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Posts about Minnesota musicians

Kate Bush, Aretha to be covered at second Girl Germs tribute Jan. 10

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: December 8, 2014 - 1:58 PM
Kate Bush, circa 1980, before a hiatus that only just ended this year with her return to the stage in London. / John Glanville, Associated Press

Kate Bush, circa 1980, before a hiatus that only just ended this year with her return to the stage in London. / John Glanville, Associated Press

Aby Wolf / Photo by Leslie Plesser

Aby Wolf / Photo by Leslie Plesser

The first “Girl Germs Live Tribute to Women in Rock” at First Avenue in May saw such predictably delightful sets as Pink Mink doing Bikini Kill songs and pleasant surprises like Night Moves covering the Cranberries. Just a half-year later, organizers are bringing the concept over to the Turf Club for a Jan. 10 winter installment that promises a similar balance of obvious picks and “huh?” choices, a mix that’s apparent right with the top two acts listed on the lineup:

Aby Wolf performing Kate Bush
Alpha Consumer performing Aretha Franklin
Kitten Forever performing Beyoncé
K.Raydio performing Erykah Badu
YONI YUM performing Marianne Faithfull


The shows are an offshoot of the Girl Germs music blog, which was an offshoot of the Radio K show of the same name. Girls Got Rhythm Fest organizer and Radio K alum Dana Raidt, who heads up Girl Germs with music writer Sally Hedberg, explained before the First Avenue gig that the tribute concerts are intended to honor women in rock -- but not exclusively feature women in rock.

“It’s just as sexist to think that the only musicians inspired by women in rock are other female musicians,” said Raidt.

Tickets for the show are on sale now for $10 via eTix.com.

Doomtree's final Blowout is off to a fresh, rolling start

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: December 8, 2014 - 8:32 AM

One of the reasons the members of Doomtree said they were declaring this week’s eight-day marathon the Last Blowout Ever is because, 10 years in, they’re worried about keeping things fresh. They didn’t have much problem accomplishing that over the weekend.

On Saturday, the Twin Cities’ most popular and best-haired hip-hop crew (P.O.S. aside) kicked things off at the Turf Club, which itself has been freshened up and better equipped to handle such a packed, high-energy show. Or at least the summer renovations there had us worrying a little less about the floor caving in under the weight of the buoyant dancing during “Get Down.”

Saturday was also the first chance for the public to sample the new Doomtree beer by Surly, which is about to open its new, $30-million-plus Minneapolis brewery in two weekends. It looked as if nine out of 10 drinkers at the Turf Blowout were drinking the malty IPA (tastes like: Bell’s Two Hearted), which was surprisingly conventional and easy to swallow compared to the more typically edgy, acquired-taste of both Surly and Doomtree.

The beer -- moderate in alcohol content (5.7 percent) -- wasn’t too heavy to slow fans down through what proved to be a fast-paced, 2-1/4-hour, 30-song performance, which was split into two sets with about a 10-minute break in the middle.

The first of those sets was stacked with familiar favorites, including the openers “Slow Burn” and “No Way.” However, the crew wasted no time dropping in new material, starting with third song “.38 Airweight,” the first track off the all-crew album “All Hands” (due out Jan. 27). Then came Mike Mictlan’s wicked howler “Clapp’d,” from his month-old “Hella Frreal” album, followed by a frantically paced “L’Audace,” the kick-off track from Sims’ new “Field Notes” EP.

Set Two kicked off with another new all-crew song that was truly all-hands-on-deck, followed by “Punch Out” and a couple oldies, “Traveling Drunktank” and “Kid Gloves.” They saved the best of the “All Hands” tunes for last: the newly issued “Gray Duck,” which sounded way more intense live and turned into a classic case of all five rappers seemingly to want to outdo each other. The encore ended after just two songs, though, with “Bangarang” for a finale.

