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Music News Archives – Borangutan

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Lady Gaga, Lolly Pop, and Fashion Piracy

Author: Skelly August 26th, 2010

00Gaga2010 Lady Gaga, Lolly Pop, and Fashion Piracy

Did you know Semi Precious Weapons are coming to Xcel Energy Center on August 30 & 31?  Did you know Lady Gaga will be with them?  Yeah, you probably did.  It was nice of those guys to let her hitch a ride on tour with them.  They’re a great band, and did you know Semi Precious Weapons had an inspirational role in the creation of Borangutan back in 2008 when they played a Tuesday evening show at the 7th Street Entry?  No kidding.  They’re just one of a few connections I have to Lady Gaga – not personal connections, mind you, but experiential ones.

With Lady Gaga coming to town next week it seems like a good time to lay bare another experiential connection I have to the Fame Monster.  That connection is local POP INC artist Brooke Aldridge who I’ve been acquainted with for many years and who possesses distinct Gaga connections of her own.  What does Brooke Aldridge have to do with Lady Gaga?  The truth is – not much, but there is one important sticking point that makes her connection to Lady Gaga tragically unoriginal.  Brooke Aldridge (aka. Lolly Pop) is one of the many beneficiaries of Lady Gaga’s fashion piracy.

Glamorous Life – Lolly Pop

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posted August 26th, 2010 at 3:06 pm Music News , ,

Koo Koo Kanga Roo Releases Album Saturday at 7th Street Entry

Author: Chris V. July 23rd, 2010

koo1 192x300 Koo Koo Kanga Roo Releases Album Saturday at 7th Street EntryKoo Koo Kanga Roo once spent the night in my basement apartment. Contrary to popular belief, we didn’t play laser tag, overdose on orange soda, or assemble the couch cushions into a fort.

When I found them downstairs after returning from class one night, they were soberly composing songs—headphones on, a keyboard within striking distance, analyzing a synthesizer riff. The costumes were on hangers, the gold-emblazoned tennis shoes and choreographed dance steps were tucked away in knapsacks.

Take a tour of their comic-book website, hit up one of their shows (occasionally accompanied by a cake-eating contest), or listen to one of their songs about playing lava tag or saying their favorite alphabet letters, and you may get a different idea about the daffy rap duo’s diligence. For starters, the disclaimer that the band is “Beastie Boys Meets Raffi” may in fact be shooting a little highbrow: I would wager they’re more that guy who wrote the music to the Crossfire commercial guest-DJing for The Wiggles.

But here’s the catch: without you knowing it, Koo Koo Kanga Roo is amassing a quiet, all-ages empire.

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posted July 23rd, 2010 at 5:28 pm Concert Announcements, MN Rock, Music News , ,

Does the Twin Cities Music Media Suck?

Author: Skelly July 15th, 2010

journalism cobert 450 x 338 Does the Twin Cities Music Media Suck?

It seems everyone involved in the Twin Cities music scene has an opinion on how well paid journalists, freelance bloggers, photographers, and other music chroniclers do their jobs. Yet how well informed are these opinions? I’m not very well connected to music media people in these towns. In fact, I literally only know a couple outside my immediate circle. So I generally consider my opinion on the subject fairly ill-informed, in the sense that I don’t know what other music media people go through on a day-to-day basis that affects their on-the-job decision making. Why should anyone think we aren’t doing the best job we can?  That said, I have heard whispers of a secret “music mafia” in town. You know – sinister folk who do things like control the flow of information, plot movements in public opinion, and blacklist those would-be spoilers of the establishment.  Conspiratorially fun stuff.

I think a lot of people in the local music scene would agree that a discussion about the content quality of the Twin Cities music media has been and is a proverbial elephant in the room. After all, what right minded artist would dare clamor too noisily or attempt to bite the hands that feed? The answer might be an artist that really no longer has much (or anything) to lose, and Ari Herstand has been doing just this on his tumblr blog for the last couple weeks or so pending his relocation to L.A.  What Herstand has written is extensive relative to the amount of published opinion available out there on the subject, and here are several general concerns he’s voiced:

  • I find so many more conversations turn negative; many MANY local reviews are very negative and there has become a strict division between what is ‘cool’ and not- according to the ‘scene.’ The scene is no longer defined by the amazing talent, but by the bloggers, The Current, the new (young) music reviewers and the hipsters who love to hate.
  • Why must you (music media people and ‘haters’) hate on the scene you are a part of? Why not be supportive of your local scene? Isn’t the hometown supposed to be the most supportive of their local bands? Isn’t the hometown supposed to build up the bands- not beat them down? Musicians get enough shit on the road that it’s nice to come back to the support and love of their hometown community.
  • Why not only write positive reviews of local bands and if you absolutely can’t find anything positive to say, then just ignore it?
  • I find most of these young, new “music” reviewers aren’t actually reviewing music. They are reviewing the culture surrounding music

Ari Herstand tumblr blog

I encourage everyone to go and read Herstand’s posts for context prior to commenting.  It might be convenient to discard Herstand as a jaded artist fleeing the cities with a chip on his shoulder, but I do caution against this assumption.  From what experience I have gained through talking to others in the scene, there is some real substance to what he’s saying.  He’s not alone, and I find it disconcerting – especially since I am, in this sense, part of a perceived problem.

