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Red Fang at Mill City Nights

Posted in Concert Reviews, Culture, Life Perspectives from T.S. Niebeling, Local Love, Mind Inversion Exclusive, News, Reviews, The Learned Man's Take with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, June 5, 2014 by sir minivan dad

Red Fang at Mill City Nights was great… Yeah, except for the fact that Mill City Nights doesn’t allow you to take cameras within the venue. Naturally, since I infrequently contribute to a music blog I enjoy catching a show featuring one of my favorite bands, and maybe taking photos. Red Fang is absolutely about the things I love; drinking beer, partying, being broke, living in Portland (well maybe not that), and being hyper-trendy by just being original. I thought for a moment that I could get into Mill City Nights and snap some photos for a write-up; I was wrong. That is why this post has no photo.

Wednesday, June 4th, hours before the show, I sit at work watching the clock and contemplating either (a) selling the extra tickets I purchased, or (b) begging my other friends to join me. When Red Fang announced their show in Minneapolis I scooped up 6 tickets (the limit), because when Alt-J came I couldn’t have purchased enough tickets. I thought Red Fang would sell out in a heartbeat. I was wrong. I had 6 tickets and no takers. 7 pm hits, Dan texted me to let me know he had made it, he was in. I told him no worries, biked home, and put on my rocking pants and downed a rum and coke. Dan, Ryan, and Caroline showed at my house at about 7:45 pm. I was about 5 ribs deep in dinner and 3 beers down and ready to go. Meanwhile my camera battery was charging in the living room. I was prepared to get some epic shots.

8:30 pm we bike to the venue- all 4 of us, about a 1.5 mile jaunt. I bring an extra lock, we lock our bikes to a tree, and this is where the problem begins; firstly, Dan has a 3 inch pocket knife, as do I, that security over zealously locates on his person, and they lose their shit. I sell my 2 extra tickets no problem, at face value, just before I step in line to get groped. Dan’s knife is about as threatening as safety scissors. He puts it by the bikes which are locked to a tree. The security lady finds my knife. I also hide my knife next to the tree. After all of this I get back in line and I reach the security lady again, and it’s, “open the bag…” In my bag is a Sony Alpha 390, and an extra lens. The lady gives me a quizzical look and I am confused. She says, “That can’t come in, you’ll have to put it in a car.” I tell her I biked, she says “too bad”. More security converges on me, they laugh and tell me they can take care of it, but I won’t get it back. I am completely baffled. I am not allowed to take photos? Why can a paying patron at a venue not bring a digital camera within the premise? I must ask… Apparently this is Mill City Nights’ policy, unless you are press. See www.millcitynights.com/frequently-asked-questions

There was really no answer, just “those are the rules…”

I am totally blown away by this claim. I purchased my tickets, I brought in 5 other people who effectively spend money, which amplifies the business Mill City Nights generates, and I am not allowed to bring in my personal camera to document my experience. This is completely fucked. Worst service I have ever had…

Two security guards; the lady and another guy shake their heads and tell me it is impossible to get inside with my camera. Their meat-head manager is standing above them with arms crossed. He is looking on disparagingly- specifically at me, confirming a good find to his subordinates. He laughs in his salmon colored button up shirt, in his fake tan and straight teeth. He shakes his head too, and acknowledges the good work by his cronies.

I literally am confounded. I make suggestions. To everything I say the answer is “Nope.” “We just can’t do it.” The manager tells me I can request a “press pass”, “just go inside and ask for a press pass.” He says. I think: Okay, why can’t I just go inside with my camera? Surely I am not going to leave it out here with these unhelpful individuals, and my camera is not dangerous, or anything that would cause a problem. This was clearly a power trip in progress. Give some people an inch and they go a mile.

I am holding up the lines, my friends are waiting. I walk inside, I ask for a “press pass” which, of course, I am denied. I am told by the man behind the counter “sorry”. He puts his arms in the air as if that is a good enough excuse. I walk back with Dan to the security guards and their manager.

At this moment I realize there is no way I am bringing my camera in, at least in a functioning capacity. I suspect the “press pass” is for paying members of the media; I wonder what City Pages et al. pay to get the best photos. I think of how they take away competition by putting a price on it, a proper monopoly. It goes to show you who and what runs the city of Minneapolis, at least publication-wise, and I mean advertisements and currency.

