Catastrophe Cabaret is a new musical comedy variety show, brought to you by Amy Buchanan, founder of the modern Twin Cities burlesque scene, and creative director and producer of Le Cirque Rouge, Cabaret & Burlesque Show. What started as ANOTHER drunken brainstorm of ideas between former collaborators Amy Buchanan and comedy writer, Tim Kennedy, will be the first off-shoot of LCR, who have been performing since 2003. What can only be described as "creative interpretations and improvisations by both professionals, and experienced amateurs," is also backed by a full band - complete with backup singers.
Nick Howard could never be accused of sitting still. Following a 2 year stretch in which the British singer-songwriter has played 300 shows across Europe and the US, enjoyed his first number 1, packed in several headlining tours and even managed to learn German in two months and win the hugely popular TV show The Voice of Germany, Nick Howard recently released his fourth and latest album, Living In Stereo. Nick spent most of 2014 on the road in the US and Europe promoting his new material, playing over 200 shows to over 100,000 fans all over the world. Catch Nick's US Headlining Tour at the Turf Club while you can, he doesn't sit still for long. Opening for Nick will be Elliott Blaufuss, a multi-talented artist hailing from Minneapolis, MN. With an incredible vocal range, mesmerizing melodies, and a style that blends groove and soul, you can be sure to get to the Turf Club early Wednesday to catch Elliot's opening performance.
The Homegrown Music Festival is Duluth's annual showcase of rawk and/or roll devil music. It began as a simple birthday party with a handful of bands and a bunch of beer. Now it's a complete bureaucracy, run by a volunteer steering committee and a board of directors, featuring over 180 musical acts, along with a few filmmakers and other artists. On Friday, The Turf Club will play host to Duluth bands The Social Disaster, Red Mountain, Toby Thomas Churchill, and Wolf Blood.
Throughout his decade-and-a-half-long career, Cory Branan has been too punk for country, too country for punk, too Memphis for Nashville, and probably a little too Cory Branan for anyone's damn good. He has proven himself as a top-notch songwriter, fierce lyricist, and a hyper-dynamic performer with the ability to fingerpick finer than '60s Greenwich Village folkies and brutally strum like a proto punk shredder. “Intense dynamics, deep humor, brave production and heavy songwriting: A new voice emerges to run with the greats." - Playboy. Taking the stage first Saturday will be Tim Easton, an American guitarist and singer-songwriter based in Nashville, Tennessee.
Michael Lewis is regarded throughout the Twin Cities and well beyond as one of the most creative sax players in modern music, lending his blowing and bowing skills to a number of highly regarded ensembles. Growing up in Minneapolis, Michael first picked up trumpet (his dad's instrument) and then settled on saxophone at age ten. He attended South High, where he added bass to his arsenal of saxophones. Lewis has been increasingly visible in New York, performing at the Stone with Happy Apple as well as with Fat Kids; and he appeared on David Letterman in connection with his 2009 tour with Andrew Bird, on which he played electric bass. He continues to lead a double life in music, playing bass with Bird, Dosh, Alpha Consumer and Red Start, and locally on saxophones with Bryan Nichols' quintet as well as with Bon Iver, Gayngs, and Arcade Fire.
Over the course of its two-decade existence, Lightning Bolt has revolutionized underground rock in immeasurable ways. The duo broke the barrier between stage and audience by setting themselves up on the floor in the midst of the crowd. Their momentous live performances and the mania they inspired paved the way for similar tactics used by Dan Deacon and literally hundreds of others. Similarly, the band's recordings have always been chaotic, roaring, blown out documents that sound like they could destroy even the toughest set of speakers. Jet Legs and Hardcore Crayons will start off Monday night. Hardcore Crayons can and will change from eerie dub grooves, with delayed snare, looped, psychedelic guitar riffs, thumping bass, to harsh, bob-your-head-cause-you-just-can't-help-it metal.
Sounds Like: Black Pus, Hella, Melt-Banana, Boredoms, Shellac
Getting his start in music as the frontman of L.A. indie pop/Americana outfit Last December, RG wasted no time finding his own voice as a solo artist, with a debut full-length (2013's New Eyes) and a slew of singles under his belt. However, Pete RG's solo efforts have proven to be an even stronger collaborative effort, working closely with drummer Scotty Kormos and bassist Adam Kury along with Kabler. It's a revelation that's present within each song off of Pete RG's latest effort, Lightning Strikes. Helping further bring the new album to life was multi-instrumentalist/co-producer Brina Kabler, who RG refers to as his, “musical Swiss Army Knife,” and a massive influence, musically. While Kormos won't be able to join RG on the road due to previous commitments, filling in will be Pearl Jam's original drummer Dave Krusen. Regarding what fans can expect from the band in a live setting, RG explains “It's a certainty that every song will be somewhat different every night. The changes aren't planned, they're just felt. Supporting Pete RG on Monday night will be local trio The Listings and former Western Fifth frontman Ryan Holweger.
