MUSIC REVIEW | Charlie Hunter Trio, Molly Maher & Gabriela Sweet and Erik Koskinen on Real Phonic Radio

Thursday, April 16 I heard a cover of Lorde’s Royals on the trombone and I’m not even sure if that’s the best thing I heard that night. On the Third Thursday of the month, Real Phonic Radio Hour presents music at the James J Hill Reference Library. Each month is something different; April was a month of instrumental wows!The Charlie Hunter Trio brought us Jazz – really happy, very loud Jazz with a twist of upbeat blues. Charlie Hunter plays guitar. It’s not experimental, but it’s different. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Candid Kid EP release at the Turf Club

You have to appreciate a band that plays a few new songs at an EP release party. The new songs are post-EP (Turtleneck) production. That’s a group with a lot of ideas and enthusiasm for the music. That’s Candid Kid.Candid Kid includes two founding members vocalist and guitarist Benjamin Muller and guitarist TannerUselmannand two excellent additions, bassist CooperDotenand drummer Reese Kling. They have the loudness and best of a rock band and the pensive twist of a more alternative band. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | International Novelty Gamelan record release at Icehouse

Gamelan is a collection of traditional Javanese musical instruments. They are as beautiful to watch as they are to hear. There are gold colored gongs, metallophones, drums and hybrid drum-cymbals and bowed instruments. They are set up with ornate frames.The International Novelty Gamelan is a group of six musicians: Elaine Evans, Kevin Cosgrove, Chris Parker, David Morrison, Kathy Knight and Kristen Murray. Last night they celebrated their first vinyl release: MetallaphoniaI. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Moon and Pollution rise over Icehouse

I spent too much time on the way home from Icehouse explaining that Moon and Pollution was electronica, but nothing like EDM, not as pounding and impersonal. I’ll stand by electronica but electronic pop is probably a more apt description.For an electronic pop duo, Moon and Pollution has a lot of instruments on stage, which I think gives is a richer sound. Core members include Molly Dean and Graham O’Brien but there were others on stage last night, which again adds to the richness of the sound.The drums set a pace that drives the songs forward. It’s a smart use of beat; together with the synthesized beats there’s a layering that again is not like the pounding of EDM but a more mature and subtle sound. (Not that there isn’t a time and place for EDM.)The guitars are a nice addition too but it’s really Dean’s voice that captures the attention. Continue Reading

PREVIEW | Safe Hands Animal Rescue benefit concert: Music is stepping up for the dogs

If you like music and dogs I might have a fun date for you. Musicians from both the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera are performing at a fundraiser for Safe Hands Animal Rescue on April 12 at 3:00 pm at Colonial Church in Edina.This event will include social hour and music by Rossini, Britten, Beethoven, Ravel, Mozart, and Elgar.At least a dozen musicians will perform, including many with a personal investment in Safe Hands Animal Rescue.The benefit concert is the brainchild of violist Jennifer Strom.  Jennifer adopted her dog Moxie from Safe Hands and began volunteering with the organization.  As word spread other orchestra members followed suit with eight members to date having adopted 10 dogs from Safe Hands.  Six musicians performing have adopted dogs and six members have fostered dogs or volunteered.The concert aims to raise awareness and money to support Safe Hands efforts to rescue homeless dogs from rural shelters with high intake and low adoption rates.Safe Hands Animal Rescue is a nonprofit organization led by Lynne Bengtson (pictured above) with the help of a small group of dedicated volunteers. Safe Hands has rescued and placed more than 3,200 dogs since its founding in October 2006. Most of the dogs the organization aids come from high-kill shelters in the southeastern Kentucky/Appalachia area. The dogs are transported from Kentucky to IL, WI and the Twin Cities. Continue Reading

ART REVIEW | Don’t miss “In Which ____ and Others Discover the End Performance”

I love the idea of mashing up visual art, music and dance. Just last month I enjoyed a similar show (Stripe Tease) at the Walker. So I was thrilled to get walk-up tickets to the first of the Final Performances of In Which ____ and Others Discover the End Performance. I brought my favorite 10-year old date.There were things we liked about the show, things we didn’t like as much and things that confused us. But we talked about it the whole way home and I think that’s a win for a gallery that “encourages work that challenges the status quo in contemporary art.”We liked the art. Continue Reading

Wine, women and song with Tina Schlieske, Molly Maher and Katy Vernon

What could bring a parochial St Paulite to Anoka? Wine, Women and Song at the Lyric Arts, a one-night celebration of Minnesota women singers featuring Tina Schlieske, Molly Maher and Katy Vernon.Although wine and beer are served, the Lyric Arts is a theater, not a bar. It seats about 230, creating an intimate atmosphere where the music is the singular focus for the audience. Each of the artists noted that it was a unique opportunity for them hear the music in such a concentrated mode –in front of a warm (but real) audience – say as compared to playing for a toddler and a dog as Vernon noted she had also done.I had not seen Tina Schlieske live since she fronted Tina and the B-Sides. She shared through music and stories her life before, during and after life with the B-Sides. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Dreaming with the Cactus Blossoms at the Electric Fetus

You know how you keep local music supported for generations? Have venues that are open for intergenerational audiences. Tuesday night my favorite 10 year old and I hopped over to the Electric Fetus to see the Cactus Blossoms. She was thrilled because as she pointed out – she never gets to see them!The Cactus Blossoms were celebrating the release of their new 7 inch record. Better news yet – it sounds like it’s a prelude to a full album to come out soon.What I like best about the Cactus Blossoms is their knack for making music that sounds both classic and fresh. They started with a You’re Dreaming, brand new song that sounds like a classic bluegrass ballad and ended with their Buffalo Song, which is a bluegrass dance song.I recently heard them describe their harmony as easy and almost accidental in a recent interview with Bill DeVille on The Current – but it sounds pretty darned good to me. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | World beats with Corey Harris, Paul Metzger and Erik Koskinen on Real Phonic at James J Hill

My favorite regular gig went worldly this month as Real Phonic at the James J Hill Reference Library hosted a group of eclectic artists. Headlining was Corey Harris who seems to have toes in places around the globe. He was born in Denver, busked in New Orleans, lived in West Africa and soaked up sounds wherever he went.Harris started with rock solid blues and a song called High Fever Blues. He has the voice of someone three times his girth. He sustains the low notes of yesterday’s dreams and hits the occasional imploring notes to strike a bluesy balance.But the tone lightens considerably with songs that have West African roots, such as an instrumental by Ali Farka Toure, a musician from Mali about which Harris wrote a book. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Mary Bue: A new freedom in Holy Bones

I was thinking about how to describe Mary Bue and her music on my walk today. She’s cute and the music is light. Some songs are introspective and she seems to have a sense of humor. Then I visited her website and there were the words I needed: Pop Rock Candy. It’s perfect for someone with a sweet voice and rainbow Clydesdale-like boots.I had not seen Bue before March 10 at the Turf Club but I got a big introduction to her music from the guy standing next to me. Continue Reading