Tuesday: The Smart Studios Story - A Screening
The post-70’s explosion of independent music in America has many traceable roots, each with a compelling story. Drawing on never-before-seen archival footage, in-depth-interviews with musicians and producers, and a mighty soundtrack, THE SMART STUDIOS STORY reveals the pivotal Midwest link to the global rise of 1990's Alternative Rock and the unassuming Madison, Wisconsin recording studio at its center. If you’ve ever been touched by the music of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, L7 or their peers, you’ve been touched by the music created at Smart Studios, the legendary recording facility founded by Butch Vig and Steve Marker.
The Karma Kicks are a band from St. Paul, MN. So go on and get your kicks, just remember that the Karma Kicks back. Formed in early 2012, kickin' it since 2002, still jammin' and recording, playing live as often as they can. Next we have The Person & The People, a group of old friends from multiple bands in the area that finally teamed up and joined together to make music. The result of that is a power-pop flavored rock and roll band that truly stands out from the rest. That youthful energy can certainly still be felt with this band. Lastly but not least is Wide Times! Be sure to check them out.
Thursday: Joe Pug
The Austin, TX singer songwriter has made a habit of defying expectations and he’s quite comfortable stepping outside of the guy-with-a-guitar trappings of the genre. The theme of resilience plays a central role throughout his most recent album, Windfall. After the toll of four years of straight touring, he was ready to call it quits in 2013. He managed to perserve through embracing the back to basics approach to writing new muic. Windfall was released on March 10, 2015 on Lightning Rod Records in the US and Loose Music in Europe.
Friday: Amanda Shires
Amanda Shires began her career as a teenager playing fiddle with the Texas Playboys. Since then, she’s toured and recorded with John Prine, Billy Joe Shaver, Todd Snider, Justin Townes Earle, Shovels & Rope, and most recently her husband Jason Isbell. Along the way she’s made three solo albums, each serving to document a particular period in her life while improving on the perceptive qualities of the previous record. The songs on her newest album, My Piece Of Land, deal with family, with anxiety, with the phases of one young woman’s life; but the primary focus of My Piece Of Land is the concept of home.
Come and help Green Room Music Source celebrate their 10th anniversary this Saturday at the Turf Club (and downstairs in Clown Lounge). Green Room has worked with many great artists and have invited some of them to share the stage including The Melismatics, Ruby Isle (reunion show), Gaelynn Lea, Sleep Study, Maudlin, The Look and The Feel, Savanah Smith, Martin Devaney, Dan Israel, Johnny and Molly of Communist Daughter, DJ Mark Mallman, Brooke Elizabeth. Hosted by Timmy Williams of The Whitest Kids 'U Know! Come raise your glass with us! It's been a great ten years!
Monday: The King Khan & BBQ Show
The King Khan & BBQ Show is a Canadian Garage rock duo from Montreal, Quebec who mix doo-wop and punk. At their full power, all your worries will quickly melt away, and getting lost in their seductively irresistible sounds of audio salvation is easy once it gets inside your head. Scientists have a term for this phenomenon: total euphoria, and it's as real as it gets here, folks. Their incredible range effortlessly sways from one emotion to the next with the deranged dexterity and sloppy precision that always brings a smile to your soul. - In The Red
Blog by Ellie Moonen
Fans of La Roux, Robyn, and The Ting Tings – don’t miss @dragonetteband in the Entry on Monday, December 5. Tickets available at first-avenue.com. (at First Avenue & 7th St Entry)
Monday: Nethan | Tabah | Buffalo Fuzz
Local Minneapolis indie band, Nethan, has released their first official EP in the last few months and is currently working on their first album. Stay tuned! Next we have Tabah, a spirited and dynamic group committed to their pursuit of a sound that is uniquely theirs. Their debut EP Time Will Come, released in June of 2015, reflected on their challenging and unique experiences of living in the increasingly tumultuous atmosphere of being a young adult. Finally we have Buffalo Fuzz, a two-piece rock n' roll band from Minneapolis, MN made up of Jared Zachary and Jake Allan.
Tuesday: The Missing Letters | The Modern Era
The Missing Letters: Maybe it has to do with the cold outside that keeps generation after generation of kids fostering the instinctual drive of alternative rock. Whatever it is, the music continues to stay hot, and now, that heat embodies itself in The Missing Letters. The band has played showcases at Austin's SXSW, Cleveland's Burning River Festival, Deleware's Firefly, New York's Mercury Lounge, pulled off an 18 city national summer tour, and have supported numerous national acts. Their latest album, Lucille, was released in November of 2016.
The Modern Era: The Modern Era is a four-piece rock group formed in 2013 in Minneapolis, MN. The band is fronted by Jack Swagger, a charming twenty-something little brat that even Steven Tyler would say has too much energy. The backbone of the group lies in bassist Nick Pelowski and guitarist Ben Pelowski respectively, while drummer Bob Joslyn provides the heartbeat rhythm. The band's scrappy debut album, Too Loud? Too Bad! is a 16-track marathon of a record that showcases a band in the most early and raw part of their career, and the promise that is shown throughout.
