Saturday, January 31, 2015

Annual Manual

Posted November 19, 2014in The Sound

Being a woman

Any musician worth his or her salt — and several of them who aren’t — will say that the biggest thing an artist needs is continual growth. Minneapolis-based Caroline Smith, however, has taken that idea almost to its extreme and has completely reinvented herself the past couple of years. Smith

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Posted November 12, 2014in The Sound

Life after ‘Idol’

The honest truth is that, despite what the show would like you to believe, winning “American Idol” has never been a surefire path to success. Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson has certainly done OK for herself, and she and Carrie Underwood probably stand shoulder-to-shoulder as the show’s biggest successes. But

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Posted November 05, 2014in The Sound

Stone-cold nuts

Parker Griggs might just be crazy. A naturally gifted guitarist, Griggs practically needs a revolving door on the side of his tour van. Radio Moscow plays as a power trio, but Griggs has been the only constant in the band’s decade of life, sharing the stage with a dozen different

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Posted October 29, 2014in The Sound

Asking for your attention

The Milk Carton Kids are gloomy. Or at least, that’s the look they’re going for, in spite of themselves. “It turns out that the name doesn’t reflect the dark morbid ideas that it was supposed to,” said Joey Ryan during a phone interview from Boston. “That point was driven home

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Posted October 22, 2014in The Sound


Aaron Lewis is in the middle of a seismic shift. Don’t mistake him for a pop star looking for a little crossover appeal on a lark. Lewis’ previous band, Staind, has sold in the vicinity of 15 million albums. Hit Parader magazine named him one of the 50 greatest metal

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Posted October 15, 2014in The Sound

The little folksinger

“I do enough of these interviews that they’re never really a big deal,” I said to the folksinger on the other end of my phone last week. “But I’m really trying my best to keep my shit together right now.” Ani DiFranco, speaking from her home in New Orleans, laughed

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Posted October 08, 2014in The Sound

Never looking back

Nathan Hunt believes in the bigger picture. The Shaman’s Harvest frontman doesn’t buy into the “one single at a time” ethos of modern music releases and feels his stories should be told in chapters, not vignettes. “I obsess over arrangement,” he admitted in a phone interview. “It’s really, really important

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Posted October 01, 2014in The Sound

The evolution of Matisyahu

Born Matthew Miller, Matisyahu’s career has served as a reflection of the man. It started in 2004 when Matisyahu made waves with the single “King Without a Crown.” The song was a critical and commercial success artistically, but more important to many people was Matisyahu’s loud and proud declaration of

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Posted September 24, 2014in The Sound

A delicate balance

When Joe Giunta, music director and conductor of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, came to town in 1989, he knew he had his work cut out for him. “I had meetings with business leaders where they’d tell me, ‘You picked a bad time to come to Des Moines,’ ” Giunta

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Posted September 17, 2014in The Sound

Taking snapshots

All bands — well, all the good ones, anyway — are constantly evolving. That evolution stems not from the need to follow trends or the constant reach to stay relevant, but from the fact that bands are living, breathing things, and living things grow. Like rings on a tree, bands

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