Minnesota Public Radio features by Andrea Swensson http://minnesota.publicradio.org/about/people/mpr_people_display.php?aut_id=31198 en-us Copyright 2014 Minnesota Public Radio Sat, 23 Aug 2014 08:24:36 -0500 Minnesota Public Radio features by Andrea Swensson http://minnesota.publicradio.org/standard/images/mpr003/logo_mpr.gif http://minnesota.publicradio.org/?refid=0 Album Review: Lana Del Rey, 'Ultraviolence' Let's stop thinking so hard about Lana Del Rey's image for a minute and listen to her music, because it doesn't get much more honest or soul-baring than on her new record, 'Ultraviolence'. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2014/07/07/album-review-lana-del-rey-ultraviolence?refid=0 Mon, 07 Jul 2014 00:01:00 -0500 'Purple Rain' turns 30, Bobby Z shares his memories It was 30 years ago today that Prince and his band the Revolution released Purple Rain, still the best-selling album to come out of Minnesota. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2014/06/bobby-z-shares-his-purple-rain-memories-on-the-albums-30th-anniversary/?refid=0 Wed, 25 Jun 2014 07:15:11 -0500 Album Review: Atmosphere, 'Southsiders' As the album title suggests, Slug and Ant are using this new Atmosphere record to rep the south side of Minneapolis, where they have lived and worked for the majority of their career. You can practically picture Slug wandering down Lake Street deep in thought as he raps about his place in this broken world. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2014/05/05/album-review-atmosphere-southsiders?refid=0 Mon, 05 May 2014 00:01:00 -0500 Album Review: Courtney Barnett, 'A Sea of Split Peas' wry sense of humor runs through all 12 tracks on Barnett's recently reissued album, which is actually a compilation of her first two EPs slapped together to satiate her growing fanbase. Witty and evocative, Barnett sings over lo-fi, psych-influenced washes of guitar. But there is also something deceptively poppy about her music. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2014/04/21/album-review-courtney-barnett-a-sea-of-split-peas?refid=0 Mon, 21 Apr 2014 00:01:00 -0500 GRRRL PRTY Perform in The Current Studios People tend to think of GRRRL PRTY as a party band--which is understandable, they acknowledge, given that they do have "PRTY" in their name--but there are dark dimensions beneath the group's bouncy beats. They don't have much music available to hear on your headphones, but this week they helped to bridge that gap with a fiery performance in the Current's studio. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2014/03/09/grrrl-prty-live?refid=0 Sun, 09 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0600 6 surprisingly normal moments from Prince's Arsenio Hall takeover Last night, when Prince declared a "takeover" of the Arsenio Hall Show and appeared on most of the one-hour late-night program, his aura was perforated even more cleanly than in his recent tongue-in-cheek appearance on New Girl. The show began with a sit-down interview between Prince and Arsenio, and it was an especially straight-faced talk between the shy pop star and the giddy late-night host. By the time they moved into an audience Q&A it seemed that Prince was game for pretty much any question people could throw at him. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2014/03/6-surprisingly-normal-moments-from-princes-arsenio-hall-takeover/?refid=0 Thu, 06 Mar 2014 11:36:15 -0600 The 400 Bar plans to reopen at the Mall of America In addition to providing a 1,000-capacity space for concerts (which puts it in the same ballpark as the Varsity Theater and Cabooze), the new space will include a restaurant and the new Midwest Music Museum. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2014/02/the-400-bar-plans-to-reopen-at-the-mall-of-america/?refid=0 Tue, 04 Feb 2014 17:26:45 -0600 The top 23 shared, most commented on stories of 2013 Before we put 2013 to bed once and for all, we wanted to pause for a moment and reflect on some of the biggest music stories of the year. And there were quite a few stories that resounded deeply with readers and listeners, both in terms of how many comments and discussions they generated and how much you shared them with your own network of friends. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/12/30/most-shared-features-2013?refid=0 Mon, 30 Dec 2013 16:02:54 -0600 The New Standards Holiday Show Listen to the seventh annual New Standards Holiday Show in its entirety (and watch St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman play the bagpipes). http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/12/24/new-standards-holiday-show-2013?refid=0 Tue, 24 Dec 2013 10:00:00 -0600 Grammy winner Miguel stops by The Current studios Few people expected Miguel's song "Adorn" would be such a sleeper hit. But in 2012, it surpassed the one million mark in sales, as well as receiving a Grammy. That unexpected rise to the spotlight allowed Miguel to snag loads of year-end honors, including one of the best reviewed records of last year. