Emptying the Stack: Some Local Albums We Missed in 2009
With so many local bands and artists in Minnesota, it can be difficult for a blogger (not to mention everyone else!) to keep up with everything coming around and past the bend. Throughout 2009 our digital music libraries have swelled with submissions from artists around world, and we owe a debt of gratitude to each for sharing their art with us. For many of these folks, we shared their music with Borangutan readers in the same fashion they shared it with us. Yet for others, we regrettably lost track of time and couldn’t get around to sharing theirs, and to these, we’ll renew efforts to push some things through in 2010.
But somewhere amongst the tumult of bulging email boxes, swelling computer folders, and overwhelming varieties of digital stimuli are the traditional, nicely packaged compact discs that, although they are a dying breed in an increasingly digitized music world, stand as a reminder that even today there is value found in the tangible. Below we’ve selected a number of albums that were presented to us in hard copy form either by people at shows or through our mailing address. By recognizing the work of these artists and bands we keep true to the age old saying – better late than never.
John Snell the Tenth – Ignition To On Position
John Snell has been creating music and releasing albums for well over a decade, but until a chance encounter at the end of summer 2009 he had flown entirely under our radar. Ignition To On Position cultivates deep psychedelic roots and folk mentalities, influences that Snell is all but secretive about. Even his webpage proudly proclaims that “Great psychedelic music is still being written today, it was just hard to find until now.” We couldn’t agree more! A listen to Ignition To On Position will not only introduce you to Snell’s personal brand of psychedelia for the 21st century, but also his quirky approach to modern day subject matter. Songs like “What’s On Snellevision?” showcase Snell’s comfort in flirting with the absurd, while contrasting tunes like “Song On Global Climate Change” display no reservations about delving into a deep dialogue with a listener.
“Song On Global Climate Change” by: John Snell the Tenth
Zombie Season – Life Is Tragic
Were Zombie Season a Brooklyn Band, some might dub them art rock (well, some might do that anyway), but in Minneapolis they’re the post punk sounding band that people understandably wait to see live on Halloween. Zombie Season is a dark sojourn through gothic castles and… academia? No kidding, this band packs a lo-fi fill for all you bleeding heart Joy Division fans out there, and for professional students like me, visiting older Zombie Season albums will introduce you to tunes like “Journalist Has A Crisis” and “Film Students.” Have you any experience with this content? If not (or if so), nevertheless hop on the Zombie Season death cart, and download mp3’s for free at mediafire.com/zombieseasonmusic. You’ll thank yourself next October.
“Dracula Dream” by: Zombie Season
Zombie Season – Myspace
Kill To Kill – Fighter
Kill To Kill is a band after our own hearts. Plugging in is akin to the gloves coming off, and the band’s live show rocks as hard as any other in the Twin Cities. Fighter is Kill To Kill’s first release onTwin Cities record label Guilt Ridden Pop, and instead of idling forward when the light turns green, the album peels out. Eight songs at just 22:41, this album is the perfect solution for transgressing boredom as you drive from one side of the cities to the other (we’ve tried). If the pure energy of the album isn’t enough to ignite your tastes, no worries - Fighter packs some precious hit take-alongs for your trip. Not least of which is “Radical Flyer,” the first single off the album. You better turn your speakers up for this one.
“Radical Flyer” by: Kill To Kill
Ada Jane – Again… Again
Again… Again is in many ways a classic Minnesota album molded from the same folk rock pastes from which mainstays Gary Louris and Martin Zeller drew their inspiration. While the music might find comfortable accommodations within any of the many Twin Cities bars and clubs, the real home for this music is found traversing the gently breezed Eastern Plains of Minnesota en route to a camping trip somewhere near Ely. We Minnesotans need at least one album like Again… Again every year, if for nothing else than to remind us how good we have it, both in our country and in our musicians. Matt Marka of Ada Jane has given us something we can call our own in Minnesota, again and again.
“Sunday’s Best” by: Ada Jane
Falcon Arrow – Cryptoscience & Hard Times
Cryptoscience & Hard Times is the second of two EP’s released in 2009 by local two-piece instrumental outfit Falcon Arrow. The instrumental rock community in the Twin Cities is less spoken of than others, but as digital music and experimentation has increased, so too has the number of these bands playing out in our local clubs. Within Falcon Arrow’s music the melody emphasis shifts from that of vocalization to bass lines and loops. Growing up, instrumental music might have seemed the providence of stuffy elevators and dental offices, but today bands like Falcon Arrow are making records fit for your video game overtures. Turn that television volume down, pop in your favorite Wii, Xbox, or Playstation game, and prepare to rock. Cryptoscience & Hard Times can push your first person shooter without the distraction of lyrics, and incidentally, the album isn’t a bad background soundtrack for your next house party either. Below is “Vectroid,” a song that Stanley Kubrick might have incorporated into a certain cult classic many years ago.
“Vectroid” by: Falcon Arrow