Archive for Indie

Concert Review: Mogwai, Women @ First Avenue

Posted in Concert Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 by Ryan Buege

Mogwai live at First Avenue
Famed Scottish post-rock quintet Mogwai were in Minneapolis to play First Avenue this Sunday, May 10th, and we were there to witness the maddening bliss. Though the band were kind enough to devote ample time to songs from each phase of their illustrious career, they focused on their recent album The Hawk Is Howling, injecting each song they touched with live intensity and jazz-like freeform emotional energy that no other post-rock band can match so confidently.

Not surprisingly, the performance was a vocally quiet one, with Barry only stepping out from behind the keyboards for unaffected  vocals on one song and little on stage banter other than a ‘thank you’ here and there. Instead, ‘Gwai played to their strengths by delivering a set that boldly emphasized the aural extremes at which they excel. For me, the most engrossing moments of the set were both the most reserved and the most bombastic. Whether it was the reserved cadence of “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead”, the epic buildup of “Killing All the Flies”, or the oppressive heaviness of “We’re No Here”, each song was alive with an other-worldly, surging energy that true musicians live to create, and the crowd was receptively feeding off it every second of the night.

Additionally, it was Stuart’s birthday that night, and the band was in notably high spirits throughout their performance; sometimes maybe even a little bit too much so, as there were some miscommunications that resulted in a light-hearted, alcohol induced fumble or two (namely when they veered off the planned setlist without letting Dominic know what key they were changing into). Nevertheless, the crowd was in such good of a mood to finally see the band after their late cancellation last September that any mishaps were quickly forgiven. In fact, the adoring applause enticed the band to return to the stage for two whole encores before Stuart received a ceremonial birthday pranking and the lights came on to send us on our way back out for a post-concert brew.

The fuzzy, lo-fi psychedelic Canadian indie rockers in Women did an excellent job building anticipation for the headliners. Never having seen them before, I was very impressed with the way in which they were able to transform a simple little ditty into an explosive psychedelic brain melter within a matter of seconds. With their jagged rhythms and pounding beats, they inject something very fresh and different into the lo-fi sound that I’ve been hearing proliferate through the indie scene in the last two years. Truth-be-told, the only band that I’ve seen capable of similar feats is our local boys in Vampire Hands, and from my point of view a comparison to Vampire Hands is just about the best compliment you can give to a modern experimental indie rock band.

As always, we were fortunate to capture a slew of exclusive Mind Inversion media at the show. Among the goodies we collected are 3 live videos from Mogwai’s set, 1 live video of Women, and too many photos to count right now. It’s all below!

VIDEO: Mogwai, “We’re No Here” (live at First Avenue, 05/10/09)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

VIDEO: Women, Live at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN, 05/10/09

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

VIDEO: Mogwai, “I Know You Are But What Am I?” (live at First Avenue, 05/10/09)

Epic a/v content after the jump! I’ve still got another video excerpt of “Like Herod” from the first encore (which I’ll give a C on visuals, but a B+ on audio) and tons of photos… Continue reading

Northern Outpost begins second season with Halloween, Alaska as debut guest

Posted in Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on Saturday, May 9, 2009 by Ryan Buege

Back after only a month-long absence, Northern Outpost has now uploaded the first episode of their summer season online, and for this week’s episode they’re visited by the renowned local indie/ambient/post-whatever troupe Halloween, Alaska at the Owl Recording Studio in Uptown. Still, change is noticeable, with their snowy winter lake intros now replaced by a much more inviting image of our fair city of Minneapolis in the springtime. I don’t think they have done a better job with their choice to kick things off. Halloween, Alaska just released some fantastic songs of jazzy, ambient indie rock via their new album Champagne Downtown, and the intimate confines of the Owl Recoridng Studio are the perfect place to witness the chemistry of the band. After a short interview where they discuss their new album, the originality of the local music scene, and the dedicated people that support the scene, the band gets into a moving rendition of one of the most somber and reflective pieces from the new release, “Be A Man”. It’s a great demonstration of the interesting minds and enormous talent that are just brimming out of this city, and it’s an episode that you don’t want to miss. ..makes me proud to be Minnesotan!

