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Synthetic Dance Music Volume 2 – Ninthwave Records

Author: Mary Scott August 15th, 2010

SDMVOL2 Synthetic Dance Music Volume 2   Ninthwave RecordsDisclaimer: anything I can or will say may be used against me in a court of law as I have a secret penchant for Synth Pop. I blame this largely on Information Society, the local act that went BANG! back when with “I Want To Know (What You’re Thinking)”. A Christmas 1990 gift, I had their album on cassette and listened to it so many times the tape snapped. Twenty years later, I couldn’t think of a better time to rediscover the genre, which has been given a helping hand by La Roux, who’s been working with one of the acts on the compilation. There are 25 songs in all and I wasn’t bored for a second (but please re-read
above disclaimer). Here’s why:

Local Electropunks POP INC kick it off with “Looking 4 The KLF”, given a “chill trance” treatment by German remix team Symphono. I’m pretty positive Bill Drummond and The KLF would approve. Next up is an Erasure-inspired number called “Sisters Of The Brotherhood” (by Sheffield, U.K.’s Chris Jay). The lyrics are puzzling, but infinitely catchy. Canadians Melody and Mezzo come in third with a Hi-NRG mix of “I Wanna Be Your Star”. Finding it familiar, a trip to Google turned up a version of the song on Dance Dance Revolution, which I had a wee bit too much fun playing at Convergence 2008. Yeah, I’m a geek.

Looking for the KLF by POP INC – Pure Trance Mix by Symphono by sdm2

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posted August 15th, 2010 at 11:47 am Reviews , , , ,

Paper Tongues at the Triple Rock Recap

Author: Skelly August 2nd, 2010

Aswan North Paper Tongues at the Triple Rock RecapThe Paper Tongues are the real deal – a perfect blend of attitude, melody, love of show, and love of fan.  Seeing them on June 19 was a sort of breath of fresh air after seeing Montreal’s Wolf Parade the night before at First Avenue.  Wolf Parade is one of my favorite bands of the last five or so years, but I laid my disappointments to bear in an article a week and a half ago.

What was it about Paper Tongues then that caused such sweet refreshment?  In short, it was all about the show; the energy, the messages, the air of genuineness, and the mutual satisfaction that occurred between a band and its fans.  Paper Tongues may have only drawn 100 – 150 fans out to the Triple Rock, but every one of those fans were fist pumping, jazz handing, vocal projecting believers in a young band whose flirting with stardom only began several months ago.  Perhaps part of the reason for this belief resides in the hopeful messages of their songs like “Trinity,” a remarkable pop tune that ought to be heard synched left and right in the upcoming Fall season of network television.  It’s one of the few songs I’ve heard in quite some time that truly seems to own a little something for everyone!

But here’s the real personal factor that reveals the power of this band to storm the future with an unrelenting potential.  The Paper Tongues made me want to step forward and be part of their adoring crowd that evening, but perhaps for too long I’ve been too enmeshed in that indie crowd so described at the Wolf Parade show.  My resolution ought to be to step forward and return to a decade ago when I still valued that place against the railing front and center of stage.  I think I could do that at a Paper Tongues show and feel at home, and not in the least feel out of place.  Sure, most fans there that night were 5 – 10 years younger than me, but like I said, this band, like the song below, has a little something for everyone – and that includes you (and me)!

“Trinity” Video by: Paper Tongues

0 Paper Tongues at the Triple Rock Recap

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posted August 2nd, 2010 at 1:55 pm Reviews

A Hard Edge Meets a Soft Core: The Burning Hotels

Author: Schwaz July 29th, 2010

Burning Hotels Drum 402 x 600 A Hard Edge Meets a Soft Core: The Burning HotelsHaving enjoyed the success of their debut album, “Novels”, the impressive new band The Burning Hotels recently took the stage at Sauce.  The dark-clad, masculine foursome proved true to the nature of their name with the intensity of their set.

