89.3 The Current Birthday Party 2011
Cloud Cult has announced the cancellation of the band's upcoming performances at First Avenue (January 21) and Lutsen (February 5). On Thursday, Cloud Cult's Craig Minowa was hospitalized with heart issues. Although the condition necessitates a temporary hiatus from performances, doctors are suggesting a non-invasive heart surgery would likely be performed in the next few weeks to bring permanent remedy to the problem. We apologize for any complications and we look forward to returning with more energy than ever in the coming months.
"Our party last year at First Avenue was a blast, with everyone from both mayors to Prince showing up to have a good time and celebrating the amazing local music scene," said Jim McGuinn, program director, 89.3 The Current. "We're excited to have another great lineup of artists with ties to our community, who have also had tremendous releases this year. It'll be a much needed winter break and a great night for Minnesota music."
More about 89.3 The Current
The Current brings listeners the best authentic new music alongside the music that inspired it, from local to legendary, indie to influential, new to nostalgic.
The Current began broadcasting in 2005 as a non-commercial, member-supported radio station. From the start, The Current has received numerous accolades: the 2010 FMQB Triple A Conference named The Current Station of the Year and Jim McGuinn Program Director of the Year. The staff and readership of City Pages named it Best FM Station, host Mary Lucia Best FM Personality Station, with hosts Bill Deville, Mark Wheat and David Campbell also sharing Best FM Personality honors. The Current and its hosts have also been honored by the Minnesota Daily, Women's Press Awards and Vita.MN. Its stellar broadcasts of in-studio performances have been featured online at Pitchfork Media and Prefix Magazine.
The Current is proud to be part of the Minnesota music community. Its weekly program "The Local Show" is a dedicated space for local musicians to be heard. The Current is also out in the community, hosting popular events such as Policy and a Pint, Rock the Garden and Rock the Cradle. Its hosts--Mary Lucia, Mark Wheat, Steve Seel, Jill Riley, Barb Abney, Bill DeVille and David Campbell and more--have become synonymous with the sound of Minnesota music.
There are certain bands that demand to be listened in a certain way: Pink Floyd might require a bong & lazer light show; Led Zeppelin benefits from giant, wood-paneled speakers, and FREE ENERGY—a band responsible for having crafted some of the finest guitar-filled power pop this side of Weezer or Cheap Trick—should be played on a cassette deck in a Camaro screaming down the highway; stereo cranked, feather roach clip dangling from the rearview. “Being from the Midwest definitely informed our aesthetic,” says Free Energy vocalist Paul Sprangers. “Growing up in a small town with radio and MTV—then later discovering indie rock and punk rock—really shaped the kind of music we make now. So, I had the same kind of unabashed love for Phil Collins as I did for Pavement—I don’t think I ever grew out of that. It probably shows.”
The story of FREE ENERGY, however, doesn’t begin in the backseat of a muscle car, rather St. Paul, Minnesota, where Sprangers and guitarist Scott Wells—both members of the late, great Hockey Night—were signed to NYC powerhouse DFA records based on their homemade demos. After signing and spending a year writing and demoing they moved to NYC to record with James Murphy. As the record neared completion, Sprangers and Wells moved to Philly, brought in their Minnesota friends to fill out the band, and toured relentlessly behind the release of 2010’s Stuck on Nothing. While it might have seemed an odd fit for a power-riffing pop rock act to put out a record on a West Village disco label, the euphoric vibe of Free Energy was actually a perfect compliment to the roster of artistically different but equally accomplished bands, such as Black Dice, Yacht, The Rapture, and LCD Soundsystem. At a time when a lot of indie rock is mired in gloom or coated with layers of reverb, FREE ENERGY is interested in sounding like Thin Lizzy or Fleetwood Mac: old-school juggernauts that made clear, well-crafted hook-laden singalongs; songs about love, truth, and the journey within. It’s a time-tested formula, but clearly one that can still sound fresh in the right hands. “For some reason, DFA was the only label that really understood us,” says Sprangers, “We learned so much from their philosophy, and continue to apply it to this day—it was a true education. So, after having done a record with James and DFA—which was a dream come true—it felt like a good time to push ourselves further, which turned out to be making and releasing a record ourselves.”
