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Showing posts from March, 2019

The Shackletons - "Happy Boring Life" | Music Video

Stillwater based rockers The Shackletons have been able to tap into that place that Minnesota greats like Husker Du and The Replacements have gone in order to write some of the best rock songs that have come out of the local scene.

From radio hits laden with Twin Cities references to onstage antics that has made them a must-see live band, brothers Collin, Cameron, and Evan Campbell have set themselves apart from their heavy hitting peers.

The trio seems to have done it again with their new single "Happy Boring Life" and its companion music video. They blend their personal brand of punk, blues, and indie rock to create a compellingly angsty and melodic track with this single. Frontman and guitarist Collin Campbell begins the track with an understated riff and vocal before the rest of the band kicks in punctuating the lyric "I hope I live happy and boring." The song grapples with the idea of settling for a "normal life" for someone because it is the safer …

Sunday Single | The Argument - "Come Together"

My first thought was, "Oh no, this better not be another Beatles cover." Thank God it's not.

The Argument is a trio of Minneapolis high school kids with musical abilities well beyond their years. After releasing their debut EP Heart of Gold (no relation to Neil Young or Heart to Gold) last year, the band is bursting back onto the scene with "Come Together."

On the back of Dom Winterbauer's sleek bassline, vocalist/guitarist Lydia Wisti incites a riot of indie flavor and delicate forcefulness. She presents her argument (ha) with precision in each verse and the bridge. The chorus gushes relentlessly from the floodgates, spreading whitecaps of interwoven harmonies and bright guitar chords. 

While Wisti may stand at the song's center and command the listener's attention, there's a reason that the cover art depicts a bass. Winterbauer's fluid plucking acts as a conduit between Wisti's intensity and drummer Stella Robinson's understated fills…

Murf - "Your Move Creep" | Music Video

Murf is the best, and probably only, RoboCop themed hardcore band that you will ever listen to. Where you didn't expect to find a market for a 32-year-old movie in the Minneapolis punk scene, Murf has carved one out. Members of the band even partnered with Trash Film Debauchery to host a live event where 55 different filmmakers reshot 55 scenes from the 1987 thriller classic. It was at that premiere of the fan remake of RoboCop that Murf debut a music video for "Your Move Creep" from their self-titled debut. Much like future Detroit in the film, the video for "Your Move Creep" takes place in a dystopian version of Minneapolis where a masked vigilante has risen to stop crime by any means necessary. 
Murf's Murf is the sonic equivalent of sticking a fork in a light socket. You're going to get one hell of a rush even though it may not be your healthiest life choice. Each song is just as aggressive and unapologetically punishing as the last, and "Your …

Local Music Round-Up | In Lieu & Dreamspook

In Lieu - "Bunge"
In Lieu stand tall in the indie rock heritage of Sleater-Kinney. The Minneapolis quartet bring a winking fire on the first single from their forthcoming Hatemail EP. "Bunge" spasmodically shifts between riff-fueled verses and Nikii Post's pleas of "Go outside / I'm outside." Post's melodic vocals are the anchor around which the rest of the band hurtles like a punk centrifuge. The track eventually dissolves into heavy and heady dirge - there's a delightfully jagged guitar solo and everything. It slaps.
Hatemail is out on April 16, 2019. Listen to "Bunge" below.
Bunge by In Lieu

Dreamspook - Flying Mammal EP
Colors always streak the sky in the universe of Dreamspook, the electronic project of Minneapolis musician Gabriel Jorgensen. With chilly synths in his arsenal, Jorgensen crafts tiny universes of pulsing sound and impressionistic lyrics. These songs' heartbeats never advance beyond a gentle pace, yet they captu…

Strays of the World | Tristan Puig - "I Can't Believe They Invented It!"

Every now and then Wes and I are turned onto an album/band that is just outside of Ear Coffee's little world view that demands to be written about. Instead of ignoring them or trying to fit them into one of our existing columns, we created a new one that is named after a Prince song. Strays of the World will be Ear Coffee's home for bands and artists we think are worth talking about but don't fit in. 
Prague-based singer-songwriter Tristan Puig happens to be one of those people who grabs your attention. Now, you may be wondering how someone based out of Prague has a local connection, but I assure you, dear reader, that fits into Ear Coffee's little world via our mutual love for the record label Forged Artifacts.
Puig released his first full-length record I Can't Believe They Invented It! in October of 2018. His previous release was a collection of tracks written while he was in Los Angeles. That release was a bit more middle of the road bedroom pop mixed with folk,…

Sunday Single | Sal Paradise - "St. Paul Lights"

Extremely lavish Minneapolis quintet Sal Paradise are back with their first song in nearly a year. It's an absolute dream.

