BAILEN at the Entry – TICKETS
BAILEN’s gorgeous harmonies, striking arrangements and evocative songwriting springs from a very deep well. Growing up in NYC, the siblings, David, Daniel (twins!) and Julia Bailen were raised by their professional orchestral musician parents, and the young trio immersed themselves in a record collection that included Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell, Carole King and The Band.
Their amazing three-part harmonies have been compared to The Staves and Fleet Foxes, however, on their debut album, Thrilled To Be Here, BAILEN have created something all their own. Produced by GRAMMY-Award winner John Congleton (St. Vincent, Manchester Orchestra, The War on Drugs), BAILEN’s shiny gleam and meticulous songcraft combine with the group’s unusual self-awareness, musicality and bite.
Named one of Sofar Sounds’ Artists to Watch in 2018, BAILEN has toured or collaborated with The Lone Bellow, Amos Lee and Joseph, among many others. Modern, melodic and soulful, BAILEN is twisting pop music in new directions, an undeniable, and welcome new arrival.
Mike Krol at the Entry – TICKETS
Of all the breakups in Mike Krol’s songs, the most harrowing story is about his breakup with music. In 2015, coming off of his best record yet and the ensuing world tour, Krol found himself in the midst of a full-blown existential crisis. He’d invested everything to create the rock-and-roll life he’d always wanted, but he wasn’t sure the life wanted him back. Power Chords, Krol’s new Merge release, picks up where 2015’s Turkey left off. It traces Krol’s journey back to punk rock, harnessing both the guitar technique and the musical redemption referenced in its title. To rediscover the power in those chords, Krol recorded for two-plus years in three separate locations (Nashville, Los Angeles, and Krol’s native Wisconsin).
The record opens in a howling maelstrom of feedback: welcome to Krol’s crucible. After a stage-setting spoken-word intro (“I used to never understand the blues, until the night I met you. And every day since, I’ve gotten better at guitar”), we find ourselves back in familiar Krol territory—aggressive and assertive, scratchy and raw, catchy as hell—but something has changed. The sounds have a new density—and so do the stories. Krol’s lyrics have always walked a fine line between self-acceptance and self-destruction, but throughout Power Chords, they reveal a new sense of self-awareness. “Without a little drama I grow bored and sick of all my days,” he sings on “Little Drama,” and it’s just one revelatory moment on a record full of them.
Mipso at First Avenue – TICKETS
Mipso is born from North Carolina’s broad range of disparate musical influences, their distinctly unique sound an undeniable alchemy of the historical musical traditions of the rural south and their progressive home of Chapel Hill.
A discernible and rising force in the upstart musical genre known as Americana, Mipso’s music is lush and forward moving. A tender, harmony-laden river runs through the band’s core, but the rocky outcroppings change with every album outing. Appalachia melds with modern alt-country, hints of folk-rock are leavened with a sly and subversive sense of humor, and underneath it all is a genuine and moving passion for the ever-evolving traditions of Americana. With the recent release of the band’s fifth album, Edges Run (April 2018/Anti-Fragile Music), Mipso continues the complex dance of looking back and moving forward with grace and beauty.
Living Hour at the Fallout – TICKETS
Winnipeg’s Living Hour recently announced its sophomore LP, Softer Faces, due out March 1 via Kanine Records. A follow-up to their highly-praised 2016 S/T debut, it features the haunting, ethereal vocals of lead singer Sam Sarty accompanied by lush, expansive instrumentation.
The band shared a first taste of their new record with hazy, hypnotic leading single “Bottom Step”, and now they’ve released a lyric video for the track. NPR says “Bottom Step” “softly but assertively navigates the feeling of rejection, accented by delicate synth and brass. The song’s accompanying visuals expand upon the protagonist’s yearning for solitude, as Sarty enjoys a solo swim.”
The band has announce tour dates for early 2019, including performances in Saskatoon, Calgary, Rossland, and Edmonton before heading to Austin for SXSW. Full tour dates can be found below.