Jucifer, founded in Georgia in 1993, are pioneers of the sludge / doom metal two piece. They are notorious for their use of massive amplification, and for their entirely nomadic lifestyle. Jucifer has spent all year, every year on the road since moving into their tour vehicle 12 years ago. They typically utilize a wall of speakers approximately 10 feet high and 15 feet wide. The band has performed steadily and released albums through the 90's and 00's on both major and indie labels as well as recently founding their own Nomadic Fortress label which is distributed by Relapse. Opener Witchden formed in July of 2010 after singer Jason Micah, and drummer Jeff Moen got in contact about a possible project. Micah brought guitarist Adam Alexander Rivkin into the group and Moen asked bassist Andrew Green join. Then, the foursome wrote their first song during their initial jam session and never looked back. Along with Tiger Blue was formed in Duluth, MN in the spring of 2005. After a number of line up changes and relocating to Minneapolis, MN, a Tiger Blue EP was finally completed and released in March of 2012. Combining elements of thrash, punk, pop, and rock (punk meets thrash meets Zeppelin.)
His Name is Alive returns to the stage after spending years in the studio writing and recording the rock opera, Tecuciztecatl. "The new unit is a prog bubble gum machine," and they've added a mellotron to the mix. For fans of horror movie soundtracks, psychedelics, fuzz guitar and mellotron, this is a great band to check out. Over the years, their concerts have featured puppet shows, a man in a whale suit and, occasionally, a giant robot. Also on the bill for Wednesday night is Duluth-natives The Murder of Crows, a duo consisting of guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk (Low, Retribution Gospel Choir, The Black Eyed Snakes) and violinist/vocalist Gaelynn Lea (Snöbarn). These two produce an atmospheric, alternative sound that will make for a great opening performance.
Sounds like: This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, Cocteau Twins, Low
Kodak to Graph is Los Angeles-based Iranian-American producer Mikey Maleki, who is known for his own brand of off-kilter, hip-hop-infused electronic music. His lush, experimental arrangements often incorporate samples of found sounds. Maleki's earliest memories of music came via his parents: his father, who exposed him to to traditional Persian folk music as well as psychedelic and pop, and his mother, who schooled him in the American singer-songwriter canon. Maleki discovered electronic music in high school, cutting his teeth on producers like DJ Shadow, Caribou, Four Tet, Bibio and Quantic. In 2012 he moved to Gainesville where he started producing music in earnest, releasing a string of singles on the Italian label, Bad Panda Records. Other highlights of Maleki's nascent career include remix work for Doja Cat, Hundred Waters and Salt Cathedral, and tours with Odesza, Gold Panda, Hundred Waters, and Slow Magic. His debut full-length album, ISA, is out now as a free digital download and his headlining Break The Ice Tour features Big Wild and Obeson as support, with local act Vacation Dad opening Thursday's Entry show.
Friday will feature a plethora of local hip/hop artists and DJs who know how to kick off the weekend right. Haphduzn (aka Jordan Wallingford) has a very similar sound to the local great, Atmosphere. MaLLy (aka Malik Watkins) has performed at Soundset not once, but twice; once as a performer, and the other time as a co-host alongside Brother Ali. He's also opened for Atmosphere at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. Rounding out the headliners is DJ Last Word. The Get Cryphy crewmember may not exactly be a household name yet, but he's earned respect for his work producing and live mixing for local rappers like Dialogue Elevators, Ernie Rhodes, and more. He's been spinning since 2000, getting his start at former Dinkytown sandwich shop/music venue Bon Appetit. Special guests of the night include locals Mac Irv and DJ Plain Ole Bill.
Sounds Like: Atmosphere, Brother Ali, St. Paul Slim
Because there will always be miserable teenagers and because nihilism and disaffection are just as much a part of the human condition as falling in love, there will always be a place—and a market—for explorations of abject darkness set to music. The Soft Moon is a San Francisco based neo-post-punk band composed of Luis Vasquez (singer/songwriter/guitar/synthesizers), Justin Anastasi (bass), Damon Way (synthesizers), and Ron Robinson (visuals). Keven Tecon joined the band as a drummer in early 2012. Since 2010, Luis Vasquez has twisted his personal demons into songs, quietly breathing new life into gothy post-punk. On his new album, Deeper, he pushes his foreboding synth-pop even further. Special guests for Saturday's show include Noveller, a solo electric guitar project of Brooklyn-based composer and filmmaker Sarah Lipstate, the husband-and-wife duo, Oaks and DJ Jim Frick.
Sounds Like: Chrome, Suicide, Danse Society, Blank Dogs, Tropic of Cancer
Acclaimed singer and songwriter Sean Rowe's riveting new album Madman is now in stores. On his new record, Rowe has created a beautifully primal work. The record is deliberately, if not defiantly, simple in both arrangement and composition. It is soul music in the purest and most literal sense. The early reviews have been uniformly positive. “It stirs something primal inside you,” writes CMT Edge. Rowe spent much of the previous year traveling the country with his guitar, performing in people's living rooms for a series of house concerts. In this deliberate contradiction to the prevailing expectations of a professional musician, Rowe chose to interact with fans in the most intensely personal manner. Opening for Rowe will be singer/songwriter Matthew Fowler. "At 19 years old, Fowler shows the same mastery of earnest, strummy songcraft as established artists like Damien Rice and Ben Howard." - American Songwriter Magazine
Sounds Like: Joe Henry, Hiss Golden Messenger, The Lone Bellow
Kitty, Daisy, & Lewis is self-described as a mix up of dirty R'n'B, blues, whiskey soaked country, haunting Hawaiian jungle drums and Gospel fever, with a punch in the face by Daisy's hard beatboxing. At their packed live shows there's no compromise when Kitty's howling harmonica solos backed by Daisy's solid rhythm on a battered snare-drum and Lewis's snapping guitar work drive crowds into a Southern Evangelical frenzy. The trio jump from one instrument to another, which range from piano, lap steel, banjos, ukulele, accordion, xylophone, and trombone to name but a few. Joining them on stage are former Raincoats drummer Ingrid Weiss on upright bass, Daddy Grazz on acoustic guitar, and legendary Jamaican trumpet player Eddie “Tan Tan” Thornton.