"St. Paul Lights" floats by on a cloud of light guitar and tug-of-war drums. The song never fully dissolves, even as the relationship depicted in the lyrics does. Sal Paradise always find a way to blur the lines of their sonic palette (despite only nine songs released in total). A piano arpeggio sprouts up here, a sudden solo from Robert Northrup's guitar declares itself over there. Harmony drapes itself over the subtle chorus. Sal Paradise presents itself here as the soundtrack of a resplendent spring night that only exists in a smoothed-out version of your dreams.

Sal Paradise will release their debut EP, Table for Two, on March 23, 2019. It will feature "St. Paul Lights" and probably some other songs. Listen to "St. Paul Lights" below.

St. Paul Lights by Sal Paradise

Sleeping Jesus - "Lay"

Winona-based dream pop band Sleeping Jesus are back with some hazy new goodness. "Lay" is a meandering tune with extremely-Beach House vocals. The song glimmers like a sunset through a tree-laden skyline. Exceptionally clean production elevate Nick Elstad & Co. to something greater than the norm.

Sleeping Jesus released their last EP, House Plants, in 2017 and a new single "Alley Dream" last year. Listen to "Lay" and watch its video below.

Lay by Sleeping Jesus

Local Music Round-Up | The Florists & Fragile Canyons

The Florists - Prayer Starter

Prayer Starter, the debut full-length from Minneapolis trio the Florists, is a Jackson Pollock painting. Tracks overflow with surrealist, theatrical glee, then immediately nosedive into chaotic noise. There's an honest-to-God five-minute post-punk experimental rap meltdown ("Churches"), and it slaps. Absurd, queer, hilarious lyrics flow in and out of the listener's consciousness like the math from that one scene in The Hangover. There's a song about indie rock, and yes, it was one of the singles. It also has one of the best bass lines I've heard in a punk song in a while. They sample the 1975 and what sounds like the Roblox "oof." The Florists are loud. They're unapologetic. And they're one of the most unquestionably creative and independent bands in the Cities.

Prayer Starter is out now. Listen below.

Prayer Starter by the Florists

Fragile Canyons - Slow Dancing Beyond Silverdome EP
I'm a sucker for an album tha…

niiice. - "Never Better" | EP Review

For a state that boasts its reputation as a snow hell fairly proudly, there don't seem to be a whole lot of albums about Minnesota winter. Yeah, there's "Sometimes It Snows In April." But that song is way too beautiful and sentimental to reflect the depressing heaviness that comes with gallons of snow. Even for people that enjoy snowfall and winter, it just sucks after a certain point. Minnesotans get used to it, though. They suffer with a wink and joke. I would argue that niiice.'s new EP Never Better hits the dichotomy of these winters right on the head.

The songs may not directly reference the frigid season we pretend to love so much, but the emotions coursing through their veins pay direct respect. Opener "Snowbored" is the thesis statement of the record, if you don't mind me getting all high school English. In an interview with City Pages, frontman/guitarist Roddie Gadeberg summed up the song's sentiments: "The normal depression you go …


Minneapolis quartet NATL PARK SRVC have released their debut EP, OLIVER. The three-track release contains pre-release single "GARAGE." It's a great start for a promising band.

Opener "ANALOG" kicks off in an all-caps nature fitting to the band's name. It's a mid-tempo shredder with drums that crash like waves and shouted vocals. An unaware listener might expect the song to resort to a played-out indie rock palette. The lyrics disprove that instantly. They are candid and emotionally frank in a way that betrays the loose emo influence hanging over the EP as a whole.

The other tracks, "GRUDGE" and "GARAGE," are much more subdued, and even better. The former hypnotizes with a plaintive guitar line and stays under the radar (at least before the lyric "I peace like I'm Gandhi" - I did not expect to find late 2000s-era Nicki Minaj puns on a Twin Cities indie song). The groove sustains the life of the song, like minor key soil. A…

Local Music Round-Up | Miyha, Saad, Shrimp Olympics

Miyha - "Sommers / Summer"
Heavy Meadow Records has been on a hot streak lately. Smelkin Ernesto with Cambios, Sass' recently announced Chew Toy, and now Miyha. The Madison, WI quartet operate on the more light-hearted side of indie with their new song "Sommers/Summer." The track is the first taste of their forthcoming debut, World's Biggest Crush.
"Sommers/Summer" kicks off with a rigid pounding, leading listeners to expect a heavier tune. Miyha fakes us out by instead settling into a shambling indie rock groove. What ensues is a pointed kiss-off. The song is full of tired disdain and the delightful feeling of knowing that you're right. Each line brings a new reason to ignore the song's entitled, avoidant subject. The lyrics convert complicated emotions into short, effective mantras and lingering, relatable questions. Subverting expectations is the name of the game. The quartet's instrumental work does well in its job of supporting the …

