Radio K presents FIRST AVENUE’S BEST NEW BANDS OF 2012
DAVID CAMPBELL (89.3 The Current)
JASON NAGEL (Cities 97)
and CHASE MATHEY (Radio K)
APPROX SET TIMES
7:30pm Bomba De Luz
8:10pm Strange Names
9:30pm Actual Wolf
10:10pm John Mark Nelson
10:50pm Wiping Out Thousands
11:30pm The Chalice
THE LEGEND OF THE ACTUAL WOLF: There are outlaws, and there are outlaws. Some practice the pose and cultivate the image, though seldom dirty their soft, bourgeois hands with anything actually outside the law. When they do, it is often despicable, irresponsible or just plain mundane. The Actual Wolf (aka Eric Pollard), however, is a real outlaw and has pled guilty to it. Between the bust and before the trial AW recorded a pair of EPs, each showing ‘another side of the Wolf’.
The first is USA, an everyman’s acoustic album that channels both Woody and Zimmerman on a smuggler’s road trip on the cop-laden corridor of the I-80. The second—Lightning & the Wolf— conjures a 30-something’s symphony to Gawd, a rock EP at times so ethereal that it floats like smoke up into the aether, at others so earthy & grounded you can almost feel the parole. This is not music that pleads for forgiveness—the man has given his freedom as a sacrament at the altar of his beliefs. Rather, these are songs of redemption. Actual Wolf has paid a price, but like many deals with devils, seems to have come out the greater for it.
[City Pages "Picked 2 Click" 2012: #6]
Bomba de Luz is a group of four high school students from St. Paul, MN. They began playing small shows at their high school’s small theater in late 2010. Within a year they played multiple festival shows, opening for Heiruspecs and Kimya Dawson, and their name continually grows. Led by folk rock songwriter, Lydia Hoglund, the trio of musicians including Gavin Taylor-Stark, Jonas Taghavi, and Evan Slack create an atmosphere of folk-rock. Lydia Hoglund carries with her flexible, dynamic and sweet voice. Their influences come from all over the place, but mainly it can be said they derive their sound from Jeff Buckley, Wye Oak, Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, Sharon Van Etten and countless other artists. With much appraisal from the local music scene, Bomba de Luz carries on.
The three emcees in The Chalice are known quite well individually in the Twin Cities music community. Lizzo has a popular project called Lizzo and The Larva Ink, Sophia Eris has released a steady stream of material (and expects a new record shortly) and Claire De Lune has appeared as a guest vocalist on tracks by MaLLy, Guante and The Tribe & Big Cats! It should then come as no surprise that when the three team up as The Chalice, they are creating some of most dynamic music in Minnesota, fusing individual influences like soul, funk, R&B, reggae and straight up hip-hop.
All transplants to the Midwest, you can hear what each woman brings to the mix. Claire De Lune harnesses the sultry, jazz-inspired nighttime of New York City. Sophia Eris hails from Dayton, OH, or the “Gem City” as it has been deemed, and she certainly exudes the queen-like qualities that exist inside all women, much like a younger Erykah Badu. And Lizzo lashes out with her fresh, southern bite, a result of growing up in Houston.
The Chalice are still relatively new, but things seem bright — the response to their one public song “Push It” has been overwhelming. It’s a set-up that Minnesota hasn’t seen in a very long time: three respected female hip-hop artists under one roof, harnessing the girl-power that Aby Wolf, Dessa, Maria Isa and Desdamona have created in recent years. It’s time for the young ones to take over the reigns. With heavy support from the Rhymesayers roster, well-regarded South Minneapolis rappers and other musicians throughout the country, we think The Chalice will have no issue getting the attention that is warranted. [Jon Schober, 89.3 The Current]
Eleganza! is one of the best new rock 'n' roll bands in Minneapolis, if not the best. It was born by necessity mere months ago from the ashes of bands past and an urgency from extraordinary frontman Brian Vanderwerf, who you may know as guitarist/vocalist for the Midnight Evils, the celebrated Chooglin' and the Huckleberrys. Eleganza! is a three-guitar attack featuring Vanderwerf and Chooglin' bandmates Jeff Johnson (also of Popcycle, The Jets) and Paul Wells, with Greg McAloon (Glenrustles and Ol' Yeller) on bass. Tim Baumgart (Wizards Are Real, Kruddler and Party Ready) is on drums and August Varwig plays harmonica and vocals. [Gimme Noise 1/9/13]
Over the past decade, it has only gotten easier for artists to upload music and potentially get it out to a mass of strangers on the web. As there are more and more musicians employing these techniques every day, standing out is a challenge, but 18-year-old folkie John Mark Nelson has been scooped out of the Bandcamp fray. Nelson's popular trajectory has more to do with a pleasantly constructed presence on the web -- with the all-important "Minneapolis" tag -- than a lengthy run in local clubs. So far, anyhow. According to his Facebook page, rehearsals are in the works for full-band performances leading up to the release of his second full-length, Waiting and Waiting, out in August.
