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Showing posts from January, 2019

Watch the Video for Wax Lead's "Crushed Velvet"

Minneapolis darkwave quartet Wax Lead has released a music video for their track "Crushed Velvet" off the band's debut EP "Husband, Love, & Master."
"Crushed Velvet" is a letter of lament from the band to warn the listener of the dangers of losing one's self to another person. This is evident from the get-go with the opening line "I was in love once, long ago." From the first chord, you feel like you're being transported to a past memory still clouded by warbly lead lines that take away some of the pictures clarity.

On this track, Wax Lead really wear their influences on their sleeve in the best way possible. Poetic lyrical phrasing mixes with the soulful voice of vocalist Holly Axelrod to evoke a moody tone that is similar to the work of Nick Cave. The instrumentation and arrangements on this track (and EP) create a vibe that not only supports "Crushed Velvet's" narrative but adds a dreamlike quality to the track. 

Th…

niiice. - "Love Handlez"

Minneapolis' foremost party punx have announced a new EP and thought it fit to release a new song too. Great! niiice.'s first EP comes on the heels of last year's Try to Stay Positive, the group's debut.

"Love Handlez," our first selection from the forthcoming Never Better EP, keeps it real within niiice.'s wheelhouse. It starts off innocently enough, with a simplistic guitar line and crescendoing drums. But fortunately it only takes about 25 seconds to utterly blow the song's lid off. Emotions rush around in a bloody hurry and start screaming. It's a self-deprecating and snarky howl at the walls of an apartment that suddenly feels much smaller and emptier than before. When drowning in the sea of loneliness, knowledge is the most dangerous thing ("I know/that you're getting drunk without me/Sitting at home/and you're feeling real lonely/Surrounded by people/Who swear that they care about/you" goes part of the tongue-in-cheek refra…

Sunday Singles: The Shrinking Violets - "Holding You Back"

(photo courtesy of The Shrinking Violets Facebook page)
All hail punk music. It lights a fire beneath you and gets you moving at any expense. The debut single from Minneapolis' The Shrinking Violets does all of this and more. Wielding a toolbox of fuzzed-out riffs and pleading emo vocals, "Holding You Back" insists on letting you go.
The staccato guitar line blazes as frontman Joe Cristo bows down at the altar of garage rock. Impeccable melodies bleed into each thumping note. The dichotomy of chugging power-pop chords and narrow shredding is vitalized by guitarists Joe Lunaburg and Jon Laczniak. But of course, what's a good punk song without a rhythm section crafted from pure steel? Fez Felzan's drums thud with glee; Bobby Volpendesta's bass plugs into the groove and spaces out. 
The Shrinking Violets have churned out a stand-out first single. Each element meshes together with unfair ease. In under three minutes, the band establishes itself at the forefront of t…

Harper's Jar Share New Song - "Dandy Golden Blue"

This photo is taken from the Harper's Jar Facebook page. 
Minneapolis punk trio Harper's Jar has shared a new song from an upcoming full-length release.

"Dandy Golden Blue" features all the earmarks that make it a Harper's Jar track. It's full of moody punk attitude with a healthy respect for the shout-along chorus. Something I did not expect but willingly welcomed is the breakdowns during the bridge. This is a track that demands the listener to move. 

The live video for the "Dandy Golden Blue" was recorded during a show the band did at the 7th Street Entry in early January.

Along with the video, Harper's Jar has announced they will be releasing a full-length album. This record will be the follow up to the 2017 EP Ode to a Luna Moth.  You can read our review of here

You can watch the live video for "Dandy Golden Blue" below. 


In Pursuit of Something Interesting: Dirty Junk - "On Yr Knees"

In this week's installment of this column, we are going to look at the brand new visceral release from Minneapolis punk duo Dirty Junk. On Yr Knees is the follow up to their debut full-length Snot. To say it's a more accomplished sibling to their debut would be a grave disservice to it. The musicianship, production, and songwriting have improved in the time between the two releases, but the unbridled energy and rage have remained a constant.