Opening up the night will be Berlin-based British artist Gemma Ray. Gemma Ray has been calmly earning a cool reputation on the international independent scene since 2008. And with a self-produced album titled Milk For Your Motors – which features collaborations with Alan Vega (Suicide), Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg, Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), and Toby Dammit (Iggy Pop/Swans) – under her belt (released August 26, 2014), the music keeps on coming. A self-styled musician/songwriter/producer, she skirts somewhere between pop-noir, sideways blues, gothic folk, ‘60s girl-group, and cinematic soundscapes.
Sounds like: The Carter Family, Imelda May, Sallie Ford, Holly Golightly
If the opening notes on Joe Pug's new LP Windfall are a bit disorienting, his fans won't likely be surprised. The Austin, TX singer songwriter has made a habit of defying expectations so the piano-driven “Bright Beginnings” and the atmospheric rumination of “Great Hosannas” are just further indication that he's quite comfortable stepping outside of the guy-with-a-guitar trappings of the genre. His rise has been as improbable as it has been impressive. After dropping out of college and taking on work as a carpenter in Chicago, he got his musical start by providing CDs for his fans to pass along to their friends. This led to a string of sold out shows and a record deal with Nashville indie Lightning Rod Records. When Pug set up camp in Lexington KY in 2014 to record Windfall, he did so with some of the best songs he has ever written. The agenda was much simpler than previous albums. “The aim on this one was very straightforward. We wanted to capture the music just the way we play it, with minimal production. It was a very back to basics approach because ultimately that's what I love about music, and that's what I love about making music."
Sounds like: Langhorne Slim, Joe Purdy, The Felice Brothers, Middle Brother
There is a line between insanity and genius that Minneapolis musician Mark Mallman has built a career on. His solid songwriting, combined with a wild stage persona, has earned him opening spots on stages with artists as diverse as Green Day, Cat Power and Guided By Voices to name just a few. Mallman's expansive catalog of infinitely catchy, masterfully orchestrated boot-stomping pop songs has rocked the airwaves of MTV, VH1, NPR, and dozens of major motion picture trailers and video games. Mallman has also been written about in Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Time Out New York, the L.A. Weekly, Chicago Sun-Times, Denver Post and so on.
Special guests for the night will include Step Rockets, Beasthead, and John Swardson. Step Rockets burst onto the international music scene with their single Kisser, a self-released indie pop anthem that shot to #1 on the Hype Machine charts just weeks after its release. The track was featured on countless Best-of-2013 lists and set the stage for what has become one of the most exciting acts of the past year. Beasthead is a four-piece electronic indie rock band from Minneapolis, MN. In the spring of 2013, the band came together in an effort to create a sound that could speak to the unusually eclectic common ground they found in their shared artistic interests. Drawing from their past musical experiences and current influences, Beasthead's music is as unique and diverse as the flourishing creative community found in Minneapolis. And finally, the guy and his guitar (and sometimes his backing band) has been done to death, but every so often something new comes along and demands that people take notice.
The music of Jackson and the Roosters can be described in one word; infectious. The Americana group has been playing live shows live for two years now and just released their self titled, debut album, Jackson and the Roosters in February of 2015. The critically acclaimed band's popularity continues to spread, along with the demand for an increased number of live shows. The Minneapolis-based Jackson and the Roosters' debut album is diverse, intriguing and above all, captivating. From start to finish, Jackson and the Roosters has everything a true music fan desires. Mixed with everything from Bluegrass, to Folk, to Rock n' Roll, to Reggae, their album provides a refreshing, distinctive sound. Frontman Jackson Chalgren's songwriting provides the backbone of what makes the highly talented group so intriguing. The group's catchy music will be stuck in your head for days and having you singing along at the top of your lungs. Their songs are so relatable that you will feel comfort in the fact that you know that you're not alone in this world.
Opening the night up will be Edie & the Blaze Kings and The Summer Coats. Creating a blend of rock, indie folk and soul, Edie Rae brings personality, power and passion to her music. Singer/songwriter Edie Rae pens songs garnered from the fabric of every day life. “I write about what I know - experiences and the things I'm going through at the time. I've come to a place with my music where the creation of songs and finding a voice for my crazy ruminations is a really incredibly fascinating journey.“ The Summer Coats are a singing, strumming, tap-dancing whirlwind of sound characterized by the juxtaposition of differing style influences from its two core members, Chase Daniel Burkhart (Singer/Guitarist) and Molly Kay Stoltz (Singer/Tap Dancer). An afterparty will feature guest DJs The Bunga Bunga Boys, the vinyl-spinning, dance-inducing, party-pumping, soul-stirring, triumvirate of DJ C@H@, The Commodore, and DJ Flavius Falconius.
