Category: Grant Hart

The best local music of 2009

My picks for the Minnesota music scene’s best albums of the year. Here’s #1:

1. P.O.S., Never Better
(Rhymesayers Entertainment)
Stef Alexander opens his third album with a down-to-earth apology for the three-year gap between Never Better and 2006′s Audition—”sorry I took so long,” he says, before launching into “Let It Rattle.” It’s the only thing the Doomtree rapper needs to be humble about when it comes to his music. Drawing energy as much from his punk-rock background as his hip-hop side, P.O.S. is as verbally propulsive and nimble here as Savion Glover, the dancer he namechecks on Never Better‘s third song. The Twin Cities is not exactly hurting for talent when it comes to underground hip-hop, but here’s a solid sign that P.O.S. will be counted in the highest echelons of that group for a long time to come.

Originally published on avclub.com Dec. 10, 2009. Read the complete article.

Review: Grant Hart, Good News For Modern Man

Grant Hart, Good News For Modern ManGrant Hart, Good News For Modern Man (Pachyderm)
When I told a friend of mine I was reviewing the new Grant Hart record, she frowned sympathetically and said, “Oh, that’s too bad.” I told her, no, it’s a good thing, but I knew why she was so skeptical. Once, Hart was a living legend of punk rock, the co-genius behind Hüsker Dü, one of the most important bands to come out of our state. But while his ex-bandmate Bob Mould went on to alt-rock stardom, Hart spent the Nineties as a forgotten also-ran. He and his new group Nova Mob couldn’t catch a break, putting out a string of mediocre records amid shufflng labels, a bad bus crash and Hart’s ongoing heroin use, an addiction he now says is behind him. But “Good News” is good news indeed: This is Hart’s best album since the Dü days. And it’s a success indubitably his own, since he plays and sings nearly everything himself—Indigenous’ Mato Nanji guests on “Seka Knows,” but that’s about it. I wouldn’t have guessed that the Beach Boys would be a prominent influence, but the spirit of Brian Wilson is all over this record, especially on “Run Run Run to the Centre Pompidou,” with its multi-layered choruses and innocent theme about trying to see as much of Paris as possible before the vacation’s over. “Nobody Rides for Free” mixes Dylanesque lyrics with a driving piano-and-organ arrangement, while “You Don’t Have To Tell Me Now” echoes “Hunky Dory”-era David Bowie. Hart’s expressive tenor and strong songwriting keep everything together. In short, an artifact full of gems from a guy I always knew had a great record in him but hadn’t thought I’d hear. 4 out of 5 stars

Originally published on citysearch.com, exact date unknown but in 1999 or 2000.

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