Serene Supreme polaroid photo shoot with DENNIS

DENNIS by Serene Supreme

DENNIS by Serene Supreme

If you follow the Minneapolis music scene, you’ve probably seen Polaroid pics of shows and parties shot by Serene Supreme. She’s the IT girl photographer of the music scene and she’s amazing. She shot Sarah and I last weekend for our music project DENNIS. Check out the post here and take a look around her website because she has some really cool shots of a ton of talented artists.

We wanted to include the t-shirts and sweatshirts that I hand paint with glitter on my bedroom floor and sell on our website. They started out as theme shirts for our last album “Don’t Fall in Love,” but the fun just didn’t stop. We kept creating more beyond the original “YUCK” shirts and went on to make “BARF,” “WORST,” and a new one “U.F. FAUX.” Take a look at our website here and see if any fit your fly ass style.

Katie (ME!) by Serene Supreme

Katie (ME!) by Serene Supreme

The Voice is a bullshit vehicle for stars with dead careers

image from an episode of 30 Rock

Image via an episode of 30 Rock

I do not watch shows like The Voice or American Idol. I think they are lame. I’m all for entertainment and shit, capitalism is whatever, but the false hope that these shows instill in the thousands of forgettable people who are featured season after season makes me sick.

It’s true that SOME people have come out of singing competitions like American Idol with a successful singing career. Kelly Clarkson had a good run. That bald guy from American Idol is doing okay I guess. Clay Aiken was on an episode of 30 Rock once. Out of the 13 seasons of American Idol, Carrie Underwood is by far the most successful. But that’s 13 seasons and only 4 people that are only kinda-maybe culturally relevant today.

As for “The Voice”, I can’t even tell you one person who has had mainstream success. That’s because it’s a pretty transparent vehicle to launch the stagnant careers of its already famous, millionaire coaches.

Exhibit A: Gwen Stefani’s new single “Baby Don’t Lie”

As you may or may not know, Gwen Stefani is a coach on the current season of “The Voice.” Which is weird, right? Because she hasn’t been relevant in the music industry since her solo albums in the mid 2000s. Sure, No Doubt tried to come back in 2012 with their album “Push and Shove” but it didn’t really land anywhere mainstream.

But wait! Today (October 27) she just released a new solo single called “Baby Don’t Lie,” while she is currently serving as a coach on “The Voice.” What a coincidence. Where does she find the time?! I mean, when’s a better time to try and restart your music career than when you’ve been hired to “coach” a “singing competition” on network television?

Exhibit B: Rotating judges on “The Voice” and subsequent releases

Christina Aguilera? Dead career. Usher? Pretty sure dead career, but maybe I’m just not aware of his phantom hits somewhere. Cee Lo Green? “Fuck You” was cool 4 years ago. Shakira? Released a song with Rihanna called “Can’t Remember to Forget You” in between her season 4 and season 6 coaching duties.

Don’t even get me started on Maroon 5. (PLZ for the love of god stop howling at the moon on the radio) I don’t even know what a Blake Shelton is so I won’t go there.

In addition to using the show to promote their own music careers, the fact that the coaches actually perform on “The Voice” chaps me to the core of my chapable human parts. It’s not about you, famous people. JESUS. 

Take this video, for example, of Gwen Stefani performing her biggest solo hit ever “Hollaback Girl” on “The Voice.” I love Gwen Stefani, really. But she is not a singer that I would regard as being able to give anyone a whole lot of singing tips. Especially when the song she chooses to perform on the singing competition show is one where she is talk-singing over backing vocals. Which is totally fine, I ain’t no vocal performance snob. But it’s a singing competition show. The point of it is singing well, not getting by with what ya got. That’s called real life.

Exhibit C: The music industry has been wearing sweatpants in its mom’s basement for over a decade

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Look, we all know the music industry struggles everyday to make money. Small artists definitely struggle, and big artists struggle to make millions off of their music, not including the 7 perfumes they launched this year and a fucking clothing line a Kmart.

