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Showing posts from August, 2019

Sleep Debt - "The Stages of Grief" | Track Review

In just a few weeks, the emo-violence quartet Sleep Debt will be no more. Making them the most recent band that I've discovered just before (or slightly after) they break up. Thankfully, Sleep Debt decided that they wouldn't go quietly into the night and released one final agonizing momento with the single "The Stages of Grief."

This track is both Sleep Debt's longest (nearly half of their debut EP could fit inside the song) and most experimental track. The opening chords ring like church organs while the words "What we once thought was safe / All the promises that were made" are chanted in the distance. The song is quickly taken over by black metal influenced blast beats, dissonant guitars, and shrieking vocals. Its instability and exposed underbelly lend itself to Sleep Debt's swan song. "The Stages of Grief" plays out like a eulogy to feeling safe and secure. The lyrics speak to a loss of emotional resolve and the erosion of the callouse…

Give Sound 2019 | Event Feature

One of the greatest features of live music is its ability to organize fans to help a group of people or raise awareness for an issue (Live Aid anyone?).  So, when Alex Smith of the band Flip Rushmore found time to come up from Nashville to play a show, the band wanted to make it something more than a low-key bar gig. They initially planned on playing an all-ages show, but things grew from there and Give Sound 2019 was conceived.

"We thought it might be a good idea to plan a charity show, and we really wanted to play an all-ages show because we haven't been able to play one of those yet," Smith told Ear Coffee. "We've got younger siblings and fans who haven't been able to come to a bar and see us play."

Alex went on to explain that the charity connection led them to look for other band's Flip Rushmore hadn't played with before, and they enlisted the help of the Minneapolis punk band Gramma, who took the lead in adding Mister Wes and Lapdogs to t…

NATL PARK SRVC - "All the Moves" | Premiere

I can say with absolute certainty that this is the first song about creepy-older-woman-lust that Ear Coffee has ever covered. I don't know if it will be the last - who knows what the future holds?

NATL PARK SRVC are back for their second EP of the year, and man, they're really going for it. Lead single "All the Moves" (mixed/mastered by Abe Anderson) sounds like its falling apart. The guitars don't quite match up, vocals scratch just out of tune. What's even more surprising than the song's topic is how it works together. It's a statement against self-seriousness, which has been the band's MO thus far. There's always a gleam in frontman Dylan Woytcke's eyes as he sings his strange songs of lonely, desperate middle-aged women.

About two-thirds of the way in, the gleeful dissonance vanishes and the band quiets down. In both video and song, the band lets themselves go as they dive into a final eternal refrain. They're on some post-rock wavel…

Silent Agency's Comeback | Interview

(Photo courtesy of Silent Agency's Facebook)
It takes a lot for a band to reunite. On the macro level, money is usually the primary incentive (LCD Soundsystem who?). But when it comes to local bands, I can't imagine there's any reasoning other than pure passion. The band members miss thrashing around on stage with their friends and playing the music they wrote. It's a rush unlike any other.

Silent Agency is an indie trio from a Minneapolis who played their last show in Minnesota six years ago. By the grace of the local music gods, they're coming back for a charity gig (which very well may be the first of several reunion shows). To celebrate their momentous reunion, Wes talked with vocalist/guitarist Evan Bakker, who lives in New York. They discussed the band's now-lengthy history, how the scene has changed, and why he's excited for the forthcoming show. Listen below.

The charity event that Silent Agency will be playing is Give Sound 2019. Planned by members of…


Hey! We're putting on a show! Woah!

Along with two other extremely sick Twin Cities institutions (Drop In Media and Subaquatic Records), we're co-sponsoring a show this week, featuring Vial, Partition, Juniper Douglas (workshopping their new show), and Creative Drugs (their first show - they're so fresh, we don't even know anything about them). It's also unofficially celebrating Ear Coffee's second birthday (party time)!

It's this Thursday, 8/22 at Rowhouse. Message us on any of oursocialmedia for the address, or check the Facebook event below. We hope to see you there.

