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Showing posts from September, 2019

Oklahoma - "Ballerina" | Sunday Single

Over the course of the past year, Oklahoma has proven themselves to be capable of many facets of indie rock. The few singles released ahead of debut record Fever Dream had the band showing off their ability to make up-tempo bops. Now, with "Ballerina," they've gone into slow-burn mode. Instead of the Killers, they're embodying a different band that hit it big in 2006 - Snow Patrol. Down to the gentle melody that starts the song, this is Oklahoma's "Chasing Cars." They nail the quiet-loud-quiet dynamic between verses and chorus. Both resonate with a potent dose of romance and emotion. It seems that the band is set to capture the sound of the mid-aughts in a bottle, like a firefly, with Fever Dream. Personally, I'm excited to see what their version of "Kids" sounds like.

Fever Dream, featuring "Ballerina" and more, is out this Friday, Oct. 4.

Ballerina by Oklahoma

Juniper Douglas - "3221" | Premiere

One of my favorite things about Juniper Douglas is that they've never made the same song twice, even across their relatively short recorded discography. A lot of bands double dip their musical chip into the songwriting ranch and come away with two stellar songs, but JD are restless in their pursuit of each insane idea.

One gets a sense of this just by listening to the group's album, Error to Introspection (happy first birthday!). Tracks bleed into each other before immediately heading off into the opposite direction. It's a total mind-melt of a record. There's an even greater thematic disparity in the band's live show (which we've had the privilege of seeing three times thus far). When one considers that the first show was some sort of collective, anarchic, experimental theatre piece and the second is a two-person concept show about AI and what it means to be born (kind of?) with heavy electronic elements, it seems almost impossible that they're produced by …

Lungs - "Oak" | New Music

Minneapolis post-metal quartet Lungs have released their first song in three years ahead of the forthcoming Estuary. The band released their last album As Dust Reaches the Earth in 2015, and their new single, "Oak," is the first track the band has put out since the passing of long-time contributor Sean Michael Tobin last year.

Lungs lull you from a sense of security with this track as they challenge the notion of stability. "Oak" has a serene weight as it opens with twinkling guitars and softly sung lyrics; the words "Screaming skies / Born to die" float over a gentle instrumental. From there, "Oak" builds to a manic climax. The band's monolithic riffs and howling vocals are given that extra push with the help of guest vocals from Erin Severson of Former Worlds

Estuary by Lungs is slated to be released on October 18 via Entelodon Records. You can list to "Oak" and preorder the record below.

Estuary by Lungs

Fox Theory - "Corrine" | New Music

Cover art designed by Michaela Rose
Fox Theory is relatively new to the Minneapolis scene, but based off of their first single, they'll fit in perfectly.
"Corrine" is the quartet's charmingly off-kilter recorded debut. It combines fantastical lyrics with punkish guitars. I don't know what/who the Shags or Mrs. Corrine are, but I'm afraid of them? The story is somewhat Hansel & Gretel-esque. Up until now, I couldn't imagine DIY kids screaming lyrics about strangely threatening tree ladies, but I'm almost positive that it will happen at the next Fox Theory show.
All of this goes to say that the song is an outlandish banger. The chorus' gang vocals sound like they're inviting whoever Mrs. Corrine is to come and join them. The line "You got lost among the trees / here's to hoping for some sleep" is strangely wholesome (we all could use some sleep).
Fox Theory also put out a lo-fi lil video for "Corrine," shot and edited by

Buildings - "Bear The Dog" | New Music

For nearly 13 years, noise rock trio Buildings has been crafting a sound that could peel the paint from the walls, their industrial-strength riffage found the band a spot on Gilead Media's roster for their 2017 release You Are Not One of Us. Now, the band is back with the first single "Bear the Dog" from their upcoming record Negative Sound

This new single from Buildings is essentially a mosh pit in a song. Its washing drums and frantic guitars march along to a beat that demand you dust off your Doc Martens and don your battle vest. The one, two punch of vocalist Brian Lake's defiant bark and the rest of the band makes "Bear the Dog" a uniform assault on your musical sensibilities. It's unnerving and shows the band's drive to constantly move forward with each album. 

