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Monday, October 27, 2003

How I Spent the first annual Wellstone World Music Day

There was so much going on Saturday for the first annual Paul and Sheila Wellstone World Music Day that my head was literally swimming while weighing my options. Music had started in some places as early as 10 a.m. and bars like Lee’s and the Turf Club both had all-star shows that kicked off in mid afternoon. In some cases it looked like this could have been called Paul and Sheila Wellstone Drink Too Much All Day Day. But how you chose to honor or not honor the one year anniversary of the Wellstones’ deaths is your business.

After Prairie Home Companion in the late afternoon (review forthcoming) I caught about 5 minutes of the action at Lee's Liquor Lounge before being overcome by claustrophobia in the huge crowd. So I left downtown and headed for the less-crowded Uptown bar.

Headlining at the Uptown were Minneapolis-based Iowa transplants Boy with Stick. BWS is a young band who met at Luther College in Decorah and moved to Minneapolis in 2002. They have a pleasing sound and an energetic stage show. Adamchrismichaelshawn, as they are apt to sign their emails, have a clear talent in their poppy sound that leads me to peg than as a kind of young Rex Daisy. With time to flower (no pun intended) there should be a new kick-ass member of the Minneapolis passion pop scene in not so long. The boy's are working on a full-length album with producer John Hermanson (Alva Star, Friends Like These) which should be out in the spring. In the meantime they have a few rough MP3's on their website at

Boy with Stick performed Saturday at the Uptown Bar

I talked to BWS guitarist/singer Adam Svec a bit after the show saying I wouldn't write a full review of Saturday’s show but that I would definitely let people know it's safe to go out and see these guys.

After a quick jaunt to the CC Club it was off to Pete Scholtes party. The keg was already gone by the time we arrived, but in the true Wellstone sprit of taking care of each other we all managed to find enough to drink somehow. (I found one bottle of Stella Artois that I shared out with 3 other people. A gin and tonic left on a utility sink hours before was remembered by another guest and whet the whistle of 4-5 more. And Mark Baumgarten former Lost Cause editor, who was in town for the weekend from Portland, pulled a bottle of Jameson seemingly out of nowhere giving us still another reason to canonize him as if there already weren’t enough.

Monday, October 20, 2003

The Lost Art of the Mix Tape

Maybe it was Glen Hansard of the Frames talking about making a mix tape years ago for a girl in Ireland he'd taken a fancy to (in hopes of getting a little snog, he said) that got me thinking about it. How long has it really been since I assembled a collection of music for someone else, or for myself for that matter?

Too long.

I'm sure more people are making mix CD's than tapes these days. A mix (whatever the media) puts songs in new contexts for you, enables you to share music with others in a far more personal way than Napster. Heaven forbid the RIAA attempt to crack down on mix makers who traffic in small quantities of copyrighted material.

Some months ago I promised to send a sampling of Minnesota Music to my friend Andrew Zincke in London. This past week I finally finished it and got it in the mail. The thing was, I enjoyed the final product so much that I can't stop listening to it myself and have even made a couple extra copies for friends. (I doubt the RIAA will come tearing after me with sirens blaring as most of the music on this CD is not only not from major label artists, as you will see, but artists which might actually be considered "unsigned.")

If anyone who's reading this has recently assembled any great mix tapes along any theme of note, I'd be interested in seeing a song listing.

Here's my mix, aptly titled "Look Ma, No Prince!"

1. Polara - Jet Pack Blues
2. The Soviettes - Bottom's Up Bottomed Out
3. Jonas - God Shagged the Queen
4. The Autumn Leaves - Maria's Hat (my current favorite song!)
5. Friends Like These - Heaven
6. The Beatifics - Sorry Yesterdays
7. Big Ditch Road - Not To Me
8. Luke's Angels - One Small Glimpse
9. Raven - Something's Not Right
10. Dan Israel - Overloaded
11. The Rake's - New Clown in Town
12. Ben Weaver - The Woodpecker Song
13. Work of Saws - The Pious Flats
14. Revolver Modele - Silhouettes
15. Astronaut Wife - Are You For Real?
16. Har Mar Superstar - Power Lunch
17. The Monarques - Who?
18. Mike Gunther - Redemption #4
19. The Replacements - The Ledge
20. The Jayhawks - Waiting for the Sun

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Jimi Hendrix doll available in time for Christmas

In celebration of what would have been Jimi Hendrix's 61st birthday on November 27th, 2003 you can buy the 6 inch tall Jimi Hendrix Action figure. The standard figure is expected to retail for $12-15, and the deluxe box for about $20.


Sunday, October 12, 2003

I sing on the new Elbow album!

Yours truly is credited with backing vocals on Elbow's 2003 V2 Release, Cast of Thousands

Anna Lee is in London again this week. She just can't seem to stay away. Though she's hanging in my favorite town on earth, she's still disappointed she'll be missing tonight's Joe Henry show at the Fine Line that I will be covering for howwastheshow. This will be Joe Henry's first appearance since he played "This Afternoon," the moody first track from his new album "Tiny Voices" on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Friday night. Opening for Henry at the Fine Line will be Minneapolis super group "The High Heels," featuring Bard Meier, Steve Price and Jerry Anderson.

From London, Anna Lee also writes in an email today: "I got your Elbow cd and yes, your name is certainly listed in it." Yea! I actually made the liner notes of Elbow's 2003 V2 release "Cast of Thousands" for the backing vocals I (and many others) lent to the song "Grace Under Pressure" at 2002's Glastonbury Festival. As the song ends, listen for me on the refrain, "We still believe in love, so fuck you!" I don't think I've belted out a repeated line like that with so much passion since I similarly screamed along with the Buzzcocks to the line, "There is no love in this world anymore!"

Don't believe me about my being on the CD yet? Open up the inside jacket, and you'll see my name to the left of the lyrics to "Fugitive Motel" right between the lines "From my room in my fugitive motel" and "Somewhere in the dust bowl," right by the crease in the CD jacket.

Monday, October 06, 2003

A few images from the Destijl/Freedom From Festival of Music

This weekend's Destijl/Freedom From Festival of Music sucked me in in ways I couldn't have imagined beforehand. Unfamiliar with the majority of the acts, I warmed to most of them immediately. Curiosity, and the fact that I felt like I'd miss something incredible if I left kept me at the Fine Line for longer than I'd planned on both Saturday and Sunday. Ultimately, I placed myself in the hands of serendipity, discovering what I discovered and leaving it at that. I came away with a better understanding of underground music than I had before. And one things is for sure: although some of what I heard this weekend might have been as close to noise as it was to music, it was some of the finest, most interesting and creative noise I've heard in some time.

Cheers to Clint Simonson and Matthew St-Germaine for staging this great festival again this year, and kudos to the Fine Line staff for their great job in playing host to this event.

Below are a few pictures I snapped at the festival.

Sadly, I missed Bridget St-John. If anyone has any photos, I'd love to see them.

Left to right: Jim O'Rourke, Chris Corsano, Thurston Moore (click for full size)

Paul Flaherty arrives and the trio becomes the 4 piece AKA the Chris Corsano/ Paul Flaherty /
Jim O'Rourke / Thurston Moore Aktion Unit (click for full size)

Erika Elder and Matthew Valentine as the Mvee Medicine Show

Chicago's Metalux

More Metalux

Milwaukee's Neon Hunk managed to be weird even within the context of an already weird collection of acts. (click for full size)

Another shot of Neon Hunk(click for full size)