Blame it on Napster, blame it on people not respecting time-based art, blame it on the rain. Probably blame it on MTV somehow too.

Let’s not be idealistic idiots. Money is fun. These coaching gigs pay a fuckton of money, so I understand why someone would want to be a coach on a huge show like “The Voice.” They not only get a sick paycheck but they also get to promote their brand. Neat. But taking advantage of these idiot nobody singers (I say with love!) trying to make it big in a show that will never make them big is fucking rude.

Let’s get real: most of these nobody singers are not going to have a singing career after their stints on “The Voice.” They are used as props to fuel viewer engagement and promote the artists telling them they’re “great” and they “love what ur doing” and “ur gonna b a star.” As sickly entertaining as it is to watch people’s dreams get crushed on shows like these, can’t we find another way to promote music on primetime TV that doesn’t involve monetizing false hope in the hearts of starving singers?

COMMENT BELOW and tell me what you think.

 

 

 

7 Questions in Heaven with Vacation Dad

7 Questions Vacation Dad

I first heard of Vacation Dad through a friend named Elliot (who plays in killer MPLS band Dial-Up). I was immediately blown away by the imagery of the name Vacation Dad: the zinc nose sunblock, the sunglasses with the string hanging around his neck, the Hawaiian shirts that smell vaguely of old cologne and corn dogs. I have probably thought about the name “Vacation Dad” 2 or 3 times a year for the past 3 years, yet I’ve never managed to get on top of my local show shit together enough to make a performance of this elusive name genius. 2014 goals: get a real job, clean the basement, see Vacation Dad live. Until then, feast on the Vacation Dad interview that had me fangirling.

1. Your name is so brilliant. How did you come up with Vacation Dad?

mmmmm its kinda hard to pin down.  i first heard the term when my friend pat told me to stop being such a vacation dad.  i think i had told him to put on some sunscreen.  but the project started when i was laid off and just hanging out in my bathrobe and recording when i wasn’t on tour.  so i kind of became this ridiculous, slightly embarrassing but mostly fun party animal.  vacation dad seemed to fit pretty good.

2. If your music could be described as an animal, which animal would it be and why?

it’d be probably be some kind of psychedelic snake that flies.  can’t say why, thats just what came to mind.

3. What projects are you working on right now?

well, i run MJ MJ Records and am a main organizer of FMLY FEST MPLS so right now i don’t have much time for VD.  but i swear to god i’m going to finish something soon as i can (its been like a year and a half since i released anything).  i’m working on a concept album called “AFTERLIFE”.  it’s a funky odyssey of sorts – a psychedelic journey that takes you from your death through the afterlife and eventually into the heavenly bliss of absolute nothingness. its also going to be a fully interactive video game.

4. Who would you rather have play “Dad” in the family comedy feature film “Vacation Dad”: John Candy or Dan Aykroyd?

dan akroyd for sure.  honestly i never thought john candy was all that funny, he just tends to be in funny movies.  like a better version of david spade.

danaykroyd

5. How does a song come to you?

usually starts with a beat, then a groove, then the hook.  i dont fuck with words.

6. What is one international city you’re dying to play a live show in?

i’d really like to go back to nicosia, cyprus.  i played there a couple years ago and it was just the best fucking thing.  kinda want to tour hawaii too.  or anything tropical, i’m not picky.

7. What’s next for Vacation Dad?

i’ve got a show coming up at 7th street with hundred waters, fort wilson riot and har-di-har (which is a fucking insane-o bill) otherwise just trying to get FMLY Fest together, then hunkering down to finish AFTERLIFE.  probs not gonna go on tour again till i finish it.
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DOWNLOAD VACATION DAD MUSIC HERE

7 Questions in Heaven with Dichotomy

7 Questions Dichotomy

I first met Alex Kauffman through a friend I studied abroad with in Brazil back in 2008. That friend referred to him as “kauffy” if I remember correctly. It was 2009 and we walked into the certifiably dude apartment. I imagine it was full of furniture probably salvaged from street corners that was peppered with bowls of dried mystery food sitting abandoned in forgotten corners of the Como apartment. Maybe I’m making all that up, but dudes are dudes so it’s probably true. Anyways, I’m pretty sure there was a guitar in his hands, or at least guitar hero. Either way, he is here now with a handful of albums under his belt with his group Dichotomy. They just released their second full-length album Subterranean (that you can pick up here). Check out what 1/3 of the group Alex “Kauffy” Kauffman has to say about the songwriting process, Valleyfair and Mars.

