Tuesday, December 18, 2012

89.3's "The Local Show: Critics Edition"

12/18/12 2:30AM

Edit: Here's the stream of it.

And for those not wanting to listen to all 2 hours, here is a transcript of this show.

Of course, I was right, as they didn't say a word about anything I submitted below. Not that I would expect them to, but it just goes to show, it's a numbers game, and perhaps the people who ran this thing on 89.3, may (likely do) not give two shits about anything I write about here in this blog.

I will say, it was kind of clear who I would side with among those critics. Raihala and even Reed Fischer I seemed to agree with more than the others. I actually always liked Ross Raihala when I used to listen to the Pioneer Press podcast he was on a few years back, and frankly, I've never gotten as much of a snobbish impression from him compared to some of the other music media in this town. Now, that doesn't mean he's not guilty of what many of the others are, but just from hearing his responses on this show, and remembering those podcasts back in the day, I definitely find his approach to be more inviting.

12/15/12 12:48PM
I was going to wait until after this special show tomorrow on 89.3 to actually publish this, but I'm deciding to do it now given I don't expect them to include anything from it anyway. And even if they do, I won't be able to hear it live since my family's annual Channukah party/dinner will be taking place during the time it will air (6-8PM). Perhaps they will put it on their website to stream, which will help. If that happens, I'll have to listen to it and link it up.


Every year on The Local Show, we do our critics edition to talk favorite local releases of 2012 as well as trends and predictions. This year, we're welcoming back Reed Fischer of City Pages, Chris Riemenschneider of The Star Tribune, Ross Raihala of The Pioneer Press and our very own Andrea Swensson to give us their takes on Minnesota music.

But we also need your opinions on the matter! Below, you'll find questions that the critics have been asked to answer, and David Campbell wants some additional ammo to bounce off the crew in the studios. We'll also choose one listener-submitted question for the critics to tackle.

Submit your responses by end-of-day Monday, December 3, and tune in Sunday, December 16 from 6-8 p.m. on The Local Show to hear the discussion play out.

Did the "super secret fraternity of local tastemakers/gatekeepers" get it right in 2012? If not, who was overlooked? I'm not sure who all is part of this "super secret fraternity" but I might infer whoever they are, they may be in to be put on "[double]/super secret probation" ;)

But if the question refers to the most known local music media:
-89.3's Local Show
-Citypages (both print and web)
-The music columnists from both major newspapers
 -Radio K's "Off the Record"
-some of the minnesota music blogs/sites

I'd say overall, no, they did not get it right. Why I say that is some of my favorite music that came out in 2012, was from Minnesota, and more or less none of these sources talked about them. These artists, that I'd say got overlooked would include the likes of Brice Plays Drums, Media Addicts, Mike Linden, Lehto & Wright and The Royal Veil.

Which artists or stories were overhyped in 2012? Who didn't live up to the hype they got, or was mentioned far more than was deserved?
-Owl City definitely. Awful mall-pop. This should in no way represent the kind of music Minnesota can produce. I really wish the local and national music media would stop talking about this project, as it's a huge waste of time to mine and many other music fans I know.
-The Velvet Teens: If for no other reason, but the fact there is a terrific band named The Velvet Teen, and this new local band of nearly the same name, makes music that doesn't even come close to comparing, or even being any good.
-4 on the Floor
-P.O.S. (if only this guy lived up to the initial P O and S like PAIN OF SALVATION, but he does not in much if any way) like a lot of local artists who somehow get big nationally, I find nothing about his music that is interesting. There are other, better local Hip-Hop artists (No Bird Sing, Lazerbeak, Guante) who deserve more attention than him and people like Brother Ali.

EDIT: these I forgot to include, but I find it worth adding here and now at least. I'm sure there are others I am not remembering, and if/when that happens I may also add them.
-Hayley Bonar She is a dime-a-dozen and yet the music media makes her out to be the next big thing in female singer/songwriter types. I hear absolutely nothing unique about her or her voice. Give me Alicia Wiley or Jenny Dalton among many others instead.
-Polica so their singer likes to use a vocoder? yeah, but that's hardly is new, nor means the vocal lines and songwriting is anything amazing.
-Trampled By Turtles: Boiled in Lead are SO MUCH better than this band, and not to forget, have been around MUCH LONGER. Why the music media and hipsters keep praising them to no end is kind of baffling. Boiled In Lead should be receiving the same amount (if not VASTLY more) of attention. But are they? of course not.

What were the most impressive live events that took place in 2012? What made these events great?
-Brice Plays Drums and The Super Pilots @ 400 Bar. This was a tremendous show, and probably the best local concert I attended in 2012. Maybe a lot to do with the fact The Super Pilots were a band I had never seen before, and they totally blew me away. They have this outstanding approach to Jazz-fusion that I can't help but be romanticized by in my love of groups like Return to Forever and Weather Report. And Brice Plays Drums, simply put, are my favorite local band right now. They put out my favorite local album each of the last 2 years, and they also deliver the goods live. I think there's far too many people who have no idea what they are missing by never hearing them. They are as talented a young band to come along in a few years, and have this incredible knack for composing epic songs with multiple-sections that segue unbelievably well. In other words, they are like a Minnesota answer to both Yes and The Mars Volta. And if even a fraction of the people became aware of them, that could and should, they'd have a chance to continue making a lot more music and play concerts like this down the road.