Dan tries to reason with all 3, and miraculously they ponder some alternative aside from me biking home to store the camera…

The guards tell me to take my camera out of the bag so they can inspect it. They tell me because I brought an extra lens I cannot bring it inside, certainly. However, they say maybe if I take the battery out and give it to them I can keep the camera, it’s that or give up my baby. I hand over the battery, they assure me that they are not responsible for it being lost or damaged (even with it in their possession). How convenient. The guard takes my battery rendering my camera useless and won’t guarantee its safe keeping- fuckin’ thanks. Mill City Nights at its best; the worst.

The show itself was a different story. The crowd was alive and ready to go. I saw some local punk types and some out-of-towners alike. The opening act was a treat- I forget the name because of the hubbub which took place upon entry. But they played their part well.

Now, we are front and center sipping on PBR’s, naturally, and waiting in anticipation. I look in front of the gate to see some preppy kid with a Canon snapping photos. He is wearing a multi-colored button-up that his mom probably ironed before the show. To my amazement, another cameraman wearing almost identical attire steps in front of the gate as well. They are snapping like their lives depend on it! They are even escorted by security, ha! Presently, I see why I wasn’t allowed to bring my camera. These guys had it covered, they must be important. The first act ends with some drum solo a cappella bit. It was interesting. I was ready for Red Fang.

Exit first band left stage pursued by a bear- in the darkness of the room and the lights of the stage. Sound check for Red Fang goes off without a hitch. I can see every member of Red Fang plain as day. They came to rock. Some guy with dreads asks me about the camera situation, I tell him I am not with any publication- I don’t work for City Pages or Vita.mn. He is more inquisitive. I tell him I am a spy. I am here on a secret mission, almost foiled at the gate. I am sort of famous now at this show- kind of neat. He asks me about the make and model and scoots in front of me to get a better spot. He is completely confused about the camera situation. I don’t think he even cares.

Red Fang starts up. The whole show is a rush of energy. The smell of sweat and vomit creeps into my nose. They play most of my favorite songs from their first 2 records and some new ones. The crowd goes nuts. Red Fang is probably not used to seeing mosh pits, being from Portland and such. They asked the crowd if there is a problem, if we were mad at each other. The crowd settled a bit only up until the last few songs, which of course were the most noteworthy. “Wires” started the last 3 song stretch and everyone went crazy again.There was one mediocre song in the mix and then they brought it home with “Prehistoric Dog”. I was very satisfied with the performance, and the in-set banter. These guys are savvy and clever.

The set was great, both bands rocked the house. There was just enough quality music to leave satisfied. During the show I was scanning the stage watching the versatile artists, each contributing to the wall of sound. My head was sort of sideways waiting for another row of legs and bows to be thrown, but up until the final song it was subdued and comfortable.

The highlight of the night was definitely the douchiness of the staff at Mill City Nights, top-tier lameness. A one-star Yelp review is in store.

I would advise people not to bring a camera, even if they care to capture their experience (one they paid for). The staff members are not kind, not friendly, and strictly in the business to make money. Their rules are oppressive and somewhat demeaning. Not to mention it’s embarrassing to be subjected to adversities because of a camera, in front of others while the security people and manager get a boner. My camera by no means is anything super fancy. It is a point-and-shoot with a decent lens. Whatever the reason for the no-camera-policy, I think it is completely backward. As much as I want to believe it is for a logical reason the signs point to money and local publications influence of material output. I certainly can’t outdo them sans my battery. I suggest avoiding this venue outright if you believe in freedom of press, but if you must go to see a favorite act make sure you don’t bring anything for documentation purposes. Or, as they say, just get a “press pass”, especially if you want to snap some photos for fun on an amateur camera.

This snafu was on par with the T-shirt salesmen at the Converge show needing a break, I had money on hand. He was about to cry to the union. But that was another time, another story.

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Alt-J First Ave Sept 7,2013; An Awesome Wave

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Sunday, September 8, 2013 by sir minivan dad

Alt-J, By Terry Scott Niebeling

Alt-J, By Terry Scott Niebeling

Alt-J blew people away at the First Ave venue last night, expectedly.  So what I will tell you is, if you can see them live, and you don’t take the opportunity, you are missing out.  Not to be presumptuous, but it’s factual-sorry.  

