Wednesday, December 31, 2008
KAXE Volunteer Doug Baker called in his top SEVEN CDs of the year....
7. The Mystix "Blue Morning"
6. Michael Franti & Spearhead "All Rebel Rockers"
5. Susan Tedeschi "Back to the River"
4. Fontaine Brown & New Orleans Hellhounds "Tales from the Fenceline"
3. Jackie Green "Giving Up the Ghost"
2. Steve Earle "Washington Square Serenade"
1. JJ Gray & Mofro "Orange Blossoms"
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I’ve been thinking about my “Top 10’s of the Year” for a while now, and I think I’ll be able to stick with my picks without too many regrets (the only thing a list does is give you the opportunity to forget something). But, I wanted to do more than just a top ten; I wanted to come up with a name for my “award.” I was trying to think of something that expressed what these albums mean to me – how they are more than just good lyrics and melodies, how the songs on these albums can grab you and take you places, give you colors and emotions all in a moment. First I thought of calling them the “F*** Yeah” Awards or the “Right On” Awards, which get the point across about how cool the music is, but isn’t quit what I was looking for. Then it came to me: The Macedelic Music Awards. Tada, simple, yet simple! I will be announcing MN Albums of the Year and MN Songs of the Year coming up later this week. But, to start the show…
The Macedelic Music Award for Album of the Year:
David Byrne & Brian Eno [Everything That Happens Will Happen Today]
Michael Franti & Spearhead [All Rebel Rockers]
Xavier Rudd [Dark Shades of Blue]
John Wilber & Timmy Haus [Road Weary]
The Tisdales [Bakers Dozen]
The Guggenheim Grotto [Happy The Man]
Beck [Modern Guilt]
Yoav [Charmed & Strange]
Ani DiFranco [Red Letter Year]
Belle & Sebastian [The BBC Sessions]
The new David Byrne and Brian Eno is outstanding all the way through! Songs like “Life is Long” and “One Fine Day” have that Talking Heads feel. “I Feel My Stuff” has that spooky sound you hear in some of David’s solo work and “Wanted for Life” is one of those “big” sounding songs. This CD grabs my ear and won’t let it go. Not only is the song writing and playing great, but the production and mixing work is outstanding – it’s truly candy for the ears! Everything that Happens will Happen Today indeed!
All Rebel Rockers from Michael Franti and Spearhead was also an easy pick for album of the year. I saw MF&SH twice over the summer (both times part of my Honeymoon :D), so I got to hear most of the new songs before the CD came out (and while the CD sounds great, he is better live :D). From one end to the other, Franti keeps rockin’ it on, and messages in songs like “Life in the City” and “Hey World (Don’t Give Up Version)” inspire.
Xavier Rudd is outstanding – he’s put out a new CD each of the last 3 years (and more beyond that) and they’ve all been excellent. Dark Shades of Blue brings more moody and edgy undertones to Xaviers work. “Secrets” and “Edge of the Moon” pop to mind as great songs from the CD with “Up In Flames” being one of the more aggressive, and “Home” has that deep and heartfelt feeling that Xavier is so good at.
John Wilber and Timmy Haus put out Road Weary so they would have a CD to sell at the Bayfront Blues Festival in
The Tisdales CD Bakers Dozen rocks all the way through. It’s a raw and aggressive, yet fun and catchy piece of work by Rich Mattson and Tony Derrick – they switch back and forth on songs and DAMN – it really just rocks! “Isn’t It Good” and “Box of Wine” have outstanding, cut-loose guitars and songs like “Faces” and “Like a Horse” have melodies you can’t help but hum and sing with (actually, all the songs have cut-loose guitars). The guitars are excellent and intricate, the songwriting outstanding and the sound pure, raw and ready to go.
The Guggenheim Grotto floored me with their debut CD last year, but the new Happy The Man shows the duo evolving and expanding their crafty intricate style. “Sunshine Makes Me High” and “Her Beautiful Ideas” are classic Gugg “love” songs, singing “lets get naked and get under the sheets…now I just can’t seem to get out of bed anymore…”. The emotions throughout the album are expressed in some beautifully arranged music like “The Girl with the Cards” and “Just Not Just.” What can I say, the Guggs write beautiful music, thoughtful songs and have once again presented it in an inviting and exciting way.
