Jul 23

Slow Magic – “Hold Still” [Single]

SM_HowToRunAway_CoverArt

How To Run Away (album art)

Hold Still

Last October, Slow Magic came through Minneapolis in support of Gold Panda. According to guest writer Stephen Gosala, he “stole the show.”  Since then Slow Magic signed to Downtown Records, and he recently shared a new single entitled “Girls.” On September 9th, Slow Magic plans to release his new album, How To Run Away. The follow-up to 2012′s critically acclaimed “” album reflects uncharted growth and is oozing both with otherworldly beauty and a mastery of production.

Yesterday Slow Magic released “Hold Still,” the second single off his forthcoming album. The track utilizes dreamy organs and jazz piano culminating in an emotionally charged finale. “Hold Still” is a natural release for Slow Magic after the more dance centric “Girls.” I look forward to How To Run Away‘s release, and can only imagine the success of the album as a whole.

Slow Magic will be playing Minneapolis Sunday, October 5th @ 7th Street Entry (TICKETS)

 

 

“Slow Magic is music by your imaginary friend.”

Pre-order How To Run Away via iTunes

 

Article by Alex Stahlmann

Album art and “Hold Still” compliments of Slow Magic

 

Jul 22

Flaming Lips @ The Hub 7/16/14

Flips Dichotomy 

The Flaming Lips are one of my favorite bands because they combine so many of my favorite aspects of music, props, and performance art – specifically psychedelic rock, glitter, rainbows, giant inflatable animals, and gallons of confetti. When I slept through their show at Bonnaroo I could have kicked myself, but it turned out that it wouldn’t be my last chance to see the Flaming Lips this year. Their tour covered plenty more stops including Minneapolis and Fargo, ND.  Now, I don’t usually have a lot of reasons to travel to North Dakota, but having met several new friends from Fargo at a music festival recently, combined with The Flaming Lips stopping at The Hub in downtown Fargo, I knew I needed to make the journey! I was very excited to check out a new venue and to introduce my boyfriend to the wonder that is a Flaming Lips show!

me and wayneWhen we arrived at The Hub, the façade reminded me of an old roller skating rink. I immediately thought this to be delightful and figured the inside would have some great character as well. Before we went inside though we noticed two tour buses on the left side of the building. In front of the bus and behind a fence was none other than Wayne Coyne. The front man of TFL! What I noticed next was no surprise – he was doing something crazy/awesome/weird – having an assistant glue giant colorful pom poms to his crotch. So naturally I asked if I could take a photo. He obliged. I was star struck, so unfortunately our conversation didn’t last long! After a few photos we went inside.

Upon entering the building one thing became clear – it was an all ages show and alcohol was only served upstairs. I insisted to my boyfriend and friends that we must be on the floor for this show – how else would we get a good view of the inflatables, get doused with all the confetti, or have a chance to touch the giant hamster ball that Wayne crowd surfs with?! They agreed with me, so we had a couple drinks upstairs while the opening act, Morgan Delt, played before heading downstairs during the set break. I decided that the inside of The Hub was pretty nice, albeit small. I had no problem with the venue being small, but I was worried that it was going to be packed. Fortunately, it never got packed, and we got pretty close to the stage – which made me very happy!

Having seen TFL play twice before, I had some expectations. Both of the previous shows I had seen involved a pretty epic intro, but this time the band members just casually walked out on stage to begin.  I found that to be pretty disappointing because the intro had been one of my favorite parts of their shows in the past. In previous shows a track would play, exciting visuals would come on screen – I think I remember brightly contrasting nude silhouettes of ladies running and dancing around on screen, followed by one of them laying down, legs spread apart and a door opening from where her vagina would be. The band members would then walk of said vagina one at a time by way of the door in the video screen. The other show I went to featured an eyeball instead of lady parts – with TFL walking out of a door in the pupil.