And that is about all I can say.  I mean I could tell you it was spiritual, it was enlightening, and it was something of a great act to witness, but you already know that.  I could really, but who is going to believe me?  It was all of those things and more.  They simply put on a great show, there is no doubt in my mind as to the reason why Alt-J sold out the Main Room both nights; not to mention the latter added date of Sept. 8th, it’s because they are truly amazing artists.  They take a simple yet classical sound and make it new, heavy, complex, and refreshing.  Seeing Alt-J makes me think of, if it were somehow possible, seeing Led Zeppelin, or Radiohead, maybe even Pink Floyd, before they became über famous/timeless, and impossible to see live. The crowd at First Ave got a stand up treat from this band on the rise.  Take the time to listen, and check them out in person.  It is something I won’t soon forget.

***

(Take in my words and the mediocre photos my Windows Phone could afford, and enjoy. That’s all you need to know.  There are more amateur camera phone photos and words below about time leading up to the show, thoughts, and lucky people getting in.)

Lord Huron opened to much delight.  Starting slow and eventually garnering enough energy to bring the lion’s share of the crowd into their set, and possibly into their loins.  I tweeted, before LH started getting a bit flashy, the tweet read something along the lines of “opening bands are like commercials while you wait for your favorite show to start.”  I could give a shit less about an opener band, especially at an Alt-J show; however, I was almost eating my words 10 minute later.  Hit me up at on Twitter:  @sirterryscott.  

How I came to love Alt-J:  

The story goes I went to smoke some with a friend after work and she would play An Awesome Wave over and over again.  One night I caught on, I said, “Play that song again.”  She did, then I inquired as to who and what they were.  I was amazed.  She had ripped the song from a torrent and sent me a downloaded copy.  I never actually used what she had sent me, I was occupied with pressing play and repeat play on Youtube, of Breezeblocks.  In turn I had found out the meaning to the song, and I had become entranced by the harmony, wave of sound, and sonic power of Alt-J.  89.3 The Current started playing one, then two, then three of their songs.  Now they play most of the album.  A friend later Facebook messaged me and gave me the scoop on the First Ave show.  Knowing they would sellout the venue I waited til the moment they became available, and then I made my purchase.  I should have bought 6, the limit, but I bought 3 instead.  I could have doubled my money.  I didn’t have enough dough that day though.  A few hours later all of the tickets were gone and I sat in satisfaction at my quick choice.  And that is how I got into the show.

By Terry Scott Niebeling

Putting up the Triangles, By Terry Scott Niebeling

Standing outside in line people came up to me asking for tickets.  The interesting thing was there weren’t really any scalpers, but there were people asking for tickets.  A show so coveted that people bought the tickets for themselves and actually went to see good music.  Wow, some tickets online were as much as $200.  It must have been 5 people walked up and inquired.  By this time I had already bummed two cigarettes and a RedBull from some complete strangers ahead of me in line.  I was feeling great waiting in line at 7:30 pm, plenty of time to take in the hot night.  At home earlier while indulging in homework and horror films I sat on the couch sweating in our AC lacking one bedroom apt.  The fan blew its best, but it didn’t really help.  Sweat beaded and crawled down my face.  I changed my shirt a few times.  I took a shower and brushed my teeth.  I spoke German.  And then I went to wait in line.

????????????????????

With the extra two tickets I felt almost over prepared, which by my standards is almost impossible.  I waited until the day before to start the bidding.  Three people in all contacted me.  The tickets went to the most passionate.  Also, a few people whom I spoke with were too intimidated to bid on them, so I figured they must not have wanted to go really.