Look forward to the future, as well. In two weeks, the next episode will be added and will feature beloved singer-songer Lucy Michele with the Velvet Lapelles as the profiled band!

Hunting Club plan work on first album and offer up awesome single “Yours Truly”

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 by Erik Burg

hunting-clubMinneapolis rockers the Hunting Club have been busy as of late. While planning the recording of their first full length album, slatted to begin in late May with friend Jeff Halland, the band has still been playing in support of their debut EP. 

The album is an excellent romp through indie stylings with a mix of good modern rock elements as well. Tracks like the slower “Deep Sea Diver” are marked by deep mellotrons outlining the skeleton for the song and are coupled by a guitar that’s straight-forward and almost shoe-gazingly mesmerizing. 

But it’s the cut “Yours Truly” that stands out more than anything on the album. Starting with a minute of purely instrumentation, the track immediately reminded me of some of the Kings of Leon’s better material. The track takes a bit of a turn at the two minute mark, slowing down a bit and bringing in  a more percussion driven verse as opposed to the guitar driven intro. The vocals hit hard half way through too, as the singer belts out “I fell light years in your eyes, forgot my mind and now, I love you I love you I love you…” the entire track comes alive and is pulled together. Hunting Club really seem to find their sound on “Yours Truly,” a sound that feels familiar and yet surprisingly powerful at the same time. If their full length is anything in line with this single I can’t wait to hear it, at any rate though, these guys are looking to make waves, and have started off pretty successfully. 

MP3: Hunting Club – “Yours Truly”

They’ve got a few shows coming up as well if you found yourself loving that song. The first on April 24th at the Nomad World Pub playing alongside Man is Doomed and Invincible Kids. And if you can’t make that you can find them May 17th with Chooglin and Private Dancer at Art-a-Wheel.

Check out the MP3 and see what you think, and be on the lookout for more information as they roll out their first full length later this year. Enjoy!

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead unveil new music video, “Isis Unveiled”

Posted in Video with tags , , , , , on Tuesday, April 7, 2009 by Ryan Buege

Vodpod videos no longer available.

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead are back at it this month with a new music video from their album called The Century of Self (released in February), and while they’ve left the major label behind for this one, they still clearly haven’t forgotten the breathtaking bombast that made their subtle psychedelics so appealing to the majors in the first place. On their new music video for “Isis Unveiled”, the Texas sextet charges through an epic, noisy prog-rocker as Conrad injects his sneering, the rhymthmic vocal delivery over the majestic orchestration. Aided by the simple and straightforward psychedelic imagery that they are known for, the visuals on this video extremely haunting in their delivery, with Conrad’s cold stare delivering some immediate bone-chilling realism. Not a really return to form, this is moreso a restatement that about the great aspects of the Trail of Dead that never really left. The Trail of Dead are clearly sick of being kicked while their down, and now that they’re back standing on their own feet (aka independet label), I doubt they’re going to be letting anyone knock them back over anytime soon. If my music senses are still working correctly, I’d say that this band still has a few classics on their hands…

MP3: …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, “Isis Unveiled” (from Century of Self, available now)

One For the Team deliver sweet sounds with new Build a Garden EP

Posted in Audio with tags , , , , , on Friday, April 3, 2009 by Ryan Buege

One for the Team just released their new Build A Garden EP on Tuesday via Minneapolis’s consistently solid Afternoon Records indie imprint. Though it’s only an EP, it’s a beautiful package that can properly introduce new listeners to the sweet melodious indie pop that is quickly making this local band a household name around the country. After receiving nods from SPIN and MTV’s Real World this year, it’s hard to not pay attention to the intoxicating and irresistible songs that One for the Team consistently creates. Sonically on Build a Garden, their lively apartment recordings sound remarkably clean and exude a melalcholic, carefree, modern-yet-classic atmosphere not unlike artists such as The Broken West, Mates of State, and Peter Bjorn and John. Even as a mixed collection of 4 brand new songs and 4 rerecorded tracks, Build A Garden still has a natural cohesiveness that makes it feel like an album, and because of that I think it deserves a purchase. Plus, I don’t know exactly what they’re talking about, but the “unique items” they plan to ship with physical copies make this an alluring purchase for anyone who wants more than just the mp3s.