The two songs from that album have garnered the approval of 89.3 FM the Current staffers Andrea Swensson, who did a piece on Nelson in May, and Jon Schober, who just recently wrote about "Reminisce," the second song to emerge from this upcoming batch of songs. "There is now no doubt in my mind that John Mark will be one of the most talked about local musicians during the latter half of this year," he writes. And this will certainly be the case on their station as we get closer to an on-air performance July 8. This fresh graduate of Minnetonka High, who is heading to McNally Smith College of Music in the fall, is indeed worth some level of fuss in these early steps in his career. In the case of "Reminisce," you have a bank of harmonies as rich (or richer) as the Fleet Foxes', and an attention to detail in the crafting of the arrangement that some vets can never master fast enough to keep pace. In short, Nelson's songs already sound like they belong alongside the mainstays of the indie-folk up-swell currently figuring into our daily lives on radio, commercials, movies, and certainly spilling out of live music venues of all sizes. [Reed Fischer, City Pages]
Strange Names is a Minneapolis pop duo comprised of Brooklyn native Liam Benzvi and Minneapolite Francis Jimenez. The two began writing and playing music in 2010, creating some internet buzz from the US and UK. They have put out two EPs, of which the most recent, Strange Names EP features “Potential Wife,” now heard on US radio. The duo just finished recording a 7” single and B-side with White Iris Records (Los Angeles, CA) slated for a release in March 2013.
City Pages "Picked 2 Click" 2012: #7
Wiping out Thousands derives it’s name from the Alvin Toffler novel Future Shock. Like a tidal wave consuming a densely-populated island of sentient robots, Wiping out Thousands’ brand of electro - equal parts abrasive and gorgeous - reaches out from their home base of Minneapolis to the far corners of the grimy neon futurescape of tomorrow. Wiping out Thousands started as the brain-child of Taylor Nelson (of The New Monarchs), Alaine Dickman, and Adam Tucker (of Signaturetone Recording). After compiling a number of demos, Taylor and Alaine broke off to continue things on their own.
In the early winter months of 2012, Wiping out Thousands won over the Twin Cities music scene all by quietly releasing their attention grabbing and much buzzed about self-released EP entitled Reaction Machine. The EP was recorded under their own supervision, not even utilizing studio space, making it more of a home-brew project. The production duo made up of Alaine Dickman and Taylor Nelson, decided to not only put a new level of detail into their vision, but to flourish in musical partnership releasing their debut full-length album entitled This Came First.
Wiping out Thousands wanted to narrow in on their production and song craft with a more focused, straight forward collection of songs, with higher level of detail and thought. And that's exactly what the Minneapolis/St. Paul electroclash duo did on This Came First. Both Dickman and Nelson go on to say, “We worked a lot closer in putting songs together on this new album. We combed it over to make sure its what we want out there.” Previous releases were a big test for the duo in seeing how they could work together and what they could create. This Came First is definitely a more precise execution of their creativity. Dickman and Nelson worked along with engineer Adam Tucker of Signaturetone Recording on initial production of the album, while the duo handled all electronic production themselves.
This Came First was self-released by Wiping out Thousands on 10/23/2012, and is available for FREE digital download via the artists main website and Bandcamp page. The duo states, “We believe in giving our music away for free. It's not a product, it's our art. And we don't like the idea of putting up a pay wall between us and any potential new listeners. Reaction Machine was free, and the new album will be available for free as well.” The debut, 8 song album, is also available on ITunes, Amazon, and streaming on Spotify.