Music

​Basement’s Best: Natalie Prass’ stunningly strong debut is no fluke

by Stephen Anderson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 29th, 2015

With what sounds like the last tiptoe across the floorboards of a once-shared home, Natalie Prass presents herself to the world.

With a voice as soft as down, Prass bares her vulnerability just enough for empathy, though the astounding confidence of her tried-and-true songwriting chops, augmented by enveloping string and horn arrangements, defy any question of meekness.

In the case of all exceptional debut albums (and make no mistake, this is one), there comes an exceptional backstory.…

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ND Music Award Buzz

by Kayla Culver | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 21st, 2015

Tigirlily

North Dakota is celebrating its diverse music scene with its first music award show on Thursday, Feb. 19 hosted by URL Radio. The event will take place at the Belle Mehus Auditorium in Bismarck with live performances by North Dakota artists and presenters.

Performers include Lifetime Achievement nominees Clyde Bauman (A.K.A Mylo Hatzenbuhler) and Richard Torrance, Breakout Nominees Tigirlily, Big Reeno and Zwarte. Presenters include North Dakota celebrities Brad Hackworth, AnnMaria De…

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Basement’s Best: Hanni El Khatib asks “What if?” on “Moonlight”

by Stephen Anderson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 21st, 2015

“What would it sound like if RZA got in the studio with Iggy Pop and Tom Waits?”

While this pipedream of a supergroup is a technically viable affair, outside of some sort of one-off, “We are the World”-ish charity sing-along that may or may never come, we’ll have to take what we can get. Allegedly acting with this “what if, man” collaboration in mind, garage toughie Hanni El Khatib’s “Moonlight” is going to have to fill that never-was void until the next major natural…

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Basement’s Best: Panda Bear’s “Reaper” nothing to fear

by Stephen Anderson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 14th, 2015

Though its title reads more like a canned Godzilla spinoff, Panda Bear’s fifth record, “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper,” finds the Noah Lennox “nom de band”bolstering his uniquely dense, mercurial headphone-pop to float serious observations on depression, alienation and, you guessed it, death.

Reining in some of the sample-happy, throw-it-at-the-wall glee that defined his earlier efforts, the Animal Collective alumnus casts over his saucer-eyed whimsy a brooding sense of…

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​30 Best songs of 2014, part II

by Stephen Anderson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 27th, 2014

The Growlers, “Going Gets Tough”


The Growlers must be taking in a lot of Jimmy Cliff lately. The standout of their album “Chinese Fountain” finds the beach goth goons channeling that same sunshiney optimism with this rocksteady-reminiscent gem.

Hiss Golden Messenger, “Saturday’s Song”

Understated and breezy, M.C. Taylor’s ode to the weekend matches the peaceful, easy feeling of a hard-earned day’s rest. Complete with whistle-clean guitar lines from Merge labelmate and…

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Remembering Ryan Grahn

by Phil Hunt | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 23rd, 2014

Fargo underground bids farewell to a prolific scenemaker

On Dec. 16, Ryan Nicholaus Grahn died in his Fargo home. A little piece of Fargo’s music history died as well. He was 41. Fargo’s underground music scene isn’t quite that old, but it’s getting there. When some guy passes on before his time, the question that inevitably crosses the mind is, “How did he die?” Can we talk about how he lived instead? Let’s suppress our morbidly curious lizard brains for a while and delve…

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Year of the Tron

by Diane Miller | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 23rd, 2014

Cliff, Karl, Matt and Paul / Photo by J Earl Miller

Fargo death metal vets Gorgatron release CD on Jan. 10

What happens when you Google “Fargo death metal”? Gorgatron happens, that’s what.

The “doomishly” loud, scarily fast music project will release its second full-length album, “Inner Supremacy,” on Jan. 10 with a show at The Aquarium.

Many Fargo music fans know Gorgatron as one of the top, if not the top, metal projects in area. The group has been around for nearly eight years and has opened for national acts such Machine…

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​The 30 Best Songs of 2014, part I

by Stephen Anderson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 19th, 2014

No “best of” list will ever truly satisfy anyone besides the compilers themselves. One person’s musical treasure is just as well another’s rubbish, and there just aren’t enough hours in a day to listen to everything. That being said, these 15 songs seem to hover above the rest, and demonstrate how immensely inventive and diverse this year’s releases have been. Whether you agree with this list or not, the songs listed deserve a first listen at the very least.

“Seasons…

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Top 10 underdog albums of 2014

by Stephen Anderson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 11th, 2014

In a year marked with monstrously popular and impossibly creative albums from indie newcomers (Sylvan Esso, Perfect Pussy), breakout novices (tUnE-yArDs, Angel Olsen, The War on Drugs) and stalwarts (Ariel Pink, Real Estate, Caribou) alike, some gems inevitably get buried in the hubbub. I’ll be wrapping up this year in music with a special list of 2014's most deserving underdog albums. 

10. Nikki Lane, “All or Nothin’”

An all-killer-no-filler collection of rocking outlaw country,…

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​A sit-down with Ben Hill of S0und

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 10th, 2014

Photo by Claire Fiedler

By Rod Hadland

In a house in Moorhead sit some amp stacks, a PA and a drum kit. The basement is the base camp where S0und, a band featuring Ben Hill on guitar/vocals, Michael Beatrez on bass/vocals, Alex Johnson on guitar and Frankie Maxwell on drums, came together. Breaking off from the group Bear North, S0und ultimately became for Hill, 20, a group that he had long wanted to form. Suave and Lennonesque, he sat down with me, and we discussed the group.

HPR: Let’s start at the very…

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