Sunday, February 17, 2008

Gay Beast at the Triple Rock (8/14/06) and the Organ Haus (4/28/07)

If my own experience is any indication, then a common reaction to seeing Gay Beast for the first time would involve confusion. No stranger to rhythmically slippery "math rock"-type music, I nonetheless couldn't quite figure out quite how all the parts were fitting together. As I watched Gay Beast's drummer, Angela Gerend I couldn't help but feel that she must have been making a lot of mistakes. But these were simply lapses in my listening comprehension. The band was just inhumanly tight, managing the music's constant barrage of acute angles and sharp turns with uncanny aplomb.

Any one of Gay Beast's three members would be impressive on their own. Guitarist Isaac Rotto skitters all over the neck, emitting a series of brittle shrieks and stabs; keyboardist and vocalist Dan Luedtke functions as the band's low end while vying with Rotto in the treble range with equally transfixing complexity, all while hollering queasy, impassioned melodies over the maelstrom; all that needs to be said about the aforementioned Gerend is that she's absolutely the most singular drummer I've ever seen, and I'd be surprised if that changed anytime soon. And throughout it all, the band doesn't get mired in complexity for its own sake. Their songs are well-written and catchy, and when they're not crafting new ones, they're updating the old ones.

Triple Rock 8/14/06:

1. 3 Pairs of Eyes Brown, Brown, Blue (2:24)
2. Multi-Purpose Antiform (2:37)
3. Mama, Wrap My Coffin in the AIDS Quilt Cuz It's Cold In Hell (3:37)
4. Dymaxion (The Need cover) (1:20)
5. What You Want (3:16)
6. ID Politic (3:27)
7. Cry (1:04)
8. Unknown (4:02)

Total running time: 21:47

Note that on this next one, the audio starts out sounding really great, but takes a significant hit a little ways into the first song, possibly due to cell phone interference. It still sounds alright, though.

Organ Haus 4/28/07:

1. Intro (:59)
2. Cyclops / ID Politic (4:29)
3. 2 Borgs 4 Every Borg (4:51)
4. Grocery / What You Want (4:47)
5. Exploding Knee / What You Want (5:20)
6. Unknown / Cock (3:31)

Total running time: 23:57

Friday, January 4, 2008

Paul Metzger

One of the more revered figures amongst weirdo music types in the Twin Cities, Paul Metzger first rose to prominence around here as a member of towering post-punk/prog trio TVBC (whose 2001 release Gone is an absolute must-own) before beginning his current series of performances, which involve lengthy improvisations on modified guitars, banjos, and music boxes. Metzger is a rarity amongst improv-oriented performers in that he makes, well, consistently interesting music, with a knack for dynamics and restraint. Enjoy this set of acoustic guitar-based performances from last year.

January 19th, 2007 at the 720 Space:
1. Unknown #1 (18:14)
2. Unkown #2 (11:20)

Two more sets:
--June 26th, 2007 at the Acadia Cafe
--July 15th, 2007 at Yard Fest II

Monday, October 22, 2007

Maps of Norway at Big V's 6/23/07

I recall Maps of Norway bassist Matt Helgeson once saying (or writing somewhere on the internet) that listening to Joy Division as a younger man opened his eyes to the power of repetition. The rest of Maps of Norway seem to have taken this lesson to heart as well, as their newer songs tend to be heavy on repeating, lock-step grooves, anchored by Helgeson and drummer Jeff Ball. Case in point: the first song in this set focuses intently on one riff, built from the ground up starting with Eric Hanson's perma-delayed guitar, for over four minutes minutes before Rebecca Leigh graces the microphone. It would suck if it weren't so awesome.

Few bands have grown on me as much as Maps over the past year or two, and this set features a bunch of new material not found on their debut album (out last year on Guilt Ridden Pop) so check it out, will you?