What initially sold me on this release was the title track of the EP. I don't think I have ever had the wind knocked out of me by just a song alone. The cacophony of drums and dissonant guitars mixed with vocals of guitarist Renn Fontana create a slurry of sound. It provides the perfect unsettling score to a story of revenge against an abuser.

To me, what makes On Yr Knees stand out against the sea of punk releases is its incredibly dynamic songs. The opening track, "Ten Thousand," rises and falls to build tension and transitio…

The Clean Tramps - "Warm Bodies"

The Clean Tramps go synth-pop!? Not quite. The Minneapolis band's latest single, "Warm Bodies," finds the cracks in their sound and fills it in with a bunch of new ideas.

It starts plainly enough - slurry vocals and a snappy guitar line. Then, a crackling silence. Drums burst back in with some Alex Turner-esque spitfire lyrics. Before you can settle into the groove, a tiny synth line dances around your head. It's noodly and wholly unexpected. It almost sounds like Owl City? I don't know I feel about saying that, but it works. The song never dwells in one place for too long and the synth dissolves into a propulsive chorus. Once again, the band lulls you into a sense of false consistency before shattering the stained glass of everything that came before. The guitars get woozy and the drums skitter around like ants fleeing an incoming foot. It sounds like a sunset beach resort. In a final switch-up, the Clean Tramps decide to destroy the beach resort with a scorched-…

Sunday Singles: The Nokturnal North - "The Wilderness"

Minneapolis indie rock outfit The Nokturnal North released the first single from their first full-length record.

"You Destroy Me" is a raw release from the quartet. According to an article from a pop culture blog, the title of the 16-track record is The Wilderness. It is a follow up to their 2018 debut Farewell, Midwest,which was released a year ago this month.

The band plans to release The Wilderness sometime in 2019. You can listen to "You Destroy Me" below.

Colin Bracewell - "Little Secret"

Colin Bracewell is a Stillwater-based singer/songwriter, and today he released his debut single. "Little Secret" is a lilting ballad with golden flecks of folk. The minimal guitar line slinks beneath a duet of vocals and violin. It draws you into a head-nodding trance as Bracewell coos. Strength is drawn from the powerful effortlessness of his singing. Overall, it's a pleasant slice of Americana-esque acoustics. The track was produced by Benjamin Parr. Listen to "Little Secret" below.




Marah in the Mainsail Sign with Green Room Music Service

Marah in the Mainsail has announced that they have signed with booking agency Green Room Music Source.

This marks an important next step for the band after they parted ways with their record label, Last Triumph. Since the split, the band had been handling all booking themselves. 

In a social media post, the band said, "We're all in this together. Green Room has the experience and infrastructure we need to take the band to the next level."


Green Room Music Source has worked with many local and national acts to book tours while they were up and coming, most notably being the Minnesota bluegrass titans Charlie Parr and Trampled by Turtles. They also worked with indie rock singer-songwriter Ezra Furman. Marah in the Mainsail will join ranks with current local artists The Shackletons, The Honey Dogs, and Melismatics.

Along with the announcement, the band said that they plan an extensive 2019 tour. 

Below is a link to Ear Coffee's interview with the band before their November 2…

Local Music Round-Up | Miloe - "Space and Time"

In lieu of a traditional Local Music Round-Up, I'm going to focus on Miloe's latest single, "Space and Time." I loved the band's self-titled EP when I discovered it last August. I heard the track as a part of the Current's Single of the Day series and (since I suck) I am just now getting to writing about it. The song came out on September 21, 2018.