Negative Sound is set to be released on Friday, November 22 via Gilead Media. You can listen to "Bear the Dog," and preorder the upcoming record, below.

Negative Sound by Build…

Shrinking Violets - "Nightclub Ballroom" | New Music

It's certainly been a while since we've heard from Shrinking Violets. Fortunately, nothing has changed.

Well, maybe they mellowed out a bit. New single "Nightclub Ballroom" is a carefree trip through a 70s nightclub and/or ballroom. Joe Cristo exudes confident disdain as he waltzes through the band's hazy sonic anachronism. I always love it when a band wields an era in music history like a simple tool, instead of letting it overwhelm and define their sound. So far, Shrinking Violets are two for two.

The song is accompanied by a great, off-kilter music video. Watch it below.

Mister Wes - "Water Breather" | Premiere

The word "kinetic" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "being active, lively, dynamic, and energizing." I hereby petition the dictionary board to replace that definition with a recording of Mister Wes' new single, "Water Breather."

It's a fire-starter. It's a mosh-starter. It'll give you enough momentum to sprint across the Washington Ave Bridge twenty times in three minutes and nineteen seconds. Mister Wes have always understood how to make songs that do this, but this is the best one yet. "water breather" bottles up the frenzied energy of a DIY house show perfectly - there's a "woah-oh" chorus designed for singing along, there's gang vocals that beg to be shouted by 30 people in a sweaty basement with no air conditioning, there's maximum time for thrashing. 

Despite the how hard the song goes, tiny oddities find crevices out of which they can peer. Chipmunk vocals pop up for a few lines, then scurry away. I thi…

David Huss and The Headwaters - "Intuition" | Album Review

For many, the image of the traveling folk singer is one that evokes a level of romanticism in your mind, a road-worn troubadour that tells you stories of love, loss, and what's beyond your small worldview. For David Huss, his time abroad in college playing gigs in Australian bars, and working as a fisherman in Alaska have set him up to be that ideal 21st-century folk troubadour, and this is all reflected into his debut album Intuition.

The album, at its core, tackles the feelings surrounding the life decisions you have to make in your 20s. The album's triumphant opening "Shelikof" has David asking if he belongs or not. This hesitation and search for affirmation pop up again in songs like "Critic," "Wings," and "Horizon." That unease makes figuring what's next in life difficult. Whether it's an inner critical monologue or anxiety over an important decision, David always seems to find a place in each song that gives a sense of comfo…

ahem - "Sideways" | New Music

Cover art by Alexis Politz
For some reason, vocal harmonies make every song more enjoyable to me. It's probably why I love Fleet Foxes. It's also one of the reasons I love the new ahem single, "Sideways."

Taken from their as-yet-unannounced new album, "Sideways" jitters with irreverent energy. There is no hook because everything is the hook. Each part of the song is a different-colored Lego piece; somehow ahem turned these blocks into a beautiful, incandescent Lego helicopter of pure indie joy.

Now, the harmonies. They're in those perfect pop-punk/emo thirds that totally elevate any song, regardless of genre or sound. Voices slip and slide in on top of each other without warning. The song's "main" chorus would've been stellar no matter what, but the stacked harmonies make it positively infectious. "I don't wanna / Who needs to see straight anyways?" is a top-notch refrain that one can't help but sing along with.

ahem has …

Laska - "Remain Consumed" | New Music

After leaving us emotionally raw with their 2019 EP in the blossom of this, Laska is back with a new single titled "Remain Consumed."

The single seems to take off where the EP left off, minus some of the sonic experimentation. "Remain Consumed" tenderly opens with Hannah Morton detailing listless feelings following the loss of a relationship. It isn't until we get to the final cutting lines of chorus that we really get to the heart of this single - "I keep my distance because I don't want to reopen old wounds / But I wish that you knew how my thoughts remain consumed."

With its loud quiet loud stylings, "Remain Consumed" really shows off Laska's alt-rock influences; Its barebones production allows the dense vocal harmonies of the Morton sisters to punch through massive choruses.

You can listen to "Remain Consumed" by Laska and watch a live performance of the song released by Paste Magazine (song starts at 9:58) below.

Remain Co…

Lettering - "YBP" | New Music

Let's be absolutely clear: Lettering shreds.

