Monday Morning Music with The Smoking Popes (sorta)

The Smoking Popes (a long-time favorite band of mine) meets ska. Thanks to a band called The Pomps, who recently released an album of ska covers of Smoking Popes songs. Ska has never been my preferred musical genre, but it is fun to hear these songs re-imagined. So if you happen to be a fan of the band or the genre, don’t miss The Smoking Pomps.


While I’m sharing re-imaginings of old favorites, I would be remiss if I didn’t direct you to Shoegazi (Fugazi songs done in the shoegaze style). Seriously worth checking out. Of course, shoegaze is my preferred musical genre.

Monday Morning Music with Tacocat

How could you not love the feminist pop-punk that is Tacocat? If the “feminist pop-punk” didn’t hook you, how about these song topics: cat-calling, mansplaining, menstruation, and late public transportation? Seriously. Some of those topics might make you mad, but Tacocat will make you have fun.

Here’s a video of a song from their latest record, Lost Time, because we all love Dana Katherine Scully, right?



Monday Morning Music with Adam Levy

NaubinwayCoverAdam Levy has been mostly known to me as part of the Bunny Clogs since I had taken my daughter to a few of their performances as local events, but he is best known for being the lead singer of the Honeydogs. In the last several years, though, Levy has added another role to the list of things he is known for in the Twin Cities: Mental Health Advocate.

In 2012, Levy lost his son to suicide.  Since then, he has become a vocal part of the mental health community pushing  for a world that works for mental health rather than attempts to respond to mental illness when it becomes a crisis.  His new record, Naubinway, delves deeply into the loss of his son. The songs are personal and, at times, quite raw.  It is a tribute to loss and the healing power of art and sharing.

You can hear him speak about the record and listen to the title track from the record in this video:


I am very glad that people like Adam are sharing their experiences with mental illness, and I hope that this openness leads to less stigma and more people getting the care they need.

For my fellow librarians: I will be reading the Mental Health in YA Lit series at Teen Librarian Toolbox in 2016, and I hope you will be too.  After all, as quote from TLT:

“According to the NCCP, approximately 20% of adolescents have a diagnosed mental health issue. Most mental health disorders begin to present in the adolescent years. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among adolescents. According to NAMI, 50% of children who present with a mental illness will drop out of school.”

This is too important to leave unspoken. Thank you to all those speaking out and all those listening.

Monday Morning Music with Matt Latterell

I didn’t drive for years, and I loved it.  I loved not having to deal with other drivers or finding parking or any of the other hassles that come with driving.  But in the time that I have resumed my status as a driver, I realized what I missed. Yes, there is the convenience of driving your own vehicle versus planning around a bus ride, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  I missed listening to music while driving.  I had forgotten that the car was the place  I ended up connecting to music most often, and it feels so good to have that space again.  My latest driving soundtrack has been Matt Latterell.  He has a new record out now, and the release show at the Cedear Cultural Center was fantastic. But I’ve been stuck on his 2011 release Life on Land.


As I said in this post, his songs tell stories.  They are full of sincerity and the truth as he sees it.  Both records are well worth the listen.


Monday Morning Music with Dolly Parton

dumplin“All the best things in my life have started with a Dolly Parton song.”

So begins Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, which is easily one of the best teen novels this year, in my opinion.  Willowdean Dickson is a girl whose story is well worth being read.  Even if you (like me) don’t have any interest in beauty pageants, give this book a chance.

In honor of Dumplin’ now being available for purchase (and I do recommend you do purchase it), here is some Dolly.

Monday Morning Music with Falcon Arrow

falconarrowMy partner and I don’t agree on everything. But we do agree on post-rock. Friday night we were out together without the five year-old for the first time a what felt like a long time, but it wasn’t really a date night. His band was playing that night and celebrating the release of a split EP, so he was busy with last minute details for the show and networking–the life of a local rock star is a glamorous one–while I enjoyed the music.

Falcon Arrow, a local post-rock duo, opened the show. They have been around for a couple of years, but they were new to me. And I loved it. When I re-connected with Chad later in the evening, he had procured a Falcon Arrow CD. It seems we still have something in common, after all. :)

Check out Falcon Arrow on Bandcamp for their latest. Here’s a video from the album:

Monday Morning Music with Caroline Smith

My partner says I have a type when it comes to music.  He’s probably right.  Look at some of the artists I’ve blogged about: Haley Bonar, Zoo Animal, Lucy Michelle.  I can’t deny it.  I like female singer-songwriters, especially those who write folky indie pop.  For the record, I’ve also blogged about totally different music (See Bloodnstuff, M83, and GY!BE), so I’m not completely stuck in a genre bubble.

I bring this up because Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps is so my type.  The recent documentary about the Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter, My Way Back Home: Caroline Smith, highlights Smith’s evolution as a songwriter, her relationship to her family and hometown of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and finding her voice.


Monday Morning Music with Low

greatdestI’ve been listening to the Local Current radio stream lately, and I’ve been thinking about how long I have to live with things to give them a chance.  Low, Local Current’s Featured Artist of the month, has been around for 20 years, and I’ve known of them for at least 10-12 of those years. I never really gave them a chance until they released The Great Destroyer in 2005.  It was a departure for them, and I loved it immediately.  More than that, though, it put their backlist into context for me.  Everything clicked.   The songs that had been in the background for years weren’t background anymore.  They were the ground, and they have been ever since.

I didn’t get it for a long time, and now Low is a band I will always come back to.  Their latest record, The Invisible Way, will be released in March.

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Monday Morning Music with My Bloody Valentine

In September of 2008, my husband and I crowded into the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago to see My Bloody Valentine, one of my husband’s favorite bands.  He was giddy to be there, and he was taken to another level of giddiness with the twenty minute wall of noise at the end of the show.  I’m not as big a fan as he is, but I have to admit it was an experience unlike anything else and my fan-dom has been growing ever since.

So, obviously, I was one of many (many) fans trying to get to the new record released this weekend on the band’s website when it crashed.  An inevitable circumstance, it seems, for a band with such a devoted following finally releasing new music after twenty years.



All’s well now.  You can buy the record here.  Or stream it here.

Monday Morning Music with Ivy

apartmentlifeToday seems like a good day to look back at my favorite songs or albums in 2012, but my gaze is set a bit further back in time.  With the news that the 400 Bar is closing, I was reminiscing about the various shows I’ve seen there over the years, and two shows stand out.  One from earlier this year, but since it was my husband’s band, I’ll leave that for another time.    The show I want to write about today was from 2005.  Ivy had recently released In the Clear, and they played a great set to a small crowd at the 400 Bar.  We Heart Music posted about that 2005 show recently and noted that Ivy has a newer album (All Hours, 2011) and video released on YouTube in 2012.   I don’t know how I lost track of this band over the years, and I must say I’m glad to revisit their mellow pop songs today.

Here is the new video, “Lost in the Sun”:

Or, if you want to live in the past on the last day of 2012, here is “The Best Thing” from Apartment Life:

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.