The New Living Room

The problem with the living room in Mark and Jeanette Jedele’s Plymouth home was that it wasn’t where they really lived.

It was just “wasted space,” says Jeanette, a human resources director at General Mills. Instead, the Jedeles’ daily lives revolve around their kitchen.

“It’s where everyone congregates, so we’d have eight people and it was tight,” says Mark.

That’s not an unusual complaint, says interior designer Christine Nelson, who helped the Jedeles rethink their living space. She points to a growing trend in the way American families are using their homes: “People are spending more and more time in their kitchens.”

Originally published Sept. 27, 2010 in Spaces Twin Cities. Read the complete article.

Review: Cloud Cult, Light Chasers

Dealing with grief has been the primary driving force behind Craig Minowa’s songwriting since the 2002 death of his 2-year-old son. It’s been at the heart of each subsequent Cloud Cult album, providing a grounding element to his cosmically minded, vaguely New Age-y explorations of the big philosophical questions of life and our place in the universe. It’s significant then that Light Chasers is Minowa’s first since the 2009 birth of Nova, his second son with wife and bandmate Connie. On its eighth studio album, Cloud Cult’s musical approach remains a sweeping mix of Arcade Fire-esque indie rock, electronica, and symphonically tinged folk—but new fatherhood brings a subtle, important shift in focus. Light Chasers isn’t about living with death, but about becoming better equipped for the journey through life. Minowa, who also produced, dives in with typical gusto, building the album into a sprawling, intricately interconnected 56-minute concept that often soars into emotionally operatic, cathartic heights. At their best, as on “Blessings” and “Today We Give Ourselves To The Fire,” Minowa’s songs are like hymns for a religion that hasn’t been invented yet. In weaker moments, they come across more like a self-help book, and occasional overindulgent touches, like the processed robotic vocals on “The Exploding People,” exacerbate that. It’s fitting, perhaps, that one of the album’s sparest songs, “You Were Born,” is also one of its most powerful—a simply stated father’s declaration of love.

Originally published Sept. 21, 2010 on Read the complete article.

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The Book Of Right On’s right on

David Joe Holiday knows what he wants out of a rock band: It has to be loud. It has to be percussive to its core, with rhythms bouncing off each other at crazy angles. And it has to be done for the pure love of making music. The burly, tattooed singer has been working this approach for years in the Twin Cities music scene, fronting bands like Kentucky Gag Order and Belles Of Skin City that hit like a freight train with bold, exciting noise-rock. They also exited the scene in much the same way: Belles broke up acrimoniously in 2007 after Holiday’s band-mates, he says, “staged a coup.”

“I can understand that it’s pretty hard to tolerate my erratic approach to a lot of things,” he says wryly. Feeling burned out, Holiday took his time assembling a new band, starting with longtime collaborator Jason Underwood, and the slow approach has paid dividends both in the music and the interpersonal dynamics.

His new quintet, The Book Of Right On, has all the elements that made his previous projects sizzle—pounding polyrhythms, dryly witty lyrics belted out with a crazed-sounding yelp, and the quick-footed ability to jump off in a surprising direction at a moment’s notice. It’s the culmination of a sound he’s been refining for a long time. On Saturday at the Triple Rock, the band celebrates the vinyl release of its new debut, All These Songs About Music, which is tighter, richer, and more compelling than anything he’s done before. It’s a leap forward undoubtedly helped by his new crew, which doubles up on the percussion with seasoned local drummers Mark Jorgenson (ex-Song Of Zarathustra) and Kelly Pollock (The Haves Have It).

Originally published Sept. 10, 2010 on Read the complete article.

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