River Teeth - "Aimless Ghost" | EP Review

There is something to be said about the resurgence of indie record labels that take the time to curate a specific sound with the bands they work with. You know when you go to listen to a band on that label's roster, you will have an idea of what you are getting into, and Brace Cove Records is a label that does this impeccably. After writing an article for Ear Coffee about the most recent niiice. single, I found myself perusing other bands on their list and was instantly drawn to the post-hardcore quintet River Teeth, and their brand new EP Aimless Ghost.

River Teeth is a little more post than they are hardcore, meaning they are not afraid to experiment a little in order to drive home their message. Aimless Ghost's opening track "False Bottom" begins with a swirling pool of dreamlike guitars and twinkling melodies that when the listener closes their eyes, they can start to feel lost as frontman Sam Halvorson sings the lines "I want so badly to breathe/To find the …

Alexander Natalie - "Nosh." | Single Review

Alexander Natalie has the ability to put raw emotions into words that are rarely seen among folk artists. Natalie made his powerful debut onto Twin Cities last year with the December release of How Much Could You Ask of Me? which was one of our favorite releases of 2018. Now Natalie and company are back with their first single of 2019 titled "Nosh."

The track opens almost from nothing as a lone acoustic guitar plays a simple chord progression before Natalie's voice makes a haunting appearance with the lyrics "Give it up? I’m old enough/To know it’s not enough/Just to be in love." As those words sink in, the feelings of a relationship that has gone cold begin to wash over you until Natalie closes out the first verse by stating "Enough is enough/And I can't breathe." Like in much of his work, there are themes of maturity and accepting the future as something you cannot always change in this track. These themes are underscored by incredibly beautiful…

Unturned - "Headrush" Video

Minneapolis emo quintet Unturned have some big ol' news for us (we're gonna pretend that I wrote this two weeks ago when the video actually came out). They have a new video out, and a new EP on the way! Hurrah for Unturned!

"Headrush" is a classic slice of loud-and-proud emo. The guitars shred, the vocals are unabashed, and it absolutely slaps. It would fit in snugly on a fourth-wave "best of" collection. I can easily imagine it filling the Remo Drive-shaped void in every Minneapolis punk's heart. The idyllic video was shot and edited by Kaytlin Dargen. It feels like a bunch of buds hanging out in the countryside on a warm weekend in July. It really makes me crave summer and lakes. Screw you, Unturned, for making me want sunlight.

The new EP, Sunk, is dropping at the end of March. Along with "Headrush," it will include the June 2018 track "Vertigo" and three new songs. Check out the tracklist, watch the "Headrush" video, and …

Why Not and How the Current Can Do Better

(photo courtesy of Why Not/the Current)
It is impossible to discuss music in the Twin Cities (and even Minnesota at large) without mentioning the Current. The influential station has helped dictate local music taste since it was founded in 2005. Bands like Cloud Cult, Trampled by Turtles, and Hippo Campus have benefited hugely from the station's consistent support. However, the young local underground has largely gone unnoticed.
Punk trio Why Not tweeted about this issue last Saturday. Hot and respectful take: 
The Current needs to start supporting young bands and actually doing something to grow the current scene of youth artists. 
We love The Current but they refuse to dig deep into the amazing DIY bands in MN. This needs to change.

— Why Not (@WhyNotBandMN) February 24, 2019
The Current wields influence over a demographic that remains ignorant of the kaleidoscope of talent found in young and up-and-coming bands. Why Not said that the Current "need[s] to use that power to bring up…

Listen to the Debut Single from the Swedish American Duo 7000apart

The Green Bay Wisconsin based Swedish-American duo 7000apart has one of those stories that feels like it was born from a love song. Husband and wife Jon Kresin and Amelie Eiding met in high school when Eiding was studying abroad from Sweden. The two met in a music theory class began a relationship after Kresin invited Eiding to his house to show off his "basement studio" that was, in reality, just a Midwestern basement with a computer and single microphone. It was safe to say that Eiding was a little underwhelmed by the "studio," but whatever charm Kresin used worked and their relationship grew; however, the school year came to an end and Eiding had to go back to Sweden. So the two formed the band as a way to keep their relationship strong while the Kresin and Eiding were 7000 kilometers apart.

7000apart released their debut single "Blank Check" which is the first of three tracks leading up to their first album We Are More. Much like how the band was bor…