Track list:
1. Strict Ritual (8:43)
2. Cage the Lions (5:14)
3. Tyranny is Over (3:21)
4. Glass (3:10)
5. Marathon (3:13)
6. Champion Ghost (2:26)
7. Polo Grounds (4:27)

Total running time: 30:34

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lazer Forever at the 7th Street Entry (8/12/06)

This was Lazer Forever's last show with original drummer Adam Patterson, who was planning to attend college in Wisconsin, and whose spastic, hard-hitting style was the perfect companion to Clint Boylan and Dustin Tessier's jittery pop sensibility. Though they were the opening band on that night's bill at the Entry, the band gave Patterson a fitting send-off, playing a 40+ minute set with nearly every song from their excellent debut Visage Cage (with a newer tune thrown in for good measure). This an impassioned, invigorating performance with great melodies and infectious energy for days, the occasional technical flub or off-key harmony serving only to add to the atmosphere of reckless abandon. This is worth hearing for, if nothing else, the stellar renditions of Visage Cage standout tracks "Stairs & Bed" and "Floor of the Ocean."

LF has soldiered on with Jon Warnberg, perhaps the only drummer in town fit to take Patterson's place. The latter barely left town before dropping out and returning home, and has been heard to say that he may play with the band again in the future. I'm keeping my figures crossed.


Track list:
1. The Witch (4:37)
2. Sketches of a Ghost Town (3:13)
3. Auto Fellatio (3:09)
4. Stairs & Bed (2:55)
5. Slipped Disk (4:00)
6. Come clean (3:36)
7. Good Advice (3:09)
8. Right Now (4:46)
9. Animals (3:17)
10. Umbilical Cord (4:41)
11. Fountain Head (2:18)
12. Floor of the Ocean (4:08)

Total running time: 43:48

Monday, August 20, 2007

Shotgun Monday at Big V's 3/23/07

I can already tell that it's going to be a challenge in writing these entries not to overuse to the term "underrated." I think nearly every local band I like is underrated (the only exception that comes to mind at the moment is Plastic Constellations). But the term applies particularly in the case of Shotgun Monday, who seem to be underrated even by the crowd that should appreciate their muscular Dischord-meets-AmRep stylings the most. Their newer material, showcased in this set (only one song, "Resting Vessel," comes from their second and mot recent album Read Compare Adjust) is their strongest yet, so hopefully it is not too late for Shotgun Monday to get the recognition they deserve.

This is a mere cassette tape recording, so the quality isn't quite as high as, say, the BMGH or Falcon Crest sets posted here previously. But it sounds about as good as a cassette can sound, which is good enough.


Track list:
1. Unknown #1/Unknown #2
2. Unknown #3
3. Unknown #4
4. Resting Vessel
5. Unknown #5
6. Unknown #6

Total running time: 25:48

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Deaf at Memory Lanes 1/20/07

Memory Lanes is my least favorite venue in town sound-wise, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this recording actually sounds pretty good. It finds the Deaf running through nine songs in under 20 minutes, as is their wont, including a couple new ones not found on their debut record This Bunny Bites. For the uninitiated, the Deaf seem to operate on the principle that if sludgy stoner rock is a good idea, then surely sludgy stoner rock distilled into catchy, sub-3-minute nuggets is also a good idea, if not a better one. For the record, I agree.



1. Air Raid / Pocket Change (3:54)
2. Beatdown (2:08)
3. Unknown #1 / Get'er Done / Chim Cham (4:56)
4. Unknown #2 / Fuck That Shit
5. Let's Go

Total running time: 17:17

Monday, August 6, 2007

Glass Organ at the Church 5/26/07

I have a love-hate relationship overall with the noise/experimental improv type of stuff I've seen around town. For every really good set, there seem to be five that run on twice as long as they should as the various performers try and fail to happen upon something interesting. What's worse is that often the same musicians seem to be capable of both grating feats of self-indulgence and inspired, genuinely interesting performances, and you can never be sure which one you're going to get.

Naturally, what we have here is one of the latter. Glass Organ, which consists of Tom Helgerson (ex-Thank You, Shahs) and Tonefilth label head Justin Meyers, set up for one of the final shows at famed underground venue the Church with Helgerson on one end of the stage toting a Telecaster, Meyers on the other with various sound-manipulating machines, and a set of cables stretching between them. What followed was one of the rare "noise"-type sets that didn't overstay its welcome and remained interesting throughout. I was recently told that Meyers is reluctant to perform live, so if you ever see these guys listed on a bill, consider it a priority!

Link: (one track, 11:36)