Sunday in the Clown Lounge Hugh Bob & The Hustle will take the stage. Singer-songwriter Hugh Robert Masterson grew up in Butternut, Wisconsin - a quaint but fading small town with decrepit mills, dirt roads, farms, beat down bars, and a population of 300. “It's the kind of place where the silence is deafening and the stars are so bright you can feel nothing but humbled,” says Masterson. His band Hugh Bob and The Hustle and their masterful self-titled debut album brings to life this slice of classic Americana with ruggedly poetic lyrics and sweetly winsome roots rock. Masterson's blend of hard luck stories and backwoods whimsy with crisp twang, high lonesome harmonies, and heartland rock n' roll is an aesthetic called “North Country”. It's similar in spirit to country in its earnestness and its ties to American folk traditions, but details the plight of folks up North. Masterson has garnered favorable comparisons to Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Prine, Alan Jackson, and Dwight Yoakam.
Irreal, the fifth long player from Chicago's Disappears, is another trip down the rabbit hole. This time the album plays out as a dream sequence - hazed dub landscapes give way to the bands most experimental and open music yet. If their last album, Era, confirmed the fact that Disappears are on their own trip then Irreal is where it kicks in. Eternalism, roboethics, identity - it's a Ballardian mix of imperfect melodies, half thoughts and good ol' dystopian modernity. Produced by John Congleton at famed Chicago recording institution Electrical Audio, Irreal sits in the negative space where art rock and post punk collapse onto each other. It's the sound of Disappears reporting back from The Void.
The Chambermaids will take the stage first Monday night. Siblings Neil and Martha Weir formed the band (under the name the Shut-Ins) in 2003 in Minneapolis with a drum machine. They cut ﬁve demos and began playing shows in the Twin Cities. While the band's line-up has expanded and changed in the years since, Neil and Martha have been the constant that keeps The Chambermaids going.
Sounds like: Echo Lake, Young Prisms, Viet Cong, No Joy
Catastrophe Cabaret is a new musical comedy variety show, brought to you by Amy Buchanan, founder of the modern Twin Cities burlesque scene, and creative director and producer of Le Cirque Rouge, Cabaret & Burlesque Show. What started as ANOTHER drunken brainstorm of ideas between former collaborators Amy Buchanan and comedy writer Tim Kennedy, will be the first off-shoot of LCR, who have been performing since 2003. What can only be described as "creative interpretations and improvisations by both professionals, and experienced amateurs," is also backed by a full band - complete with backup singers. Whereas LCR stuck with jazz and swing styles, Catastrophe Cabaret ventures off into the stratosphere stylistically, and will be drawing on some unexpected special guests, flexing their creative muscle!
River City Extension formed in 2007, and has released two full-lengths and numerous EPs and splits including a 2011 split with Kevin Devine. Paste named the band a “Band to Watch” in 2010, and NPR has hailed the band's “serious ambition”. Three years after the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore album, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger, Toms River, NJ band River City Extension released their latest full-length album, Deliverance, March 10, 2015 on Anchor & Hope Records. Deliverance is comprised of ten tracks that successfully create a succinct, effortlessly executed indie rock opus reminiscent of Tom Petty, Paul Simon, Girls and Dirty Projectors. While guitarist/vocalist Joe Michelini originally served as the core of River City Extension, Deliverance sees Michelini and long-time collaborators John Muccino (guitars/vocals/strings) and Patrick O'Brien (keyboards, vocals) expanding into a full band with the addition of members Josh Gilman (bass) and Steve Tambone (drums).
Opening the night in the 7th St Entry will be the talents of Cold Fronts and William Within. After staking claim as vets in Philadelphia with a dynamic live show, Cold Fronts became last year's winners of the Jansport Battle of the Bands contest at SXSW – a feat that sparked interest from Warner Bros. executive & Sire Records founder, Seymour Stein (The Ramones, Madonna). The band's Forever EP was produced by Kyle Johnson (Wavves, The Hives, Modest Mouse, So So Glos) and captures the band's signature garage sound with a dose of surf pop and juts the right amount of polish. It's full of songs that will take up residency in your brain for days, if not weeks at a time, thanks to the unforgettable harmonies and lingering melodies. It is comprised of songs that you will find yourself humming along to, long after you shut them off. Formerly the solo project of Alexander Simpson, William Within is now an electric folk quintet based in Minneapolis. The group's sound is laden with unique guitar tunings, whispery vocals and spacious string arrangements, often earning them comparisons to Grizzly Bear, M. Ward, Destroyer and Nick Drake. William Within consists of Alexander Simpson on vocals and acoustic guitar, Tom Steffes on electric guitar, Derek Rohlf on violin, Matt Blake on double bass and Toby Ramaswamy on drums and percussion.