So here are some questions I have for artists and fans alike that are out there in the bars and clubs every night and reading papers or websites every morning.

  1. Does the Twin Cities music media suck?
  2. If so, in what way, and compared to what?
  3. And,

  4. Lastly, how would you recommend we (music media people) do a better job, understanding, of course, that not all of us are afforded the opportunity to do this 40 hours a week for a paycheck. (I, in truth, have never made a cent doing this and most other bloggers never have either)

So there it is, the elephant is free to go lumbering forth, and just how far it travels is up to you. I also welcome stories below on how (in your opinion) the scene has or has not changed. Stories always make for good reading. icon wink Does the Twin Cities Music Media Suck?

posted July 15th, 2010 at 3:12 pm MN Rock, Music News ,

Sparkydog & Friends – People of the World

Author: Skelly June 30th, 2010

sdf 450 x 450 Sparkydog & Friends   People of the WorldHave you heard of Sparkydog & Friends?  Unless you’re from Fort Lauderdale, FL, chances are your answer is “no.”  That was my answer too; but now that I’ve made their acquaintance, I won’t soon forget them!  Sparkydog & Friends is an ambitious little project that may just outgrow their britches, and they seem to have the vision and drive to make it happen.

In addition to writing strong songs, the group has teamed up with UK producer Mick Glossop (PiL, Van Morrison, Frank Zappa, et al.) and artistic wizards WETA Workshop (Avatar, Lord of the Rings) to put together what seems to be an impending masterpiece.  Sound exciting?  We’re going to keep a close eye on this one, and you should too.  For now the band has only released a two song disc leading up to a full LP that will presumably appear sometime later this year.

“People of the World” by: Sparkydog & Friends

Links

Sparkydog & Friends – Website / Facebook / iTunes

posted June 30th, 2010 at 12:43 pm Music News

Fjord Rowboat “Cottonwood Glacier”

Author: Skelly June 15th, 2010

FjordRowboat UnderCoverOfBrightness 250 x 224 Fjord Rowboat Cottonwood GlacierIn the constant mania that is my life of searching for all things local-rock-and-roll-cool, I often overlook stuff tossed at me from abroad.  But an album called Under Cover of Brightness was just dropped today from a little band out of Toronto, Canada named Fjord Rowboat.  Hmm… yes, I know – a name that evokes the oft heard “that’s different” from a Minnesotan.  Are you a sucker for Echo and the Bunnymen?  Then you may just dig these guys like I do, especially a tune known as “Cottonwood Glacier.”

Ah, you’re stricken with anticipation aren’t you? icon wink Fjord Rowboat Cottonwood Glacier

“Cottonwood Glacier” by: Fjord Rowboat

Links

Fjord Rowboat – Website / Myspace

posted June 15th, 2010 at 6:34 pm Music News

The Envy Corps Talks Iowa Super Groups, “Screen Test”

Author: Chris V. May 20th, 2010

Envy Corps 12 682x1024 The Envy Corps Talks Iowa Super Groups, Screen Test

The Envy Corps headlines Friday at the 400 Bar with It’s true and Textonka (8 p.m. doors, $8, 18+).

I prepare the traditional set of questions for my interview with Luke Pettipoole of Des Moines’ The Envy Corps: influences, stories from the road, personal demons, etc.

But when I catch a video on the band’s Facebook page in which lead-singer/songwriter Pettipoole and his bandmates taste-test corndogs and funnel cakes at the Iowa State Fair using a rating system of “buttered Shawn Johnsons,” (i.e. Olympic gymnast from West Des Moines), I opt for the off-grid questions.

“So, who’s in your Iowa super group?”

There’s a pause on his end of the line, he debates the parameters (does The Killers’ guitarist and Pella-native David Keuning count?), an obligatory mention of his “own band” is made, and then he goes for the deep ball: “I’d love to have Joey Jordison…”

Background: Jordison is co-founder/drummer for Des Moines-based Slipknot and the guy who drums while wearing a hockey mask the color of turkey grizzle. My instinct is to localize Slipknot and their macabre scene mostly to junior high locker rooms circa 1999. But, Pettipoole makes it sound like the death metal renaissance had at least a good year or two of sustained fury and hell across the shelterbelts of Iowa.

“I was really into Norweigan Black Metal back then—mostly to annoy my parents.”

Pettipoole’s musical taste has evolved. A couple winters ago in Omaha he was burrowing through thrift stores when he found an old Hammond organ for $25. He plugged in the organ at practice and started messing with the accordion-like pushbutton chords. The rest of the band picked up and the Ouija-board like result was “Screen Test,” the electro-buzz-rock anthem that the Current rightfully kept playing last fall.

“Screen Test” by The Envy Corps

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posted May 20th, 2010 at 2:43 pm Concert Announcements, Interviews, Music News, Uncategorized ,