All posts by Alyssa Lee

Alyssa, 25, designer, music lover, cartoonist, coffee enthusiast. Freelance Designer at Redbox.
conor_oberst-upside_down_mountain

Conor Oberst Releases Seven New Songs from Upcoming Solo Album

I’m not sure that anyone else is seeing this as the monumental event that it clearly is, but Omaha’s Conor Oberst just released seven new songs of his upcoming solo album, Upside Down Mountain.

After a couple years of hiatus from putting out new music with the band Bright Eyes and a brief bout of B-sides and singles from his other band Desaparecidos, Oberst his finally given us a glimpse of what he has for us in the future.

He performed the songs live for New York Public Radio (WNYC). Enjoy this video playlist of those performances:

Conor also released a single from the album earlier on, titled “Governor’s Ball.” Though it’s hard to tell from these performances, being that they’re all acoustic, this album seems like it’s going to remain true to what we’ve seen from Oberst in the past – incredible lyrics and a sorrowful tone paired with perfectly emotional vocals.

A contrast to his boisterous work with Desaparecidos, this sounds a lot like the music he made with Bright Eyes in the past, and I hope that’s the way it will remain.

You can check out national tour dates on Conor’s website to see when he’ll be visiting your town and get the album on May 19. We’re looking forward to it – are you?

UPCOMING MIDWEST DATES:
May 27 at Taft Theater in Cincinnati, OH
May 29 at Metro in Chicago, IL
May 30 at Metro in Chicago, IL
May 31 at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, WI
June 1 at First Ave in Minneapolis, MN
June 2 at First Ave in Minneapolis, MN
June 4 at Sokol Auditorium in Omaha, NE
June 5 at The Blue Note in Columbia, MO

Conor Oberst Official | Facebook | Twitter

soul_low_wakeuppains

Give it a Spin: “Tammy” by Soul Low

Milwaukee’s Soul Boys are at it again with their slinky, mysterious single, “Tammy”. The track is a full five-minutes of Soul Low goodness, and I’ve been waiting patiently (read: impatiently) for more music from these guys since July. They continue to play with the audience through the whole song, with slow builds and contrasting pieces that are both loud and soft, full and isolated, complex and simple. Vocals are haunting as ever and the instrumentation is catchy as ever.

This song is the tightest I’ve ever heard Soul Low; the guys are really on point. They’re even giving their saxophonist a bit more of the spotlight with a smooth solo outro. Check out “Tammy” below in the first installation of PROP-A-GANZA, which is an awesome concept in itself:

It’s good to hear new music from Soul Guys. They haven’t changed too much since UNEASY, just got a whole bunch better.

Soul Low Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

Print

Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways: Midwest Combo Pack

We’re counting down to Record Store Day, a major holiday for vinyl nerds and casual music listeners alike. Between April 14th and April 19th, Midwest Action is hosting Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways, a celebration of both Midwestern musicians and records. We gathered some vinyl, a mix of 7″s and LPs, from a few of our favorite artists. Each day, we’re giving away a single copy of an album, and on Record Store Day, we’re giving away all 5 records as a combo pack.

DAY SIX: MIDWEST COMBO PACK

Today, we’re giving away the Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways grand finale. Included in this combo pack are all of the giveaways from the past week. Yes, that’s right, you can still enter to win copies of Minor Characters, Saintseneca, The Fatty Acids, Radar Eyes, and Vaya albums, and you can enter to win* them all at once, too!


We hope that you enjoy everything Record store Day has to offer, but don’t forget about the local artists who work super hard to get their work pressed on vinyl. It’s really a labor of love, and we’re happy to share the enhanced sound quality with you!

Minor Characters | Saintseneca | The Fatty Acids | Radar Eyes | Vaya
*winners will be selected and notified on April 20, 2014.

vaya-chicago

Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways: VAYA

We’re counting down to Record Store Day, a major holiday for vinyl nerds and casual music listeners alike. Between April 14th and April 19th, Midwest Action is hosting Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways, a celebration of both Midwestern musicians and records. We gathered some vinyl, a mix of 7″s and LPs, from a few of our favorite artists. Each day, we’re giving away a single copy of an album, and on Record Store Day, we’re giving away all 5 records as a combo pack.

DAY FIVE: VAYA’S  SELF-TITLED DEBUT LP

This three-piece, formerly Dick Wolf!, have recently burst onto the Chicago scene, and no one seems to be complaining. The band merges a wide range of influences and sensibilities with the rhythms and technical agility of Midwestern math rock. Some tracks very strongly call to mind the Dirty Projectors, in both instrumentation and vocals, and in the very best ways. The trio’s debut full-length was released just this past month, and we’ve been enjoying their experimental pop constantly since.

Midwest Action is excited to give away a copy of this awesome album to one lucky winner. Enter below for a chance to win*, and check out/fall in love with their music below if you haven’t been introduced yet.


VAYA Official | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp
*winners will be selected and notified on April 20, 2014.

the-fatty-acids-bolro

Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways: The Fatty Acids

We’re counting down to Record Store Day, a major holiday for vinyl nerds and casual music listeners alike. Between April 14th and April 19th, Midwest Action is hosting Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways, a celebration of both Midwestern musicians and records. We gathered some vinyl, a mix of 7″s and LPs, from a few of our favorite artists. Each day, we’re giving away a single copy of an album, and on Record Store Day, we’re giving away all 5 records as a combo pack.