“You all know we have to do this for another week?” P.O.S. asked the crowd, having earlier accused beatmakers Paper Tiger and Lazerbeak of “trying to kill us” as they segued one song into another almost nonstop for much of the night.

Sunday’s Doomtree pub crawl – another fun twist on the Blowout concept – probably didn’t help the musicians’ stamina. The half-day event involved two different buses shuttling fans and band members to six different bars, including the Depot, Muddy Waters, Red Stag and Grumpy’s Roseville. Both buses eventually pulled up to a warehouse-space gallery in northeast Minneapolis for a not-so-surprising surprise performance. Here are some of the rare in-focus photos from the crawl posted via Twitter and Instagram.


Surly Doomtree Day. Game on.

A photo posted by Dessa (@dessa) on


#lastblowoutever #surlydoomtreeday @yeahrightpos @lazerbeak @djpapertiger @emlie7

A photo posted by Kristin Lien (@hoppykristin) on

The Blowout continues Monday at Icehouse with what should be another unique event, featuring some of the crew members’ various other musical acts.

12 notes on the New Standards holiday show at the State

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: December 8, 2014 - 12:18 AM

With a tip of the stocking cap to the 12 Days of Christmas, here are 12 things worth noting about the eighth annual New Standards holiday show Saturday night at the State Theatre.

  1. The program featured three original holiday tunes (written by Minnesotans) that deserve to be widely heard: Trip Shakespeare’s 1990 nugget “Snow Days,” Jeremy Messersmith’s brand new “Let’s Ditch Christmas” (and head to someplace warm, a production number featuring the Tinsel Toe Dancers in beach wear) and Chan Poling’s “Christmastime Next Year,” which has become the New Standards standard holiday finale (this year’s was less melancholy and more joyous, with Poling’s vocal more aggressive).
  2. A tribute to the late and influential jazz disc jockey Leigh Kamman was fitting, with kind words by New Standards mouthpiece/bassist/singer John Munson and a splendid instrumental piece, written by Gerry Mulligan.
  3. New York cabaret star Nellie McKay was the perfect guest. She brought along a little toy Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and had him sing parts of her song, “Take Me Away.” Afterwards, always the wacky social commentator, she announced, “Rudolph, let’s go kill a hunter.”
  4. Minnesota-raised rocker Craig Finn of the Hold Steady was his usual wired self – and maybe too manic for the room. He delivered “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” with the Springsteen arrangement but it didn’t connect with this particular crowd.
  5. The most unexpected guests were two Vegas-styled chorus girls doing a feather dance during the Suburbs’ “Love Is the Law,” which closed the first set in festive fashion (complete with beach balls thrown into the crowd and a marching drum unit).
  6. Minneapolis soul man Maurice Jacox added style and soul with his version of the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination” and his gold-sequined vest and gold-lame beret.
  7. Props to Twin Cities singer/guitarist Chris Koza, who not only sang a solo number but he handled guitar chores for much of the night and rocked a Santa outfit, complete with fake beard and red pants decorated with holiday lights.
  8. Once again, local songstress Aby Wolf delivered an appealingly understated “Silent Night” with distractingly overwrought gestures.
  9. Pixel Farm put together cute videos about the New Standards, with each of the three members featured as a snowman made of Styrofoam. (The Munson snowman had a droopy mustache, the Poling one a big fluff of hair and the Steve Roehm one eyeglasses.) Also adding to the levity was droll comic Mike Finley, who pulled his jokes out of a Christmas stocking and read them. His first zinger was his best: I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus and now I've been seeing my therapist for 57 years to deal with it.
  10. One fan shouted a request for Matt Wilson, Munson’s longtime musical pal who usually sings a big ballad at the New Standards holiday show. He was in the audience but not onstage, Munson said. But Munson promised that Matt would be back for the ninth annual show next year.
  11. Poling played straight man to Munson’s musings all night. Munson accused Johnny Mathis of trying to steal the New Standards thunder by playing the first holiday concert at the State on Thursday. Munson gave a shout-out to KQRS for the “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Springsteen and then realized that this concert was sponsored by 89.3 the Current. Frankly, though, it didn’t sound like a Current crowd; yes, Dessa’s rap cameo earned some cheers but hardly an overwhelming Current-like reaction. Munson’s funniest bit may have been when he argued that Joseph, husband of Mary, doesn’t get enough respect in the Christmas story. 
  12. The concert was filmed to be shown on TPT Channel 2 in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, the New Standards head to New York’s Lincoln Center for a holiday performance on Dec. 18, with special guests McKay, Finn, Dessa, Mike Doughty and Rhett Miller.  