Living Hour has been expanding since their humble basement beginnings in 2015. Now a quintet, rounded out by Gil Carroll (guitar), Adam Soloway (guitar, vocals), Alex Chochinov (drums, trumpet, orangelle), and Brett Ticzon (bass, vocals), Living Hour’s emotive vocals, intricate harmonies, with dreamy washes of guitar, bass, keys, and horns sees the band pulling from many genres to create their own diverse vibe that’s intimate, honest, and vulnerable.
40th Annual MN Bluegrass Winter Weekend at the Crowne Plaza – EVENT INFO
Photo by Amy Richmond
This one-of-a-kind festival is a celebration of all things bluegrass, dance and old-time string band with workshops and activities for the entire family. For their 40th Annual event, 40 Minnesota Bluegrass bands will be performing on three stages over three nights (Friday, March 1 through Sunday, March 3). Some fantastic national acts will be also be sharing these stages on Saturday, March 2nd.
Headlining the Saturday night event are the winners of the 2018 IBMA Emerging Artists of the Year Award, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys (www.theporamblinboys.com), hailing from the Smokey Mountains of East Tennessee. Minneapolis’s own No Man’s String Band (www.nomansstringband.com) will be opening. The show begins at 7pm. Tickets start at $20 & go up, unless you get the Bluegrass Lovers package (which includes both headliners & festival).
If dance is your thing, Old-Time Dance Band Modock Rounders www.themodockrounders.bandcamp.com from West Virginia will be performing during Saturday’s evening dance workshops. Adults and children are welcome!
There are also plenty of opportunities for pickin’ and grinnin’ with your fellow festival goers throughout the entire weekend. You can meet up with friends at the Gatherin’ Place, and take part in the workshops and theme jams, including jams led by Bill Cagley. They are also having an open mic night to give others a chance to perform. There will be lots of vendors on site with instruments and merchandise with the festival raffling off some amazing prizes.
They have many kids activities planned throughout the weekend so be sure to bring the whole family. Two MBOTMA-sponsored youth workshops, the Grass Seeds and GS2, are held in conjunction with the Winter Bluegrass Weekend. These programs are designed for ages 8-18 and are open to all experience levels. No bluegrass experience is required, just an instrument and a willingness to learn! These groups will meet for one session Friday night, two sessions on Saturday and one session Sunday morning. The kids will then have the opportunity to show us what they have learned with a main stage concert on Sunday at 1:00. More details on this workshop here: www.minnesotabluegrass.org/Grass-Seeds
For more information on the MN Bluegrass Winter Weekend: www.minnesotabluegrass.org/Winter-Bluegrass-Weekend and or MN Bluegrass Association: www.minnesotabluegrass.org
Thumpasaurus at the Entry – TICKETS
Los Angeles-based Thumpasaurus are a gang of five superbly-skilled young American musicians taking hugely divergent influences and channelling them into something uniquely Thumpasaurian. Thumpasaurus offer up their own unique punk/funk stew wherein, hidden in plain sight and sound, you’ll find traces of Zappa, Beefheart, James Chance, Funkadelic/Parliament, Morphine, Devo, Talking Heads and Prince, as well as some rocking heavy metal, free jazz, musical theatre and even some light opera references thrown in for good measure.
Lead singer and guitarist Lucas Tamaren’s alter ego, Sensei Boland, recently achieved web notoriety by challenging the world to bring him something he can’t karate chop. A promotional meme for “Mental Karate” resulted in Buzzfeed picking up on the video & the band’s music being shared by the likes of Alt-J, Shakey Graves, and Rob Thomas amongst others. See here. After a sold out 12 show run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Thump opened their 2018 with their first-ever headliner at the Bootleg Theater on April 1st, the band packed 200+ people in to witness the live debut of their original rock opera, Where Does The Love Go?, complete with a 20-person choir. Seriously. Thump teased the opera in physical cd-only format at the show.
Additionally, 2018 has seen the band record an EP with legendary house producer, Dirtybird’s Justin Jay. Consisting primarily of remixed Thump songs, the EP is out on Jay’s Fantastic Voyage label and was premiered by Annie Mack on BBC Radio 1. The music has already been played by massive DJ’s in the house and techno scene across the country, including at an EatsEverything’s headlining set at Ultra Festival in Miami. Members of the band were special guests on Justin’s tour in May supporting the EP release.