Band members Chance Morgan, Matt Mooty, Marley Whistler, Wyatt Adams may indeed be All-American Texas boys, but their musical style indicates influences from far and distant places. With their heavy bass guitar and epic powerful vocals they struck the audience with a post-punk meets 1970’s enthusiasm, that literally left the crowd transfixed. Chance Morgan’s scratching and haunting vocals brings to mind memories of Muse’s early successes,  with a wistfulness easily associated with Coldplay.

Their solid, hard rock sound is chillingly reminiscent to that of Interpol, and the overall experience of The Burning Hotels can be compared to a complex combination between a hard metallic edge and a soft core. The band presented a dynamic interplay between opposing music styles, alongside two guitarists sharing vocals. This is the kind of band we want to continually see in Minnesota, but rarely do. Definitely worth checking out.

To Whom It May Concern – The Burning Hotels




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posted July 29th, 2010 at 1:13 pm Reviews

TCT Photography at the Dark Horse Tour

Author: Chuck July 26th, 2010

Editors Note – Back on May 24 Borangutan photographer Chuck Pittman had the opportunity to shoot the Dark Horse Tour at the Target Center, featuring Sick Puppies, Shinedown, Breaking Benjamin, and you might have guessed it, Nickelback. Things became a little lost in the shuffle, but we even a couple months later we think the images captured are worthy of the following reflection. In case you were wondering, Nickelback said “denied”!

Opening for Nickelback’s Dark Horse Tour 2010 were Sick Puppies, Shinedown, and Breaking Benjamin.  Sick Puppies got the show started with the first song on their newest CD, Tri Polar, “Street Fighter (War)”.  Switching gears they followed it with “Pitiful”, the most well known song off their first album, Dressed up as Life.  Bassist Emma Anzai was amazing and drummer Mark Goodwin rocked! Lead singer, Shimon Moore really showed his style when he dedicated the next song, “All The Same”, to all the ladies in the audience.

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posted July 26th, 2010 at 4:13 pm Reviews, TCT in the Cities , , ,

Wolf Parade at First Avenue 7/18/2010

Author: Skelly July 20th, 2010

Wolf Parade 450 x 338 Wolf Parade at First Avenue 7/18/2010

Several hundred people filed into First Avenue nightclub on Sunday night to see Wolf Parade, one of the greatest bands of the 2000’s that posterity may unwittingly all but forget.  Call it the curse of “indie,” – on top of the world at once, and then not even considered part of it the next.  Yet Wolf Parade is no ordinary indie band, and in fact, in a different time and in a different place I believe they could have commanded a true movement in pop culture, if only through their music and not their words.

Wolf Parade might have been the best band in the world Sunday night.  Lead singer and keys player Spencer Krug assumed front and center on First Avenue’s stage, wavy curly hair shading all but his face as he crouched over his keyboard, teetering one foot on his throne and effortlessly hammering out tunes that his fingers had walked countless times before.  Co-singer and guitarist Dan Boeckner donned his skinny jeans and tight brown boots like a true indie rocker, his eyes and visage oozing the attitude and culture of New York’s Lower East Side (is there a Montreal equivalent?).  The man couldn’t miss a beat, and he worked stage left as Wolf Parade’s seasoned bit of live grit while guitarist/keys player Dante DeCaro assumed a more reserved posturing opposite Boeckner.  Wolf Parade’s drummer Arlen Thompson was fluid in his play, and when the band sometimes sped up beyond what a song usually dictated, I wondered if just maybe it was deliberate – an effort to challenge the man whose sticks seemed to play by themselves.

Wolf Parade2 250 x 188 Wolf Parade at First Avenue 7/18/2010I could go on and on about how awesome Wolf Parade is and was, but these guys are one of the great young bands of the Millenium, and a point comes where a band is expected to be that good, and at that point, is it really necessary to describe what so many already know to be true?  Yet here is the conundrum:  how could a band like Wolf Parade, a band that sold well over 100,000 copies of their debut album Apologies to the Queen Mary (no small number for an indie band, mind you), only attract 400 – 500 people (by my estimate) to one of their shows in a metropolitan area of 3.2 million people?  Seemed light to me – as did the energy level of the crowd.  Yet this is what I have come to expect, and what many have probably come to expect of indie concerts.  Strong songs and strong musicianship combined with artists that are too cool to really engage their crowd, and an audience that is near catatonic.  I think the key is this – Wolf Parade played to their crowd as opposed to for them, a very fine but important distinction.