Wednesday: Lady Midnight - Midnight Special
Lady Midnight has been featured on Twin Cities Public Television’s Lowertown Line and MN Original. Formerly lead vocalist of afro-cuban band Malamanya, she is a member of underground electronic group VANDAAM and ensemble member of 9th House, a collaborative project from Twin Cities elite MC’s I Self Devine & Muja Messiah with whom she performed at the 2016 hip-hop festival Soundset. In addition she has contributed to past and upcoming recorded projects from Brother Ali, Sonny Knight & The Lakers, Sarah White, Jayanthi Kyle, Maria Isa, Mike the Martyr, Adept, Sloslylove and Noahs Heark.
Midnight Special is a curated night of music by vocalist Lady Midnight. The event features live vocals from Lady Midnight over live production sets from J.Hard, MMYYKK, and Sloslylove and DJ Keezy on the 1's and 2's. The night is sponsored by Sound Verite Records, The Litestyle Observer and AMHour.
Sounds like: Brandon Mitchell, Cecil B., Paul Phillips
Mayda is a young, yet seasoned Korean Adoptee multi-musician/artist/producer from the land of 10,000 Lakes. Mayda’s music has been featured locally as well as internationally. Numerous songs of Mayda’s have been on the Rachael Ray show, Good Morning America, KFC youtube, Reebok Seoul commercials, Jersey Shore, and cable networks such as Showtime and MTV. Recently, Mayda has just signed with South Korean Indie Label, Musicaroma/Feel Good Inc and will be releasing a brand new batch of songs in the beginning and end of this year in addition to collaborating with Mu Theater Arts.
Sounds like: San Lunes, Onomatopea, Fantastic Orchestra
Friday: American Wrestlers
How do you improve an already striking set of stripped-down, homemade pop? Gary McClure, the St. Louis-by-way-of Scotland songwriter behind American Wrestlers, a once anonymous project that became one of the year’s best new bands, believes it’s about being true to the basics. While working a warehouse job for UPS in Missouri, McClure began experimenting and recording what would become the first American Wrestlers album, and the momentum and reception built since then has allowed him to stretch out and refine a new album of songs with a full band, which includes Imperial, who plays keyboard, as well as Ian Reitz on bass and Josh Van Hoorebeke on drums. McClure’s new set of bouncing, well-crafted songs show that musical youth is not always wasted on the young.
Sounds like: LVL UP, Flock of Dimes, Ultimate Painting
Saturday: Paper Lions
The Paper Lions are an indie rock band from Belfast, PEI whose music shines with sunny melodies and tales of lost youth. Equally influenced by the clear-voiced harmonies of the Beach Boys and the clanging guitars of modern rock, at the heart of the band are long-standing friendships and vibrant pop songs based on the sandy shores of their remote island province. The new album, My Friends, is based on themes of adolescence and youth but marks maturation in the band’s writing. Rob and John MacPhee are brothers, Colin Buchanan is their childhood neighbour, and David Cyrus MacDonald they met in high school, but it took time and effort, practicing in garages and playing in clubs across North America, to become the band they are now.
Sounds like: The Zolas, Arkells, Hollerado
Sunday: Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band - The Instigator Tour
Kevin Devine is an independent singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NY. He plays alone, with his Goddamn Band, and as a member of Bad Books. Devine released his ninth full-length album, Instigator, in October 2016 via Procrastinate!
Sounds like: Manchester Orchestra, Two Tongues, David Bazan
Blog by Ellie Moonen
Ahead of The Cactus Blossoms’ first headlining Mainroom show this weekend, we asked Jack Torrey of the duo a few questions. See what we found out below, and grab your tickets to him and his brother Page Burkum on the First Avenue stage on Saturday, November 26!
Blog By Emily Hoar
Emily Hoar: After being one of CMT’s “10 Overlooked Albums of 2011,” you were given a residency at the Turf Club. Tell us more about how that experience affected your band so early in its life.
Jack Torrey: I had my musical debut there about 11 years ago, so I have a lot of fond feelings for the Turf Club. Our weekly gig was a blast. There was something in the air and it wasn’t just cigarette smoke and beer bubbles… it was magic. Some of the best people on earth were coming down to the shows to hang out with their friends and listen to the music. The crew behind the bar, soundboard, and door were the best part. We would lock the door, kill the lights and hang out all night sometimes.
EH: Many of your team—Alex, Joel, and Beau—are from Chicago. Are they still based in Chicago? Is it important for you that bandmates are friends, or do you prefer a more professional relationship?
JT: We recorded with the Chicago guys and play with them occasionally, but our core crew are Minneapolis based. Andy Carroll on the bass, Chris Hepola on drums, and sometimes our oldest bro Tyler Burkum plays electric guitar with us. They will be backing us up at the First Ave show. You can’t work with friends if they’re unprofessional and you can’t work with professionals if they aren’t friendly. Having a sense of humor is required.
EH: Country music has gone through countless identity shifts in the past 100 years from “Hillbilly Boogie”, to “Outlaw Country”, to today’s “Bro-Country”. Do you make a conscious effort to align your values/sounds to any particular movement(s)?
JT: Genres are a pain in the ass! I don’t think we fit into any of them very well because we’re not really purists when it comes to style. Maybe we should make up a new one.
EH: Where do you look to find good new country music?
JT: I haven’t been seeking out much new music but if you want hear some country leaning bands I’ll just mention my friends and talented folks we’ve enjoyed playing shows with this year. Caleb Klauder Country Band, Johnny Fritz, The Deslondes, Sam Outlaw … there are many more but I’ll stop there.