City Pages 10 Thousand Sounds Music Festival

Enjoy six hours of live music on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at City Pages 2nd annual music festival, 10 Thousand Sounds, featuring Poliça, Sylvan Esso, Allan Kingdom, Carroll, Frankie Teardrop, Tree Blood and hosted by Barb Abney of the Current!

The single-stage, outdoor event will take place from 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm. in the hub of downtown – just one block south of the Orpheum Theater off of 10th Street and Hennepin Avenue. With a multi-genre lineup, local vendors, food trucks & libations — this is a festival event you don't want to miss!

The Walkmen

The Walkmen are five New Yorkers who have played rock music since they were 10 years old. All five originally hail from Washington, D.C. where they attended St. Albans high school and played in several bands. Over the years, and in their many ensembles, they've experimented with punk, noise, a lot of "garage" sounds, ska, and rock.

After Jonathan Fire*Eater imploded, Paul Maroon (guitar, piano), Walter Martin (organ/bass), and Matt Barrick (drums) rounded up enough investors to rent a Harlem industrial space, and convert it into a 24-track analog recording studio. Dubbed "Marcata Recording", the new space became the birthplace, home, and virtual sixth member of the Walkmen. Joining with ex-Recoys, Walter's cousin Hamilton Leithauser (vocals, guitar) and his friend Peter Bauer (bass/organ) (who had for years been slaving away in the East Village for spots at the Continental and Luna as The Recoys), the lineup was complete by the summer of 2000. Over the course of the next year the band sedulously wrote and recorded late in the evenings after work. It was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. While adjusting to their new space and equipment, the band engaged in much experimentation with sound.

Their first show took place at Joe's Pub in the East Village in September of 2000. Onto the tiny stage the band lugged an upright piano, a bass cabinet that was taller than the bass player, three amplifiers, an organ, a lap steel, two tape machines, three guitars, and a set of drums. The show was a great success, so they decided to stick together.

There are certain bands that demand to be listened in a certain way: Pink Floyd might require a bong & lazer light show; Led Zeppelin benefits from giant, wood-paneled speakers, and FREE ENERGY—a band responsible for having crafted some of the finest guitar-filled power pop this side of Weezer or Cheap Trick—should be played on a cassette deck in a Camaro screaming down the highway; stereo cranked, feather roach clip dangling from the rearview.

"Being from the Midwest definitely informed our aesthetic," says Free Energy vocalist Paul Sprangers. "Growing up in a small town with radio and MTV—then later discovering indie rock and punk rock—really shaped the kind of music we make now. So, I had the same kind of unabashed love for Phil Collins as I did for Pavement—I don't think I ever grew out of that. It probably shows."

The story of FREE ENERGY, however, doesn't begin in the backseat of a muscle car, rather St. Paul, Minnesota, where Sprangers and guitarist Scott Wells—both members of the late, great Hockey Night—were signed to NYC powerhouse DFA records based on their homemade demos. After signing and spending a year writing and demoing they moved to NYC to record with James Murphy. As the record neared completion, Sprangers and Wells moved to Philly, brought in their Minnesota friends to fill out the band, and toured relentlessly behind the release of 2010's Stuck on Nothing.

While it might have seemed an odd fit for a power-riffing pop rock act to put out a record on a West Village disco label, the euphoric vibe of Free Energy—embodied in tracks like "Free Energy" and "Bang Pop"—was actually a perfect compliment to the roster of artistically different but equally accomplished bands, such as Black Dice, Yacht, The Rapture, and LCD Soundsystem. The record spawned nearly two years of solid touring and a pile of accolades, including a Best New Music nod from Pitchfork and Rolling Stone's assessment that the band "totally fucking rules."

At a time when a lot of indie rock is mired in gloom or coated with layers of reverb, FREE ENERGY is interested in sounding like Thin Lizzy or Fleetwood Mac: old-school juggernauts that made clear, well-crafted hook-laden singalongs; songs about love, truth, and the journey within. It's a time-tested formula, but clearly one that can still sound fresh in the right hands.

