Kristoff Krane, I Freestyle Life
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Over the course of his nearly decade-long career, MC Kristoff Krane has made a lot of fans—and a lot of friends, many of whom he’s collaborated with on record. Eyedea, Slug, Joe Horton, and Sage Francis are just a few of the artists heard on I Freestyle Life, a retrospective collection released today. “It is not a best of,” declares Krane in a press release. “It is a time capsule.” Krane will be using proceeds from the sale of the collection—which includes one new track, “Aho”—to fund the recording of a new acoustic album.
Travel Mug, Castle Danger
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Maybe it’s too soon to call, but Ian Hamerlinck and Maya Powell—the two kids behind emerging Minneapolis band Travel Mug—have already set the bar high for Minnesota’s most delightful indie-punk record of the year. A scrappy six-song album, Castle Danger has a dynamic energy that more than makes up for its brevity. “Trees” opens with sleepy synth, then the album explodes into “Suffocate”s perfectly shout-able chorus and the irresistible riffs and vocal harmonies of “Revolver.” The album is available for streaming now, and will be released January 10. Travel Mug will be joined by their friends Wolf Mountain and Prissy Clerks for a record release show at the 7th Street Entry.
The Counterfactuals, Minimally Decent People 12”
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A four-man band hailing from Northfield—three professors from Carleton and one from St. Olaf—the Counterfactuals have crafted much more than a “minimally decent” album. Minimally Decent People beautifully fuses elements of classic folk rock, indie pop, and Americana into a breezy, listenable package. Minimally Decent People is an exercise in melody and creative instrumentation, completed to stunning effect. The album was originally released in digital format and CD in December, and will be available in limited edition vinyl January 11. The Counterfactuals will celebrate the release with a release show at J. Grundy’s Rueb ‘N’ Stein in Northfield.
Sean Anonymous & DJ Name, “Cold Shoulder”/”Sultan of Swat” 7”
Featuring the talents of Philip Morris and 2013’s superstar golden child Lizzo, Sean Anonymous and DJ Name have teamed up for a 7” release in celebration of Sean Anonymous’s annual “Make Some Noise” birthday party at First Avenue. The show takes place January 11, and each of the first 100 guests will receive a free copy of the record. Check out Andrea Swensson’s feature on the release here.
Formerly Cedar Avenue, Cedar, a five-piece Minnesota rock group, have welcomed 2014 with an impressive six-song EP entitled Human/Nature. Sonically, Cedar have created a sound that’s nothing short of cosmic, where Jesse Mathews’s ambitious vocals soar over layered, echoing instrumentals. The final product is enthralling and evocative from start to finish. While Cedar’s big sounds would probably sound more at home in an arena, the band will release the album at Amsterdam Bar & Hall on January 11, joined by Verskotzi and Silverback Colony.
Buffalo Moon, Machista
Buffalo Moon—four parts South Dakota and one part Ecuador—are a Twin Cities band with a knack for creative arrangements and for fusing multicultural influences. They’ve spent the last few years maturing their superb indie-psychedelia; their most recent effort, Machista, was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and is set for release January 11. The title track, “Machista,” Spanish for “chauvinist,” is an empowered breakup anthem with scathing bossa-nova sass and a self-affirming attitude that can be fully comprehended, even by non-Spanish speakers. “Machista” was also featured as the Current’s song of the day on January 3. Buffalo Moon will release Machista with a show at Icehouse on January 11, featuring a performance by Frankie Teardrop.
KT Lindemann is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Morris, pursuing studio art and Spanish. She is a native of the Twin Cities and is a wannabe musician, artist, and music writer.