Wand is a rock band from Los Angeles, California. GOLEM is their new LP, out March 17, 2015 on In the Red Records. The first single is “Self Hypnosis in 3 Days” and recorded by Chris Woodhouse at The Dock in Sacramento, California. Cory Hanson takes lead guitar, vocals, and synthesizers. Lee Landey is on bass guitar and synthesizers. Evan Burrows plays the drums, percussion, and field recordings, with Daniel Martens on guitar. “Whether dabbling in sonic-boom metal, blown-out cosmonaut pomp or starry-eyed psych, this is one heck of a wild and beautiful ride.” - MOJO [4/5 stars]
Supporting the act Tuesday will be Heaters, formed out of Grand Rapids, MI since the summer of 2013 when they started working on a project together. The group has drawn acclaim across the webosphere for their spacey, driving take on West Coast psych rock. Tapping into both the twang of their ‘60s garage compatriots and building their own brand of expansive, cosmic swells, Pitchfork calls the band “catchy and kinetic,” noting their “energy and hook writing are clearly on point.” Combining a seemingly constant output of “reverb coated, fuzz studded, hard driven garage psych” with a kaleidoscopic, hip-shaking live set, Heaters are quickly forging something new and exciting. Phantom Tails will be starting the night off in the 7th St Entry. The band is a deep-space doom-funk quartet hailing from Minneapolis, MN. Using vintage drum machines, analog synthesizers, fuzzed-out bass, and commanding guitar, they have developed a distinctive sound that makes you think and dance simultaneously.
Sounds Like: Ty Segall, Temples, White Fence, Meatbodies, Morgan Delt
Cheeky, charming and touchingly direct, Melbourne foursome Twerps are international lo-fi pop champions. Formed in late 2008, Twerps were already supporting the likes of Deerhunter, the Bats, the Black Lips, Yo La Tengo and Thee Oh Sees within a few months of their first gig. The band appeared at SXSW in 2012, getting written up in the NME, Blllboard and elsewhere, and then toured the US with well-known buddies Real Estate in April. A series of sold out Aussie dates in August followed, with Twerps heading back to the States again in October for CMJ, plus a State-wide tour supporting their brand new single "Work It Out". The new single was thrashed on BBC6 by Marc Riley, and scored an NME review as well as high rotation on Triple J. Twerps triumphed over summer at Meredith Music Festival, welcomed new drummer Alex Macfarlane in early 2013, then spent much of that year recording album number two. They took time out for the likes of ATP's Release The Bats festival and some sold out shows with Mac Demarco and shined on the national Laneway Festival tour in 2013. The rest of the year saw them appear as surprise guests at Release The Bats festival, and play sold out shows with Canada's Mac DeMarco in Sydney and Melbourne. Twerps signed to Merge Records internationally in 2014 and released effortless eight song EP Underlay in August. Their much anticipated second album, Range Anxiety, was released in January 2015. Range Anxiety is a worthy showcase of the creativity and vitality Twerps bring to their music. At first listen, nods to The Go-Betweens and the band's beloved Flying Nun influences are clear, but upon closer examination, Twerps expand into a sound uniquely their own.
Special guests for the night include Real Numbers, Larry Wish & His Guys, and DJ Shawn Reed. Real Numbers is a Minneapolis trio is tethered to making (distant) pop songs, in a mold that confines them to be terse and bright, sounding like the Desperate Bicycles or even Swell Maps. Larry Wish is a local recording artist who also can make some videos with the band. His band, "His Guys", plays with him on occasion. With over 30 albums under his belt, Larry Wish will keep doing just that. To get the night going, DJ Shawn Reed will be spinning beats as well.
Just 21 years old but undeniably an old soul, Max Jury comes on like the missing link between Gram Parsons and George Harrison, shot through with the grace of James Blake. An impeccable song-crafter, he's got one foot in the cornfields and the other in the nearest dive bar whilst his fingers skip across the keys of his Fender Rhodes. An Iowa native, he binds together timeless themes of the struggles of being young, drinking the bottle dry and love lost and found with a small town perspective, topped off an airy croon that's bound to break as many hearts as it heals. Though he's a fan of the lovelorn stories of Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, don't be too quick to pigeonhole Max as a country musician himself. He calls his sound “a big stew”, which also encompasses his love of rock'n'roll and British invasion bands like the Kinks as well vintage soul, modern pop and contemporary roots music. As a live proposition, Max either plays solo or with a full band made up of friends and ex-lovers, who made their debut at a sold-out, 2000 capacity venue supporting Lana Del Rey, after being flown out to Chicago personally by Tom Windish of The Windish Agency. For anyone looking to enjoy some great vocals, Max Jury is a must-see show.
Opening the act Thursday will be Bonzie, the moniker for 18-year-old Chicagoan Nina Ferraro, who isn't a traditional confessional singer-songwriter. She's more of an observer and commentator who is drawn to expressing the concerns of her generational cohort (the bond between independence and interdependence, not wanting to be manipulated, view of one's self beyond society) with unwavering honesty, and delivering them with powerful abandon. It's partly for this reason that Ferraro has chosen to release her songs under the moniker Bonzie (an image and word she's long associated with her creative output) as opposed to her own name.