"For some reason, DFA was the only label that really understood us," says Sprangers, "They got what we were trying to do, and could hear potential in our demos. We learned so much from their philosophy, and continue to apply it to this day—it was a true education. So, after having done a record with James and DFA—which was a dream come true—it felt like a good time to push ourselves further, which turned out to be making and releasing a record ourselves."

As the band began work on album number two they flirted with a couple different producers. They cut an unreleased track with Jeff Glixman (the producer responsible for Kansas' classic rock staple, "Dust in the Wind") before doing a trial run with John Agnello. Agnello's work with the likes of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and The Hold Steady made him a good fit for the band, but it was his formative work in the 80's with the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Hooters, and Bruce Springsteen that sealed the deal.

"He really produced," says Wells. "He came to band practices in Philly. He helped us shape the songs and get the sounds that we needed. He helped us get more clean, digital drum sounds like The Outfield used, which was a priority for us. We wanted to make the biggest, brightest rock songs we could. "

The resulting album is Love Sign, to be released on the band's new imprint "Free Energy Records" in January of 2013. Much like it's predecessor, the new record flirts with hysteria-inducing pop songwriting and classic rock production. Tracks like "Electric Fever," "Hey Tonight" and "Girls Want Rock" demonstrate the band doing what they love—condensing handclaps, harmonies, fist-pumping choruses, and lazer guided guitar leads in such a way that the songs always feel vaguely familiar. These are songs that demand to be blasted in a car as one sings along at the top of one's lungs. These are songs crafted by young men who clearly have an understanding of pop music's DNA; the way a good melody can be more catchy than the common cold. Given their go-for-broke vibe, It makes sense that the band keeps a framed photo of Van Halen in their practice space.

Ultimately, Free Energy occupy their own interesting niche. Are they an indie rock band? A classic rock band? A power pop band? Even the band isn't sure ("I wish someone would tell us what we are," says Sprangers, "because we've been described as everything!"), but in the end it doesn't matter. The tracks on Love Sign flirt with the great themes of lasting rock music—the search for truth, falling in and out of love, and the quest for happiness—without ever sounding like retreads of a bygone era. Love Sign proves that there will always be ways to reconfigure the rock and roll archetypes into something fresh and —for lack of a better word—rocking.

"When I think of great songs by Peter Gabriel, or Tom Petty, I hear the them almost like hymns. They speak to something greater than ourselves. Even the simplest rock music—songs about partying and girls—can be transcendental," says Sprangers. "I hope people can relate to what we do on some level. I hope kids like it. I hope moms like it. I don't care about being cool, I just want to connect. I want people to know that no matter what, life is good, and every experience is meaningful. Maybe that's weird. But we definitely feel like weirdos and we always have…maybe we always will, which is totally fine."

Greg Grease

The best hip-hop albums don't settle in the mind easily. And Greg Grease's Cornbread, Pearl, and G kneads that stubborn gray matter into improbable new shapes on every track. Though the Minneapolis producer-turned-rapper directly recalls what his father played for him on Lizzo-assisted "I Still Love H.E.R." — Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, and Slum Village — this dense masterpiece never sounds like an imitation of any of them. Or Outkast, or the Roots, for that matter. Instead, it carries on these innovators' tradition of intra-album, heck, intra-song revamps. Don't get too hung up on one rhyme scheme or a particular beat, because Grease re-plots his course frequently, while never sounding lost. Be it the sun-kissed park imagery on "Summer Saturdays" or the rapid-fire flow of "Cliches" ("Conversation done changed up/Had to switch my game up/Not the same as these lame ones/Competition don't play much") or the confident head-nodder "C.R.E.A.M Dreams," it's hard to believe this guy ever rapped about being on the wrong side of a glass ceiling. By Reed Fischer, City Pages Music Editor

Strange Names

Strange Names is a Minneapolis duo comprised of Brooklyn native Liam Benzvi (left) , and Minneapolite, Francis Jimenez (right). The two met while studying at the University of Minnesota, and in 2010 began collaborating on the dream-pop project that would eventually mature into Strange Names. After some internet buzz from the UK, and some radio play in the US, they enlisted a couple of local musicians and friends to put together a live act. The group is currently working on their second EP with a release date set for fall 2012.