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/12/16/miguel-live?refid=0 Mon, 16 Dec 2013 22:00:00 -0600 Album Review: Mason Jennings, 'Always Been' For his 10th studio album, Mason Jennings enlisted the help of producer and guitarist Bo Ramsey to record a lush and nuanced roots record. The fuller sound is proof that Jennings' songwriting talents only continue to grow. Few would argue that this is his most mature-sounding record to date. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/12/09/album-review-mason-jennings-always-been?refid=0 Mon, 09 Dec 2013 00:01:00 -0600 Top 89 Staff Picks: Andrea Swensson, Blogger Blogger Andrea Swensson shares her top songs and albums of 2013. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/12/05/top-89-andrea-swensson?refid=0 Thu, 05 Dec 2013 17:41:40 -0600 Bob Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone' video will waste your entire afternoon Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" is getting its first official music video, nearly 50 years after the song was released. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/11/bob-dylans-like-a-rolling-stone-video-will-waste-your-entire-afternoon/?refid=0 Tue, 19 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0600 Dessa on her recent burglary, branding, and playing big stages Dessa has spent much of this year on the road in support of her new album, Parts of Speech. And along the way, she's also picked up some dramatic stories, some of which sound more like the lyrics in her songs than things that typically happen to touring indie artists. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/10/dessa-on-her-recent-burglary-branding-and-playing-big-stages/?refid=0 Wed, 16 Oct 2013 11:09:59 -0500 First Listen: Polica, 'Shulamith' Polica's slinky, otherworldly style of electro-pop mixes Channy Leaneagh's angelic voice with distorted, occasionally disturbing sound manipulations and harrowing dual drums. The band's second album pushes its sound forward in exciting, provocative ways. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/10/13/first-listen-polica-shulamith?refid=0 Sun, 13 Oct 2013 20:57:48 -0500 Prince throws an unforgettable Paisley party, hints at more next weekend Prince proved once again Saturday night that the best purple parties are the last-minute purple parties. He united his power trio 3rdEyeGirl and his sprawling NPG for a punchy, potent set that kept Paisley Park packed until 2:00 in the morning. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/10/princes-throws-an-unforgettable-paisley-party-hints-at-more-next-weekend/?refid=0 Mon, 07 Oct 2013 13:45:26 -0500 First Listen: Ginkgo - Manopause Fun, freeing and a little strange, Ginkgo's debut 'Manopause' is seriously good. Listen to the new project from Tapes 'n Tapes frontman Josh Grier in its entirety before its release September 3, 2013. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/08/26/ginkgo-manopause-first-listen?refid=0 Mon, 26 Aug 2013 08:00:00 -0500 Downtown Mpls' Fine Line Music Cafe sold News broke this morning that the Fine Line Music Cafe has been sold to the newly branded Minneapolis Event Centers arm of entertainment company Entourage Events Group. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/07/fine-line-music-cafe-sold-what-does-it-mean-for-the-clubs-future/?refid=0 Tue, 30 Jul 2013 11:49:22 -0500 Savages storm The Current studio Between their much-buzzed-about set at the Pitchfork Music Festival on Saturday and their sold-out show at the Triple Rock Social Club last night, excitement over Savages is at an all time high. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/07/22/savages-live-in-studio?refid=0 Mon, 22 Jul 2013 19:00:20 -0500 Dylan,nostalgic at Midway, hails Bobby Vee With a train rolling behind the stage every 15 minutes and the pungent smell of oil and hot gravel clinging to the air, it was easy to see why Bob Dylan chose to return to St. Paul's Midway Stadium for his AmericanaramA tour. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/07/bob-dylan-pays-homage-to-bobby-vee-at-memorable-midway-stadium-show/?refid=0 Thu, 11 Jul 2013 08:37:24 -0500 The Suburbs' new album ends 27-year drought When they officially broke up in 1987, no one could have guessed that the Suburbs would be back together and making music almost three decades later. The band's members have been through a lot in that time; founding guitarist Bruce C. Allen passed away in 2009, and just two years later frontman Chan Poling lost his wife, Eleanor Mondale, to cancer. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/06/the-suburbs-announce-first-new-album-in-27-years-si-sauvage/?refid=0 Wed, 26 Jun 2013 09:46:48 -0500 Album Review: Dessa - Parts of Speech At this point in her career, Dessa has little left to prove. In Minnesota, she's achieved total media saturation. Nationally, her profile has steadily risen with vocal support from flagship critics like Robert Christgau and media outlets like <em>Elle Magazine</em> and <em>MTV</em>. And all signs point to <em>Parts of Speech</em> serving as her biggest push toward a mainstream audience yet. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/06/24/dessa-parts-of-speech-review?refid=0 Mon, 24 Jun 2013 00:00:00 -0500 The Walker's Music & Movies series returns The Walker Art Center unveiled its Music & Movies 2013 lineup this afternoon, which will once again feature a handful of Minnesota acts warming up for free movie screenings Monday evenings in July and August. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/05/the-walkers-music-movies-series-returns-to-loring-park-july-29/?refid=0 Tue, 21 May 2013 14:49:13 -0500 Prominent Twin Cities concert promoter Sue McLean dies Sue McLean, a high-profile concert promoter in the Twin Cities and the largest independent female promoter in the world, died Friday today from cancer. She was 63. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/05/sue-mclean-passes-away/?refid=0 Fri, 17 May 2013 20:59:16 -0500 First Listen: Har Mar Superstar - Bye Bye 17 Har Mar, who we know off stage as Owatonna, Minn. native Sean Tillmann, has long been regarded as a shrewd composer with an ear for pop melodies. Yet throughout his career, he has made a point of separating out his "serious" songwriting and publishing it under aliases like Sean Na Na, while devoting his Har Mar stage name to a much baudier, more flamboyant performance style. For the first time, <em>Bye Bye 17</em> finds Har Mar merging all sides of his persona into one unified front. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/04/17/har-mar-superstar-first-listen?refid=0 Wed, 17 Apr 2013 12:30:00 -0500 Movie Maven: A film review and a tribute to Roger Ebert Stephanie Curtis, Steve Seel and Jill Riley reflect on the life and career of Roger Ebert, and Stephanie reviews Federico Alvarez's reboot of Sam Raimi's classic 1981 horror film. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/04/05/movie_maven_federico_alvarez_roger_ebert?refid=0 Fri, 05 Apr 2013 08:33:00 -0500 The Current Sessions&reg;: Duluth indie veterans Low perform at the Fitzgerald Theater Low are minimalists in every sense of the word. Every note, every rise and fall in dynamic, every snippet of between-song banter is intentional, and measured. The Fitzgerald Theater was an ideal setting for the band's poignant show on Saturday, March 23. Enjoy audio from the event. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/04/03/low-at-the-fitz?refid=0 Wed, 03 Apr 2013 14:00:00 -0500 Album Review: Low - The Invisible Way Low are celebrating a few landmarks with their latest album, <em>The Invisible Way</em>: It's the Duluth trio's 10th studio recording, and it marks their 20th anniversary as a band. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/03/18/album-review-low--the-invisible-way?refid=0 Mon, 18 Mar 2013 00:00:00 -0500 Anonymous Choir performs in The Current studios Dark Dark Dark's Nona Marie started her Anonymous Choir back in 2011, featuring a rotating cast of female musicians and close friends, some of which had never performed in a band before. The result is a gorgeous, stirring and stripped-down project focused solely on covers of their favorite musicians. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/03/08/anonymous-choir?refid=0 Sun, 10 Mar 2013 00:00:00 -0600 MN at SXSW: An overview of the local presence at this year's festival One of the coolest things about attending SXSW as a Minnesotan is observing just how far and wide our hometown artists manage to spread out during the week. The music festival is an overwhelming sensory experience, with every last bar, restaurant, and street corner overflowing with artists hoping to be seen and heard, and each artists and promoters from our state attempt to break through the din with an array of Minnesota-centric showcases and a healthy roster of acts accepted into the festival as official showcasing acts. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/03/mn-at-sxsw-an-overview-of-the-local-presence-at-this-years-festival/#current?refid=0 Fri, 08 Mar 2013 15:01:31 -0600 Prince playing six last-minute shows at the Dakota Jazz Club So that's why the Dakota Jazz Club's calendar has been conspicuously blank for the remainder of this week and weekend. The space has been rented out by none other than Prince. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/01/prince-playing-six-last-minute-shows-at-the-dakota-jazz-club/?refid=0 Tue, 15 Jan 2013 09:42:06 -0600 The 400 Bar may be gone, but its stories live on It's the bar where Golden Smog, Zuzu's Petals, and Semisonic all began, and where Dan Wilson first debuted his big hit "Closing Time." It's the bar where Bonnie Raitt hung out while in the Twin Cities to record her debut album. It's where First Ave stage manager Conrad Sverkerson kicked out his first rowdy patron. And it's where Peter Ostroushko was playing pool when he got the call to go play on Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/01/the-400-bar-oral-history/?refid=0 Fri, 11 Jan 2013 16:55:45 -0600 The 400 Bar may be gone, but its stories live on After decades of hosting live music, the West Bank institution has closed its doors and vacated its ancient two-story building on the corner of Cedar and Riverside Avenues. http://blog.thecurrent.org/2013/01/the-400-bar-oral-history/?refid=0 Thu, 10 Jan 2013 11:43:36 -0600 Photographer Adam DeGross captures the local underground scene in vivid, gritty detail This Saturday, photographer Adam DeGross will display his work in northeast Minneapolis at a party that will also celebrate the release of his first photo book, PAY ATTENTION. http://blog.thecurrent.org/post/2013/01/photographer-adam-degross-captures-local-underground-scene-vivid-gritty-detail?refid=0 Thu, 03 Jan 2013 12:36:59 -0600 Bob Dylan brings it back home for first Twin Cities show since 2008 For those who saw Bob Dylan perform in Rochester this past August, there were few surprises last night at the Xcel Energy Center as he played to a similarly sized crowd. http://blog.thecurrent.org/post/2012/11/bob-dylan-brings-it-back-home-first-twin-cities-show-2008?refid=0 Thu, 08 Nov 2012 11:40:00 -0600 Album Review: P.O.S. - We Don't Even Live Here "We Don't Even Live Here" is P.O.S.'s boldest release to date, and it's set to make an impact on a national scale with or without a tour to support it. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/10/22/pos-we-dont-even-live-here-review?refid=0 Mon, 22 Oct 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Pissed Off Stef and the Street Preacher: Rhymesayers heavyweights dissect the politics on their new albums On a surface level, these two artists couldn't be more different. P.O.S. identifies as an atheist, while Ali is a practicing Muslim and a prominent figure at his mosque. P.O.S. makes unapologetically aggressive music that blends punk, rap, noise, and dance, while Ali draws from classic soul and gospel influences. And P.O.S. encourages destruction and hostility, while Ali preaches the importance of community and togetherness. http://blog.thecurrent.org/post/2012/10/pissed-stef-and-street-preacher-rhymesayers-heavyweights-dissect-politics-their-new?refid=0 Sun, 14 Oct 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Album Review: Brother Ali - Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color Politically charged albums can sound preachy if handled clumsily, but Brother Ali's relaxed and conversational cadence showcases his personal approach to sociopolitics and his skill for presenting intellectual ideas in a universal language. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/09/17/review-brother-ali-mourning-in-america?refid=0 Mon, 17 Sep 2012 00:00:00 -0500 The Cactus Blossoms perform at the Minnesota State Fair The Cactus Blossoms sat down with Mary Lucia for a chat and performed for the fans at the Minnesota Public Radio booth. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/08/30/cactus-blossoms-state-fair?refid=0 Thu, 30 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0500 Bob Dylan returns to Minnesota for a night heavy on the hits Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour has taken four years to steer its way back into his home state, and Minnesota's most famous expat seemed pleased to be back last night as he played for 7,000 fans in Rochester. http://blog.thecurrent.org/post/2012/08/bob-dylan-returns-minnesota-night-heavy-hits?refid=0 Wed, 22 Aug 2012 11:35:16 -0500 On Debussy's 150th birthday, the spirit of his 'Clair de Lune' lives on Local Current blogger Andrea Swensson ruminates on Claude Debussy's impact in popular culture. http://blog.thecurrent.org/post/2012/08/debussys-150th-birthday-spirit-his-clair-de-lune-lives?refid=0 Mon, 20 Aug 2012 12:00:00 -0500 SoundTown pulls the plug on 2012 installment We have just learned that SoundTown, which was slated to take place July 26-28 at Somerset Amphitheater, has been cancelled. http://blog.thecurrent.org/post/2012/07/soundtown-pulls-plug-2012-installment?refid=0 Wed, 11 Jul 2012 12:04:16 -0500 Album Review: Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel... It's been seven years since Fiona Apple's last album, but a long pause between releases is business as usual for Apple, whose methodical approach to writing music has resulted in a stunning catalog of songs. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/06/29/cd-of-the-week-fiona-apple?refid=0 Mon, 02 Jul 2012 00:00:00 -0500 The Murder of Crows' Gaelynn Lea reflects on working with Alan Sparhawk In a new project Low's Alan Sparhawk takes sidecar and gives violinist Gaelynn Lea center stage, laying down sparse electric guitar ambiance under her harrowing, sorrowful violin. http://blog.thecurrent.org/post/2012/06/murder-crows-gaelynn-lea-reflects-working-alan-sparhawk?refid=0 Tue, 12 Jun 2012 16:30:12 -0500 Duluth's Homegrown showcases a talented, tight-knit music community Given the pool of talent in Duluth's music scene and Trampled by Turtles' recent upswing on the national scene, it seems like the time to pay attention to artists from Duluth is now. http://blog.thecurrent.org/post/2012/05/happy-homegrown-duluths-annual-music-festival-showcases-talented-tight-knit-community?refid=0 Tue, 08 May 2012 10:24:16 -0500 L'Assassins performs in The Current studios L'Assassins have been playing together for over two years, but they may seem new to local music fans since L'Assassins wasn't always their name. In fact, the quartet performed without a title for months before settling on something that fit their aesthetic and style. They've found their identity and are rising fast: L'Assassins will be playing the inaugural Girls Got Rhythm Fest in early May. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/04/20/lassassins-live?refid=0 Sun, 29 Apr 2012 00:00:00 -0500