MP3: One for the Team, “Best Supporting Actress” (from Build a Garden, available now)
LISTEN: One for the Team, “Questions & Panthers” (from Build a Garden, available now)
LISTEN: One for the Team, “Build a Garden” (from Build a Garden, available now)

Album Review: The Whitest Boy Alive, Rules

Posted in Audio, Music News, Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, March 26, 2009 by Erik Burg

rules-coverOne of my most heavily anticipated albums of the year, Rules by the Whitest Boy Alive came as a welcome surprise. An album that didn’t break barriers for the group, yet comes across as one of the most polished and perfected albums so far in 2009. Much like it’s 2006 predecessor Dreams, this album has some of the best bass hooks and strategically placed synth keys I’ve heard on record. 

The album plays off those two elements, from the beginning of each track, to the end. “Intentions,” one of my favorite tracks on the album, begins with ten or fifteen seconds of just keys, slowly building and gaining pace. As echoing and yet amazingly funk as the bass hook starting off “Time bomb,” the synths and bass parts really feed off each other and create an extremely mellow and immersive feeling for the listener. 

Setting themselves apart from the other bands that try and do the same thing, Whitest Boy Alive possess one of the finest voices in all the music game. And mixed together with sparse guitar chords, the lyrics shine. The vocalist, Erland Oye, also a part of Kings of Convenience, has a certain aesthetic about him that reminds of me Jens Lekman. The music is stunning and powerful, but the vocals demand most of the energy whether to digest the uniqueness of it, or just to immerse yourself even deeper than the crazy instrumentals already take you. 

I always see Whitest Boy Alive talked about as a dance group, but I’ve never understood it. Neither Dreams nor Rules have been over the top club bangers or anything of the sort, maybe it’s the calm vocals that bring the group down a notch, who knows. Sure there are heavy, and I mean heavy bass lines streaming across the entire album along with the synth as well, but I find myself tapping my toe along to it much more than jumping off the futon to cut some rug. I’ve always found Whitest Boy Alive to be calming, and beyond pleasing, perfect for any weather. Poignant lyrics to boot.

Rules has lived up to all hype I had for it, weary that it might not live up to the amazing Dreams, I can easily assure any fan of the first album that this one will blow you away. Culminating in one of the best singles of the year, “Islands,” the Whitest Boy Alive will surprise anybody out there looking to get into some new music. It’s a shame that these guys don’t receive more press, what they do is not only their own, but it’s mastered to a T.

Get more info about the album, written by singer Erland Oye. Or BUY THE ALBUM through Erland’s record label Bubbles.

9 out of 10

Check ‘Em Out MP3: The Whitest Boy Alive – “Timebomb”

Concert Photo Recap: These Arms Are Snakes, Darker My Love, All the Saints @ Triple Rock Social Club

Posted in Concert Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on Friday, February 27, 2009 by Ryan Buege

These Arms Are Snakes live at the Triple Rock Social Club - 02/26/09Last night, These Arms Are Snakes, Darker My Love, All the Saints(, and one other band that I unfortunately missed) played to a small crowd at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, MN. These are some photos:

These Arms Are Snakes live at the Triple Rock Social Club - 02/26/09(These Arms Are Snakes)

These Arms Are Snakes live at the Triple Rock Social Club - 02/26/09(These Arms Are Snakes)

These Arms Are Snakes live at the Triple Rock Social Club - 02/26/09(These Arms Are Snakes)

Darker My Love live at the Triple Rock Social Club - 02/26/09(Darker My Love)

Darker My Love live at the Triple Rock Social Club - 02/26/09(Darker My Love)

All the Saints live at the Triple Rock Social Club - 02/26/09(All the Saints)

Don’t stop there! We’ve still got many more great photos from this chaotic, noisy night; keep reading… Continue reading