When I hear something new from Beck, I expect it to be something that sounds original, different and exciting to listen to as twists and turns (and sudden drops) take you through the music, and Modern Guilt does just that. Still easily recognizable as Beck, the songs come at you from new angles and perspectives, but still have that edgy feel. “Soul of a Man” and “Walls” jumped out at me right away, plus the upbeat “Youthless” and “Think I’m in Love” – all outstanding songs from another outstanding Beck CD.
The first CD that came out in 2008 that really got my attention was Yoav’s “Charmed and Strange.” Yoav opened for Tori when I went down to meet her in
Ani DiFranco is pretty reliable when it comes to quality CDs, but Red Letter Year stands out, even for her. “Smiling Underneath” might be my fav song on the album, “we could be stuck in a car with quintuplets that are all cutting teeth, and I’d be smiling underneath,” lots of good stuff in that song. “The Atom” is another great song – a nice open feel, layers and textures and things that you need to wear headphones for to fully enjoy. Ani has done it again; Red Letter Year is another outstanding album.
Belle & Sebastain have been through a lot lately, putting out one full length CD after the singer and songwriter Isobel Campbell left the band – this CD shows that B&S still got it, even with out Isobel, and I also like that some of the songs are updated with slight lyric changes (you ever wonder what a writer thinks of a song 10 years later? I do). But beyond that, it’s the great B&S songs, but live recordings from the BBC, it’s so much fun to listen to “new” versions of favorites of old.
So congrats to you winners of the MMA Album of the Year award – you’re songs fill my head with that wonderful feeling that only music can provide; whether happy or sad, fast or slow, loud or quiet, your music inspires and ignites.
BUT, I ended up having to leave myself a safety valve when compiling this top 10 – here are some honorable mentions for the Macedelic Music Award for Album of the Year – they almost made the list, but I had to try to stick to the 10 limit:
Mason Jennings [In the Ever]
The Cat Empire [So Many Nights]
Ian Ethan Case [Into Open land]
John Mellencamp [Life, Death, Love & Freedom]
The Limns [The Limns]
Death Cab for Cutie [Narrow Stairs]
T Bone Burnett [Tooth of Crime]
Thievery Corporation [Radio Retaliation]
Tom Morello: The Night Watchman [The Fabled City]
Boiled in Lead [Silver]
The Darbuki Kings [Lawrence of Suburbia]
Thanks for reading along, feel free to let me know how you disagree and as always,
Read more from Doug at www.myspace.com/macedelic.
John loved his "Life Histories of Northern American Woodpeckers" by Arthur Cleveland Bent and Harry's favorite gift from his son was "Trees and Shrubs on Minnesota" by Welby R. Smith.
John Latimer talked today about one of his favorite Christmas presents this year from his daughter - it was a book on woodpeckers (see the beautiful photo of the red bellied woodpecker) by Arthur Cleveland Bent called "Life Histories of North American Woodpeckers".
Did you participate in any Christmas bird counts this year? Let us know what you saw!!!
Last night's snow was largest along the international border with up to 3" in Cook, International Falls and 2" in northern Itasca County. Just a dusting of snow occurred in Grand Rapids.
Tuesday's snows will occur south of Highway 2. There will be a narrow, east-west band of 3-6" between Brainerd and the Twin Cities. I do not expect any accumulation in Grand Rapids-- and maybe just a dusting in Bemidji. The snow will start just after midnight and end just after noon on Tuesday. The heaviest snow will fall around sunrise.
Thursday may bring a general 2-5" snowfall across the entire area as another trough of low pressure moves into the area.
