Alas, Alas’ debut self-titled LP is evocative and full of imagery, worth the listen
[UPDATE: Live audio of Alas, Alas' "Whiskey Town" by Jeremy Kleider]
by D. Sykes
Alas, Alas offers a kind of music now very familiar to Twin Cities audiences, a traditional Americana sound that embraces the ragged edges common to hardscrabble traveling musicians. Like many groups you can find at quieter basement shows and stages like the Acadia, they adopt a loose, living-room jam feel, like a bunch of hipster kids who got a hold of their granddad’s fiddle collection—however, Alas, Alas set themselves apart from the vast run of these groups through sheer songwriting quality and musical talent, as evidenced on their debut self-titled LP.
Alas, Alas forego the minimalism of much anti-folk for a ramshackle, wall-of-sound approach, reminiscent of a hung-over Beirut playing in a living room somewhere in Arkansas. At more intense tempos, as on “Whiskey Bound,” they remind one of the alt-bluegrass of Duluth’s Trampled by Turtles. At times the similarities border on appropriation, but there’s only so many chord progressions and picking patterns in the traditional Americana idiom.
He’s not just writing his name: Brian Hart’s light drawings are serious works of art
by Kristoffer Tigue
Brian Hart has been drawing since he was a child. When his family took him to the public library, he’d always check out how-to-draw books. By the time he was 15, he was savoring the full works of Picasso and Gjon Mili’s extra-exposed photography. Born in St. Paul, he moved to Sioux City, Iowa with his family when he was six years old. In 2005 he decided to move back to his home state, finding residence in Minneapolis, and has showcased his incredibly textured light drawings at the Cult Status Gallery and the Future Presence Gallery.
An almost serendipitous discovery, Brian started playing around with his phone screen while exposing it to his Digital SLR, when he realized he could do much more with ultra-exposed photography—physically manipulating small LED lights to draw on his camera in the same way that photographers have been taking those cityscape photos with the blurred car lights on the highway. It started with writing his name but has moved onto some pretty incredible pictures. I met Brian at the Star Bucks inside the downtown Minneapolis Target shopping center because we both love corporations. It was like hosting an interview inside some sort of corporate turducken. Good coffee, too.
Wet Hot Minneapolis Summer
by D. Sykes
Minnesotans appreciate the summer more than most people on the planet. Each year we suffer through seven to nine months of horrid desolation, snow emergencies, and sliding on ice all the way to the liquor store every night. When the warm months finally roll around, we feel a primal and powerful urge to have as much fun as humanly possible. However, since we’re so adept at complaining, we’re pretty bad at actually enjoying ourselves.
So here’s a quick guide to making the most of your passive-aggressive Twin Cities’ summer, the way we know best: riddled with underlying and often hypocritical criticism.
5.) Build a bike, ride it everywhere, become a superhero and save the world
Scientific studies show that if only 3.3 million people were to completely forego the use of automobiles and ride bikes instead, unicorns would fly out of Mount Vesuvius and fart out ozone-layer-repairing nanobots so fast you won’t even be able to listen to an early Crass EP before trees start growing up through the abandoned streets.
5 local sites you should be visiting
by Kristoffer Tigue
Data, data, data. The internet is ubiquitous and overbearing. Everyone and their aunt has a blog and praise Jebus, you simply don’t have the time to check out every friend’s personal feelings and creative expressions. However there is light in the haze. There are some proverbial needles in that stack that are worth the search, and luckily for you, we did the heavy lifting. Here are 5 recommended local websites you probably don’t know about that are worth the trouble of perusing.
1. Hazel & Wren
Paper Darts set the standard for local literary magazines, both in print and online since they popped out of inexistence back in 2009, but that didn’t stop local sisters Amanda and Melissa Wray from jumping into the mix. Adequately armed with their pen-names, Hazel & Wren, and a pinch of wit and a critical eye, they launched their online literary magazine in early 2011.
After a long break, we’ve recuperated and are ready to infest our fair cities once again. Enjoy this promotional video showcasing just some of the art that festers our beloved Twin Cities.
Infest the city. Make art. Talk about art.
Video by Gus Ganley
Music: “Love Don’t Pay My Bills” by Danami