Abe Anderson - "Somersault" | Premiere

There is an anxiety that comes with putting out music under your own name. People will immediately associate it with you, for better or worse. I would argue something against that, though. The courage it takes to overcome that anxiety is a much greater force than any potential negative response.

"Somersault" is the first single from Abe Anderson's forthcoming EP, Slacker. Over the course of the last two years, Anderson (best known as the bassist in niiice.) has been tinkering with these songs. At long last, they are about to be put into the world, and we are so excited to premiere "Somersault."

The song starts heavily enough with a thudding riff not dissimilar to the stoner punk favored by niiice. Anderson's voice comes in somewhat reluctantly, admitting that he "don't ever want to feel this way." Before he even begins to explain why, there is an understanding of the lyrics' personal nature. Whether it's Anderson himself talking or a sem…

LMR | Lapdogs, Oklahoma, & Spelt Melk Collective

Lapdogs - Zoo EP (self-released)

Ah, the demo. I love it. Unpolished, unhinged, unprepared. One of the best ways for bands to keep fans appeased between gigs. The members of Lapdogs know this, which brings us to their new demo EP, Zoo. Only four tracks long, it embraces the natural rawness in their garage-y sound. Lapdogs play like their songs' life expectancies are rapidly diminishing and they've got to get them into the world before they finally go. Another plus of the demo is its tendency to capture the energy of live shows. The trio explodes on each track; a personal favorite is the ending of "so long." The cacophony shatters a crevasse in the earth and swallows them. All across Zoo, there are tiny eruptions of sonic bliss. Jack Daily of Fox Theory and Eric Cuevas contributed production.

Oklahoma - "Sharp Dressed Love" (self-released)
The pop-rockers in Oklahoma (the band, not the state) are finally set to release their debut record Fever Dream after teasi…

Animal Actor - "Not Enough" | Music Video

Late last year, a video of Double Grave frontman Jeremy Warden playing solo with a bass guitar popped up on social media. That performance turned out to be the quiet debut of Warden's solo project, Animal Actor. Coming from the world of sludgy pop-grunge riffage, Warden's debut of the new project felt like a fresh take on the typical singer-songwriter genre. The song, with its distorted bass and monstrous sound, still felt intimate and sincere.

Earlier this week, Animal Actor dropped the first single off of a forthcoming debut record, Not Enough. The single is extremely bare, with only a driving bass and Warden's voice. In just over two minutes, Warden sings about feelings of inadequacy and passivity. Accompanying the song is an animated loop made by Wishbone Zoe's Sara Kochanski.

Animal Actor's debut will be released through Jeremy's label, Heavy Meadow Records, later this year.

Animal Actor will be on tour during the first half of September. You can see the date…

The Happy Children - "Same Dif" | Album Review

(Self-released, 2019)

“It’s not over / But I’m getting older / And I just don’t want to be part of the scene anymore.” These are some of the first words on The Happy Children’s second and final album. What a farewell. 

The Happy Children are a Minneapolis trio making rock music, working in the punk-adjacent part of the local scene for the last few years. Now, they’re making a hybrid of experimental pop and the math-y sound of prior releases, like if Bon Iver made 22, A Million with electric guitars instead of saxophones. It’s quite the leap of faith. The album sounds like nothing else, even as the band has come to define a certain part of the Twin Cities underground. 

The mastermind of the Happy Children is Caleb Gabriel Hinz (who also runs Normal Parents), the vocalist, guitarist, lyricist, and producer. Can you say polymath? It’s his production that sets Same Dif apart from the band’s debut Self Help Book. That record flourished in complex guitar fireworks, but the new one finds Hinz e…

Sunday Single | Ben Noble - "Turning"

In 2017, singer-songwriter Ben Noble released his heartfelt debut record Whiskey Priest. The album garnered Noble both local and national attention including air time on Minnesota's own 89.3 The Current and features in numerous music blogs. Since the release of Whiskey Priest, Noble hasn't slowed down. He spent 2018 playing gigs and releasing a handful of performance and music videos.