Sounds Like: Curtis Harding, Silk Rhodes, Benjamin Clementine, Mirel Wagner
The best rock 'n' roll, the kind that gets under your skin and makes all your senses heighten, is simple and comprised of hard work and unrelenting passion—all of which is JEFF The Brotherhood. Brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall have been playing together since they were little kids and formed the group when they were in high school. The boys grew up with a voracious appetite for any music they could get their hands on. The band incorporates a DIY ethos in everything they do, including their raucous live shows. The band has been touring tirelessly for the past 10 years, playing any and all conceivable venues—from basements and backyard sheds to Bonnaroo and The Bowery Ballroom. The duo clocked in over 400 shows in the past two years alone and have shared bills with Best Coast, Fucked Up, Pentagram, The Kills, The Greenhornes and more. When it comes to creating their desired sound, JEFF believes that less is more. This idea is reflected in Jake's decision to play a guitar with only three strings. Jake explains, “When we started the band, I didn't know how to play guitar," he remembers, “I thought, in order to teach myself, it would be easier to play if I simplified it. I started with two strings, but you can't really play any chords that way, so I added a third string to create this interesting limitation that forced me to create my own style and approach to the instrument.” In the end, Jake and Jamin just want to write great songs, play great shows and inspire fans to rock along with them. For JEFF The Brotherhood, blood is thicker than water—and music runs through the band's veins. RSVP for free entry!
Special guests of the night will be a mix of home-grown rockers and Nashville-natives. Bully is a young Nashville four-piece blasting out of the gates with high-powered grunge punk reminiscent of the beginnings of indie rock. The band is fronted by Alicia Bognanno, former intern at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio studio in Chicago who has been cutting her teeth on the soundboards of indie clubs and studios in recent years. France Camp plays smash-n-grab to their rock n roll forefathers, blending and stitching sounds ranging from blues to surf to country twang to brazen punk. Recorded dutifully by Ali Jaafar at Ecstattic Studios in Minneapolis, the band was able to capture the torching, ramshackle energy promised from their often chaotic live performances. Finally, Stereo Confession, has been described by the Star Tribune as, "A celebration of teendom's biggest time-wasting activity set to surf-y guitars and a Ramones-ian bop." This mix of special guests leading up to the performance of JEFF the Brotherhood is set to make for an electrifying Friday night.
Sounds Like: Diarrhea Planet, Natural Child, Jacuzzi Boys, King Tuff
Kind of Like Spitting was formed in 1996 in Portland, OR by Ben Barnett. Now joined by Brian Grant (Bridges Worth Burning, 100 Dollar Room, Old Moon) on bass and Dante Johnson on drums, KOLS has a solid home in its sound as a power trio. Over the band's 19 year history they have toured the United States approximately 65 times, released countless singles, EPs, compilations, and ten full lengths (Hush, Barsuk, SlowDance, Jealous Butcher...) all relatively under the radar, deciding in 2006 to pack it in. During the Hiatus Barnett released an album on Barsuk under the moniker "Blunt Mechanic" in tandem with being the Music Director for the Seattle School of Rock. With a strong cult following and a new release on Top Shelf Records entitled It's Always Nice to See You as well as multiple re-issues of older material (Barsuk, Run For Cover, Count Your Lucky Stars) slated for 2015, KOLS is touring again, making music and doing what they love.
To get the night going, Lee Corey Oswald will be taking the stage. The band got their start in the vibrant and vivacious punk scene of Scranton PA, alongside bands such as Title Fight, Tigers Jaw, and The Menzingers, before relocating to Portland, OR in 2009. Though they inevitably drew influence from the laid back elements of a West Coast lifestyle and the indie/folk scene of Portland, their sound never shook that sense of emotional urgency and intensity that is so familiar with bands out of the Northeast. Lee Corey Oswald have crafted a collection of twelve intriguing indie-punk classics all on one record. The band's clever, honest and thought-provoking lyrics combined with their 90's-esque indie sound, recall bands like Weezer and Knapsack, while their contemporary edge adds a dash of grit to the musical landscape of Portland. Regards was recorded analog on reel to reel tape, capturing the band's spirit in the moment as they perform each track live to record.
Sounds Like: The Promise Ring, Rainer Maria, Owen, Pedro The Lion
There are four boys who make up Reptar. They have offered twice as many (if not more) explanations for why they chose to name their band after a Rugrats character. But these days, the Athens, GA based group is sticking to this one: "I first tried to name the band Invisible Boyfriend," giggles singer-guitarist Graham Ulicny. "And everybody goes, ‘that is the stupidest name I have ever heard in my life." So why Reptar? "It is the second stupidest band name we have ever heard." Indeed, there is no pretense behind Reptar, which also includes Andrew McFarland (drums), Ryan Engelberger (Bass), and William Kennedy (analog keyboards). Still, the ability to amuse and arouse their fans is just as important to them as indulging their musical curiosities. This sonic wanderlust extends from African Music to post-punk to psych-pop and converges joyously in songs such as "Blastoff" and "Rainbounce," and it's won them high fives from NPR and NME alike. If Reptar had a superpower, it'd be the knack for warming up every space they inhabit. "Our music is very physical," says Ryan. "We always try to get people moving." This is wired into the DNA of the band, which honed its chops on house shows and continues to keep them a central part of its life. These shows began three years ago when they moved into a teetering, buttercup yellow abode together. "It was slanted at a 20-degree angle," Ryan explains, "and we'd have shows in the front room." Word spread, and soon they were popping up around at other houses, then clubs. Reptar even rounded out their stint at last year's SXSW by playing in a friend's backyard. Impressed by this commitment to connect, NME later rhapsodized about that bouncy set performed on a flatbed truck, anointing Reptar one of the "biggest buzzes" at the festival. "Little kids were running around selling cupcakes to drunk people for exorbitant amounts of money," marvels Graham. Reptar, of course, played for free.