Nothing will change my mind about Wolf Parade being one of the greatest new bands of the last decade, but unless indie artists begin changing the way they engage their crowds, flavor of the week will continue to be the curse of indie.  I realize I’m not the first to lament this predicament (and I won’t be the last either), but unless we keep talking about it the concerts might soon dwindle away and the music along with it.  I don’t want that to happen.

Wolf Parade played a variety of songs off their previous two albums (Apologies to the Queen Mary and At Mount Zoomer) and their latest Expo 86.  Yet the band didn’t play my personal favorite, and so here it is for some small fulfillment.  Don’t be strangers for too long Wolf Parade, the Twin Cities would jump for you if you only asked!

Grounds For Divorce – Wolf Parade


Wolf ParadeWebsite / Myspace

posted July 20th, 2010 at 4:27 pm Reviews , ,

Big Fuckin Skull Says “Skulls Rule – OK”?

Author: Skelly July 15th, 2010

Skullsrule 1 Big Fuckin Skull Says Skulls Rule   OK?

Well, you might have guessed it by the title – this won’t be a PG post.  But that’s alright, because sometimes its worth breaking the cycle of clean fun in place of some profane education.  I must confess that Big Fuckin Skull has done something that I have been waiting about 18 months for, and that’s for a very “out-of-the-mainstream” band that clearly doesn’t fit the “indie” genre to overlook the douchebag facade of a website like this one and send me on some brassball freakin rock!  Indeed, I accept the notion that a feel-good website like Borangutan might be seen by some as douchy, or at the very least, less cool than other sites.  That’s alright though – a site can’t be everything to everyone, right?

So when I first cracked open the package containing Big Fuckin Skull’s Skulls Rule -OK? I had to laugh!  I mean c’mon, who trounces around wearing skull makeup and singing exclusively about skulls? (Alright, well, these guys sort of fit the description.)  And whose press kit is comprised of a single hand scribbled note that says “Please review our new CD”?  To all these things the answer is this – Big Fuckin Skull does!  And you know what, it’s exactly what I would expect.  If nothing else, these guys don’t pull any punches.  They may masquerade about in skull makeup and construct elaborate stories concerning Big Fuckin Skull lore, but when push comes to shove, they are a true punk band that subscribes to a true punk ethos.

Big Fuckin Skull 250 x 188 Big Fuckin Skull Says Skulls Rule   OK?Skulls Rule – Ok? is thirteen songs about skulls.  It’s also about a lot of strange things that surround post-mortem activities, I think, but still mostly about skulls.  In fact, every song title contains the word skull in it, like: “Skulls Night Out,” “Two Skulls Have Eye,” “A Skull Strangled Peter,” and my favorite, “Tin Skull Soldier.”  The lone exception is the slightly softer “The Ballad of Captain Bored Out Left Eye Socket,” which as you can see does not contain the word skull, but nonetheless has skull overtones.  Thank the Big Fuckin Skull it does, otherwise, something just wouldn’t feel right about the impending end of the world.

Now you might be thinking, “well, I’m not really into skulls, and how could I possibly relate to skull music”?  In all likelihood, this album won’t make you like skulls anymore than you already do, but there’s a good chance that if you fancy your inner punk rocker, then you may just find yourself liking Big Fuckin Skull a tad bit more by album’s end.  Bring on the music that reminds me of my long lost Black Flag, Misfits, and Husker Du – and bring on the Big Fuckin Skull, I say!

I haven’t seen these guys live yet, but the next chance will be on August 5 at Eclipse Records on University Avenue in St. Paul.  Mark your calendars and prepare for the coming. 😉

Tin Skull Soldier – Big Fuckin Skull

P.S. Thanks Big Fuckin Skull for sending us something we don’t often get!  Tell your friends, we want more of this!


Big Fuckin Skull – Website / Myspace / Get Some Music

posted July 15th, 2010 at 12:49 am MN Rock, Reviews, Uncategorized