MUSIC | SoundTown: Your friendly neighborhood music festival

SOMERSET, WISCONSIN—When I showed up at SoundTown, it was raining and somewhat dismal. All the attendees were walking around in colored ponchos and the bored staff of teenagers looked like they would rather be playing frisbee and texting than directing people to their campgrounds. We settled in and went to get some food at the very end of free food time, and as I walked across the festival grounds, I was surprised by how empty it was compared to other music festivals I’ve been to. Where was everybody?But when I got to the tent, my party immediately ran into other people we knew. I even saw one of my friends from high school. Continue Reading

Chuck Klosterman holds steady with Craig Finn and John Moe on “Wits”

The last segment of Minnesota Public Radio’s Wits series at the Fitzgerald Theater took place on Friday, the same night as Minneapolis’ hugest fashion show, Voltage, meaning that local citizens were forced to choose between the two. Luckily, the audience who are into seeing Craig Finn of The Hold Steady and writer Chuck Klosterman are a demographic who have probably been bullied about their own fashion choices for their entire lives, so they didn’t mind missing Voltage.

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MUSIC | Best Coast and Wavves at the Varsity Theater: Hormones and aliens, but otherwise nothing special

If you had asked me before the Best Coast and Wavves show Friday night at the Varsity Theater, “Becky, do you think this concert will be a mind-blowing experience that you will someday tell your children about in order to show them that you were once young and wild?” I would have promptly answered, “No. Not at all.”

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MUSIC | Das Racist’s Himanshu Suri: “Why shouldn’t three colored people be able to be in a band that talks about race?”

Not many groups receive a Best New Music rating from Pitchfork before they even get signed, but Das Racist aren’t your average hip-hop group. Sure, their biggest hit is called “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” but for every reference to pot and fast food they lay out a surprising connection to brainy subject matter like Gayatri Spivak or El Greco. And just like their name suggests, they like to talk about race. From deconstructing Sasha Frere-Jones’s article that declared hip-hop dead to engaging in a Cartoon-Off with The New Yorker’s Farley Katz, they frequently contest what they call “the white authority of journalism,” even if they have to resort to haiku.This Friday marks the group’s first performance in Minnesota, which ironically takes place in Northfield, a town known for a knockoff cereal factory and a primarily white, Christian college. I chatted with Das Racist member Himanshu Suri about everything from Lynn Hirschberg to Malt-O-Meal.You guys seem motivated to inspire actual constructive dialogue about race in America. Continue Reading