The lucky guests I brought drove two hours to get here on word of a promise to get tickets.  I thought of them as I waited in line.  I asked those who inquired about extra tickets how much they would pay.  They wouldn’t say, I am not sure if they got in.  I was about 15ft from the door when my guests arrived.  They were in disbelief, literally exalted at the idea they would see a band they loved.  Having been burned twice before T. was so happy.  I think as we came closer to actually getting in her spirits piqued.  She handed me the money the moment she arrived.  I enjoyed this.  The sky was pink, the line was long, and the day was cooling off.  Heat became a friend of every nook, cranny, and crevasse throughout the city proper.  The bike ride and the light material of my black button up were comforting.  The sunset stood aglow over the Hennepin Ave Bridge as I crossed 3rd Ave, over the Mississippi, past pedestrians, and aside cars.  A glacier like cloud hung over the sun; a sort of arrowhead array of bright lights contrasting with deep purple clouds shadowing certain parts for quiet a large puppet show etched across the darkening horizon.  A line of clouds, directly above, shown soft and full, as they slipped through the sky.  Planes took off going in two different directions.  I biked South-ish to First Ave. to wait in line.  I watched the ground below slide past; rocks and broken glass reflected on how they had come to where they lie.  They watched all appreciatively as I went by.  

Alt-j set list. Talk to your boy.

 

I was just biking to see a band I had wanted to see since I first heard a song.  

Father John Misty At First Avenue

Posted in Art, Life Perspectives from T.S. Niebeling, Mind Inversion Exclusive, Reviews, Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by sir minivan dad

Last night I experienced something so unforgettable and so mind-blowing that I am just happy to share with the readers on Mindinversion.net.  I love music so much, yet I find it incredibly hard to write to an audience while being succinct, to the point, factual-in great depth, and at the same time remain fair, interesting, and unbiased. Like, this is what I truly listen to.  I am not just pushing this to promote someone I know. So when I come across an experience such as this I must share.  I am going to avoid the small details, not do a bio, and stick to what I know in this piece-I am going to stick to the subjective perspective of the audience member involved:  Me.

 

Let me preface by saying, I had little knowledge of Father John Misty before the show itself.  In fact, I had only heard a few songs of his on The Current, and I had read a brief bio (forwarded through email by a friend), or intro, or something in a local magazine.  The point is not that I knew of Father John Misty before going to the show, or that I was a mega-fan, or to write an A&E biography of the guy, the point is that if you have the opportunity to see Father John Misty, or you haven’t heard of his music, you should.  He is the shit, and that is what’s happening.

 

Last night I attended a Father John Misty show at First Avenue, and I was stunned by the sound, the performance, the vulgarities, the honesty, the attraction, the allure, and the general idea of Father John Misty himself.  He is a simple paradox, a dichotomy of a human being, a split personality of oneself, a diversity of contrast, not to be oxymoronic or redundant.  He is the embodiment of a true performer, one of very very few existing on earth.

 

My significant other had purchased tickets a few months back and had expressed that I could join if I cared to.  I accepted the offer, thankfully.  As now I am writing about something amazing that happened in my life.

 

We biked to First Ave. from NE Minneapolis, in the rain.  Arriving at around 9 PM, obviating the opening band, Solid Gold (for no apparent reason at all). We arrived wet and soaked to the bone.  After entering we promptly ordered whiskeys and gazed over the massive sold-out crowd of the main room floor.  Walking towards the stage we found a spot near the right side, just above the lower-level standing room area, and watched as the roadies set the stage for what was going to be a show.  After 15 minutes of waiting the band entered the room to a roar, the floor lights went dim and a spotlight hit the man at center stage. The show was on, and this is what transpired, in broken prose and obscure paragraphs:

 

Electric rock blues country indie psychedelic sound with 100% heart within the live performance.  Haunting, chilling, numbing, and genuinely real.  Sorrow was on display.  Realism was tangible.  A dark gospel was in session.

 

Father John Misty, the true performer.  Like Mercury and Morrison on stage; at times pure evil, at times sultan of seduction, at times almost bringing you to tears, or terror, and all at once, had you laughing moments later.

 

He performed the hits, some new material, and even for an encore (1 of the 3 songs) pleaser he did a rendition of The Beatles’, Happiness Is a Warm Gun.

 

His [Father John Misty] antics and ad-libs added to the amusement and brought humor and a human aspect to the set: pokes on Prince, America, and humanity rang true and effective.  I felt like I knew him by the end.  At the start I wasn’t sure if I was even a fan, at the conclusion I knew I had seen something amazing, and I needed to delve more into his musical catalog.  Fantastic.