1. How did Dichotomy get started?

Joe Laurin and I were roommates in Dinkytown a few years ago. I had a guitar and a violin, he had a keyboard. We just messed around for fun, but we did it every day to the point where we started to learn how to use blues scales and improvise. We eventually learned how to produce our own multi-track recordings, and then eventually got confident enough in them that we made them public and released them online.  We started to figure out how to book shows for ourselves, and we’ve been a live act ever since.  We joined up with Nick Shvetzoff about a year ago, he was the perfect compliment to what we already had going on.  Joe and I were always able to play together really well, but we always had to plan out the backing track beforehand and that was a bit stifling.  Nick can control and improvise percussion and other sounds along with Joe and I, so every piece of the band is interactive with one another live.  It’s exciting to have reached that point.
 

2. What is your songwriting process like?

It can be different each time, and we are always coming across new starting points.  It used to be a lot of recording a part, sitting back and listening to it, and then going back in and adding another part and then repeat.  But a lot of it comes out of our jams too.  We jam to get ideas and riffs out, and then we can hone in and build an actual track around the good bits.  After the “meat” of a track is recorded/sequenced, we’ll usually just listen to it for a good week or two to see if there is anything screaming at us that is supposed to happen, or not.  We are really quick putting out new ideas to start something but are pretty slow and deliberate when it comes to actually finishing the track and finalizing it.

3. If you could go to Valleyfair with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Jimi Hendrix.  It would be fun to see what he’s like riding a roller coaster.

 

4. You just released your second full length album “Subterranean”. How has your sound mutated since the “Blue Flame EP”?

It’s changed a lot but it’s also kind of come back around again. With the early EPs, we had more of a harsh, urgent sound. Occasional vocals. It was more guitar driven at the beginning. Heavy beats. Then we started adding a lot more violin and piano, and it started becoming much more like modern classical music.  Longer pieces with key changes and lots of parts and sections. Still dark most of the time, but slower and more drawn out.  That was where we were at when we recorded “Nocturnal”.  Since we’ve been playing with Nick and adding more synth and electric violin, it has shifted back more towards an urgent and heavy “live” sound.  Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes more complicated, but there is an energy to the rhythm.  There is much more of a live feel to it now than there was before.

dichotomy heart burger

5. I know it’s hard to choose between one of your latest sonic babies, but what’s your favorite song from “Subterranean” and why?

That’s tough…I’d have to say Tony Montana is my favorite as of right now.  It has a good balance of catchy and weird.  It’s has a nice melody to it, but at the same time you are never quite sure when the the loud and harsh sounds are going to lash out at you next.

6. What does the future hold for Dichotomy?

We want to try to play live as much as we can.  In the cities or elsewhere, whatever we can get going.  We’d like to make at least a couple more videos for the “Subterranean” album.  As far as new music, we always have new stuff cooking, but we’re going to be doing more singles and EPs for the time being.  We’ve spent a lot of the last couple years working on full albums so we are ready to change it up.

 

7. Would you rather compose a song alone on Mars or with a glass of whiskey with Frank Sinatra?

Alone on Mars all the way. I’m more into spacey shit these days. I like making music in solitude AND with a view, so that pretty well covers both.  I would have loved to jam with Sinatra, but he notoriously hated loud rock music, so he probably wouldn’t want to get down with us, since we are more or less an extension of that. Maybe not though. Just an educated guess.