Paulus, Okee Dokees, other locals receive Grammy nominations

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: December 5, 2014 - 3:45 PM
Okee Dokee Brothers/ Star Tribune photo by Anna Reed

Okee Dokee Brothers/ Star Tribune photo by Anna Reed

In the Land of 10,000 Grooves, we have stand-out musicians in many different genres. Several of them were recognized Friday with Grammy nominations.

Veteran classical composer Stephen Paulus, who died in October of medical complications after suffering a stroke, is being recognized for best contemporary classical composition for Concerto for Two Trumpets and Band (which was recorded by Eric Berlin, Richard Kelley, James Patrick Miller & UMASS Wind Ensemble).

The Okee Dokee Brothers are vying for their second trophy for best children’s album, this time for “Through the Woods.” They nabbed a Grammy two years ago for their fourth album, “Can You Canoe?”

"We're happy the Grammys are noticing independently made family music as we like to call it," said Okee's Joe Melander. "This album did have great support, good press and good momentum. And what matters most to us that the kids are enjoying the tunes and learning the lyrics."

Melander keeps his Grammy in his basement office studio in Minneapolis. He is a bit uncertain about what to wear to the Grammy ceremonies in February. 

"I just got married last month," he said, "And I'm trying to figure out if you can wear your own wedding suit or if I have to get my own Grammy suit."

A bunch of 1960s and ‘70s soul bands including 94 East and Mind & Matter featured on “Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound” will watch Jon Kirby of the Chicago-based Numero Group label compete for best liner notes.

St. Paul-based Red House Records received a nod for best folk album for Eliza Gilkyson’s “Nocturne Diaries.”

Lila Downs, who attended the University of Minnesota, is nominated for best Latin pop album for “Raiz.”

The 57th annual Grammy Awards will be presented Feb. 8 in Los Angeles. 

Doomtree all set for "All Hands," releasing Jan. 27

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider Updated: December 2, 2014 - 11:15 AM

As promised last month when they announced details of their Last Blowout Ever – which kicks off Saturday at the Turf Club – Doomtree’s new all-crew album will drop Jan. 27 ahead of a late-winter tour.

Details of the full-length record were revealed today along with a second track from it. Titled “All Hands,” the record is now available for pre-order, including a “deluxe” package that comes with a T-shirt, poster, bonus downloads and other do-dads. That’s the album cover to the right.

The newly debuted song, “Gray Duck,” is posted below and features verses from all five of the Doomtree rappers. Producer/beatmaker Lazerbeak said of the new album, “It has some of our catchiest hooks ever juxtaposed with some of the wildest, densest stuff we’ve done.” It's the first effort by the entire group since 2011's locally revered collection "No Kings."

The crew will hit the road right after the album release, starting Feb. 4 in Columbia, Mo., and including runs to both coasts. A Feb. 21 stop at the Majestic Theater in Madison is the nearest they'll get to home on the six-week run.

All seven of the publicly advertised shows in the Blowout X run are sold out, including the three-night finale at First Avenue next week. The one open-ended part of the schedule is Sunday's bar crawl to promote the new Surly Doomtree beer, including a "private release party" at the end of the night. Details of the bar-hopping trek can be had on the group's site.


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