Empress of at the Turf Club – TICKETS
Lorely Rodriguez, the artist known as Empress Of, recorded her new album, Us, all over Southern California. Topanga Canyon. Ojai. At a recording studio “with no windows.” At her home in Highland Park. At another recording studio “with a really loud cricket.” “He was there, like, all month,” she says, “And I was trying to track vocal tracks and he’d be like, CHIRP, CHIRP!”
It was the first time she tried to record music this way—sequestered, for a month at a time, in between touring and performing, alone but for the company of a cricket. She would later invite collaborators—Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange), LA production duo Sam Griesemer and Jerome Potter of DJDS, Spanish electronic producer Pional—but the resulting project remains a showcase of Rodriguez’ skill both as a lyricist and a producer, though she is wont to admit it. The artist is modest about her skills as a instrumentalist (“Lorely plays every instrument half-assed,” she says, “Put that in the bio.”) and coy about her process as a writer (“I don’t write out chords for my songs. Everything is intuitive in production. I don’t have one piece of sheet music for my songs.”)
She estimates that she’s produced about 75 percent of this album, which serves as the real testament to her dynamism as a musician, since she won’t testify to it herself. She’s frustrated with a media preoccupation on her jazz music education, but only because she believes her experiences singing to Céline Dion and Mariah Carey in the living room of her childhood home in Southern California are far more formative. When pressed about her influences, she lists her mother.
Parcels at the Entry – TICKETS
Parcels are a pop-electro group from Byron Bay Australia conceived in mid 2014. Patrick Hetherington, Louie Swain, Noah Hill, Anatole Serret and Jules Crommelin forged a tight musical bond in the years previous, performing in an array of projects ranging from metal bands to folk ensembles. Thereafter the broad range of members’ influences and ideas met in a unique blend of contemporary electronica and matured funk disco, creating Parcels.
The five piece formed during their final year of high school and spent the remainder of the year between bedroom studios and dimly lit garages recording their first, self-produced release Clockscared EP. Wide synth soundscapes and an electronic rhythm section meet lively guitars and five part vocal harmony on the debut EP which was well received in Australia and Europe. Parcels is the first electronic music ever produced by its members, a change in their writing process. Yet even the first release holds polished production and crisp audio layering.
Shortly after the debut release all five members left their coastal Australian town for Europe’s hub of musical inspiration, Berlin. With a one way ticket, keyboards and minimal funds the gross task of relocation was undertaken. Two months later Parcels found themselves performing at some of Germany’s most renowned festivals – Fusion Festival, MS Dockville – while also traveling broadly for various shows. Their live set is consistently energetic. A different, more organic spin on their tracks provides an electronic disco party reminiscent of UK group, Jungle yet also resembling the soul of early Chic. Captivating, energetic, and musically impressive.
Lily & Madeleine at the Turf Club – TICKETS
Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz create candid music with deep emotional and personal resonance. The sisters, who record under the moniker Lily & Madeleine, boldly explore what it means to be women in the 21st century, and aren’t afraid to use their music to call out injustices or double standards. This fearless approach has permeated their three albums, which are full of insightful lyrics and thoughtful indie-pop.
But with their fourth studio album, Canterbury Girls—named after Canterbury Park, located in their hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana—the sisters are coming into their own as women and musicians. “This is the first record Lily and I have ever done where we have full control over all of the songwriting,” says Madeleine. “We did co-write with some people that we really love. But everything on this record is completely ours. I feel like I have full ownership over it, and that makes me feel very strong and independent.”
That assertiveness reflects new geographic and professional realities. For starters, Lily and Madeleine—who are now 21, 23 respectively—moved to New York City in early 2018. And instead of recording Canterbury Girls in Bloomington, Indiana, which is where they recorded their previous efforts, the pair headed to Nashville to write and work with producers Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk. “I feel like it was time for us to leave the nest and move on and try to make a record our own way,” Madeleine says. “We decided to work with some new people, and it turned out to be the best decision, because we finally figured out how to voice exactly what we wanted in the studio.”