(Sunday evening post)
The snowy pattern continues this week as a series of weak low pressure systems moves across Minnesota under relatively fast west to east flow aloft. We'll have chances of snow early Monday morning (along and north of Highway 2), Tuesday (south of Highway 2), and Thursday (over the whole area). Each of these events appears capable of providing snows in the 1-4" range, but Tuesday's snow could drop up to 6" south of Brainerd. Temperatures will generally be near or slightly below average for late December. That means high temperatures in the teens and lows a little bit below zero.
Generally, there are no major storms on the horizon, but we'll have a chance of snow about every other day for about the next 10 days. After that, it looks like the overall weather pattern will become somewhat less snowy, but the temperature will probably be good for skiing.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
One of the things I do at KAXE is pick out the selections for the KAXE Book of the Month Club (you can be in this by pledging your yearly support at our 1 dollar a day/$365 year level)....I was talking with one of the members the other day and asked her what she was looking for in a book right now. "Something light!" I totally knew what she meant.... she described it as needing a "comfort" book and that she goes thru periods where she also needs her reading that is good for her/"vegetable" reading....
When it comes to my own reading, a lot of times that's exactly what I'm looking for - a very delicate balance between light reading and something engrossing....not a harelquin romance exactly, but something that I will get absorbed in and finish quickly.
The cool thing was that I had the perfect book for our KAXE Bookclub member - because I recently interviewed author Jennie Shortridge for Realgoodwords. I'd really liked her book "Eating Heaven" which was the story of a plus-sized food writer who has takes care of her ailing uncle Benny. In becoming a caregiver she comes to realize she needs to learn to care for herself and find what she wants out of life.
But back to the new novel by Jennie Shortridge that I passed on - "Love and Biology at the End of the Universe". This is the story of Mira Serafino - a biology teacher who works hard to appear to be perfect - at work, with her husband, with her daughter and father....when one element isn't quite what she envisions, she packs her bags and hits the road to find a new life. One reviewer wrote:
"Shortridge has tapped into what may be everybody's fantasy at some point or other: if you weren't saddled with the consequences of the decisions you've made over the years, who would you be now?"
You can hear my conversation with Jennie Shortridge at the Realgoodwords archive
or you can hear it Sunday morning at 9am, streaming live audio at www.kaxe.org.
Let me know if you know what I mean about needing "comfort" books - got any recommendations?
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
On KAXE's morning show today, I mentioned to Maggie Montgomery that I made a crustless cranberry pie last night. I've never had cranberry pie before, but I came across the recipe online and it sounded like the perfect dessert for Christmas Eve.
Here's the link to the recipe:
We'll see what it tastes like.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Back in Jan 08 I declared this to be The Year of the Drum and I tried to put a new drum-song on myspace each month, which I did through April I think…
Getting married and having Baby on the way (so, instead of banging drums I was…well, you get the idea…its still The Year of the Drum imho ;D) has shifted where a lot of my free-time focus goes. So, it is with GREAT pleasure that I share with you the latest recording from the Lab Rats.
It's called Santa Jingles (as named by Amy) and it's notable for a few reasons.
- This is the first recording with the latest addition to the Lab Rats, my sister-in-law Amy Mourer. She brings a great energy to the process – she has the life and excitement of a child trapped in an adults body. In the recording, her and I are pounding on the trap set – for the production, I would tweak around with different effects until it got her approval.
- It's the first recording at the new Macedelic Studios in
. W00t! Alvwood, MN
So happy holidays and all that jazz – I hope you enjoy the tune and as always, ROCK ON!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Every Friday morning at 7:20 we check in with Marshall Helmberger from the TimberJay newspaper in North Eastern Minnesota. Marshall and his staff were watching the minute by minute changes online of the Coleman-Franken recount... check out the up to date information from the Star Tribune.
Marshall also talked with us about the final closing of the Ainsworth plants in Cook, Grand Rapids and Bemidji. They have been closed for awhile but especially for the town of Cook, Ainsworth really made it a vibrant community. Now, even if it reopens, there are no job guarantees.