the flaming lipsIntro aside, there were many aspects of the show that impressed me. They played a few of my favorite songs – “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1,” “She Don’t Use Jelly,” “Do you Realize?” and covered “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” I absolutely adore “Do you Realize?” and feel emotionally moved by it every time I hear it. The song “Look… The Sun is Rising” was paired with a visually stimulating stage performance. I hadn’t seen it performed in the past, and it really struck a chord. Wayne stood on top of an L.E.D. illuminated cube while cradling an infant doll and singing. The lyrics, at least to me, spoke about the fear of love and being brainwashed into making decisions about how to love. The stringy L.E.D. lights that hung from the ceiling of the stage alternated quickly between red and blue, Wayne held the baby and caressed its forehead, and the impression that I got about the performance as a whole was that it was to point out so many of the dichotomies that we observe in life. Some of which are very basic and some that are abstract. A few of the examples I thought of were: young/old, gentle/abrasive, red/blue, dark/light, love/fear(hate), free will/societal expectations, and independence/gov’t agendas… Maybe my brain was just searching for greater meaning in a superficial conglomerate of exciting visuals – but The Flaming Lips are great performers who got me thinking on a different level during their show, and I love that about them. I cherish the music they create, the theatrics of their stage presence, and I highly recommend you buy tickets the next time they are in town.

 

Article by Christy Berg

Photos by Christy Berg

 

Jul 18

Flaming Lips @ First Avenue 7/15/14

Why I Haven’t Given Up On The Flaming Lips

Right from the day of the announcement I had reservations about The Flaming Lips at First Avenue. In fact, as dumb as it now sounds, I had actually planned on not going. If any of you follow front man Wayne Coyne on any sort of social media, you may have thought the same thing as me; Wayne is being a mid-life crisis asshole and the entire band has fallen off their rockers what with the stuff they’ve been doing with Miley Cyrus and all. Those are the downfalls of putting yourself out there in this day and age. Any type of negative news will spread like wildfire, and more than likely be blown out of proportion.CameraZOOM-20140715234704434

There are many words that describe the Flaming Lips, but stagnant and cliché are not two of them. I believe there’s a tipping point at which a bands catalogue allows them free reign to do whatever they want without any backlash from fans and critics and the Flaming Lips have most certainly reached that point, though it took a while for me to come to terms with this. Our personal opinions of the “material” the Lips have been putting out recently is inconsequential, the real point is that they continuously dive deeper into that psychedelic rabbit hole – which is exactly what they’ve done.

I’m so thankful my home girl Mar Mar Superstar was determined to see them. It really didn’t take that much convincing to get me to change my mind and start scouring craigslist for tickets. And why not? These guys have been one of my favorite bands for a decade plus. Heck, I have them to thank for getting me to the little slice of heaven known as Bonnaroo for the very first time in 2010. Forgetting all else they’ve done in my personal life; I am deeply indebted to them just for that. The way I saw it, this show was either going to be a ‘farewell Lips’ show or a ‘double down, affirmation of why I’m a fan’ show. Turns out the F-lips are most definitely still legit.

First Avenue is the smallest venue the Lips have played in the Twin Cities since their last Mainroom show back in 1998. I thought it an interesting decision (and I have no idea who decided) to downsize the venue they booked at this point in their career. You don’t get to see this band play small venues all that often anymore, these days they prefer playing festivals, so a small show is rather special thing. Though they ‘scaled down’ their setup to accommodate the smaller stage it was still overflowing with musicians, light ropes, LED screens and even a giant moving rainbow. I’d venture to guess this was the most insane psychedelic spectacle that First Ave has ever seen in its entire existence.
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“The Abandoned Hospital Ship” was an interesting choice to start off the set. I’ve seen the Lips close to a dozen times and I’ve never seen Wayne hold an instrument that I could tell, with 100% irrefutable certainty, he was playing. This time he led with electric guitar as the rest of the band joined in a massive outpouring of sound while, in true Flaming Lips fashion, smoke and confetti billowed out from the stage for what seemed like minutes, encompassing everything. Being indoors where the wind couldn’t carry away the smoke and confetti just added to the awesomeness. What an absolutely spectacular way to start the show. I thought it to be impossible not to be overtaken with some amount of giddiness and joy; though judging by the faces and body language of the couple squashed up next to me, I guess I was wrong (though they seemed determined not to have any fun during the whole show; a sentiment not indicative of the rest of the crowd).CameraZOOM-20140715231516340