7 Questions in Heaven with False Teeth

7 Questions False Teeth

If you’re tryinna get yo’ friction on, then you need to pay attention to False Teeth, a self-described hip hop/electric indie rock duo slash total QTs from Minneapolis. The duo is a pair of names you may have seen before at shows around town or somewhere on the Inter Web: Bobby Phisher of Bobby Phisher and Matt Sandstedt from I, Colossus and Jon Jones. Their debut album, Grapefruit, is coming out May 20th via Polkadot Mayhem. This is what they have to say about butts, Pokemon-inspired songs and one little know legend of Ja Rule.

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1. How did you all meet and decide to form a band called False Teeth?

we bonded over a similar appreciation for riddick movies and cinnibon flavored pinnacle vodka.

2. Describe the sound of your new False Teeth album using 3 emojis.

shrimp, top hat, pizza (Editor’s note: 🍤🎩🍕)

3. What is band practice like?

A lot of butt jokes and pointing. Also coffee. Because of everyones weird schedule we usually practice in the mornings on friday. Pre-gaming beforehand.

4. You’re releasing an album called “Grapefruit” soon. What’s the weirdest song on your album?

“Red Barrels Explode” forsure. The hook is in 7/4 time and theres a lot of pokemon involved. We wanted to make a song about tweaking out on video games and in that fashion we had to make it really weird.

IMG_9346-2

5. If you had to pick one artist to collab with from NOW THATS WHAT I CALL MUSIC 10, who would it be and why?

Ja Rule. Anyone that has beef with fiddy cent is a friend of ours. Ja rule is a rare breed of person who has done nothing but try to better the lives of people around him. Whether it be through his music his acting or hamster-esq smile Ja is for the people. He really revolutionized the way we think about all white furniture in music videos as well. Taking a step back though we see thats just the tip of the ice-berg. In 2003 he donated 1.3 Billion dollars to Doritos in hopes they would continue the # dimensional line of snacks, unfortunately they declined his request and left him bankrupt. With no where to turn, young Ja was faced with a choice, turn back the only snack that had ever truly trusted or pick up the mic and try again. So a year later in 2004 against all odds Ja Rule got back on the reins and released Sprite Remix soft drink to much critical acclaim. To this day Ja Rule has sold more soft drinks then any other musical artist known to man.

6. If you could have one celebrity star in a music video for a song off of “Grapefruit”, who would it be and why?

Rick Moranis. He is the key master. False Teeth is the Gate Keeper.
rickmoranis

7. What is your wildest dream for False Teeth?

Guns and Ammo Magazine Front Cover. Also, this is not exclusive to False Teeth but it is our dream to live in a world where avocados never go bad.

Fashion: the PERFECT summer crop top

DENNIS Don't Fall in Love

New fashion: DENNIS “Don’t Fall in Love” crop tops and t-shirts for summer

You may or may not know this, but I am an electronic pop artist that goes by the name DENNIS. My girl Sarah and I are releasing a full-length electro-pop album this summer out of Minneapolis that is srsly gonna murder you (in a good way) when you’re hate-singing about your ex in the car. It’s called “Don’t Fall in Love” and is a collection of bangerz produced by me and written by me and Sarah that are all huge electronic pop jams about how much love/lust/life can SUCK.

Along with the album, I have designed a concept line of crop tops and t-shirts that go along with the essence of “Don’t Fall in Love”. You can wear a crop that says “YUCK” or “NO“, “UGH” or “DENNIS“. They are hilarious, hand painted by us and glittery as fuck. If you’re a glass half-empty type of person, you’re gonna love this shit. They are only $10, and all the proceeds go to funding the album release.

!! BUY ONE HERE NOW !!

this is us. we are weird, nice and fun. plz support us.

this is us. we are weird, nice and fun. plz support us.

PLUS, you get a free download of our first electronic pop EP “Ice Cold”. Or you can just download all of our weird pop music for free here. But for real, you’re gonna look so hot in this shit that your shitty ex will probably die or at least tell you that you were right all along and are super hottt.