The 7th St Entry will also have Icky Blossoms and the mysterious Downer Pussies as special guests for the night. Icky Blossoms bloomed from the blizzards of 2011 in Omaha, NE. Consisting of three multi-dimensional artists, Derek Pressnall, Nik Fackler and Sarah Bohling, Icky Blossoms draws from old friendships, rhythmic experiments, and a love for robust melodies to create music stretching from hazy pop to pulsing dance. Music that feels familiar yet so unfamiliar, like the sun heating your face, old haunts, or falling in love.
Sounds Like: White Arrows, Givers, Suckers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
From its beginnings as an informal jamming unit during treks through the peaks of the Front Range, Trout Steak Revival has evolved into one of Colorado’s most tightly knit, hard-driving bluegrass bands. Their brand of heartfelt songwriting blends dynamic musicianship with intricately woven harmonies, all tied together with the unmistakable sound of their years of friendship. From sweat-soaked clubs to beautiful mountain festivals, the five-piece has shown a tenacity for quick-picking and all the right polish without sacrificing the raw feeling of well-executed bluegrass. Keeping an eye on traditions of the past but boldly forging into new territory, Trout Steak takes us back to memories of whiskey, laughter, and the misty high country where the band was born.
Sounds like: Head For The Hills, Dead Man Winter, Yonder Mountain String Band
Pull out your turtlenecks and wear them to the release show! Seriously, the band would love to see them. Candid Kid is a group of local-rockers looking to continue their growth as a group of four guys with a passion for playing music, crafting songs and keeping it loud. Come on out to the Turf Club Wednesday night and hear the band's latest recording, Turtleneck EP. Starting off the night will be performances from Carbon Handshake and Danny O'Brien of the Farewell Circuit. Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Carbon Handshake are an eclectic group of indie-rockers that just released their new EP, Pulp Life, on March 9, 2015. By employing a distinct mixture of sounds, loops, and texture, their music successfully reconciles amorphous and ethereal sonics with immediate pop sensibilities and disciplined songwriting. The early days of The Farewell Circuit were spent playing on bar tops for mini-sliders, Greco-Roman style wrestling in the studio, becoming slaves to Myspace and Purevolume fandom, and lying about the origins of the name. Mostly though, they played music. Danny O'Brien, the band's only remaining original member, and the rest of the gang are set for another great night at the Turf Club.
Thirsty Thursday will showcase three Minneapolis bands, including co-headliners Van Stee and Sleep Study. The current lineup of Van Stee (Shawn Connelly on keyboards and Jimmy Stofer on bass) debuted in the fall of 2012, and the album that brought the band together was released in March of 2012. Their intimate live shows and relatable, yet catchy, material has generated an ever-increasing amount of grassroots buzz in their hometown of Minneapolis. Although Van Stee has had a surprising amount of support for a band without an officially released album, they have been encouraged by heavy radio play of their three advance singles (We Are, Color in the Paper Planes and When the Hammer Comes) on Minnesota's 89.3 The Current as well as on Seattle's KEXP.
Assembled in 2011, Minneapolis rock quartet Sleep Study has lived up to high expectations set by their dedicated followers and the media. “Coupled with strong chemistry within the band and an updated '70s aesthetic as heard on their first single ‘Flower Girl,' the group has been making waves since their formation last summer.” (NPR – 89.3 The Current). The band has tackled the near impossible task of being relevant while nodding to heroes of rock's past. The band's formula is a natural cooperative of strengths from all members, combining Ryan Paul Plewacki's (vocals/guitar) brand of Brit flavored rock with Justin Hartke's (vocals/bass) Seattle upbringing and Cory Eischen's (keys) extensive pop background. The calculated drumming of Levi Stugelmeyer solidifies their retro sound. Val Son, the new project from Sleep Study drummer Michael Gunvalson, will be opening up the night on Thursday.
In rock journalism, the term supergroup is often doled out a little too easy. But Diamond Rugs fit the bill in the most valiant ways. They may not be household names like Harrison, Dylan, Petty, Orbison or Lynne, but just about every last one of them is a consummate pro who's made a living touring and recording for 10 years or more—we're talking about Deer Tick's John McCauley & Robbie Crowell, former Black Lips guitarist Ian St. Pé, Dead Confederate's Hardy Morris, Los Lobos' Steve Berlin and Six Finger Satellite's Bryan Dufresne. Diamond Rugs is pure diversion, casting off the chains of expectations that come with rock & roll success and getting back to the all-important basics—to that addictive siren song that set each of them on this path in the first place. For starters, the undeniable feeling of euphoria that comes from letting a wide-open E-chord ring into the ether for no other reason than to feel the reverberations. I'm talking about rock & roll in its most pure and uncorrupted form—a bunch of good-time buddies getting together to do what they love most, crank the amps and let it rip. Fun, damn it. Good-old fashioned kicks. Were they—like Hardy Morris says—just “dicking off” in the studio? Maybe, but when Diamond Rugs dick off they tap into that primal spirit that makes rock & roll endure.