One of the stories Marshall has been following closely is Governor Pawlenty's budget cuts. Almost certainly will be cuts to LGA, local government aid. Marshall said the question is not IF there will be LGA cuts but how big they will be. He told us how a town like Ely is really impacted by these cuts.... Ely was supposed to get an increase in LGA this year and had levy limits imposted. That money they were counting on is in jeopardy now. Many cities fact this too - payments they thought they would be receiving on December 26th may not be forthcoming. Stay tuned for more on what exactly the Governor is proposing. Marshall mentioned that the League of Minnesota Cities lists information on the LGA cuts and how cities and towns will be coming. Click here for more information.
And, as always, give us your thoughts on these topics!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tonight on Centerstage MN my guest is Alia Farah - we'll be talking about her CD Playground, a well crafted and written piece of musical work she recorded in various living rooms (read my previous blog for a little more info on Alia). Her songs tickle the ear, if you haven't heard her - I hope you'll tune in and enjoy!
Other featured music will be:
The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank - from Holyoke, their new EP is a fun twist on the "usual" HNoUF sound
Nikki & the Ruemates - out of Minneapolis, they've got 3-part harmonies and mix styles ranging from acoustic blues rock to psychedelic folk.
Charlie Parr - from Duluth, Charlie's latest CD "Roustabout" is a great listen (and he'll be on to talk about it sometime soon)
Sick of Sarah - a 5-piece rock-pop group out of Minneapolis, all ladies, none-of-which are named Sarah...
Preemptive Strike - Out of Floodwood, MN these guys are somewhere between Pantera and AC/DC - mad guitars, pounding drums and sinister lyrics - muahahahaha!!!
The Tisdales - their CD "Bakers Dozen" will be in my top 10 of the year - an excellent CD that rocks all the way through.
I hope you can tune in and enjoy! We stream live online at www.kaxe.org, or listen on the radio at 91.7fm in the Grand Rapids area, 105.3 in Bemidji and 89.9 in Brainerd. Centerstage Minnesota is every Thursday Evening and Sunday Morning at 6.
If you have suggestions for CSMN, please send me an email, email@example.com
Read more about MN music at my blog: myspace.com/macedelic.
We wondered what to grow there in Year Two. Would it be safe to grow tomatoes again, or should we rotate the crop? Dennis was also interested in trying to grow early greens, and possibly some melons.
Two KAXE members offered some advice that I will pass along:
Jeanine said she grows 6 or 8 hills of melons in her “hoop house.” She recommends heavy mulching and these varieties:
Minnesota Midget cantaloupe
French Orange French cantaloupes from Nichols Garden Nursery in Oregon
Edonis French cantaloupes from Johnny’s
Watermelon: Sugar Baby, Starlight, Small Russian
Joel Rosen suggested growing cucumbers, melons, basil, pole beans and eggplant. He also said we could probably grow tomatoes there again if we want to!
He told us lettuce and other greens would take almost twice as long to mature if transplanted early into the tomato house, and this might delay planting the tomatoes afterward. He suggested planting Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan), broccoli rabe (or rapini), mustard greens, baby bok choy and tatsoi.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Following a Windchill discussion at a staff meeting, I was told I should go blog about it. It's our polite way of telling each other to shut up. The windchill (correctly pronounced "Windshield" or "Winchell" around here) makes absolutely no difference to how your car starts-- if it is -10F outside your engine will get to -10F but not any colder, even if the Windchill figure is -45F. What Windshield DOES affect on a car is how fast the engine cools off, like standing outside after an argument.
Coming up tomorrow night on Centerstage Minnesota (Thursday nights at 6pm on 91.7 KAXE, www.kaxe.org) I'll be talking with singer songwriter Alia Farah.
Originally from Tamarack, MN, she now operates out of Portland, OR and has a very intimate and creative style of writing lyrics and music. Her album "Playgound" has a lot of great songs on it - they make me think of Ani DiFranco - that open "roomy" kind of recording (where you can hear every breath, tap and strum), clever and dancing lyrics and unique melodies that really give each song a personality of its own - I'll be talking with her about that album, and what she is doing now in Portland.
She'll be performing at The Beanery Internet Cafe in Aitkin this Friday night, so, catch her if you can!