-Mutemath @ First Ave. What made it great was more or less what makes every Mutemath concert great. They bring tons of energy, it's never boring, they get the crowd involved, and they do these infectious group drum jams. And having seen them 4 or 5 times before, they somehow keep on matching if not topping each performance.
-Mayer Hawthorne @ First Ave. This show was great because he has this great vibe about him, playing to the crowd constantly. And his band is super tight. And like Mute Math, his music just has an added flavor to it live. The Stepkids were a fun opener, and Mayer even covered a Hall & Oates tune!
-Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra @ First Ave. Despite the lack of Soundproofed walls at First Ave, this show was highly memorable and engaging. Amanda's got a great band, plus the local musicians who came on and played with both her band and the opening/side musicians. She played most of her excellent new record "Theatre is Evil" and even did some incredible covers like George Michael's "Careless Whisper."
-Kimbra @ The Varsity Theater. Kimbra has a freakish amount of energy, her songs seem to almost take on a life of their own live. She played most of "Vows" including "Withdraw" which I was not expecting, but thrilled to see and hear live. But most of the songs she played, had these great new arrangements live, it was in some ways, like hearing them for the 1st time again.
-The Monkees @ The State Theatre. This was an incredibly unexpected EVENT concert for many including my girlfriend whose longed to see Michael Nesmith play live for over 26 years. And to have it finally happen, was historic. Their performance, including Mike's, was more or less flawless. They played much of both their "Headquarters" and "Head" records along with a number of other standards, and more obscure tracks. What  also added to it was the way they used Videos in the background throughout the entire show, including a couple of moments to spotlight the late Davy Jones. This show came on, and seemed to be over almost too fast, given the band didn't take a set break. It was maybe the shortest yet fulfilling 2+ hours of my and my girlfriend's concert going life.
-The Who @ Target Center. I just attended this concert last week, and I think it was almost unexpected how good and epic a show it was. The band performed their entire Quadrophenia record, in an entirely new way. They used video/audio clips and performances from both the late John Entwistle and Keith Moon, almost like they were in the building. The arrangements using a horn section really added new things to many of the tunes on that great record.

edit: this does not include the highly memorable 2-night event seeing Marillion for the 3rd and 4th times in Chicago. But that was not in Minnesota afterall.

Predictions for 2013: who's currently operating under the radar that's poised for a breakout year in 2013?
-The Royal Veil. They released a promising self-titled debut EP that fused different styles of psychedelic and progressive hard rock. And their debut full-length "King of the Ocean" is coming out early in 2013, and it is without question one-of, if not my most anticipated local album right now for 2013.
-The Book of Right On will release "How Many Ways Can You Say That You're Speaking" the album they were looking to put out in 2012, but due to the unforeseen setback of one of their drummers leaving, it didn't get released. But they as interesting a band doing progressive rock, that I've heard in many years. And having heard some their newest music live, I am totally excited to finally hear it on record. Hopefully some news about their drummer situation and this 2nd album of theirs will be announced soon.
-Greg Herriges and Telluric Currents: It's been nearly 4 long years since the release of 'Telluric Currents" an amazing record that fuses acoustic rock, folk, ethnic (East Indian, Greek, Japanese and others), and progressive music, molded into tremendous songwriting and moodiness. As a big fan of his, I am hoping 2013 will finally be the year he and his group (known as "Telluric Currents" now) follows up that tremendous album from 2009.
-Cloud Cult: Minnesota's most visible band doing progressive rock of late, and their last 2 albums especially have been among the best of their career. With that recent history, I can't see any reason not to be excited about their next album.
-Bubblemath. Will their long awaited 2nd album finally come out? a good friend of the band said it may finally.
-Between Two Skies: The same question desires to be raised to them as was Bubblemath.
-Elgin Foster: From talking to him, he has an amazing group of guest musicians like John Wright, Dean Magraw and others, on 1 or more records coming in 2013. I'm intrigued certainly.
-The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra: I guess they are working on their 3rd full-length record. Their 1st 2 are both really great records that combine elements of bluegrass, jazz and progressive rock. I'm definitely up for checking out what they have in store next.

Ask your own question to the critics. If chosen, they'll discuss it on the show.
Why is there so little coverage of progressive rock both on radio stations like The Current and Radio K, and in print?
For example, a few years ago, one of my favorite bands, The Dear Hunter, headlined a concert at The Triplerock Social Club. And other than one staff writer from vita.mn, Jay Boller, I saw and heard absolutely nothing about it in both print and electronic sources. The Dear Hunter had actually even just made an appearance on National Television in fact, on G4's "Attack of the Show." So it's not exactly if they were a band who are totally unknown.

Why do you think some venues and artists never end up playing shows here? Specifically, why do you think a venue like First Ave doesn't book certain artists that may not be as "hip" to the Pitchfork audience? I'm referring to a few of the modern college-progressive rock bands such as Porcupine Tree, dredg, Fair to Midland and some others. These bands all have fan-bases that are large enough to show up at First Ave, and in some cases, have played other venues many times to sellout crowds, yet the promoters and the people who run First Ave specifically, don't seem to know about this, or care to book them. And I am awfully puzzled why. Porcupine Tree specifically toured the US I counted 7 straight tours where they skipped our town. And for some reason, had First Ave wanted to book them, they likely would have come here. But it never happened.