From the southern wilds of Athens, GA comes young four-piece, New Madrid. Their music is a dynamic mixture of underwater-psych-rock that engages the listener in fully textured aural landscapes, both on record and live. Their acclaimed 2012 independent debut, Yardboat - engineered by David Barbe (Deerhunter, Drive-By Truckers) at Chase Park Transduction- displayed the band's inherent talents and introduces a distinctive sound budding with sonic energy. Home, Boy is the first solo effort from Nashville-based Diamond Rugs/ Deer Tick/ Middle Brother producer and Justin and The Cosmics frontman Justin Collins. It is a handful of dreamy lo-fi 4-track home recordings in the folk and psychedelic realms akin to Leonard Cohen and the Velvet Underground. These musical sketches evoke longing, existential heartache and reflections of past and present desperation. They are an exploration of life's enchanting darkness, while maintaining the hazy, yet clear testament of a man's will to find a meaning. The ubiquitous Nashville Cream folks have named it one of the best EPs of 2014.
Sounds like: Natural Child, Jaill, together PANGEA, Bass Drum of Death
In the fall of 2013, Graveyard Club recorded a batch of spooky, synth-laden 80's pop songs in the basement of a 19th century mansion in St. Paul, MN. Originally comprised of Matthew Schufman (vocals, keys) and Michael Wojtalewicz (guitar), the band expanded to include Cory Jacobs (drums) and Amanda Zimmerman (bass, backing vocals). The band draws influences from 50's crooners, 80's new wave and modern day dream-pop bands. There is also a heavy dose of spooky nostalgia, inspired in part by an unlikely source: Ryan Gosling's underrated band, Dead Man's Bones.
When you hear the name Tropical Depression, it may not sound like something joyful to let loose on your ears, but in all honesty, the Minneapolis band's self-titled debut is a wonderful treat. Their sound is sunny, blissed-out guitar synth-pop that has plenty of neat, slo-mo hooks. The album and band don't seem to take themselves too seriously either, which is such a rarity nowadays. The new project is something hatched from Vicious Vicious' Erik Appelwick with the help of Martin Dosh, James Buckley, and Adam Krinsky and tells of Applewick's adventures recording on a yacht.
BBGUN began in a sunny living room, over coffee, on a Friday morning that quickly turned into every Friday morning. Musicians and songwriters Al Church and Neal Perbix's distinct styles, matured over years of Minneapolis gigs, wove to form lyrics that are both contemplative and playful and harmonies both sophisticated and singable. Complemented by Jeremy Hanson's expert, easy drumming, their rock 'n' roll tunes sound best blasted from the speakers of a pickup truck. BBGUN's solid debut album documents the anxiety and surprising joys of trading in late-night cigarettes for a kind of settling down
Jack Cooper & James Hoare are Ultimate Painting. The two formed a fast friendship when Jack's band Mazes were on tour supporting James' band Veronica Falls, sharing similar tastes in music, art & films. It wasn't until after returning home that a musical synergy was formed. After numerous demos were exchanged, a few casual jam sessions turned into something more; a partnership. Christening themselves after a piece of art by the Southern Colorado desert community (and fanciful geodesic dome builders) “Drop City”, the lads set to work recording their debut proper. Ultimate Painting's ten songs are the fruits of that labor; a collaboration in the truest sense, with each member composing five songs each creating a seamless journey that is both pastoral & cosmopolitan. This is a new chapter for both of these fellas & the future looks very exciting.
Happyness released their self-produced debut album, Weird Little Birthday, last June. The album followed their eponymous debut EP released at the beginning of last year, to great critical acclaim. The album is not quite a concept album about a boy who shares his birthday with Jesus Christ and eventually is driven insane with jealousy. It was largely recorded in the band's own Jelly Boy Studios, after a brief session recording first track “Baby, Jesus (Jelly Boy)” in an abandoned church was cut short by the bitter cold and an unconvinced congregation of the dead. The record was mixed by Adam Lasus (Yo La Tengo, Daniel Johnston) and features Ed Harcourt with vocals on “Pumpkin Noir”
Also on stage Monday night will be four-dude rock band Danger Ron & the Spins hailing from Minneapolis, MN. Their self-titled genre "danger rock" is influenced by heavy listening to bands like Modest Mouse, The Cribs, Lonnie Walker and Harlem. They are always recording new material and forever forgetting the old stuff. Local-rockers of the two-piece, Nancy's Raygun, will also be at the Turf Club Monday night. "We have been told our music sounds like a bicycle crash" said Daniel Hughes of the band. Get over to the Turf Monday and decide for yourself.
Sounds like: Honeyblood, Avi Buffalo, Twin Peaks, Ought, Childhood