I still have to figure out what other music will be featured tomorrow night....
NEXT week on Centerstage MN (Christmas Day) I'll rebroadcasting the hour long special with Sam Miltich about his CD "Just You, Just Me" with the Clearwater Hot Club featuring Dave Karr - great stuff!!!
On New Years day - I'll playing my favorite songs from MN in 08!!! Obviously, I think they're some catchy tunes. AND, I'll announcing my top Albums of the Year, MN Albums of the Year, MN Songs of the Year and Honorable Mentions (of the year...), so stay tuned!!!!
It's been an interesting year, to say the least. If you are Minnesotan, you know what I mean by "interesting." There was a historic election, multiple "crises," plus an ongoing war. Music always helps things seem better, so what were your favorite songs and/or albums in 2008?
KAXE would like to compile a big list of what our listeners found to be the best of the year. It doesn't even have to be from 2008. Maybe you discovered an artist you'd never heard before. Maybe the album came out in late 2007 and you just found out about it.
Some of my favorites this year (just to get your wheels turning):
Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend
TV on the Radio: Dear Science
Death Cab for Cutie: Narrow Stairs, especially "I Will Possess Your Heart."
Delta Spirit: Ode to Sunshine
Michael Franti & Spearhead: All Rebel Rockers
Mason Jennings: In the Ever
I'm sure there's tons more I'm forgetting about, so please let us know your favorites by either leaving a comment on this blog or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your may also leave a message on our new Talkback Line: (218) 999-9876.
Tom Cobb and Heidi Holtan will be ringing in the new year with a special On the River on December 31 from 10pm-1am. Your favorites of the year will be played throughout the show.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
It’s time to shop, folks. Most years, I get all wacky and go overboard during these holidays. But this year I’m simplifying, and I vote for you to simplify, too! And here’s how KAXE can help.
If you’re reading this, you probably dig KAXE a lot, which means your loved ones probably dig it, too – at least peripherally [is that an oxymoron?] – so they would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a KAXE gift. We have T-shirts, sweatshirts, water bottles, coffee mugs, tote bags, CDs [though we can’t sell those, legally], aprons, books, and more. It’s a win-win [excuse the, um, cliché] because it solves your gift-giving dilemma AND gives your radio station added exposure when your friends and loved ones sport the logo.
Stop in anytime during business hours, and any of our personal shoppers can help you choose just the right thing!
I have had the pleasure of commuting 60 miles to KAXE from my home in East Nary for the past 13+ years. There’s some guilt associated with using the gas, of course, and more than 2 hours on the road every day really eats into my personal time. Also, Highway 2 can be kind of scary when driving conditions are bad!
But the drive through the Chippewa National Forest is usually pleasant, and I get to devote a lot of attention to listening to KAXE! Commuting in northern Minnesota isn’t like a city commute at all: I know the highway well, get to see wildlife, and it’s (usually) much less stressful.
Going from Point A to a Point B 60 miles away also allows me to make some comparisons. Today it was the snow.
Yes, there is snow on the ground this morning in East Nary, maybe 2 inches of it. We have been patiently waiting for it to add up to something ski-able. This fall Dennis and I took to the trails around our house, like we usually do, with anvil-headed pruners and a scythe. Clip, clip…down with the shoots sprouting from the roots of trees in the trail. WHACK!…those wild raspberries! They grow like weeds!
If we had the snow in East Nary today that there is in Grand Rapids, I could ski. But it didn’t happen. I have to wait longer. I’m jealous!
How’s the snow in your neck of the woods?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I imagine if you’re reading this blog that you are somewhat internet savvy. You’ve probably heard of Facebook, which is a “social networking site.” That’s a funny term right there. “Social networking.” I suppose people have always “social networked,” it was never called that. I still don’t call it that. Who does? “Oh yeah, I’ve just been social networking with some folks and they said it’s going to snow.” I don’t think so.
Anyhow, Facebook is a place where people who are already friends “friend request” each other until pretty soon you are “friends” with that guy you sat by in math class in like 10th grade, but really didn’t know all that well.
