Monthly Archives: November 2013

Episode #7 – Nov. 27, 2013

Episode 7 features brand new music from Winona blues-rockers Shoe Shop and Stillwater’s retro rock revivalists Ruben, in addition to top-notch tunes from Winona-based female-fronted indie-pop act Riflebird, Winona’s country-folk traditionalists The Beef Slough Boys, Duluth slow-core giants Low, Red Wing’s extremely promising young indie-rockers Seb’s Medicine, and former Rearview Mirror members’ odd-ball experimental studio collaboration Objective Subject.

Objective Subject is a musical collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Matt Olson and vocalist Adam Ptacek. Both men came of age together in a band called Rearview Mirror that, in the early years of this past decade, recorded an album with Grammy-award winning producer Steve Lillywhite and toured the nation with the likes of Days of the New and Live.

Olson and Ptacek were the creative core of RVM and the Objective Subject is a sonic experiment that builds upon the sound and chemistry they both spent years establishing. The Objective Subject’s unique style ties together synths, loops, recording tricks, and a diverse palette of guitar sounds with contemplative lyrics and songwriting skills that only come from experience.

Ptacek composes melodies & harmonies fit for an orchestra. Of course it is his vocal precision & execution–which is on-par with the professionals that play in orchestras–that bring his ideas life and allow the duo’s songs to flourish like some sort of intensely aware audio-ecstasy.

Their special chemistry is even more profound with one realizes that, for many of their songs, Olson writes, performs, and records the accompaniment–in its entirety–before Ptacek has a chance to hear it. His technical expertise sets up Ptacek’s melodic prowess by balancing engaging guitar work and sonic-filler with harmonic space and open-ended, non-linear song structures. Objective or subjective perception aside, the result is indeed magic.

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Episode #6 – Nov. 21, 2013

a1721952170_10An epic 6-minute jam from Jake Ilika’s alt-country four-piece The Heavy Set leads off this week’s show (recorded a day late, because of the River North Dance Chicago performance in Winona), followed by another four-piece with Winona roots: teenage alt-pop act Driftwood Bones. Music from electro-rock favorites Apollo Cobra (a band “bigger than the Beatles” in Winona) is also squeezed in before a 3 song set of psychedelic music from the Twin Cities, featuring tracks from First Communion Afterparty, Fire in the Northern Firs, and Is/Is.

The Heavy Set track is from an EP currently used for promotional purposes, but which is in the post-production process with plans for a formal release as a split record with Jake’s solo material very soon. It’s been a joy to discover Jake and watch the development of the Heavy Set happen over the course of the past year through his weekly Wednesday night residency at Ed’s no name Bar. Look for more on The Heavy Set and a reflection on Jake’s musical residency in the near future.

Stream or download this episode via archive.org by CLICKING HERE.

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Episode #5 – Nov. 13, 2013

Lie Until You Prove ItMusic from Winona-raised, Twin Cities-based accordionista & chanteuse Simone Perrin gets episode #5 rolling before transitioning to a three-song set of chamber pop from musical prodigy John Mark Nelson, orchestral indie-rockers We Are the Willows, and crooner extraordinaire Chris Koza. The show concludes with some heavier riffage from indie-blues adventurers General B & the Wiz,  Winona’s mostly-female alt-rockers The Ultrasounds, and legendary Wino PunX resisters Straight to Your Brain.

The track from General B and The Wiz is off their brand new EP “Lie Until You Prove It” which was recorded and produced by Ben Durrant at Crazy Beast Studios in NE Minneapolis. Durrant has also worked on records by Andrew Bird, Martin Dosh, and Roma di Luna. The formal studio setting & process really paid off, as this is their best recorded work so far. Their stellar songwriting and performance abilities are only amplified by the high-quality recording. The title track  in particular (an epic 8-minute prog-rock opus) is exceptional and will certainly be featured in a future episode of the show.

In my opinion, the band has been writing great songs and performing mind-bending live shows since their incarnation. Their previous self-recorded releases simply did not do their considerable talents and strengths justice. Bottom line: General B and the Wiz is a really good band and their accomplishment with “Lie Until You Prove It” is that they now have a polished audio document to…well…prove it.

Stream or download this episode via archive.org by CLICKING HERE.

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Episode #4 – Nov. 6, 2013

beardeyeI lead off this episode by taking advantage of the chance to play the show’s theme music by Mike Munson from start to finish. Mike has finally released his debut full-length album and this show features two cuts from it, in addition to music from Duluth legend Charlie Parr, recent Decorah transplant Namoli Brennet, La Crosse singer-songwriter Joshua Franke, and La Crosse/Winona power-trio Click Track.

Mike Munson is a blues institution in Winona. Being such a staple for independent music in the area, I couldn’t resist the desire to make his song “Over Now” the intro and outro music for this radio show. He holds down a regular Sunday evening residency at Ed’s (no name) Bar, in addition to a steady diet of regular performances in Winona, the Twin Cities, and the greater Driftless Region. For all his accomplishments, The Munce had yet to release a proper studio album — until now. His patience certainly payed off as both the songwriting and recording quality are top-notch all the way through the album. The photo above is from his CD release show 11-9-13 at Ed’s (no name) Bar featuring guest musician Mikel Beckman (who also performed that night with Corpse Reviver). Congrats Mike!

Stream or download this episode via archive.org by CLICKING HERE. Click here to view this episode’s playlist