Music

The Future Sounds of Yesterday: A Sequence of Synthesizers in Science Fiction

Music and technology have always gone hand in hand—and the explosive flowering of music as an art form in the last century is also the story of the explosive growth of technology. Indeed, people have recognized the potential of computers to revolutionize music since before there even were computers. In 1842, writing about the theoretical …

Various Artists: Tradi-Mods Vs. Rockers: Alternative Takes on Congotronics

When the electrifying, trancelike street music spearheaded by veteran Congolese band Konono No. 1 reached Western ears in the early 2000s, it sounded like something beamed in from Mars. Konono’s music was based around traditional instruments like the likembe thumb piano, but the need to use hand-built, jury-rigged amplifiers to be heard on busy Kinshasa streets brought …

Roky Erickson With Okkervil River: True Love Cast Out All Evil

Roky Erickson is a true rock ‘n’ roll survivor. Founder of the groundbreaking 1960s psychedelic band 13th Floor Elevators, Erickson fell into a spiral of drug and legal problems that culminated when he was committed to a hospital for the criminally insane.  Even after his release, Erickson’s mental state was fragile, and his most productive post-Elevators …

The Chambermaids, Down In The Berries

Twin Cities post-punk quartet The Chambermaids sounds like it might have stepped out of a time machine, freshly arrived from 1983. Its new seven-song Down In The Berries fits comfortably back-to-back with spiky, art-punk classics like Wire’s Chairs Missing or Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, and though it’s undeniable that the band’s hardly breaking new ground by bringing that sound into 2009, it’s …

Michael Yonkers With The Blind Shake, Cold Town / Soft Zodiac

St. Paul power trio The Blind Shake was already a pretty good band before it hooked up with Michael Yonkers, the psychedelic guitarist whose long-buried 1968 debut, Microminiature Love, was finally released in 2003 by Sub Pop, giving him a long overdue cult renaissance. The combination of Yonkers and his much younger brethren has been electrifying, both on last year’s Carbohydrates …

Pictures Of Then, And The Wicked Sea

Given the remarkably polished pop songcraft that Pictures Of Then exhibit on And The Wicked Sea—not to mention that the songs from their 2007 debut, Crushed By Lights, got airplay on MTV’s The Real World and The Hills—it’s hard to imagine that the next CD-release show the Minneapolis quartet plays will be at a venue as small as the Uptown Bar; here’s a band …