Wayne appeared to be having a gay old time decked out in a full body muscle suit. It didn’t take long for him to don a shiny silver cape, very similar to what Steven Drozd (guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter, vocalist, drummer) had on himself, whilst waving around more shiny silver stuff in the air. It took me a while to realize there were even shiny silver tassels dangling between his legs covering a would-be penis; a sight that I couldn’t help but giggle at. The rest of the band was focused intensely on their instruments leaving Wayne to deal with all front man duties.

I don’t envision many people could ask for a better setlist that they didn’t have a hand in selecting themselves. The 14 song set spanned multiple albums hitting three tracks from both classics The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Both Mar Mar Superstar and I were ecstatic that “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1″ was performed at regular speed! Over the last decade I may have seen that once, otherwise it’s always a slowed down sing along version that has Wayne shouting “Come on motherfuckers! Come on! You gotta sing this one!” multiple times throughout. The interruption this time, starting the first verse over because not enough people participated in the karate chop during “she’s a black belt in karate…..HEY! HEY!” was a welcome change. The rest of the song was nothing but pure bliss.CameraZOOM-20140715232709771 - Copy

The most unexpected selection of the evening had to be the “Golden Path” which is actually a Chemical Brothers song featuring the Flaming Lips. I have to assume the stagnation I observed in the crowd stemmed from unfamiliarity. I refuse to believe that Flaming Lips fans could just flat out not like that song. It was during this song I first realized that the band was adding extended jams to most of their tracks, sometimes going on an extra riff for minutes at a time. As a huge Chemical Brothers fan I have to say I could not have been happier.

As much as the extended jams brought new life to old songs, even more so could be said about the lighting setup. The stage and rafters were draped with white, spaghetti/dreadlock looking rope lights that produced more colors and patterns than you might originally think possible. Anything from ‘rain’ like effects to color bursts, to color worms moved back and forth through the tubes. Have you ever bought, or even looked at the price of, those ‘Icicle’ Christmas lights? Not cheap. Each strand of rope is like those icicle lights x1,000. I can only imagine the enormous price tag associated with that setup.

The epitome of the visual experience came during the song I like to call “Redblueredblueredblueredblue” otherwise known as “Look…the Sun is Rising.” It is a very trippy, droning track off The Terror that I didn’t think too much of before this show. It started with some of the lights, but as the track progressed, every single light producing item from the rafters to the ropes crawling off the side of the stage, lighting up in sync alternating 20140715_225109between red and blue. The visual effect was nearly disorienting by itself and when you mix it with the music the Lips did…well it made for one of the single most “what is going on?” tracks I’ve ever seen them perform.

The whole evening kept offering up pleasant surprises. Wayne switched things up by doing his infamous hamster ball crowd walk during “Vein of Stars” but this time he took a wireless microphone with him. He sang a verse in the middle of the crowd while standing on a box that had been sitting in the crowd the entire night. Steven (one of my all-time favorite drummers) even picked up the sticks for the first time I’ve seen and banged on some skins for (if I’m remembering correctly) “Race for the Prize.” Even Wayne’s declaration of acknowledgement that the Flaming Lips have the best fans of any band in the entire world felt more genuine and relevant than at past shows. There was nearly never a dull moment.

