Thursday, June 26, 2014

Album Review: Enemy Planes "Beta Lowdown" (pre-release) - Second Favorite album of the year 2013-2014

The hauntingly beautiful singing and enveloping atmospheric sound of this album stood out immediately for me when I was considering my favorite albums for the last year.  Though the first pick for my favorite local album in the last year was clinched by the upbeat message of the under-appreciated sophomore EP released by the band Moving Parts, my second pick goes in basically the opposite direction.  The message is darker and embodies the nihilistic love lost frustrations of an older generation.

I got a copy of Enemy Planes' forthcoming release "Beta Lowdown" when they gave a few out at a "Monastery" house party a few months back.   Though it is not even technically out yet, it easily takes second place among my favorite local albums in the year since I started my blog.  This album stands out for me based on the sheer musicality of the sound and the dynamic flow of the album as a whole.  It's cynical and jaded lyrics are juxtaposed against intensely perfected rhythmic shifts and soaring electronic sounds that remind me of the orchestrations I love by bands like Radiohead and M83.  It's ethereal melodies will overwhelm your senses leaving the empty you decaying away into a void, replaced by a shade looking down from above at your former self falling away.

I know it's not fair to say this is one of my favorite albums, since the general public can't get it yet, but you'll just have to wait in anticipation as these guys build momentum to become one of the next big bands out of Minnesota.  They are set to release the album next January 2015.

In addition to the quality of their studio recordings, this band has the adult perspective towards playing music that comes from members of the band working for years on the other side of the stage at venues like Cause Spirit and Soundbar in Minneapolis.  Likewise, this group's live shows at house parties and small local venues have been just as musically intense as their well crafted studio versions.  These guys thoroughly deserve to be acknowledge for their incredible musical talent and professionalism.

So far they have released two official music videos to Youtube.

With more than 11,000 views since it was released, "We Want Blood" will give you a glimpse into the dreamlike melancholy frustration that flows freely in this album.

The song "We Want Blood" is also available for purchase on Bandcamp for $1

Their second music video "Bare Your Teeth" is currently at 2,000 views since it's release a couple months ago.

If you want a brief introduction to more of the songs from the album you can find it on their Soundcloud profile here.

You can also follow them on twitter to stay informed about upcoming shows, etc.

Want to get in on the action before they get big?  Buy some merch!  These are the shirts I like the most, but they have more available through their full website here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Album Review: Moving Parts "Music From The Monastery" Favorite underfamous local Album of the Last Year 2013-14

From the very first words of their short sophomore EP to the soft accoustic finish of the last song, the music of this local band is upbeat happiness mixed with notes of the melancholy misunderstood.

I love the way you speak our language/
most disregard me as a strange kid/
but you find beauty in the strange/
I've made a point to do the same/
and I love it when you speak my language/

Moving Parts is a local band out of the Twin Cities of Minnesota including musicians transplanted from the likes of Iowa, Indiana, and South Dakota to this city of independent artists looking for their big break in the Midwest.

Each track has it's own special message that has resonated with me from the moment I first heard it.  It's truly easy to start "trippin on our ego", "getting locked up in your head" looking for that next big break.  Their wonderfully humble perspective is juxtaposed against the mundane selfish indulgence of our daily lives.  In addition to the quality of this album, they have consistently refined their live sound and energy on stage to fill their audience with the undeniable desire to dance away their worries and find the strength to abandon the selfish indulgences of our modern reality.  With light and airy guitar riffs mixed with perfectly placed keyboard flourishes and dancy rhythms, this brief album will leave you refreshed and introspective about the deep significance of the lyrics, which will linger in your head to reinforce the positive messages hidden in it's passages.

We have walked for days, just to loose everything/
And I've been seeing things, nobody else has ever ever seen/
I feel like an empty shell, oh, the sea knows something but can't tell you...