Prissy Clerks

Prissy Clerks started during jealous rage, now, somewhat calmer.

The Chalice

For pretty much as long as there has been hip hop, there's been talented, strong, whip-smart and empowered females crashing the supposed "boys' club." And throughout the history of the genre, the idea of the hip-hop collective has stood the test of time. Even locally, in their hometown of Minneapolis, MN, there have been nationally successful examples of these strong females and collective structures (Dessa, also a member of the renowned Doomtree collective, is a prime example of both). But not in Minneapolis, and not really elsewhere, have three of these hip-hop Queens joined forces to form their own collective- no boys allowed. Enter the Chalice.
Each of the members of the Chalice brought to the table a unique sound and style, and viable, burgeoning solo career. Each woman also originally called somewhere besides the Twin Cities home. Lizzo, a Houston transplant (and multi-talented singer, rapper, and instrumentalist) brings an electric, kick-you-in-the-face Missy Elliot-like energy to the mic and has a swagger that only the South could birth. Sophia Eris, whose famous head-wraps give her the silhouette of an Egyptian queen, came to Minneapolis from Dayton, OH and got her artistic start in the spoken word scene. Her cool-calm-collected, laid back rhyme schemes and earthy style has garnered her comparisons to Erykah Badu. Claire de Lune, the sultry, smoky-voiced soul singer from New York City, got her start in Minneapolis doing guest vocals on songs with artists like MaLLy and The Tribe and Big Cats, and her old-soul sensibilities have earned her comparisons to Amy Winehouse and Joss Stone.
The three women met through mutual friends in the tight-knit Minneapolis hip hop scene, and one red-wine fueled evening, wrote a song ("Push It," which would become their breakout hit) in Sophia's living room. After friends requested they record it, a low-fi recording was uploaded on Soundcloud. This caught the ear of local tastemakers, Minnesota Public Radio's 89.3 The Current, who contacted the group asking for a clean edit. Realizing the potential of their fun, low-pressure side project, the women decided to give the group a go. The Chalice was born.
Individually, each of the young women of The Chalice are more than noteworthy. Together, though, they combine to create something truly special, something so unique that, in less than one calendar year since the release of their first single "Push It," it's setting the Minneapolis music scene ablaze. The Chalice is a blend of hip-hop, funk, pop, RnB, and yet genre and boundary-less. Somehow simultaneously reminiscent of old-school hip-hop and also sounding like the future, the group's first EP "We Are The Chalice" was released on September 28th, 2012 to critical acclaim and the rollercoaster ride that has been the first year of the group's career shows no signs of slowing down. It seems that the women have everyone who takes a small sip from the Chalice under their spell.

$20-$45

Tickets

The single-stage, outdoor event presented by Coldwell Banker Burnet will be held near Eighth Street and Hennepin Avenue from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and offer a multi-genre lineup anchored by the Walkmen and Free Energy. With a wide range of local talent rounding out the bill, the festival is sure to offer Minnesotans an eclectic, energized evening of live music. Festival-goers can enjoy the inaugural event by purchasing a general admission wristband for $20 or a VIP wristband for $45. The upgrade to VIP offers attendees access to an exclusive area with preferred seating and a catered experience. 2013 Lineup: The Walkmen Free Energy Greg Grease Strange Names Prissy Clerks Hosted by: the Chalice

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City Pages 10 Thousand Sounds Festival with The Walkmen, Free Energy, Greg Grease, Strange Names, Prissy Clerks, The Chalice

Saturday, June 22 · Doors 4:00 PM at 8th & Hennepin Downtown