 

Authentic, yet almost vulnerable on stage, something that garnered an emotional cord with the crowd; I was moved at his artistry and the way the lighting made the theatre on stage come alive; I was not just at a concert, I was on a journey. Father John Misty at the helm.

 

At one point, during Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings, one of the best songs of the evening, I thought someone (Father John Misty himself) was going to choke on a mic cord; however, not to worry all was crescendo, breakdown, and lights after that.  There was an encore with 3 songs (as mentioned above) and that was it.  I stood in awe.  I was impressed.

 

End of What Transpired.

 

All that said, Father John Misty is a talented live performer.  The set he created delivered to someone who was an ignorant fan, even the backdrop was well-done.  His material has been on the radio for some time, I’ll be it more tame and polished than at the live show, but what the performance offered in dark and grit was a catalytic reflection of the manifestation of artist from album to live performance.  If you have a chance to see Father John Misty, or you haven’t purchased the album, I suggest you get on that.  Father John Misty has given us some very interesting and relatable art to listen to, however subtle and manipulated on the record, a great listen all around.

 

Father John Misty is a true performer, a real performer, someone who can put on a captivating show and not fret about reviews.  He may have shocked an awed, but he is a true artist from what I have seen.  Now, have a look for yourself.

 

 

 

 

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

Concert Recap & Video: Cannibal Corpse, The Faceless, Neuraxis, Obscura @ Station 4

Posted in Concert Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on Monday, April 20, 2009 by Ryan Buege

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN

The infamous death metal superstars in Cannibal Corpse were gracious enough to bring the prestigious death metal package they’re headlining with The Faceless, Neuraxis, and Obscura to the Station 4 metal club in St. Paul, MN on Friday, April 17th. Throughout the night, the music in the air was of the most savage kind imaginable; brutal-fucking-death metal in layman’s terms. Predictably, my mind and body both took on a lot of abuse Friday night, and it has taken me a few days to come back to my senses enough to finally put this post together.

Obscura came highly recommended from several “internet” friends of mine, and I was pretty bummed when traffic kept me from missing the first half of their set Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(sorry for the lack of photos because of this). Even as the openers, their technical death metal commanded the attention of the already fully packed venue and their skills especially shined on some of the heaviest tracks from their newest Cosmogenesis. French-Canadian hardcore/tech-death mainstays in Neuraxis   followed suit with an incredibly tight set, despite the fact that their bassist was still held back in Canada due to a visa dispute. The band were probably pretty excited to be opening for Corpse either way, and just turned the distortion a bit higher to compensate for the lack of low-end. Personally, I was most impressed with the opening set from the young technical death metal band The Faceless on Friday; having spent the last half of a year on the road opening for some of the best death metal bands in the world, the band seems to be operating on another plateau of confidence these days and it shows. Their set was perfect, and I’ve got nothing else to say besides that. Cannibal Corpse came out on stage to the kind of  maniacal, rabid  crowd that only the most extreme cult bands can be proud to call their own. This is a band is still referenced as one of the most overtly violent and sexual bands in history; they pioneered a style that a million death metal bands have tried to emulate, and their set that night was as vulgar, vicious, and violent as they could make possible. During their performance, Corpse proved their still on top of theirgame and had the crowd going crazy for songs from all eras, from Tomb of the Mutilated and Butchered at Birth on to the newest Evisceration Plague. It was an impressive performance that had the crowd and band band feeding off each other in a celebration of the sickest side of metal .

Despite being scared for my safety more than a few times, I was brave enough to stick my arm out and snap a few photos as well as videos of Cannibal Corpse’s “I Cum Blood” and “Hammer Smashed Face” and “Xenochrist” by the Faceless. The media portion of the recap continues below!