Music From the Monastery is an album of upbeat positive music that should be on everyone's listening list.  Of all the albums by local musicians that have flown under the radar of the mainstream music interests in this big small town over the last year, the one that I think for sure deserves way more exposure than it has received is this beautifully succinct set of music.  I do not use these words lightly when I say that this album is my favorite of the last year.  There have been many other great albums from local underfamous artists like Danger Ron and The Spins, Enemy Planes, Dead Larry, The Jelly Project, The Lone Crows, Turn Back Now, the list goes on and on.  But, though many of those are fun to listen and dance to, this one struck me with it's truly substantive and positive message that has helped to reinforce my own desire to flourish in life.  The positively optimistic message of this album stands out over the others, which have sought different purposes for their self expression.  Each song in this album has a positive message that hides beneath the misunderstood reality of our modern day lives.

We're passively vicarious, I find that to be the scariest/
We live through a screen, through the eyes of another being/
Well, I know, yes I know, that we don't know, na we don't know a thing/
They like to think they know a little something, about everything/
Well you can tell us we're the reason/
I'm gonna have to disagree/
Oh, You just keep your composure/
keep living passively...

I know it may seem like I am trippin on my own ego, since I now live with these guys at the monastery(house).  However, it was precisely that possitive mentality and desire to attain meaning in life that drew me to live with them in the first place.  Besides, these guys haven't been, and that's why they are still an unknown.  But they deserve more.  Not only do all of the songs of Music From the Monastery have a fun, upbeat, and lively sound, they also each hold a message of constructive thinking and hopefulness that fills me with intrigue and thoughtful circumspection each time I hear them.  It's five songs are a brief interlude into the mundane daily frustrations we encounter.

We'll celebrate in your memory/
well be dancing at the revelry/
I hope we live until were 93/

It's not about the bad times anymore/
its bout what the future has in store/
there's bound to be so much more...

Find the full album on Bandcamp

Also Check out their Music Video for the song "The Free People"

Finally, come See them July 24th with two other impressive local bands Chalk and So Big at The Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis, MN.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The plentiful events today 5-22-14

I've been working on a business card design for my blog today.  Planning on making it a sticker too.  You may start seeing something like this around to expand my audience through advertising.  

The radiant weather we have been having lately has been forecast to continue through this whole Memorial Day weekend!  To accompany the beautiful weather, there are a healthy plenty of events this weekend starting with today.  It's going to be a fantastic weekend of beautiful weather and high spirits.  The university and college students have finished the spring semester and everyone is ready to spend exorbitant amounts of time outside in the sun.  Please remember to wear sun screen and keep track of how long you have been out in the sun.  It would be a shame to spend the rest of the weekend miserable when hit by the sun's warming rays because proper precautions was not taken early on.

As I mentioned earlier, there are some much anticipated shows this evening:

First of all, The Kitty Cat Klub will play host tonight for MinneCon II.  It will be a rowdy night of entertaining local music by Turn Back Now, MeMeMe, Thee Evil Creatures, and Devil Baby.  This will also be the much anticipated release of Colby Swanson's first comic book for the band Turn Back Now.  This is a FREE 21+ event.  This will also be the first show Thee Evil Creatures have played since taking a six month hiatus to get prepared for performances with their new female lead vocalist.

"For the past six + years Turn Back Now has been piecing together a seven part story we call Welcome to Free America. On May 22nd we celebrate the release of Issue # 001 And Your Coat Like A Cathedral On A Park Bench By the River, the first issue of Volume 1: Gumbo Friction. Issue #001 introduces us to Simon, a young lover pondering the meaning of life on the edge of heartbreak."

If you miss the show you can also find the new comic book later at these fine establishments:

The Source 
Comic College 
Big Brain 
Hot Comics 
Extreme Noise 
Treehouse Records 
Uncle Sven's 

MinneCon II will also host several local graphic artists:

Colby Swanson (of TBN)

Mona L. Negasi 

Marci Lucht

Maxwell J. Singletary  

Jesse Barstad 

Kerri O'Halloran <

Courtney Reed



The Hexagon tonight will also play host to a FREE 21+ night of local music.  The bands will be The Alleles, Air Taiwan, and Fuzzy Machete.

If you are looking for something closer to uptown, then drop by Cause Spirit and Soundbar tonight for a 21+ show (probably ~$5 cover).  Royal Red Brigade, Leather Sweater, and Rebel City Rollers will be playing.

