Moon & Pollution Debut Album “The Box Borealis”

 

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Moon Pollution is a collaboration between folk singer/songwriter Molly Dean and electronic producer/drummer Graham O’Brien.  Today they released their debut album “The Box Borealis” via F I X. One of the things I like best about local Minneapolis music is the willingness to participate in and creativity of collaborations, however unlikely.  The improbable synchronization of Dean’s whimsical and ringing vocals and O’Brien’s picturesque rhythms/beats creates an imaginative experience reminiscent of acts such as Poliça and Grimes.

Photo By: Carrie Thompson
Photo By: Carrie Thompson

The release show for “The Box Borealis” will be on January 31st at the Icehouse in Minneapolis with special guests DAMAGE CONTROLLER (Jeremy Ylvisaker/Martin Dosh/Michael Lewis). Get tickets here.

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Mikal Cronin Announces New Album “MCIII”

Mikal Cronin

Californian singer/songwriter Mikal Cronin recently announced the release of his 3rd studio album, following up “Mikal Cronin” and “MCII” with MCIII via Merge Records.  He has shared a track from the album titled “Made My Mind Up,” and stated that he arranged and played nearly all the instruments himself, no longer satisfied with the sound of “just one string player,” Cronin arranged parts for a full string quartet instead.

MCIII Track Listing:
1 Turn Around
2 Made My Mind Up
3 Say
4 Feel Like
5 I’ve Been Loved
6 Alone
7 Gold
8 Control
9 Ready
10 Different
11 Circle

Tour Dates:
02-21 Schaumburg, IL – Prairie Center for the Arts
04-22 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
04-24 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
04-25 Seattle, WA – The Tractor
05-01 Los Angeles, CA – Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock
05-05 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
05-28 Barcelona, Spain – Primavera Sound Festival
05-29 Nimes, France – This Is Not a Love Song Festival
05-31 Paris, France – La Maroquinerie
06-01 London, England – 100 Club
06-02 Brussels, Belgium – Le Botanique
06-05 Ravenna, Italy – Beaches Brew Festival
06-06 Athens, Greece – Plissken Festival
06-08 Berlin, Germany – Lido
06-09 Cologne, Germany – Gebäude 9
06-10 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Bitterzoet

Low City Premieres New Track

Brooklyn, NY’s Low City premiere another track from an ongoing series of singles today via Brooklyn Vegan. The brainchild of music producer Abe Seiferth (Yeasayer, RAC) and composer/musician Jeremy Turner, Low City also features guest performances by members of Dirty Projectors and Bon Iver.

Low City is a new collaboration between longtime friends and former bandmates Seiferth and Turner, aiming to combine the former’s electronic production background with the latter’s classical and film scoring expertise. The band’s lyrically and musically cinematic aesthetic is inspired by the retro-futurism of films like Blade Runner, Gattaca and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, to name a few. While Low City’s songs were written, performed and recorded by Seiferth and Turner, the duo were joined by several guest performers to flesh out its sound.

Turner is a film composer who recently wrote a piece for yMusic’s Balance Problems and a former cellist with the NY Metropolitan Opera who has also performed with artists such as Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, David Byrne, et al. Seiferth is a Brooklyn based producer currently working on the upcoming Yeasayer album, who has also worked with RAC, Reggie Watts, Bear in Heaven and many more. He also makes electronic music in the duo Tippy Toes with former Hercules and Love Affair member Morgan Wiley.

The recently released video for the track “Skyline”, directed by Lance Ferguson, is a stunning portrayal of a dystopian future mired in virtual/pharmaceutical reality:

Death Cab For Cutie Announces Minnesota Tour Date

Photo By: We Are The Rhoads
Photo By: We Are The Rhoads

Death Cab for Cutie has announced an array of activity surrounding the release of their much-anticipated eighth studio album, including the first leg of their upcoming North American headline tour, with a performance at Northrop Auditorium.  Special Guests will be The Antlers.  Tickets go on sale Friday January 30th at 12:00pm here.

death-cab-for-cutie-kintsugi

“KINTSUGI” arrives everywhere on March 31. The album is available for pre-order beginning tomorrow January 27 here. “KINTSUGI” – which follows 2011’s GRAMMY® Award-nominated “CODES AND KEYS” – is heralded by today’s release of the album’s first single, “Black Sun.”

New song with lyrics: Black Sun

Sufjan Steve Announces U.S Tour

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Folk superstar Sufjan Stevens has announced a rather large U.S Tour in support of his upcoming album “Carrie & Lowell.” The album will be released March 30 in Europe and March 31 in North America via Asthmatic Kitty.  The tour will begin April 10th in Philadelphia and will last all the way until June 10th ending in Seattle, WA (with a festival show set for September in England).

sufjan stevens

Trailer for the release of the new album:

Tour Dates:
04-10 Philadelphia, PA – Academy of Music
04-11 New York, NY – Beacon Theater
04-12 Hartford, CT – The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
04-14 Portland, ME – Merrill Auditorium
04-15 Albany, NY – The Palace Theater
04-16 Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Masonic Auditorium
04-17 Columbus, OH – Palace Theater
04-18 Indianapolis, IN – The Murat Theatre
04-20 St. Louis, MO – Peabody Opera House
04-21 Kansas City, MO – Midland Theater
04-22 Minneapolis, MN – Northrop Auditorium
04-23 Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater
04-24 Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
04-27 Detroit, MI – Masonic Temple
04-28 Grand Rapids, MI – Covenant Fine Arts Center
04-29 Toronto, Ontario – Massey Hall
04-30 Montreal, Quebec – Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier/Place Des Artes
05-01 Brooklyn, NY – Kings Theatre
05-04 Boston, MA – Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre
05-05 Washington, DC – DAR Constitution Hall
05-06 Richmond, VA – Altria Theater
05-07 Durham, NC – Durham Performing Arts Center
05-09 New Orleans, LA – Saenger Theatre
05-10 Dallas, TX – Majestic Theatre
05-11 Houston, TX – Jones Hall for the Performing Arts
05-12 Austin, TX – Bass Concert Hall
06-02 San Diego, CA – Copley Symphony Hall
06-03 Los Angeles, CA – Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
06-05 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
06-08 Portland, OR – Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
06-09 Vancouver, British Columbia – Orpheum Theatre
06-10 Seattle, WA – The Paramount Theatre
09-04-06 North Dorset England – End of the Road Festival

Milo Greene “Control” Album Review

Milo Greene – “Control”
milo greene control     MMB Rating: 6.8

After their debut 2012 self-titled release, Milo Greene, the fictitious booking agent/band name created by members  Robbie Arnett, Graham Fink, Marlana Sheetz, Andrew Heringer and Curtis Marrero developed what I would call a “cult” following, instantly gaining super-fans across the world who loved the innocence and charm of this new folk/indie rock group. With hits like “1957” and “Silent Way,” the quartet demonstrated each and ever members’ abilities as musicians and vocalists, altering vocal responsibilities on a track by track basis. After years of restless eagerness for more, the fans of the Los Angeles, CA based group were pleased to hear the announcement of “Control” their sophomore album which is set to be released on January 27th via Elektra Records.

Photo by: Cara Robbins
Photo by: Cara Robbins

Let me begin by stating that I am personally a huge fan of Milo Greene, and was swept up in their “cult” following after hearing “1957” for the first time.  That being said, “Control” is what I can only describe as a major mis-fire.  Admitted by the band, and obvious from the moment track #1 begins, this new album took the group in a different direction tonally.  Straying away from their indie/folk rock sound, “Control” explores a much more percussive, mysterious, and dance-based sound.

At the beginning of the album, “White Lies,” “On The Fence,” and “Save Yourself” all share very similar qualities, with them being quite upbeat and percussive in nature, reminiscent of a bad 1980’s dance song.  As expected, the vocals are shared between the usual four members and continue this partnership throughout the album.  Discouragingly, it took me until track #5 before I heard anything meaningful whatsoever.  While I have to appreciate the fact that the band was courageous enough to venture into new territory, it pains me to say that this “80’s dance” vibe prevalent throughout these first few tracks just isn’t the groups’ cup of tea, nor mine.

Much to my reprieve, “Heartless” deviates from the opening tracks, and shows glimpses of the “classic” Milo Greene, however still falling short.  With the well blended vocals being the only notable aspect, this track is still missing the charm that the group was able to convey in their debut album.  “Parents House” with its dark and ominous theme, simplistic percussion, and exchanging male/female vocals, somehow reminds me of The XX, almost to a T, something I never would have expected from this group.  Finishing the track with an electronic/synth postlude very Foster The People-esque (A group who’s sophomore album was also a huge let-down, and strangely enough produced by the same person as this album) Milo Greene once again fall short of confidently “owning” this new sound.

“Gramercy,” “Lie To Me,” and “Not Enough,” regrettably continue to fizzle out, failing to create anything memorable, notable, and ultimately are forgettable.  On a more interesting note, on “When It’s Done” the muffled guitar melody, upbeat pace, and the crisp male vocals are incredibly reminiscent of “The Killers,” yet another new sound for the group, and amounts to one of the highlights of the album.  Pleasantly ending things off are “Lonely Eyes” and “Royal Blue,” a track with a sort of island groove and rich lush harmonies, and a track returning to folk roots with the combination of Arnett, Fink, Sheets and Herringer’s vocals complimenting each other superbly, although unfortunately it is too little too late.

While continuing to demonstrate their capacity for seamlessly blending harmonies, exchanging call and response style vocals, and showing diversity/range with 4 vocalists, the new sonic direction taken by Milo Greene on “Control” simply isn’t their forte.  Although I don’t believe this album will cripple the bands’ future success, I strongly believe that a self-examination needs to be done, and a so called “return to classic Milo Greene” is going to be imperative to hold on to their original super-fans and to create a sincerely meaningful work of art.  The sweetness and charm in the face of darkness created on the band’s debut album remains something simply spectacular.