The Chicago trio returns with their second single of 2019, following their contribution to We're Trying Records' Midwest Split. As good as the song was, it was far too short. "YBP" is Lettering's more formal comeback, what with it being the first single from their forthcoming album Harbinger/Less Violent.

"YBP" is dense even as it breezes by. Different compositional phases drift in and out of focus, like the wind getting caught in the heavy foliage of an elm tree. On the surface, the song is nonchalant; beyond that, it possess a very deliberate poise. It's a minor major chord in nearly four-minute form. 

Fortunately, it is still familiar as the work of Lettering. The guitar work alternates between chimes and chugs and duels with classic, pleading vocals. It's just a bit more expansive than before. In my honest opinion, that's one of the most familiar "new album" tricks. Take the present…

Little Lizard - "Star Child" | New Music

Funk punks Little Lizard is back with their second single "Star Child" from their forthcoming record earthlings. Never ones to do the same thing twice, multi-instrumentalists Lizz D. and Shea Daniel are always pushing what they can do as an instrumental duo. "Star Child" features spacy trombone and trumpet sonic explorations over bombastic 808 beats that teeter between transcendence and crashing back down to earth with each traded solo.

Star Child by Little Lizard

The duo is hitting the road for a nine-date tour in support of the "Star Child" and the forthcoming earthlings. Little Lizard will be kicking things off at the Kitty Cat Klub on Tuesday, September 10 along with Fitness, Hadiza, and Pure Shifter. The gig is free, but you must be 21 and older to attend. 

You can listen to "Star Child" above and check out dates for their tour below. 

Static Panic - "Glow" | EP Review

Prince's fingerprints and the "Minneapolis Sound" that he created can easily be spotted within the Minnesota music scene. However, no one has fully embraced that late '70s and '80s funkiness more than Static Panic. Calling the trio a tribute act would be a complete disservice since the band's 2018 debut EP Chrome featured dance, electronic, and even dubstep influences. The release of that EP, plus magnetic performances and personalities, landed them spots on First Ave's 2018 Best New Band showcase and at the Basilica Block Party. Even with all that under their belt, Static Panic is back with anthemic new EP Glow.

With this new release, the band has really worked to unify their sound and introduced organic elements back into their recorded sound. The band has grown and changed as Ro Lorenzen, Keston Wright, and Eli Kapell come into their own as Static Panic. Where Chrome was crystalline and synthetic, Glow is warmed up by jazzy guitar flourishes and natural…

Grogus - "Four Kings" | Album Review

For me, instances of discovering a band organically are becoming extremely few and far between. Time and the occupational hazard of working with music make stumbling across an album cover (or in some cases a performance video) that piques your interest a rare occurrence. So imagine my joy when I scroll across the cover of Grogus' newest record Four Kings, with its necromancer-like figure and illegible typography. I didn't know what I was going to get upon pressing play. I was hoping for crushing riffs, and riffs I did get.

The band's 2016 debut Intuitive Readers and Metaphysical Artisans set the bar high for this new record. Its layered instrumentation and atmospheric additions landed Grogus in the tiny zone in which the circles of sludge, hardcore, and black metal all intersected in this highly specific Venn diagram. The trio pulls pieces from each genre to create something uniquely Grogus. The album's opener "An Oceantomb of Centipedes" knocks you off your f…

Good Luck Finding Iris - "Greyhound" | New Music

Twin Cities quartet Good Luck Finding Iris has maintained an air of hazy mystery since the release of their first EP, Patience, last year. Whether its the black-and-white cover art, genre-hopping music, or even the headiness of their bio ("this is the sacred hollow, the common ground of four wanderers"), it's nearly impossible to guess what the band will do next. Fortunately, we now know what's coming up: releasing a new EP made with Caleb Hinz of Normal Parents.
"Greyhound" is the second single from the forthcoming Figures EP, after "Fool for You" came out a few weeks ago. At its core, it's a song about changing, about bringing one's own self to the forefront and leaving external influences behind. Mike Kota's transcendent lead vocals soar over the wavy instrumental. There's a seamless blend of 00's-era indie pop and eternal soul. It's simultaneously reverent and playful. A sense of progress emanates from "Greyhound.&q…