The resulting album is Love Sign, to be released on the band’s new imprint “Free Energy Records” in January of 2013. Much like it’s predecessor, the new record flirts with hysteria-inducing pop songwriting and classic rock production. These are songs that demand to be blasted in a car as one sings along at the top of one’s lungs. These are songs crafted by young men who clearly have an understanding of pop music’s DNA; the way a good melody can be more catchy than the common cold. Given their go-for-broke vibe, It makes sense that the band keeps a framed photo of Van Halen in their practice space. Ultimately, Free Energy occupy their own interesting niche. Are they an indie rock band? A classic rock band? A power pop band? Even the band isn’t sure, but in the end it doesn’t matter. The tracks on Love Sign flirt with the great themes of lasting rock music—the search for truth, falling in and out of love, and the quest for happiness—without ever sounding like retreads of a bygone era. Love Sign proves that there will always be ways to reconfigure the rock and roll archetypes into something fresh and —for lack of a better word—rocking.
Fully recharged and inspired by his eye-opening first trip to Mecca, the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East, and the world wide Occupy movements, Brother Ali is prepared to unveil his fourth full-length offering Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color. Created during a self-imposed two-month exile in Seattle and helmed by platinum-selling producer Jake One (50 Cent, T.I., Wiz Khalifa), the album presents a scathing yet honest critique of America and its many flaws while simultaneously presenting a hopeful outlook of its possibilities.
In an age of hip-hop where the paradigm of swag over substance reigns supreme, few emcees are willing to use their platform to tackle the hot-button topics and pressing social maladies of our time - but it’s apparent that Minneapolis-based hip-hop artist Brother Ali is one of those few. Over the course of 14 tracks with assists from esteemed author/ professor Dr. Cornel West, revered Southern hip-hop icon Bun B, and Def Poetry Jam poet Amir Sulaiman, the album brazenly holds a mirror to the idiosyncrasies of American life while simultaneously painting a vibrant portrait of its wondrous potential. Actualizing hip-hop’s full range of motion as a gage for the times, Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color asserts itself as the definitive soundtrack of a disenchanted, disenfranchised, and wildly optimistic citizenry during a landmark period in American history. In a moment of artistic preemptive strike, Brother Ali recognized this prime opportunity to examine and address the underpinnings of the burgeoning stance of mass opposition:
“This is not just a new album, but a new chapter. There’s a kind of democratic reawakening in people at this point in time. I was really looking to take these topics and really hit them hard. To try to open ears and hearts and invite people to take some action and feel empowered. To be engaged and take some agency and responsibility for what’s going on in the world.” Melding the zeitgeist of classic works such as Ice Cube’s critical 1991 album Death Certificate and Marvin Gaye’s 1971 sociopolitical opus What’s Goin’ On with his keen observations on topics such as race, the Occupy movement, and the hypocrisy of war, Brother Ali has crafted a fresh lyrical approach and dynamic new sound - the result is a stunning collection of hard-hitting lyrics and beats. Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, in all its sonic and lyrical glory, promises to be both the voice of a burgeoning new critical American consciousness and the beacon of hope for those that hold fast to its ideals and potential.
To call Jeremy Messersmith a musician is half-truth: He’s also a storyteller, who has carefully crafted a trilogy of songs that narrate life. His first full-length release The Alcatraz Kid is a moving collection of acoustic-driven lullabies with titles like “Novocain” and “Beautiful Children” that innocently question the purpose of things to come. The integrity of these delicate songs immediately struck a cord with critics and fans alike, and captured the attention of Semisonic’s Dan Wilson, who offered to produce Messersmith’s follow-up album, The Silver City.