Pre-Order on iTunes l Milo Greene Website l Facebook l Twitter

2015 Tour Dates:
February, 10                           Santa Barbara, CA – SOhO
February, 11                           San Francisco, CA – The Independent
February, 13                           Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
February, 14                           Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl
February, 15                           Seattle, WA – Columbia City Theater
February, 19                           Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theater
February, 26                           Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room
February, 27                           Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
February, 28                           Kansas City, MO – the recordBar
March, 01                               St. Louis, MO – Blueberry Hill
March, 03                               Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
March, 04                               Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Café
March, 05                               Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
March, 07                               Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
March, 08                               Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
March, 10                               Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa
March, 11                               Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
March, 12                               New York NY – Bowery Ballroom
March, 13                               Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
March, 14                               Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
March, 15                               Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel

 

The Great Depression “In A Starry State” Album Review

The Great Depression – “In A Starry State”
the great depression     MMB Rating: 7.2

The Great Depression recorded their first LP in 1995 after being invited to quit their day jobs and spend a summer at the luxuriously isolated  Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. They continue to convene in Cannon Falls for long stretches of sonic exploration and revelry.

Over the years, they released three widely acclaimed recordings, ‘Unconscious Pilot’, ‘Preaching to the Fire’ and ‘Prefix EP’ via the infamous Fire Records of London.

Todd Casper spent ten years in Copenhagen writing music for Scandinavian film and television. He also wrote music for Tivoli Gardens (the music continues to play every day in the world famous park) as well as the background music for several Lars Von Trier interviews. In the fall of 2013, Casper and Sigmeth spent 3 months in Hollywood scoring the hip Amazon comedy series, BETAS.

After eight years apart, The Great Depression decided to pursue the muse again. The result was ‘In a Starry State,’ a Science Fiction romance that evokes a telepathic girl from a parallel universe named Psirene and finds the band on a search for lost Gnostic wisdom deep in the woods where the sky is alive and magic is afoot…

the great depression 1

“In A Starry State” is an album containing a plethora of distinctive sounds, and it seems as though no two tracks sound alike. While some tracks are somewhat contrasting of the others, in terms of musical style, the band manages to maintain a general ambiance, consistently drawing upon the distant, dark, and mysterious theme as suggested in the album title. Typically I don’t go through an album entirely track by track but it seems necessary in this situation.

“Hey Go Easy (Serpentina)” the album’s real opening track (although it is actually led off with “Discorporate Melody” a trippy, spacey, spoken word verse that, while fitting of the theme, I could definitely do without) leads off strong demonstrating right away the clear musical capabilities of the band’s veteran musicians.  The first highlight of the album however, occurs with track 3 “New Salem” a well-developed track that almost brings to mind bands such as M83, featuring an upbeat electronic/synth rhythm backed with reverberating shrill vocals creating the most “modern” feeling song throughout the whole album. “Visiting On Davenports” takes a drastic turn talking about bizarre things like “Jello Salad,” “Shredded Carrots,” and what sounds like a 1950’s recording in the background spelling out words and repeating phrases.  While the full harmonies stand as the track’s only positive note, this seems to be a statement that I just didn’t quite “get.” Around the next bend we have “Something Like Shame” which has elements of greatness.  The chorus, incorporating a deep piano line, off-beat echoing vocals, and a pleasant acoustic guitar melody is something legitimately memorable.

Next, the title track “In A Starry State” lives up to it’s billing as the album title evoking the theme of the project as a whole quite well.  Once again sounding broad and dreamy the title track emphasizes its lyrics which discuss finding beauty in current state of life. Skipping the 2nd trippy, spacey, spoken word verse “Discorporate Reprise,” we come to my personal favorite track of the album “Psirene.”   The band is able to generate truly remarkable composition here.  Instantly prompting me to think of the late Elliot Smith with its whispering yet piercing vocals and captivating groove, Psirene is a dark and mysterious masterpiece.

“Thirteen Bells” is as close as The Great Depression can come to a “pop-song.”  While I’m quite sure we won’t be hearing it on KDWB anytime soon, this remains a respectable showing from a group known for being rooted in spacey, dark, and exploring themes.  Versions yet to be seen from this group appear on “A Dreamy Brochure For Elsewhere” with a Shaun Mullen’s-eque “talking over music” (in his famous song lullaby) although staying true to form discussing everything space using words like “micro chasm,” “lunar,” and “starry realms,” as well as on “Phillip K Disco” which as suggested, contains many disco elements creating a sort of inter-galactic alien dance party with monotone repeating chants.  The band returns to earth closing with “Sophia And The Fool” a calm, slow-paced ballad once again presenting dreamy, whimsical and pleasant vocals.

Although holding tight to their experimental outer space themes, The Great Depression are able to exhibit moments of greatness on a vastly multi-sonic wavering album. Drawing comparisons to M83, Elliot Smith, and Shaun Mullins (3 artists I never thought would be mentioned in the same article) the band definitely displays their diversity and abilities as musicians, however the array of styles in the long run takes away slightly from the project as a whole. Having spent time away from music, this seems like a great foray back into creating music, and I look forward to seeing if they are able to capture what they did so well on a number of these tracks and continue to create music hopefully in a slightly more concise, clear-cut, and streamlined way.

Listen to the full album here:

The Great Depression Website l Facebook