Music

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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All about that Twinkie Jiggles

by Diane Miller | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 5th, 2014

Photo by Meredith Westin

It’s OK, you can call him Twinkie Jiggles, Sean McPherson says. The bassist for Minneapolis hip-hop acts Dessa and Heiruspecs says he got the nickname while handing out Twinkies at baseball games in high school, and he wore a shirt that said jiggles on the back. He was the game’s DJ/emcee.

He likes the name. So much so that he titled his own project after it: Twinkie Jiggles Broken Orchestra. A four-piece arrangement of the band, which will include vocalist Linnea Mohn of Rogue…

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​A river wild

by Diane Miller | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 3rd, 2014

Wild Hands’ debut album a North Dakota gem

North Dakota music has reached a new level of wild. A four-piece Americana band from Minot, Wild Hands, has just released its debut album, “Oh, River.” And it’s oh so good.

Perhaps Wild Hands is a response to the polished, clean-cut country/rock groups that are popular in North Dakota – groups like Tigirlily and 32 Below. Though even if the guys of Wild Hands didn’t start the band to rebel against the popularity of Tigirlily, they…

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Basement’s Best: ​“When You Land” a return to the Shins’ roots

by Stephen Anderson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 28th, 2014

Seven years before Natalie Portman averred their life-changing capabilities in the soundtrack-reliant indie sleeper “Garden State,” The Shins were five basement-shaking slackers united under the moniker Flake Music, quietly releasing their one and only record, “When You Land Here, It’s Time to Return.” In the 17 years since, The Shins sharpened their literate jangle to a precise point, James Mercer went space-disco for Broken Bells and, most tellingly, the iPod, that…

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