No doubt one of the most anticipated releases of the year has to be Shulamith by the Twin Cities group Polica.
Fronted by the alluring and endearing Channy Leaneagh, Polica continues to be a strong force in the realm of powerful and thoughtful modern music.
Always ones to make a subtle scene, the band sent 500 white-covered "bootleg" albums to random independent record stores the week before the official launch. Each cover was hand drawn by a member of Polica and then signed by each member of the band.
Polica is touring North America this fall and then heads over to Europe to strut their stuff.
Photo of Channy Leaneagh by Kim Reed at The Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul October 18th, 2013.
* No video cameras or cell phones were used in the recording of Ms Case's image during her performance.
Drummer Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith, Fela Kuti, Ginger Baker's Airforce, etc) played an erratic set at The Dakota Jazz club in Minneapolis on his brief US tour.
Plagued by poor sound and ill health, Baker and his band presented a brief evening of innovative jazz. No rock and roll for us that night.
Keep Shelly in Athens
Bolstered by a impressive guitarist and powerful drummer, Greek duo Keep Shelly in Athens brought their "dream pop" to the 7th St Entry in Minneapolis shortly after starting their abbreviated US tour. Although the recent government shut down meant their visas were delayed and a few initial shows had to be cancelled, vocalist Sarah P and her composer/instrumentalist partner RPR led their band and the zealous crowd through much of their debut album At Home.
The sound was lush, invigorating, hypnotizing and stimulating, sometimes all within a single song. Most of the crowd seemed familiar with material culled from their At Home release, as well as from the singles, EPs, and compilations released in the past couple of years since their inception in 2010.
While RNR worked his magic in almost total darkness at the rear of the stage with his computer and melange of electronics, the mesmerizing Sarah P. guided us through the songs with coos, moans, fervor, and soaring notes worthy of any Greek goddess. Cloaked in shadows much of the time due to the venue's sub-standard lighting, she reminded us that today's music is not the vapid wasteland that mainstream and social media makes it out to be. Kudos to the audience members for discovering Keep Shelly in Athens, and hearty thanks to the band for making the journey from their native land to the heartland of our country for their tour. And, like a good friend said the next day: "Too bad we can't Keep Shelly in Minneapolis!".
- In love with dusk- Struggle with yourself- The chains- A tear in my i- Flyway- Time Exists Only to betray us - Madmen love- Higher- Sails- Our Own Dream- Running out of you- Stay Away- Recollection- DIY- Knife- Addictions
Local band Strange Relations and their UK Cascine labelmate Chad Valley primed the crowd, who opted out of seeing Soul Asylum and Fountains of Wayne next door for this more contemporary line up. Keep Shelly in Athens continues their tour through North America at the following venues:
Oct 22, 2013 @ Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver, Canada
Oct 23, 2013 @ Barboza in Seattle, WA
Oct 25, 2013 @ Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, CA
Oct 26, 2013 @ Bootleg Bar in Los Angeles, CA
Oct 27, 2013 @ The Casbah in San Diego, CA
Oct 29, 2013 @ Glasslands in Brooklyn, NY
Oct 30, 2013 @ Mercury Lounge in New York, NY
The talented and charming Oh Land turned up the heat at The Varsity Theatre in Minneapolis this week with a show that featured songs from her new Wish Bone album.
This Danish singer/songwriter/keyboardist/dancer and her three piece band owned the stage that night by playing poppy tunes tinged with rock overtones due to her powerful band.
No stranger to American soil with her previous songs (and colorful videos) for "Son of a Gun", "White Nights" and "Renaissance Girls", Oh Land (real name: Nanna Øland Fabricius) rotated between singing and playing the keyboards, to gyrating around the room, interacting with the enthusiastic crowd, and even performing the touching a capella song "I Will Love You Better", which I believe brought tears to even her own eyes.
The evening opened with Australian Son Rai who was also performing music from his latest release and was given a warm welcome by the Twin Cities audience.
If you aren't familiar with Oh Land's material you should check out her "Renaissance Girls" video, but don't blame me if you can't get the song out of your head the rest of the day/night.
Tonight's debut of the collaboration between Iowan Pieta Brown and Aussie Lucie Thorne at CSPS in Cedar Rapids was a wonderful mid-week surprise. Their two-set performance was a conglomeration of well-honed songs, lively between-song patter, and simply beautiful guitar work. Capped off with their perfectly entwined vocals, we were treated to an evening of heart-felt music.
For their Love Over Gold project Pieta left hubby Bo Ramsey and papa Greg Brown to their own devices as she explores singing and songwriting with her new found collaborator from Down Under, Lucie Thorne. Having seen Pieta play a number of times, both solo and on stage with the likes of Carrie Rodgriguez and The Pines, I can honestly say that she looks exuberant on stage these days. Thorne's soothing vocals and handling of her red Gibson were a perfect match for Brown's laid-back, but elegant, stylings.
Just three shows into a tour that will take them on to Chicago and then the West Coast before heading to Australia, Brown and Thorne swapped stories, played each other's songs and managed to treat us to the entire Fall to Rise album in their fine 20 song set.
All photos copyright by Kim Reed