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Porya Hatami - Shallow

Porya Hatami – Shallow

 

I’ve been listening a lot to Porya Hatami recently, and it has been a delightful experience. It all started with a bandcamp sale by the Flaming Pines label to celebrate their third anniversary – a different album was offered for free download every two days. That drew my attention to their wonderful Birds of a Feather 3″ CD series, and to the first in that series, The Black Woodpecker by Porya Hatami, and that led me to his impressive new CD on Tench, which I will review below. But first a few words about The Black Woodpecker, since that was the piece that tuned my ear to Hatami’s sounds.

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31

Mar

2014

Interview: Life in 24 Frames

By Craig McManus. Posted in Indie, Interviews, Rock | 1 Comment »

Bitter End

Life in 24 Frames is a Sacramento, California based band founded in 2008 by guitarist/lead vocalist Kris Adams.  Over the years the band has evolved into a 6 piece (Adams, Richie Smith – Guitar/Backing vocals, Andrew Bernhardt – Keyboard/Backing vocals,  Malory Wheeler – Organ/Backing vocals,  Jason Brown – Bass/Backing vocals, and Joe Strouth – Drums) and built a large local following via their brand of folk based indie rock.  Following the release their second full length album, Bitter End, on March 25, 2014, I chatted with Kris Adams via e-mail about storytelling through music, the difficulty of the label based music business, and Sacramento as a music town.

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Lucius in Minnesota Public Radio's UBS Forum

Lucius in Minnesota Public Radio’s UBS Forum

Indie pop band Lucius has been on a long tour in support of their debut album Wildewoman, which has brought them to the Twin Cities on a couple different occasions (if they perform near you…GO).  This trip through they are playing a sold out show at The Cedar this evening, but found time this afternoon to stop by The Current for an in studio performance in Minnesota Public Radio’s UBS Forum.  I was lucky enough to get to go and I brought my camera.  More photos are available on MiG’s Facebook page.

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23

Dec

2013

Top 23 of 2013: Stephen J Nereffid

By Stephen J. Nereffid. Posted in Classical | No Comments »

Yes, top 23: this was a very good year of classical releases for me, and it turns out that the number of albums I want to mention doesn’t correspond exactly with the number of fingers and toes I possess. To buck convention even further, I’m not going to rank the albums, aside from my favourite of the year. The usual provisos apply; the list is some distance away from being representative of the year’s classical releases as a whole.

littleprince#1. Petitgirard: The Little Prince
Laurent Petitgirard conducting
(Naxos)

A mysterious, sombre and beautiful ballet from 2010, based on the classic book. Petitgirard makes use of a choir and a handful of instrumentalists; if I describe the music as like a softer, French-accented Philip Glass, this doesn’t do it justice but at least might give you some idea of the sound-world.

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SONY DSC

There are only a few things in this world I love more than seeing live music.  I’ve actually kept a list of every artist I’ve ever seen (the first entry is for Dino), along with a grade for the performance and a few words about the show.  While I don’t get to as many shows as I’d like, I was able to see 48 different sets by 46 different artists in 2013.  So I thought I’d give a Top 5 live performances for this year.

Before getting into the Top 5, though, here are some other performances that I want to highlight:

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Any list implies criteria, but let’s eliminate some obvious candidates. This is not a list of the most original, or significant, or skilled, or successful releases of 2013. There is so much that I simply did not listen to that those kinds of judgments are out of reach (for me as for everyone else). Instead, I asked myself: if I were to be separated from my music for a month or two and could only keep 20 albums from my collection with me, all released in 2013, which would I choose? This approach keeps me from adding or skipping things because I somehow feel I ought to. Worthy or not in the ears of the world, this is what I liked most from this year’s releases. Listen in; who knows, you might like it too.

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2013 was another banner year for the Twin Cities music scene.  Prince introduced his new band, 3rdeyegirl, and started making more appearances than he had in the last few years (including a pajama party at Paisley Park), The Replacements (well, half The Replacements) reunited to record some music to raise money for former guitarist Slim Dunlap and to play some out-of-town festivals (we’re still waiting Westerberg and Stinson…as if you didn’t know), local O.G.s The Suburbs and Run Westy Run also reunited, Low played a 30 minute festival set consisting of a single drone, and Rhymesayers snagged Snoop Dogg for Soundset.  Oh, and on top of all that a ton of great new music was released by artists both new and old, with a ridiculous amount of that music being released by one local label that is absolutely killing it right now.

For my “Top 20 of 2013” list I limited myself to a single word or phrase about each album.  I think the technique worked in that context because each of the albums on the list already had thousands of words written about them.  When it comes to the top releases by Twin Cities artists, however, that isn’t necessarily the case.  Accordingly, while I’ll still be limiting the amount I write about each album, there will be more information than in the Top 20.  Of note, four of the albums in the Top 10, and several more honorable mentions, are available for free download.  So, if you’re at all interested in exploring the Twin Cities music scene circa 2013, get downloading!

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MiG jumps into the year end ‘Best of’ lists, with Craig McManus leading off with his Top 20 albums of the year:

In the past, I’ve always written a blurb about each album explaining it’s inclusion on my list.  Over the years of checking other people’s lists, however, I’ve noticed that I rarely read similar blurbs.  Instead I scroll through to see what made it, what I agree with, what I disagree with, and with what I am unfamiliar.  Then I move on to the next list.  As I highly doubt I’m alone in this technique, I’m going to dispense with the paragraph of explanation and instead simply note the word or phrase by which it is best encapsulated.  Think of it as a ‘Best of’ word association.  It’ll save me time, and perhaps someone will actually read it rather than skimming to the next image.

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Sometimes a song gets tangled in with life, and the threads twist together for a while. That happened to me a few months ago during a trip to Indonesia. As I walked around Jakarta and Surabaya, Robert Wyatt’s song “Catholic Architecture” (from his 1991 album Dondestan) kept nibbling at the edges of my mind, tugging my perceptions. It goes like this:

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11

Aug

2013

Happy Birthday Hip Hop!

By Craig McManus. Posted in Hip Hop, Rap | No Comments »

 

1520sedgwick_avenueOn August 11, 1973, a young man going by DJ Kool Herc hosted a “Back to School Jam” in the rec room of the above building in the Bronx.  That party is now recognized as the birth of hip hop.  That’s right, hip hop is 40.


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