If the west bank is more your scene then head on over to Palmer's Bar to see Breed and Midnight Oaks.  Also 21+ since it's the friendly popular west bank dive bar where the liquor pours are strong and the music captivating. (Probably ~$5 cover)

Lastly, if you happen to be looking for something to do downtown instead then head on over to see the Kids Like Us album release party at 1st Avenue's 7th Street entry.   ($8 cover)

Though it is not actually a music event, I thought I would also point out that this weekend Gaia Democratic School will be putting on a multi-media performance at Intermedia Arts on Lyndale right near uptown.  The performances will be 7pm tonight through Sunday night (4 nights) with an additional 3pm Sunday Matinee performance.  Tickets available for $5-15 suggested donations.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Art-A-Whirl day 2 at 612 Brew

Today is the second day of Art-A-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis.  After a delicious brunch at The Colossal Cafe near our house, I headed off toward northeast to see the festivities.

Along the way I bumped into a few frends as the wanderlust was focused into a particular venue.  Having been there yesterday, and with a meal ticket courtesy of my friend Tristan from Hot Damn!, who didn't use his yesterday, it was decided the 612 Brew taphouse was once again the place to be.

Sure enough, I met a great many cool people in the crowds at the brewhouse.  It's local brews and local music drew a liesurely crowd to listen and relax.  As per usual, I brought my dancing energies to accompany the music, which was very well recieved.  It was a really fun space to dance with the bright sun beaming down and the accoustic beauty of the amphatheater accompanying our energy.

Soon enough, I got a few more of the crowd moving as their restless desire to dance finally overpowered the social awkwardness they felt as everyone else just stood or sat around absorbing the energies of the sun and the music instead of vibrating with it and resonating the energies.  None the less, the energies flowed wonderfuly as I danced along with the music of a local band that is new to me called False Teeth.  The energy level was still high and full of exuberance when I finally had to leave in the middle of Botzy's set in order to get ready for work.  All in all it was another fantastic experience.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Art-A-Whirl and the sun's halo

The time has just flown by!  May is now half over already.  Please forgive the impromptu hiatus of the last few weeks.  I landed a job doing Delivery driving for a delicious and authentic Chinese Restaurant in Dinkytown Minneapolis named Pagoda.  I have been busy brushing up on my chinese skills and working a ton to stow away some funds to make real breathing room in my finances.  This spring has been infused with powerful emotions tugging at the ebb and flow of the turbulent but sunny waters we are riding as the tide of a powerful swell brings us to the crest of a long awaited wave of creation and energy.

Today is Art-A-Whirl in Northeast Minneapolis.  I wish I had the time to see all that the area has to offer both in art galleries and live music at all the venues and spaces in the area, Like the event going on all day today at the Plex.  I did manage to make it out to see Hot Damn! Perform at the new 612 Brew taphouse in Northeast Minneapolis.  They have a very impressive amphitheater out the back end of the building right next to the walls for Broadway NE and Central Avenue NE.  The space has really impressive accoustics that threw the band at first since their amps needed to be turned down to accomodate the powerful accoustic ressonance of the area that overpowered the PA system.

Not only was it a fun show out in the sun, but when the clouds passed over the sky and dimmed the sun's beaming light for a moment I suddenly noticed a giant rainbow halo surounding the sun in the sky.  It was marvelous and apparently had been that way for quite some time already.  The sun's radiance brought warmth to the budding greenery that has so thuroughly enjoyed the wet and warm spring we've been having.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Farewell Transmission: a tribute album to Jason Molina released by Rock The Cause

It's always fun to run into people I haven't seen in a long time at a show.  Last night's Enemy Planes show at Cause was one of those nights.  The crowd was packed at Cause.  It was almost too small a venue for the crowd.  Soon it will be.  But, since they are intrinsically linked to Cause Spirits and Soundbar through at least one of them working as a bartender for the venue, it was a fitting place for their show.

