MONDAY: Strange Talk
Initially formed as a bedroom recording project by singer/keyboardist Stephen Docker and producer/DJ/bassist Gerard Sidhu, Melbourne, Australia's Strange Talk eventually evolved into a full band by adding guitarist Gillan Gregory and drummer Travis Constable to the lineup. With an electro-pop sound that has been likened to artists like Passion Pit, Phoenix, and Cut Copy, Strange Talk first came into the public eye in 2010 when they became a featured artist in a competition held by Australia's popular Triple J radio station. They followed up with their debut self-titled EP in April 2011 and later that year rose to number one on Billboard's newly established Uncharted chart thanks to the popularity of their singles "Eskimo Boy" and "Climbing Walls." After several successful national tours and festival appearances, the bandmembers sequestered themselves at a farm a couple hours outside of Melbourne to write and record material for their first album. By the spring of 2012, Strange Talk had finished recording and enlisted Tony Hoffer (Beck, Phoenix, M83) to mix their debut. The resulting album, Cast Away, was released in February 2013 by Sony Music Australia and reached number 56 on the Australian charts. Later that year the band signed with Wind-Up Entertainment, which released Cast Away worldwide in the spring of 2014. In 2015, Strange Talk delivered the five-song EP E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. [Billboard]
Sounds like: Penguin Prison, Young Empires, St. Lucia
TUESDAY: Adam Svec
A former member of dearly departed local band The Glad Version, Adam Svec has been warmly received since he debuted as a solo artist in 2008. Svec is a prolific songwriter, having come out with three albums in as many years. Known for his lilting tenor and simple but compelling folk arrangements, Svec is influenced by his studies in audiology and his personal experiences, which consciously and unconsciously influence his songwriting and instrumentation. His third album, Weaks in the Waves, came out May 20 of this year. [The Current]
Sounds like: Low, Elliot Smith, The Alarmists
WEDNESDAY: DRAKE NITE
We bout it every day, every day, every day! Y'all best be on your Worst Behavior for DRAKE NITE! HYFR! Come shake your butts to the freshest remixes of your favorite current and throwback rap jams featuring a 2 hour Drake set from DJs Bach and FooLProoF starting around 11PM. You used to call me on my...Hosted by ☁ along with Drake Photo Booth by Derrick Koch.
THURSDAY: Manitoba X Minnesota Music Exchange
ft. Gospel Machine | Mise en Scene | Reina del Cid | Living Hour
Gospel Machine is garage gospel band out of Northeast Minneapolis resurrecting the soul and R&B styles of the 1960’s. The band features Jayanthi Kyle (Romantica, Black Audience) on vocals and members of Twin Cities rock band The Small Cities - Wes Burdine (guitar, backing vox), Jimmy Osterholt (Bass), Scott Munson (keys), and David Osborn (drums). Gospel Machine formed in 2011 when Burdine wrote a soul/gospel liturgy for a Lutheran church in Northeast Minneapolis called Mercy Seat Lutheran Church. He asked Kyle and his bandmates from The Small Cities to back him for the occasion. In 2012, they took their music to the clubs and in 2013 started recording their debut record, Your Holy Ghost, which will be released in the winter of 2015.
Sounds like: Nina Simone, Otis Redding, Sam Cook
First uniting in small-town Manitoba through a mutual love of the arts, Stefanie Blondal Johnson (guitar/vocals) and Jodi Dunlop (drums) began painting together during the off-hours of their respective summer jobs. The partnership born of brushes and canvas soon evolved into one of road-worn six-strings and broken drumsticks. “We had totally different influences at the time,” Johnson recalls, “but like our painting, it just felt so natural making music together.” Though it comes only a couple of years after the EP, Desire’s Despair showcases an exponentially more defined and explosive band, earning them slots at international festivals like SXSW, Reeperbahn, and The Great Escape. The music is clamorous and captivating, with hints of everything from ‘60s pop and alt-country to early punk and garage rock – organic and unadulterated by studio trickery. From Johnson’s powerful leads and subtle harmonies through to Dunlop’s manic vigor, Mise en Scene don’t pull any punches; in fact, they’re throwing haymakers.