This is sounding weird, right? It’s not so much once you get into it. I mean, yeah, some of it is a bit strange, especially at first. Then you discover people you haven’t heard from in a long time, and sometimes it’s really cool to see what they’ve been up to and be able to reconnect.
There are also groups to join on Facebook. People mostly join groups to show their support for something and to find people who share a common interest. KAXE has a group, started by Scott’s daughter, Adele. It’s called KAXE: A Rare Medium Well Done. As of right now, there are 108 members of the group. If you already do the Facebook thing, I invite you to check it out. Just search for KAXE and you’ll find it. If you are not on Facebook, it may be your thing or it may not. The downside is that you actually have to create an account (it’s totally free) to see if you like it. If you are interested, go to http://www.facebook.com/.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The first series will start in January, in conjunction with the rollout of the community websites. In the next few weeks Katie will solicit input about issues important to our area. She will work with journalists to identify stories. They will decide how to present the stories on the community websites and on the radio. The community websites will allow a fresh and different presentation for the stories, extra resources for users, photos, video, and lots of interaction. I hope you check it out!
Journalism is undergoing a transition in our country and in the world. Newspapers are giving way to online news sources. So at the core of KAXE’s Community Supported Journalism project is a question: Will people pay directly for news that is important to them?
If the stories are important to you, we hope you will support the project financially. If that happens, the project may be able to continue after this first 9 months.
Back to Katie: Katie Carter recently completed her MA in English at Bemidji State University. In her school career she majored in English, Psychology and Education. She has worked as a freelance journalist, writer and English teacher. She also served as managing editor and assistant editor for several publications. She brings high energy and enthusiasm to the community journalism project! Please make her welcome!
KAXE received a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant to help start the Community Supported Journalism project. That project is part of a larger project to develop community websites in northern Minnesota. That larger project receives funding from the Blandin Foundation.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
This Saturday on Between You and Me, the topic is TV shows. I watched a lot of TV when I was growing up. A lot of TV. Do I regret this? Not really, although I suppose I could have been doing things that were far more constructive. Like what, I don’t know.
If I had to list a favorite show of all-time, it would be Sesame Street. That show meant everything to me when I was small. It’s not as good as it used to be though. It’s much less focused on letters and numbers these days. My son Zane knows the characters from books and other various items I have handed down to him. I’m not sure he watches the show at daycare, but I’ll let him watch it very occasionally at home. We watch old episodes and clips on DVD: Sesame Street Old School, Volume 1. (Here’s hoping that Santa brings Volume 2.)
One time, I was absolutely convinced that Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, etc were coming to my house for supper. I have no idea where I got this notion from, but there it was. I started pulling extra chairs up to the dining room table. I kept looking out the window, waiting for them to arrive. My mom thought I was just playing, so she played along with me. She started putting food on the table. “Wait!” I yelled. “They’re not here yet!” It was then that she told me that they weren’t really coming to our house. It was just in my imagination. I sobbed through the rest of supper.
I don’t watch very much television anymore, and I'm more than ok with that. We live where there is no cable and I cannot justify paying for satellite. We have an antenna outside and it currently picks up 3-4 stations, depending on where it is pointed. We’ll see what happens when the FCC requires stations to go digital in February. I watch The Amazing Race and The Office regularly and that’s about it. Besides Sesame Street.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
That sweet Amanda Lamppa at the MacRostie has recruited the “greatest artists in the world” [in the words of Derek Rolle] to decorate these wreaths. KAXE’s team [so far] includes Sarah Bignall, Jennifer Poenix, Penny Holcomb, and Stephanie Rose.
You can join the decorating team, or help by going to the MacRostie Art Center in downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday and bidding on the wreaths [proceeds benefit the MAC].
It’s a silent auction, you know [write your bids on a piece of paper near the wreath you desire], so last year I accidentally got three wreaths because there was a gigantic blizzard and lots of folks stayed safely at home. But my house looked fantastic with my three wreaths [until mid-April, when one started to look sort of a little ragged]! Hope to see you all on Saturday at the MAC.