Enemy Planes Facebook Cover art

Likewise, I would be remiss if I didn't find something new and interesting to show people at the show.  Between the great music and the high energy of the crowd, there was one such point that stood out to me.  Apparently Enemy Planes joined My Morning Jacket, Sarah Jaffe, and Others in covering songs by Jason Molina for an album now being released by Rock The Cause, a local non-profit record label.    Though I had never heard of Jason Molina, a quick Google search showed the tragic tale of an impressive musician with a fair number of releases under his belt struggling with the age old problem of alcohol abuse.  He died last year as a result of his vice.  This album fits with Rock The Cause's purpose with a message of appreciation for the artist's life and creativity.  Available now on iTunes for $11.99  It's an great mix of music in tribute to the late Jason Molina.  Thank you to Rock The Cause for their desire to support the local music scene and incorporate that into a cause worthy of recognition.

Thanks again to Enemy Planes, Back Pocket Hymnal, Puff Puff, and Mississippi North for putting on an incredible show last night.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Enemy Planes and other local music shows this week

As I have said before, this winter in Minnesota was tiresome.  The local musicians I love here are the traction that keeps my feet firmly planted in this harsh climate.  Since I have not been writing regularly about the music scene  this winter, I should start by pointing out one of the most impressive local bands I've encountered in recent months.  The band Enemy Planes has only been performing for a short time, but they have already released an incredible CD that became my anthem for the late winter months.  Their dreamy pulsating songs have been the soundtrack to my life since I first saw them at a house party in February.
The haunting melodies of Enemy Planes remind me occasionally of the affinity I have toward M83's album Hurry Up we're still dreaming.  

Definitely check them out.  They are very fun to see live.  In fact, they are playing at Cause Spirits and Sound Bar in uptown Minneapolis later today Saturday, April 12th, 2014.  They also will be playing at the Midwest Music Festival in Winona, MN, Saturday April, 26th.  Find out more about them and their music at

Enemy Planes was one of the bands who I've learned about through the Monastery House parties.  These parties have grown in scale and scope into impressive showcases of local musicians with a long list of bands eager to play.  These gatherings have even produced some music videos which have garnered attention from some mainstream music media.  Twice The City Pages has included videos shot in the basement of this house for their top 10 must see Minnesota music videos for the week.

Top 10 Must See Minnesota Music Videos featuring Moving Parts at The Monastery by Erik Thompson Thursday April 10th, 2014

Top 10 Must See Minnesota Music Videos featuring Phantom Tales at the monastery  by Erik Thompson Thursday March 27th, 2014

If your looking for some more local music to go to this weekend there are also a couple more shows besides Enemy Planes going on this weekend.

La Madness and Hot Damn! are playing tonight Saturday April 12th 2014 at Mayslacks in northeast Minneapolis, MN.

Also tonight, The Jelly project will be joining the  Nationally Touring Texas Hippie Coalition and The GooDBarS at POV's Sportsbar in Spring Lake Park, MN.

Since I'm pointing out local shows to go to, I should give you a few more for the upcoming week.  Next Thursday April 17th, 2014 Dream Crusher, Simon Calder band, Glow Mechanics, and DJ DT will be performing at the Kitty Cat Klub in the Dinkytown area by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN.

On Friday April 18th 2014 MeMeMe will be having their CD release party with Circle of Heat at Midtown Tavern in Mankato, MN.

I will conclude with the events scheduled for next Saturday, April 19th, 2014.  Next Saturday will be National Record Store Day, so Hymies Vintage Records will be having their annual block party.

The Electric Fetus in Minneapolis will also be having a Record Store Day celebration with live music.

In Saint Paul the newly opened Barely Brothers Records store will also be having music from The High Crimes.

Then later in the night there are a few Shows as well.  Three Nuns and  Gun and my friend Nathan Reeder will be playing for the Westbank Hullabaloo at Acadia with a litany of other musicians.

Two entertaining local indie rock bands Via and La Madness will be playing at The Parkway Theater in Minneapolis, MN along with The Mayberry Riot and Dragich and the Trainwreck.

And, since the next day will be 4-20 Aitas, Perigrin Perspective, and  Vibes for the Tribes will be looking for positive vibes at the Driftwood Char Bar in South Minneapolis.