At its core, "Space and Time" is an ode to staying grounded. Over lilting guitar chords, Bobby Kabeya sings of being overwhelmed by emotion. Each youthful sentiment has the ability to carry you away into a golden sea of memories. Even with the patient and endearing chorus of "I don't mind/No, I don't mind/Taking my time and waiting on you," Kabeya calls for openness. There is no natural sin to acknowledging feelings, but it's dangerous to sink in. The storm of teenage emotion has the power to become one's identity. If you spend too much time embedded within it, you will never leav…

In Pursuit of Something Interesting: Teenage Moods - 'Turn It Up, Tune 'Em Out'

It's a new year, so why not resurrect the column that started Ear Coffee's local music focus? For the first review of 2019, we decided to take a look at the EP, Turn It Up, Tune 'Em Out by Minneapolis garagey indie-pop outfit Teenage Moods

Turn It Up, Tune 'Em Out is nothing short of a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day in the great white north that is Minnesota. The first track "Sweeties Only" is a prime example. The band's jangly guitars mix with sugary-sweet falsetto vocals and driving drums that are reminiscent of the psyche-influenced folk rock that came from the '60s. However, the middle two tracks, "Petty Stones / Trust Fall" and "Her Reality," are where the tone of the EP shifts slightly. The smile found on other tracks on this EP turn into a slight sneer. The falsetto vocals are replaced with chanted verses and jangling guitars becoming slightly more brooding. This does not last long, though. The dose of reality leaves as qu…

Local Music Round-Up 1/10/19

Technically one of these releases came out in 2017, but who cares? I sure don't! It's week two of the 2019 Local Music Round-Up Redux Extravaganza! On a completely separate note, if a weekly dose of my incoherent hot takes on music isn't enough, I've been writing about one album every day on my website! It's mostly bad, but two randoms on Wordpress thought it was cool enough for them to follow, so that's good enough for me. 



Oklahoma - "Talking Cheap" (self-released)
Oklahoma have released a few singles from their record Fever Dream (including one-off "Disco" back in August 2018), and "Talking Cheap" is the latest and greatest one. The band finds coherency in a melting pot of 2010s indie influences. Pleading vocals, some slight electronics, and a plinking piano interlude all find their place cleanly. It's difficult to accept the transient nature of human relationships, and Oklahoma rage against the dying of a past love. The rathe…

Hand Habits - "placeholder"

Meg Duffy's Hand Habits is kicking off 2019 with a new single and video. "placeholder" is the title track from their forthcoming record. placeholder follows 2017's Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void).

Anchored by Duffy's longing vocals, "placeholder" stems from their "fascination with the undefinable." It explores expansive ideas of place and relationships with concise, blunt language - "Oh but I was just a placeholder/A lesson to be learned." The song also features vocals from Lomelda.

The video, directed by North Carolina artist Madeline Kenney, features Duffy, some boats, a fake duck, and a fish head. Watch it below.



Tracklist 1. placeholder 2. can't calm down 3. pacify 4. jessica 5. yr heart [reprise] 6. heat 7. are you serious? 8. wildfire 9. what's the use 10. guardrail/pwrline 11. what lovers do 12. the book on how to change part II
placeholder will be released on March 1, 2019 via Saddle Creek Records. Pre-order it here.

Local Music Round-Up 1/3/19

New year, new column! Not really. I just figured I should probably actually start my columns again. If 2019 is anything like 2018, it will be the worst  there will be a lot of great local music! Since we're only three days in, I'm going to cover some music from the tail-end of 2018 that I missed out on at first. I can only hope and pray that my motivation lasts long enough to achieve my lifelong dream of having a modicum of consistency in my publishing schedule.


Various Artists - Brace Cove Presents (Vol. 1) This tasty compilation EP came out a few weeks before the year's end and features some of the best lo-fi indie rock/punk bands in the Twin Cities. niiice. kick off the release with the heavy, downtrodden "Sweaty Hands." Chugging guitars motor along beneath cheeky vocals, then a guttural scream of "BUT WE'RE NOT GETTING BETTER" breaks everything off. The mixture of sweet lyricism and vicarious screams encapsulates the emotions of the track in pun…