Monday, March 28, 2011

We Are the Willows

"Come back to us, in Minneapolis" and "Let's drink some beer on the kitchen floor"

Some great moments from We Are the Willow's song "A Funeral Dressed as a Birthday"
I will, at random, belt these lines out. And the moment I graduate, I fully intend to drink some beers on the kitchen floor. 

This man, Peter Miller, looks as though he should have a deep, manlike voice, but no...not at all. His childlike voice takes some getting used to (or at least it did for me), but once you've come to terms with it, it only adds to his music. He was even named the Minneapolis Best Male Vocalist in 2010 by City Pages with that unique voice of his! So, somebody other than me must have taken a liking to his voice as well.

If nothing else, you can download his Daytrotter session (for free!) and give him a try.

I also recommend that you read his tour blog on City Pages. I think this guy is hilarious. So much so, that when I found his tour blog, I spent an hour or more going through and reading all of them. Maybe not the best use of my time but definitely an entertaining use of my time.

For those of you in the Twin Cities, he will be performing at The Beat Coffeeshop on April 14th at 7pm ($10 recommended donation for a fundraiser) and at the 331 Club on April 21st at 10pm (no cover). Maybe see you at one of these shows?

Anywho, you should let me know what you think.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Haley Bonar

I think you should know that my favorite artist is Haley Bonar. She has a mellow, folky, country, rich feel to her music. She has the type of voice that I wish I could just wrap myself in like a blanket.

Anywho, I just recently completed my Haley Bonar collection by purchasing "Quiet Breathing" from the Sweetland soundtrack (it's played during the end credits) and Minor Kingdom's "Choir of the Lillies" which she is featured on. I'm definitely diggin' "Choir of the Lillies." So mellow and lush. Make of that descriptor what you will and check it out for yourselves.

And be prepared to hear more about Haley in the future. I'm sure I will have more to say after her CD release show at the Cedar Cultural Center on April 22nd, when I will yet again complete my collection. I'm definitely excited to hear the new album "Golder" in full.

Until then, you can check out her site for a free download (here)!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Middle East "Blood"

There is something about this song that is so soothing.
The lyrics are not cheerful, so be warned. I think that's part of why I like it so much. When I want to relax, I don't want to made excitable by happy-go-lucky beats, rhythms, and lyrics. No, I want to rest in the comfort that life is real, whether good or bad. It's through the struggle that we truly "find the peace of the Lord."
Find more about The Middle East here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dance Like Yourself

When I appreciate somebody's dancing, their body type or style and how they own up to that are not the first things on my brain. But when I watch somebody's dancing and cringe a bit from how awkward they look, the opposite is true.

Good Examples: (Body Type)

Nina Gilkenson: the woman has a background in belly dancing and has the hips to match. Therefore, it is impressive to watch her when she utilizes the knowledge, skills, and assets that she has.

Carla Heiney: she's super thin and doesn't have curves. Who cares? The woman knows how to use her legs and knees to create great angles and lines.

Good Examples: (Style)

Max and Annie: These two like fast, tricks, and charleston. And they do it so well. Some may not like their style, but even so, you have to admit that what they do, they do well and their dancing looks better for it.

Kevin St. Laurant and Jo Hoffberg: These two like to put on a show and do it with musicality. I'm such a sucker for these two.

Nick Williams and Laura Keat: These two just make the dance seem so old timey and grand. Like they should be on the cover of Time Magazine or something.

These are only a few examples, but I think you get my point. As for not including guys into my body type analysis, I just don't have a great enough understanding to comment wisely on such things (being as I am a female). But men, do know this: it is visible when you do not dance according to your body type.

Conclusion: You are made to be who you are. Celebrate that.

A Basia Bulat Kind of Day

Today in the Twin Cities, the sky was mostly cloudy and the weather was a bit chilly but refreshing. It's the kind of day that make me think of London. I've never been, but it only seems right. And on this day, I have felt good and confident. It was one of those days that I picked out the perfect outfit, my hair bounced in the right way, and I felt like I could take on the world. All very silly, but true.
Now that you know a bit of the context...
I went to the grocery store after class to pick up an apple for a snack, and as I was walking inside, I thought to myself "This is a Basia Bulat kind of day. I feel like I even look a little bit like her right now."

(Okay, so maybe I don't look much like her, but the feeling was there. And that was enough for me.)

The entire time I was in the store, I had the instrumentation part of her song "If Only You" stuck in my head. Then I proceeded to listen to her music for the rest of the day.

She is by far one of my favorites. I keep coming back to her, time after time. I even had the chance to see her last spring at the Cedar Cultural Center. Such a great show. I would say that I experienced my most spiritual musical moment at that show when she sang "Sparrow" completely unplugged. Just her and her ukulele.

Watch this and you will listen and see for yourself why I like this woman so much.

As a side note: The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis has been my favorite concert venue so far. If you get a chance to see a show there, its worth it. Great acoustics and very intimate feeling.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I really enjoy the phrase "Indie Rock Lindy Hop." Hence the name of my blog. But I cannot take the credit for the creative genius in it. So here's the story of this blog's namesake.