Overall the performance was one of the tightest I’ve seen from the Flaming Lips. With all the news, gossip, and allegations surrounding the band the last couple years, I was expecting them to be a bit sloppy, Wayne to be not cool, or the entire show to be less fu20140715_223348n in one way another. Turns out it was the exact opposite. The band was extremely cohesive with each member focusing intently on their own duties. Wayne was not nearly as preachy as he has been come to be known for. We even met him at the Depot later in the night and he was nothing but energetic and nice. The songs of the evening were reworked where they needed to be, parts added here and there to improve every one as well as give every member a part to play. The lighting was top notch and in perfect taste with the image the Lips like to portray. This was not only the best Flaming Lips show I’ve seen to date, but also the best thing I have ever seen inside of First Avenue. If you’ve never seen this band live, they are an absolute must see group. If you’re a fan whose confidence in the band is waning, I’m here to assure you, the Flaming Lips ARE off their rockers and I’ll be damned if they aren’t better than they’ve ever been.

Setlist
1. The Abandoned Hospital Ship
2. She Don’t Use Jelly
3. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1
4. In the Morning of the Magicians
5. Golden Path
6. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
7. Race for the Prize
8. Vein of Stars (ball walk)
9. Look the Sun is Rising
10. The W.A.N.D.
11. Try to Explain
12. A Spoonful Weighs a Ton
13. Do You Realize
14. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

 

Article by: Eric Severson

Photos by: Eric Severson

 

Jul 14

Nathan Miller & Unstoppable Co [Album]

TheseDevils

 

These Devils was concocted by Nathan Miller & Unstoppable Co. on a trip home after a long weekend of touring. Wondering if it would be possible to make a record completely independently, the three bandmates got to work recording in DJ Rickard’s (drums) apartment. According to Nathan (lead vocals / slide guitar), the experience “was hot, uncomfortable, and spontaneous… we loved every minute of that.”

Upon completion, These Devils is raw and uncut Blues – Nathan Miller & Unstoppable Co at their finest. With a little help from Sasha Mercedes (backup vocals) and Will Sawyer (design), Nathan, DJ, and Reuban Rodriguez (bass) more than achieved their vision. The only thing better than throwing this one on and having a listen is catching Nathan and Co. live. An incredible amount of soul charges their sets with emotion, making it next to impossible not to get sucked in. Also, don’t be surprised if the boys invite you to a drink or two as the night goes on – they come to have fun.

 

These Devils

Download These Devils Official Bootleg HERE. Compliments of Nathan Miller & Unstoppable Co.

 

Article by Alex Stahlmann

 

Past Coverage: Nathan Miller & Unstoppable Co. “Commit a Crime.”

 

Jul 11

E-Vibe [Local Spotlight]

 

evibe

Zachary Wiese, known as E-Vibe (short for Electronic Vibrations), started producing Electronic music as a side hobby almost 15 years ago. What was meant to be a pastime has become a driving focus. After four years of having his music up on Soundcloud, and without ever playing a single show, E-Vibe gained 1600 followers and over 35,000 plays. The buzz was enough to encourage Weise to address his talents professionally, and he decided to make a go of things in Minneapolis. Within less than a year after moving, E-Vibe’s Soundcloud plays have increased by over 20,000. The exposure led to his first EP, Woke 2 the Sun, released on Swedish record label Keep It: Records, the shooting of his first music video, as well as opening sets for Manic Focus and Minnesota.

When asked about his driving force E-Vibe stated, “My natural drive in life is to create something that I can watch other people enjoy. So, naturally music and DJing are right up my alley. Stepping on stage and seeing everyone move to something I created is the closest thing I can think of to mind control, and it’s beautiful. When I spend a long time working on a single song, and then I drop it at a live show, those three minutes make the past five months of work well worth it.”

E-Vibe will be performing at Bar Fly Presents “Chicago Meltdown” in Minneapolis this coming Thursday, July 17th.

 

meltdown

Check out brand new track, “Uprising,”

 

Also, keep an eye out for E-Vibe’s forthcoming clothing line.

 

Article by Alex Stahlmann

 

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