Sounds like: Wild Smiles, Honeyblood, Battle Lines
Faced with the question of influences, Reina del Cid cites literary rather than musical heroes. She commands a flexibility of language reminiscent less of Regina Spektor or Ingrid Michaelson, artists she is often compared to, but more of Virginia Woolf or Sylvia Plath. Yet there is a Newtonian balance of forces in Reina del Cid’s band: for every droll phrase or inventive image pushing the music toward the realm of the cerebral, there is a corresponding musical contribution from the richly talented Toni Lindgren. The young guitarist is adept at orchestrating and fleshing out the skeletons of del Cid’s songs into an engaging brand of pop rock, equal parts stratified and accessible. These lyrical and musical forces have never combined more compellingly than in the band’s sophomore album, The Cooling. [...] Del Cid, a naturally introverted bookworm, used this regular stage to lay down the blueprints for what would become her characteristic self-effacing stage banter. Flash forward two years to 2015’s The Cooling: the band is freshly emerged from the pressure cooker of more than 300 shows over two years both in their hometown and on national tours—tighter, bolder, and more sophisticated in style and form. Del Cid has blossomed into an authentic storyteller, a kaleidoscope of onstage charm. It is the kind of metamorphosis one might expect from all those nights of experimentation in front of live audiences. Reina del Cid is no longer the singer songwriter she was five years ago, shyly posting songs to the Internet from a college dorm. As the new album exhibits, she is the frontwoman of a band that knows its music and performs it with the passion that comes from having stretched boundaries, transformed together, and infused each song with the magic of a live show.
Sounds like: Julia Weldon, The Head and the Heart, Amy Cook
Living Hour was formed by childhood friends Gil Carroll and Alex Chochinov with a sound inspired by the dreamy and open prairie sky from their home town, Manitoba’s capital city, Winnipeg. The four-piece carries an influence from the Velvet Underground and Mazzy Star, blending a passion for psychedelic dream-like guitar with old school love songs. With a limited edition cassette released with American indie label, Tree Machine Records in April 2015 to extremely positive reviews, Living Hour embarked on a 29-date North American tour in fall 2015.
Sounds like: Tame Impala, Grizzly Bear, Warpaint
FRIDAY: Peter Wolf Crier
When Wars of 1812 took an extended hiatus in 2009, frontman Peter Pisano used the down time to start laying the brickwork for a new project. Keeping his day job as a private-school teacher, he dedicated his evenings to the composition of quirky, folksy pop songs. He also reached out to Brian Moen, a drummer and sound engineer whose previous groups included Amateur Love and Laarks. Together, the musicians formed Peter Wolf Crier, a Minneapolis-based duo that signed with Jagjaguwar before releasing 2010’s Inter-Be and 2011's Garden of Arms.
Sounds like: Megafaun, Yellow Ostrich, Pepper Rabbit
Rank Strangers are a rock band formed in 1990, and are based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They will be celebrating their 25th year of existence with a trio of albums:
- Lady President, released December 23, 2014, is Rank Strangers 9th full-length release and the first record of the trilogy.
- Ringtones, released in May 2015 and distributed by MVD Entertainment Group.
- The Box, the newest album released in the summer of 2015.
SUNDAY: Dear Rouge “Black To Gold Tour”
While bands often spend their early days discovering their musical directions and vying for visibility, the story of Vancouver’s Dear Rouge is something unique and almost unheard of in Canada. The band is led by husband and wife duo Drew and Danielle McTaggart. Between the two of them, they carry years of touring and recording with multiple bands and different musical ventures. It was these days of young exploration that led them to meeting. Both driven by a passion to create energetic music with a creative backbone, they formed Dear Rouge and their debut EP Heads Up Watch Out. Their follow up EP Kids Wanna Know helped hone their alternative dance-rock sound and also led to the duo winning the Peak Performance Project in 2012, the largest artist development project in Canada. Bolstered by their success and now financially equipped to delve further into their music, Dear Rouge got straight to work on their first full-length record. The record’s lead single “I Heard I Had” is a driving synth-rock jam, which shocked the entire Canadian music industry by steadily climbing the alternative and rock charts to the Top 5 - with no label or album backing it; a rare feat especially for a band that had no previous charting history.
Sounds like: PHASES, Genevieve, Royal Tongues
Blog by Gina Reis