Behind the scenes, Ben has been hard at work on his sophomore record titled Where The Light Comes In and his instrumental side project Lake Union, who has put out two EPs since January. "Night Wakes" the lead single from the forthcoming release marked a fundamental shift in Noble's sound. In a move similar to Bon Iver, he moved away from his folk roots and embraced more synthetic elements.

On Friday, August 9, Ben dropped the second single leading up to the release of Where The Light Comes In. With a grooving bassline and pulsing drum beat, "Turning" is the sparsest of the t…

LVR | Kate Malanaphy & Goodnight Gorillas

Hey, look! Is it a new column? Not quite! Doing things that are completely original is exceedingly overrated. Sometimes, more than one video comes out in a week. Sometimes, we want to write about some of them. Lo and behold, we're the CurrentCity Pages trying a Local Video Round-up. 

Kate Malanaphy - "Glue" video

Kate just released her latest EP (it's real good!) and now her first video is out, for Soak's lead single "Glue." The video was done by Lilacs Media, the duo of Charlie Berg (director) and Garrett Wells (DP). It's a very heavy affair, curtains giving each background shadow plenty of room to run. About halfway in, pale blue becomes a menacing yellow as shadows loom over Malanaphy. The song gradually intensifies with the palette shift.

It's a fitting video for the melancholy of the song, shot beautifully. Good videos elevate the art of the song they accompany, and "Glue" does just that.

Goodnight Gorillas - "Phase One" vid…

Dirty Junk - "Undone" | Music Video

With an album and an EP under their belt, Dirty Junk has cemented their personal brand of angular punk rock. The band demanded your attention with their sludgy 2019 release On Yr Knees, and now they're back with a music video for their new track, "Undone."

This track is definitely one of Dirty Junk's more unsettling songs. Twinkly, dissonant guitars are broken up by sudden fits of aggression, and vocalist/guitarist Renn Fontana uses decrepit imagery to convey a decaying relationship. Lyrics like "Rotting pools of black and blue / How can we clean this ?" or "Somedays I can decide / Am I the carcass, the maggot, or the fly?" really send the point home. "Undone" feels all-consuming with plodding drums from Ace Robbins mixed with Fontana's guitar. The accompanying music video for "Undone" depicts a falling out between a group of friends over a game of monopoly, which seems oddly fitting. Dirty Junk has the ability to create mus…

The Dead Century - "Ten Ton Summer" | New Music

These guys have been quiet for too long. But if this is what they've been secretly working on, maybe it was worth the wait?

The Dead Century are a St. Paul quartet of folk and indie rockers, who just happened to put out one of favorite singles of 2018. We've missed them dearly. But finally, they're back with a stellar new song. Originally, it was debuted almost a year ago during a live session for the University of Thomas. "Ten Ton Summer" lives.

It debuts a newly electrified sound, which the band says they will continue to pursue in the studio (this August!). All the elements that made the Dead Century such a fantastic presence are still there: Nick Check's howling and weathered lyricism, Austin Peterson's fiery yet almost nonchalant lead melodies, and the lockstep rhythms of JP Check and Rob Muelhbauer. This more classic rock-ist sense of instrumentation is purified in holy fire and brought to life. I don't know if the band was holding back in the pas…

LMR | Hallucitania, Dreams We've Had, & Miloe

Hallucitania - Pre-School Post-Post-Its (Underground Pine Studios)

Hallucitania continue to make some of the strangest music in the Twin Cities. It's not quite folk (I mean, there is a violin), it's not quite punk. Even still, it doesn't toe the line quite perfectly enough to be neatly labeled as "folk-punk." Some songs on their new EP emphasize one side over the other but they never leave the other behind. The punk side comes off a little stronger. Pre-School Post-Post-Its is only one minute longer than 2018's EP but has nearly double the tracks; only one song outlasts the three minute mark ("I'm Singing") and ironically it's the most aggressive. Griffin Thiel shreds his lungs with even more of the tongue-in-cheek lyrics one expects from Hallucitania before sinking into a violin outro. The mournful strings are an anchor, dragging the band to the bottom of the nearest of 11, 842 lakes. The other shorter songs alternate between guitar-driven …