Many of dancers in the Twin Cities area love to go dance to the group Patty and the Buttons. Their music is the kind that moves your toes to a-tappin' and your soul to be happy. It's the kind of music that makes you want to dance, dance, dance. When they finish their set, I just want to keep dancing some more because they've built up such good happy dance vibes in my very being that my eagerness to dance cannot simply stop just because they have. That's what I call good music...the kind that still has effects over you even after its gone.

At the place where we go to see them the most, Aster Cafe, the employees DJ from their i-Pods between the band's set breaks and after they finish. One day, the song "Home" by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros came on and I got my friend Christi to keep dancing with me. Patrick Harrison, aka Patty, walked on past and stated, "It's indie rock lindy hop." And I have just loved that phrase ever since.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dawes/Middle Brother/Deer Tick

I went to the Dawes/Middle Brother/Deer Tick show on Monday night at First Avenue. I had seen Dawes with Moondoggies and Peter Wolf Crier there previously in November. The November show was probably one of the greatest shows I've been to. As for this recent show, it was still pretty great but I do have my qualms about it. Let me explain a bit:

I love watching Dawes perform. They put so much energy into their show without being too terribly showy about it. Each one of the members performs in a way that has character and class, in a way that it makes me feel like I would respect them all as good men in real life. And their songs are great. That was true of both the shows I've seen of them. Such great moments. (It was so much louder in person.)

For those of you who may not know, the band Middle Brother consists of Taylor Goldsmith, the lead singer of Dawes; McCauley of Deer Tick; and Vasquez of Delta Spirit. I may have enjoyed both the Deer Tick and Middle Brother segments of the show had it not been for McCauley. The man shook his beer over the crowd, spit his cough drop at the crowd on three separate occasions, and was a freakin' attention hog in the most unattractive (or incredibly cheesy...kneeling before the crowd and reaching out for a female's hand...gag) ways. Not my cup of tea, no sir. Vasquez had a bit of rebel without a cause thing going, which doesn't make me respect him, but at least he wasn't obnoxious like Mr. McCauley. And to top it off, amongst all this Taylor drops an F bomb. Not an awful thing, but something I wouldn't have expected of him before. Basically, the "I'm so cool and BA because I'm a rock star" attitude made me enjoy the show less.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lindy Hop Favorites

This will be quick, as I should be at a friend's house helping paint...

You should know up front that my favorite dancer is Jo Hoffberg (she's a girl). She has a way of being so very playful with her dancing and I love that.
My favorite video of her is from ILHC 2010, when she danced with Stefan Durham in the Invitational Jack & Jill.

But my ultimate favorite video of right now is of Alice Mei and Thomas Blacharz social dancing at an event in Prague.

As for the music from that last video, it's from Skeets Tolbert called "Hit That Jive Jack." And want to know something great? His music is now public domain...and free. You can find the song (and more) here.

Enjoy. :)

The Boys from Indiana

One of my best friends married a musician of a man from Indiana. Through the both of them, I have had the chance to meet some of their Indiana friends, many of which are also musicians. As time passes and I get more and more acquainted with their music, the more impressed I become. Gosh, I feel way too lame to be able to know talented people such as these.

First: John Davey
When I first met John, I thought he was a prick...but he's actually one of the nicest guys you'll meet. The man is a twig, but he knows how to belt out a tune. Holy man.  He has a way of weaving words into such great stories of songs. And if you give him a listen, just know that his recordings do him absolutely no justice. If you get a chance to see him live, go support the guy! You can check out his new EP The Homely Seed here.

Secondly: Steffen Yazvac
He doesn't like to play for us very much anymore which is such a sad, sad thing. Every once in a while, we can coax him to take out his guitar and play us a number or two. He does a great job covering Blitzen Trapper's "Furr," but we also love his very own songs too. For a big guy, he has a soft, soothing voice (kind of along the lines of Iron and Wine).

Thirdly: Mike Reeb
I don't actually know this guy and I haven't actually listened to his stuff a ton. What I can tell you is that from the little bit that I have listened to his stuff, I'm going to keep listening. And it doesn't hurt that you can find his albums on Bandcamp for free! Give him a try, you've got nothing to lose.

Fourthly: Bro Stephen
I recently became acquainted with Bro. Stephen this past fall when he played a show with John. His songs tend to be mellow and he has a soft singing voice. His songs have a way of drawing one into thought and contemplation over ones own memories, all the while being softly comforting. He recently toured with a full band, making his sound a bit fuller. Though, I will note, that when he plays by himself, there is a certain simplicity that is so fitting for his songs. He recently finished a full length CD, which should be out soon...hopefully.

And just a note to all you out there, these guys hit the road to do what they love, but they don't make much doing it. Support local artists!

Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps

In the past few days, I cannot stop listening to Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps' Daytrotter session. "Closing the Doors" has been my favorite so far. Lyrics such as "holding your hand never helped me forget the truth" and "closing the doors never helped me close up the rooms" stick out and keep me pushing repeat. If you're not a fan of strange voices then she won't be your favorite...but then again, maybe you shouldn't be listening to indie rock period.

And just a shout out to Daytrotter: this site is fantastic! There are free downloads of live recording sessions of some well-known and not-so-well-known artists. It's definitely worth checking out. You will have to register with your e-mail address, but there are no gimmicks. Just an e-mail here and there. So rest assured.