Plus, a drunk guy once told me that if you support independent music, an angel will bless you with millions of kisses and good luck for like 20 whole minutes. I wouldn’t pass that kind of a deal up bc you never know when you’ll need some KOOL karma.

PS: we also hand paint glitter sweatshirts if that’s more your thang, hottie.

7 Questions in Heaven with Isobel Trigger

7 Questions Isobel Trigger

Isobel Trigger is a synth pop band from Victoria, British Columbia. Recently freaking out over their first radio airplay on a station up north, they have secured a bunch of festival gigs this summer and are well on their way to taking over that friendly country above the good ol’ U.S. of A. Check out what they have to say about doughnut holes, Craigslist, and Hot Hot Heat.

1. How did you guys start as a band?

Felicia: Brett (our guitarist) and I met in music school and we met Ariel and Kyle through online dating for bands (aka craigstlist)!
Ariel: Yeah, I remember walking into some weird warehouse that was their jam space for my audition, in a really industrial area of town. It was totally sketchy but obviously worth it in the end!

2. What’s your favorite snack during band practice?

Ariel: Tim bits (that’s doughnut holes for you Americans out there) and/or sushi!

Felicia: It’s not uncommon for one of us to be late and call to take dinner orders from the others. I like sushi because it’s light and easy to sing after eating… and… well… who doesn’t like doughnuts?
omg it's true

omg it’s true

3. Tell me about your upcoming EP Nocturnal. Exactly how cosmically awesome will it be?

Felicia: Well, we are aiming for astronomically awesome, as in shooting for the moon, literally (you’ll have to watch our video for Tiger Shark to get that joke). We plan on releasing a video for each song and you can expect lots of gritty synth, creative dance beats and unique vocals on top of our usual dirty guitar and funky bass.
Ariel: We are very excited to birth our EP baby into the world.

4. I don’t know anything about Victoria, BC. What’s the music scene like there?

Felicia: Victoria is the beautiful capitol city of BC! Actually it’s great here and the music scene is booming!  We have so many music festivals it’s hard to keep track!  Rifflandia, Tall Tree Festival, Rock The Shores and many more.
Ariel: It’s really amazing because the city is big enough that there are so many festivals and great events and no shortage of talent, but small enough that the music scene is really a community.

5. What has been the coolest moment of your music career so far?

Photo by Sean Behnsen

Photo by Sean Behnsen

Felicia: So far this year (young as it may be) has been our busiest and we’re thrilled with the momentum we’re gaining.  If I had to pinpoint it to a moment, I’d have to say hearing our songs on a major radio station (The Zone 91.3) has got to be the highlight. The coolest DAY was when we found out that we were Zone Band of the Month, playing Tall Tree and the Royal Theater, all on the same day.
Ariel: On that day I cried and had to be put in an isolation chamber. Then I was ready to rock.
Felicia: *Some facts may be exaggerated #dramaqueen

6. Hot Hot Heat or The New Pornographers and why?

Ariel: Hot Hot Heat duh because they’re from Victoria!
Felicia: Hot Hot Heat!  Because they’re also from Victoria and they really know how to bring it live.  Not that The New Pornographers don’t, but we’ve got a soft spot for the Heat’s quirk-rock ways and Steve Bays with his awesome fro and big energy.
hot hot heat brings back so many 11th grade memories

hot hot heat brings back so many 11th grade memories

7. Which pop star has had the most influence over your sound?

Felicia: Currently I would have to say our “band favorite band” is Metric.  We just think they’re the coolest and even though we all have different musical influences, when it comes to picking an album to listen to on road trips together, Metric gets the winning vote.
Ariel: Does Metric count as a “pop star” though? I’m going to have to go ahead and say Justin Timberlake for this one, since I think that N*Sync are the bomb, and I think that we are really in sync with each other.
Felicia: *facepalm … but JT is my hero, can’t lie.