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A Taste of Minneapolis

What's next for the Twin Cities music scene

I grew up listening to Prince mostly because of my pops, living in a suburb South of St. Paul, but didn’t appreciate the Minneapolis music scene until I got out of it and left for college out West.

There I started to appreciate hip-hop and R&B on a much more personal level, getting in much deeper with Prince & Atmosphere. When I studied abroad I got into other Minnesota acts: Solid Gold, GAYNGS and Mel Gibson & the Pants. Finally, in the Bay Area it was Polica, Tickle Torture, thestand4rd, and most recently, Morly. Well, kinda.

I stayed in Minneapolis for a few years after college and covered Theophilus London at The Loft in early 2012. There I heard one of the openers and I fell in love (with her voice). It belonged to Katy Morley, now Morly. I remember tracking Astronautalis and her down to see if they had any music released. She didn’t, but I remember her telling me something was in the works.

Four years later and I run into her music while researching a post on Minneapolis (this one). Her voice is even more touching and her piano playing stands out more.

It’s good to have such talent sprouting from the Twin Cities. Here’s a dozen or so and their songs.

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Hiero Day 2015

Annual festival in Oakland

Hieroglyphics is a hip hop group out of Northern California. Each year they celebrate new hip hop talent with their own festival in Oakland on Labor Day. I got the chance to cover their show this year and even though there were over a dozen quality performers to see on each stage, I was there for one.

It took me over three hours to get to Hiero Day, public transit wasn’t doing so well. When I got there the temp had to be hitting on 90 and everyone was looking for shade to sit in. But I had to find Anderson .Paak. The main reason I was there.

I caught him right before his performance on the Third Eye stage. I ran up to him like a giddy fool and blathered about my love for his music. When I realized how foolish I was sounding, his manager assured me that they all felt the same way too. We talked a bit longer about other LA emcees, I actually told him the only other one that could compete with him was Doja Cat. He got a kick out of it.

His performance on stage had just as much character as his music, along with the short time I talked to him. The day was a highlight I’ll be holding on to at least until next Labor Day.

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Music that Got Me Blogging About Music (Part 1)

The Midwest - with a little East Coast & Florida mixed in

I decided to compile a list of 25 artists that I discovered (or rediscovered) in college and was the driving force to get this music blog up and running. The list is broken into five categories – Midwest/East Coast hip-hop, West Coast hip-hop, International/non hip-hop music, Bay Area hip-hop and finally my top five. I plan on posting one per week for the next five weeks (each Sunday), but you know how that goes. Make sure to stay tuned in.

For the first part I decided to go with the Midwest because that’s where I’m from. Unfortunately, my Midwest & East Coast influences are lacking on this list, probably because I went to college in Arizona, heavily influenced by the West Coast. Anyways, I think you’ll enjoy these six musicians from the heart of America – some you may know and some you’ll get to know (you better!) […]

Check out the Midwest’s best »

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Ryan Olson Interviewed on The Local Show

at his studio in Northeast Minneapolis, high as fuck. (I presume)

This last sunday, The Local Show with David Campbell on the Current did an interview with the mix mastermind, Ryan Olson – founder of GAYNGS, co-founder of Mel Gibson and the Pants, and occasional bass player for Building Better Bombs. I posted it up on here because I’ve been lacking on the interviews, so I thought I’d do the next best thing, steal one!

Check out the recording of the interview in the full article!

When you start listening to the interview, you begin to realize Olson’s voice doesn’t sound quite right; that’s because he auto-tune’d it. It sounds strange (and stupid, to be honest), but after a couple of minutes it’s kinda funny (and still stupid). The interview covers a little about Olson’s past, some talk on GAYNGS and a lot about what he’s currently up to. At least half the show is taken up by Olson’s favorite music from the Midwest – a good eclectic taste. I cut out the second half of the show because Olson’s interview is only the first half. If you want to listen to the second half, go to The Current – more good tunes.

I took a couple of Olson’s best and featured ’em below: two from Mel Gibson and the Pants and one from GAYNGS. Let me know what you think of each song and the diverse sound Olson producers.

It was my original intent for this site, and always will be, to promote Mel Gibson and the Pants, along with a handful of others – and growing each day.

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Paper Shaper Shifter by Mel Gibson and the Pants

"My biorhythm is awesome."

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Mel Gibson and the Pants is one of the groups I love to show off to others; (1) because anyone outside of Minnesota doesn’t know about ’em, (2) the instrumentals are a complete mashup of a few different genres, unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, and (3) Harold Sander’s (MC for the group) voice is sexy as hell. They’ll actually be my most featured group on here after this is released (other features of MGP include w/ Guitar, as well as a single from the album, Beat it Loose). The group may not be the most prolific in quality hits, but when they hit it, they hit it right, and Paper Shaper Shifter hits it right…

Paper Shaper Shifter is one of the first songs I really got into with MGP. It’s a little different from their usual drum & bass, electro-rock beat, but still shows their unique style of music. As always, Harold Sander’s comes up with some interesting lryics, voiced in a stylish & saucy way. I was actually going to name this site after some of the lyrics off this song, “my biorhythm is awesome” (the site was originally going to be BiorhythmAwesome.com, among others), but I liked Silence Nogood best.

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Beat it Loose by Mel Gibson and the Pants

These guys really are one of a kind.

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Mel Gibson and the Pants is that strange child no one gets at first, but eventually realizes their genius(ness)…

I reviewed MGatP’s album (w/ Guitar) about two months back, but didn’t give Beat it Loose (a song on the album) much thought because I wasn’t quite sure what I felt about it, yet. Well, a good two months later and I finally have a solid opinion. Beat it Loose is becoming one of my favorite songs by the group/band. At first, I was a little skeptical about the beat, like I am with a lot of other MGatP songs, but it grew on me… like a lot of other MGatP songs. The song features Doomtree‘s Cecil Otter & Harold Sanders Jr. (MC for MGatP) on the mic. The two work well together, and do a phenomenal job of flowing off each other and the beat (which I can’t imagine is easy). This may not be something you enjoy at first, but give it time… trust me, it’ll grow on you… or at least one of the songs on this album will.

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w/ Guitar by Mel Gibson and the Pants

Silly name, quality sound.

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Hailing from my hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mel Gibson and the Pants (MGP) are a band with a peculiar sound with an even more peculiar name. But don’t let the name throw you off, MGP is a midwest group with a quality sound. Though their music includes a midwest style, MGP comes up with a new flavor of hip-hop incorporating electro-rock, drum & bass, and of course hip-hop. With Riley Hartnet’s maginifecent guitar riffs and Harold Sander’s (J.R.) thought provoking rhymes, MGP pulls off something never “seen” before.

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