The Silver City was a natural progression in sound and reflection: the compositions grew fuller and more dynamic with a classic-pop feel inspired by the Beach Boys and Beatles: While the topics focused on midlife struggles with tracks like “Dead End Job” and “Miracles.” Local and national attention soon followed with NPR and college stations around the country, followed by U.S. tours and sold-out shows in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis. The Reluctant Graveyard bookends this trilogy of lifelong (ahem, literary) observations with songs like “Lazy Bones” and “Organ Donor,” and sonically continues on the '60s chamber pop path Messersmith set out with his sophomore release. He continues to share stages with notables such as Sondre Lechre and The Watson Twins, and has been featured on MTV and Ugly Betty. And while this collection of songs comes to an end, it’s no doubt that the stories will live on.
Roma di Luna is a 6-piece soulful folk-rock band from Minneapolis, led by singer-songwriter Channy Moon Casselle, and her husband, Alexei. They have emerged quickly as one of The Twin Cities’ most dynamic and exciting bands, known for powerful live performances and songs that deeply move. In September 2010, they celebrated the release of their 3rd full-length record, Then The Morning Came, named “...the most anticipated local release of the fall” by Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The full band comprises an all-star lineup - Channy sings on both Atmosphere’s When Life Gives You Lemons... and Gayngs' Relayted albums, as well as many other smaller projects; guitarist and singer Alexei Moon Casselle is also a MPLS hip hop icon as MC Crescent Moon, for Kill the Vultures, Odd Jobs and as hype-man for Eyedea & Abilities and Atmosphere. Bassist James Everest is a veteran from several bands including Lateduster, Neotropic, Vicious Vicious and The Sensational Joint Chiefs. Electric guitarist Ben Durrant also runs his own Crazy Beast studio, (Andrew Bird, Dosh) where Roma di Luna has recorded all 5 of their records. Drummer Ryan Lovan also plays with acclaimed locals Minor Kingdom & Brad Senne, as well as previous stints with Haley Bonar, Lifestyle of Wigs, and Mandrew. With a sound that is constantly evolving, incorporating an ever-widening palette of styles and sensibilities, Roma di Luna’s trademark is the emotional, commanding force of Channy’s voice and lyrics - drawing listeners in to a personal, immediate place, unafraid to lay bare her passions and struggles.
On April 10, 2012 Thirty Tigers/RED released Trampled by Turtles’ highly anticipated album Stars and Satellites. The band’s 2010 release Palomino (Thirty Tigers) garnered critical acclaim from NPR Music who praised both the band’s “impeccable dexterity” and “charm and melody to the songs.” AOL Spinner called the record “hard-charging music…infectiously raucous,” while Paste Magazine admired the band’s “punk ethos” as well as “virtuosity and energy” while naming the band as one of the Top 25 Live Acts of 2011.
Since forming in Duluth, Minnesota in 2003, Trampled by Turtles always felt they were able to attain an energy on stage that can’t be found in the studio. They were so comfortable playing on the road that they treated their previous albums’ recording processes like tours. For Stars and Satellites, however, Trampled by Turtles didn’t want to simply try to recreate a live show. “We wanted to make a record that breathes,” explains Dave Simonett (guitar/vocals), “musically we wanted to step out of our comfort zone.” “This record is all about going inward,” Erik Berry (mandolin, vocals) adds, “building a focused bond as players and friends, and bringing a different mindset to the sounds Trampled by Turtles can make.” With the help of engineer Tom Herbers (Low, Jayhawks) the band moved into “Soleil Pines,” a log home outside of Duluth, to record. “You know how sometimes they say ‘less is more,’” notes Berry, “that’s what Stars and Satellites is about. “
Trampled by Turtles is Dave Simonett, Tim Saxhaug (bass, vocals), Dave Carroll (banjo, vocals), Erik Berry and Ryan Young (fiddle). Within the contained music scene of Duluth, the members of the band did their own time in punk and rock bands, brandishing their electricity proudly before switching to acoustic instruments. While they never set out to be a “bluegrass” band, Trampled by Turtles employs many of the same traditional techniques of the genre, but their differences in influences, attitude and attack make for their unique sound.