VIDEO: Cannibal Corpse, “I Cum Blood” (live at Station 4, 4/17/09)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

VIDEO: The Faceless, “Xenochrist” (live at Station 4, 4/17/09)

The Faceless live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(The Faceless)

The Faceless live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(The Faceless)

The Faceless live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(The Faceless)

The Faceless live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(The Faceless)

Neuraxis live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Neuraxis)

Neuraxis live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Neuraxis)

Neuraxis live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Neuraxis)

Fans of Corpse, don’t stop reading now.. We’ve got a full live video of the cult classic “Hammer Smashed Face” waiting for you right after the jump! Continue reading

Review: Los Campesinos!, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

Posted in Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , on Monday, January 12, 2009 by Erik Burg

lc_-_wearebeautifulwearedoomedLos Campesinos! new album “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” is an exciting and fun album from a group whose initial LP “Hold On Now, Youngster” was a let down after a series of excellent EPs. The six family members from Wales, all bearing the awesome last name of Campesinos, rebound extremely well on this LP thanks to the title track and other heartfelt songs of typical indie pop noir. Though lyrically and idealogically (sic) typical of what you might expect from this type of music, Los Campesinos! continues to be unique in the way their vocals are presented and executed.

In line with all of their other releases, the band utilizes two vocalists equally on every track; one guy and one girl. There are certainly other groups out there that track vocals in the same sort of manor (see dirty projectors or fiery furnaces) but it’s the way Los Campesinos! present their lyrics through this unique format. Many if not all of their songs touch on love, sex, and any or all topics surrounding subjects, so using the vocals of opposite sexes allows for story telling and funny lyrical quips to be a strong asset for the group.

The title track from “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” is not only the most stellar of all the tracks on the album, it plays perfectly well into what I was just describing. You can guess for yourself what the topic of the song is all about, but even though it seems cliched and over-done. The group makes silly teen love and depression a fun topic again. Yes, I do realize that last statement is ridiculous. But as I mentioned, the two view points of the guy and the girl are presented in a way that is interesting and fun enough to make this track one of the most heartfelt and enjoyable tracks floating around right now. The harmonies created by the vocal duo make for a triumphant crescendo at the end of the track and really set the tone for the entire album. The best example of this type of music is displayed perfectly well near the end of the track, as the music builds the two vocalists shout at the same time “We kid ourselves there’s future in this fucking, but there is no fucking future!”

If you’ve heard anything from Los Campesinos! in the past you have a pretty good idea of what to expect, but it’s a great thing to hear them return to their sound on their first two EPs instead of the obviously over-produced “Hold On Now, Youngster.” The fun-loving kids from Wales deliver a stellar sophomore album (not many times do you hear that, ha) and will without a doubt expand their already growing fan base with this album.

Check ‘Em Out: mp3s  “You! Me! Dancing!” “C Is The Heavenly Option”

8.2/10

Review: Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavillion

Posted in Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, January 8, 2009 by Erik Burg

Pretty Much Amazing: “Take the time to really listen and understand what direction Animal Collective is trying to go. If you do, I think you’ll find a band you can really get behind: A band that makes music for music lovers.”

Pitchfork: “Although it will be tagged as Animal Collective’s “pop” album, Merriweather Post Pavilionremains drenched in their idiosyncratic sound, a record that no one else could have made.” “But Merriweather feels like a joyous meeting in a well-earned, middle place– the result of all their explorations pieced together to create something accessible and complete.”

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Not much has been left unsaid about Animal Collective’s newest album Merriweather Post Pavillion. Those two quotes above give a fine example of the kind of perfection and praise that this album is receiving, and has been receiving for weeks now.

My personal history with Animal Collective has been a bit rocky, I have to admit. At first I hated the group for their music, it was just so weird and different and felt so disjointed upon first look, but when I took the time to listen to an album all the way through it became quite apparent that they truly were making music for music lovers. And Merriweather is no different, an album steeped in more harmonious vocals and musical clarity than any of their other works, this disc is one of the most impressive I’ve heard in a very long time. 

Tracks like “My Girls” and “Brother Sport” are monstrous songs that will catch you by surprise if you’ve never listened to Animal Collective before. As the P4K reviewer said, this disc is certainly their “pop” album, and that’s why it has so much potential. “My Girls” is their most accessible track to date, but that’s not to take away from it because it’s probably going to go down as their finest track ever laid down as well.  “Brother Sport” reminds listeners of AC member Panda Bear’s incredible album Person Pitch released in 2007. 

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It really would be easy to go on about Merriweather for thousands of words, but there would be no reason, because like any other Animal Collective album this just has to be heard and an opinion formed on your own, not through reading this review or another number of the thousands now out there. All I can say fro sure is that this is AC’s best album, most accessible album for first time listeners, and and album that will be talked about for years to come. 

9  9.5  10/10