Jul 162012

This was probably the first show I attended at First Ave where I was more interested in the opening band than the main act. I’ve been a fan of the Chromatics since I saw their video for “In the City” a few years ago. They bring a dark New Wave vibe to their music that makes me want to turn up the collar on my leather jacket and wander the city streets after midnight, looking for love and trouble. Lead singer Ruth Radelet’s breathy vocals give a sweet aftertaste to the rather bitter “Kill for Love”, while “These Streets Will Never Be the Same” sounds like a lost cut from the Drive soundtrack. They closed with brilliant covers of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and Neil Young’s “Into the Black”.

Hot Chip brought a more revved-up dancefloor energy to the club and soon had the whole crowd jumping to songs like “Ready for the Floor” and “Over and Over”. My only gripe was the blinding strobe lights that threatened to send me into convulsions.

On a related note, A.V. Club is running a great article and accompanying video on First Avenue and its iconic status in the Minneapolis music scene.

Jun 222012

My employer was kind enough to award me a cash achievement award, so I suddenly found myself with a bit of a windfall. I suppose I could have spent it all on hookers and blow, but that seemed excessive. Instead, I decided to pick up an iPad. I know, I know, I’ve said before that I didn’t see the point of owning one given its inaccessibility, but I decided it might be handy to have a portable device with a bigger display than my phone. And reading magazines on the iPad is quite nice. Still, I hope accessibility on the device eventually improves.

I also have a little left over to spend on hookers and/or blow.

Finally, if you haven’t seen this live version of this summer’s earworm “Call Me Maybe”, you owe it to yourself to watch it. It’s bubblegum pop delivered with genuine sweetness and charm. I’ve seen it a few times and a silly grin still spreads across my face whenever I watch it.

Apr 062012

It’s been much too long since I’ve offered a glimpse of my iTunes playlist:

  • “Genesis” by Grimes–“Witch house” has become the go-to term to describe electronica featuring breathy, ethereal female vocals. It’s a lazy turn of phrase that attempts to divorce Grimes’ intricate tracks from their undeniably poppy 80’s roots. “Genesis” layers hook upon hook in ways that Debbie Gibson or Tiffany could scarcely imagine, much less execute. And Grimes has a vocal athleticism that Mariah Carey would be hard-pressed to match.
  • “Tonight” by St. Etienne–George Bush was still president and the iPhone didn’t exist when this British electronica outfit released their last album. “Tonight” shows that the group is still the stylishly dressed adult on the dancefloor. Lead singer Sarah Cracknell expresses her excitement at the prospect of a night out on the town, but it’s a carefully contained anticipation. After all, this dress cost a fortune and it wouldn’t do to get all sweaty.
  • “Wandering Star” by Poliça–Poliça has been the apple of the Minneapolis music scene’s eye for the past several months. It brings together members of other locally renowned acts like Gayngs and Roma di Luna to form a band that is making some of the most slinky, sexually charged music to come out of our humble city since the days of Prince and the Revolution. I dare you to listen to to “Wandering Star” with your partner without reaching for the dimmer switch by the one-minute mark.