt Vile and rootsy Tennessee newcomer Valerie June. Saturday, meanwhile, offers the kind of act that organizers have been criticized for not booking more of in the past: Hip-hop. Late-‘80s pioneers De La Soul will top out that day’s show with indie-pop mainstays Best Coast and Matt and Kim. Two hometown favorites, Jeremy Messersmith and Dessa, will also perform one day apiece.

Here’s the full schedule:


  • De La Soul
  • Matt and Kim
  • Best Coast
  • Jeremy Messersmith
  • one more opening band TBA (someone with a gig in town between now and June 20)


  • Spoon
  • Guided by Voices
  • Dessa
  • Kurt Vile
  • Valerie June

After recent years’ Rock the Gardens all consistently sold out fast, organizers decided to add the second day to welcome more concertgoers -- and to get a better return on their set-up and production costs, which are largely the same whether it’s one or two days. Money raised from the event go toward both the Walker and the Current’s parent, Minnesota Public Radio, each nonprofit organizations.

Dessa with Doomtree at RTG 2012. / Star Tribune file

Dessa with Doomtree at RTG 2012. / Star Tribune file

As usual, tickets will go on sale first to Walker or MPR members starting Thursday at 11 a.m. via eTix.com. If not sold out by Saturday, they will be available to non-members Saturday at 11 a.m. Two-day general-admission passes are being sold for $100, or single-day tickets will also be available for $59. Different VIP options are also available ranging from $100-$225/day or $175-$400/two-day.

A certain type of Big Star/Cheap Trick-loving indie-rock fans will gobble up the Saturday lineup with Spoon and GBV, which also happens to be both bands’ first Twin Cities gig in more than three years (after many years of seeing them annually). Spoon has been teasing fans with news of its first record since 2010’s “Transference,” due sometime this summer on Merge Records. GBV has put out somewhere between four and 14 albums in that time but only played here once since first reuniting (First Avenue in 2010).

De La Soul, on the other hand, has been no stranger around these parts. The Long Island trio of “Me, Myself & I” fame was part of the (poorly attended) Kings of the Mic Tour stop at Target Center last year as well as the Soundset festival at Canterbury Park in 2011. They were damn entertaining both times, too. The only other hip-hop act booked in prior years of RTG was Doomtree in 2012.

While no stranger to Current-branded events – in fact, they played the station’s first MN-Music-on-a-Stick concert together at the State Fair in 2012 – neither Messersmith nor Dessa has performed their own sets before at Rock the Garden (Dessa, of course, did take the stage as part of Doomtree in 2012).

Today’s RTG news was preceded by another big fest’s initial lineup announcement, Somerset’s third annual Summer Set Music & Camping Festival. Look for the Basilica Block Party to reveal its band names on April 24.

As for that long-awaited Replacements hometown gig – which many fans were bogusly thinking would be RTG (nope, having a sister on staff at the Current doesn’t get you that big a discount on a performance fee!) – look for an announcement soon on a mid-September gig at an outdoor venue that should give new meaning to “Swingin’ Party.”

Secret Sisters finish and record 1980s Bob Dylan song

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: April 15, 2014 - 4:22 PM

Some musicians have finished songs by the late Woody Guthrie and Johnny Cash. But the Secret Sisters, the old-timey Alabama duo who come across like the Everly Sisters, got to complete a Bob Dylan song – and they’ve included it on their new album, “Put Your Needle Down.”

Their producer, T Bone Burnett, hooked them up with some demos from Dylan, which were from the 1980s..

Laura Rogers explained to RollingStone.com how she and her sister Lydia had such surreal luck and ended up with a song that Dylan co-wrote called “Dirty Lie.”

"We were in the middle of our recording session with T Bone and he said to us, 'Bob sent over some songs for you guys to listen to and choose one to finish.  It was the weirdest thing ever to even be considered to finish it in a way that even remotely measures up to what he is known for. So we looked at four or five demos he’d sent, and ['Dirty Lie'] really spoke to us."

It took the Secret Sisters about two hours to finish the tune.

Summer Set Fest 2014 to spin with Bassnectar, Wu Tang, Chromeo

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: April 15, 2014 - 10:14 AM
Bassnectar, aka Californian electronic music maker Lorin Ashton, has been a favorite at Coachella and other big fests. / Photo by Ceasar Sebastian

Bassnectar, aka Californian electronic music maker Lorin Ashton, has been a favorite at Coachella and other big fests. / Photo by Ceasar Sebastian

Beating the heavily anticipated Rock the Garden 2014 lineup announcement by six hours, the Summer Set Music & Camping Festival unveiled the first “phase” of confirmed acts for its third annual grooveathon, scheduled Aug. 15-17 at Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wis.


California’s booming electronic music party-starter Bassnectar’s name was dropped as one of the 2014 headliners along with revered hip-hop troop the Wu-Tang Clan, Chicago buzz kid Chance the Rapper (who is also on this year’s Soundset lineup), Canadian funk-pop duo Chromeo (which made a splash at Coachella last weekend), perenial favorites Big Gigantic and Philadelphia jam band the Disco Biscuits. Here's the full list of names released so far:

Bassnectar / Wu-Tang Clan / Big Gigantic / Chance the Rapper / Chromeo / Flying Lotus / Schoolboy Q / The Disco Biscuits / Cherub / Datsik / RL Grime / Cedric Gervais / Claude VonStroke / Figure / Green Velvet

A Summer Set source said a poll of fans after the inaugural 2012 fest showed Bassnectar to be the most-wanted prospective headliner – which tells you something about the curious niche organizers have found among summer music fests, combining the dance, rap and jam-band scenes. It’s no small niche, either, as attendance over three days last year was around 45,000, making it the rare new festival in our neck of the woods to do well (that's around15,000 per day, compared to the 11,000 attendance cap for Rock the Garden; the RTG lineup announcement starts at 4 p.m. today on 89.3 the Current).

Tickets to Summer Set 2014 went on sale alongside the initial lineup announcement. Three-day passes start at $89.95.

Trent Moede of Madison, Wis., had a purrr-fect time at the Summer Set Fest in 2012. / Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

Trent Moede of Madison, Wis., had a purrr-fect time at the Summer Set Fest in 2012. / Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

Twin Cities rocker Kat Perkins makes top 12 on 'The Voice'

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: April 14, 2014 - 10:14 PM
Kat Perkins was originally picked in "The Voice's" blind auditions after singing Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman.". / Courtesy NBC

Kat Perkins was originally picked in "The Voice's" blind auditions after singing Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman." / Courtesy NBC

A dramatic version of Journey’s “Open Arms” earned Twin Cities club vet Kat Perkins a warm embrace from her coach Adam Levine at just the right moment to advance in the playoffs round on NBC’s “The Voice.”

The so-called “singing nanny” -- who left a job working for an Edina family of five children to be on the show -- was picked by Levine as one of three out of five Team Adam members to advance from Monday night’s show. Her version of the 1981 power ballad is now available as an iTunes download.

Known to local metal fans from her days fronting Scarlet Haze, the Scranton, N.D., native was the last of the three selected from Levine’s team in the episode’s tense closing moments. She was thus given a chance to make a final kiss-up comment to the Maroon 5 singer and said, “You believed in me from the get-go. That means the world to me.”

After her performance, Perkins, 33, earned praise from all four of the team coaches/judges. Usher told her, “You should be very, very proud of yourself.” Shakira added, “You’re so good with those big notes.” As for Levine, he said, “There has not been a better performance than this one.”

Perkins will perform as one of 12 contestants to advance to the live rounds starting next week.



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