DAY THREE: THE FATTY ACIDS’ FULL-LENGTH LP BOLERO

The synthy lines and energetic, erratic composition of “Airsick” made it an instant favorite. Released in September of 2013, The Fatty Acids’ ambitious album Bolero is a collection of ten songs equally as catchy as the single. The outfit is arguably one of Milwaukee’s most popular, and the record is one of Milwaukee’s most blue and most marbled. Not sure what that means? Neither are we. Enter below.


The Fatty Acids Official | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp
*winners will be selected and notified on April 20, 2014.

saintseneca_666x372

Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways: Saintseneca

We’re counting down to Record Store Day, a major holiday for vinyl nerds and casual music listeners alike. Between April 14th and April 19th, Midwest Action is hosting Six Days of Vinyl Giveaways, a celebration of both Midwestern musicians and records. We gathered some vinyl, a mix of 7″s and LPs, from a few of our favorite artists. Each day, we’re giving away a single copy of an album, and on Record Store Day, we’re giving away all 5 records as a combo pack.

DAY TWO: SAINTSENECA UPPERCUTTER 7″

Columbus outfit, Saintseneca, seamlessly merge folk and country motifs with soaring vocals, creating a vibrant and unique post-punk energy. This past season was filled with touring, SXSW, and their newest album, Dark Arc, out April 1 2014.

The Uppercutter 7″ was released in October of 2013. The A side features their track, “Uppercutter”, with “Visions” gracing the B side. Enter for a chance to win this album*, and then sit back and enjoy some music below.


Saintseneca Official | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp
*winners will be selected and notified on April 20, 2014.

COBAIN

Remembering Kurt Cobain

Written by Chantelle Moghadam.

How does the music world pay tribute to one of the most influential people in music history, who tragically committed suicide just 20 years ago from yesterday? The answer is, in a number of ways.

Recently, photos from the crime scene where Kurt Cobain was found dead were released. Without question, these photos were a heartbreaking reminder of his death. Even those of us who weren’t even born yet are affected by such a tragedy.

But we can find solace in the fact that the music world has paid Kurt the tribute he deserves. Many artists, even those who we might not think have been influenced by him, have come forward to show respect for everything Nirvana did for the music industry and to show that we will never forget Kurt Cobain.

Here is St. Vincent covering my personal favorite from Nirvana, “Lithium”:

Regardless of what you think of 30 Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto has done some pretty great stuff with film. Here is a short clip of him playing Kurt Cobain, which he did a few years ago:

Sayth-Feature

Give it a Spin: “Eating Alone” by Sayth

Splitting his time between the Wisconsin town and Minneapolis, Sayth mixes MPLS hip-hop influences with the Eau Claire aesthetic. As much as I love Justin Vernon for putting the Wisconsin town on the musical map, his style of music leaves a lot of people making assumptions about the scene in Eau Claire. Sayth’s music, however, is an awesome medium to bridge the gap between Vernon’s folksy ambiance and, well, everything else. This rapper lays down light beats coupled with introspective lyrics in “Eating Alone”, resulting in a laid-back and super catchy track.

Check out the video below. In the track, Sayth spits awesome, insightful lyrics in a video as uncomplicated as his music.

Fans of early MODSUN are going to really enjoy the work Sayth is putting out. Here’s hoping he holds onto this style because it’s pretty damn good.

Sayth Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

sleepy-kitty

FIVE x FIVE: Sleepy Kitty

5 bloggers, 5 questions, 1 band, hand-picked by the MWA writers. Welcome to FIVE x FIVE. This week: two piece indie rock band, Sleepy Kitty.

SLEEPYKITTY

Made up of drummer Evan Sult and guitarist/vocalist Paige Brubeck, St. Louis/Chicago duo Sleepy Kitty has made a name for themselves not only for their music but also for their visual art. January saw the release of Projection Room, the follow-up to 2011′s full-length Infinity City and the 2012 7″ “Don’t You Start”. Sleepy Kitty answered a few of our burning questions for this week’s FIVE x FIVE.

Do you feel that a duo structure is more delicate or firm in its roots than a larger outfit? Is there more pressure when you’re musically obligated to one person versus four or five? | Amber Patrick

There’s more pressure as a two piece, but also more freedom. With a two piece there are just fewer people who have to all agree, so that can make some things easier musically and logistically, but there are also fewer instrumentalists to play the parts to make an idea happen. I’m very aware that when I stop playing guitar in a two piece, all of the melodic instruments stop.

Continue reading

elsinore

Champaign-Urbana’s Elsinore begin April Tour

A chilly November album release show introduced me to one of my favorite bands from the Prairie State, Elsinore. In support of their 2013 release, PUSH/PULL, the outfit are heading to New York and back, giving their fans a chance to catch them while they’re aching to get out, enjoy live music, and generally have lives again.

elsinore

If you haven’t been introduced to Chambana’s Elsinore yet, you’ve come at a good time. Just a few weeks ago, they released a brand-spankin’-new music video for the lead track off PUSH/PULL, “The Art of Pulling”. This indie rock favorite is catchy as hell with huge guitars and dynamic vocals. Lucky for us, the band coupled it with equally as appealing visuals, and it’s below to check out for yourself:

UPCOMING MIDWEST DATES:
4/11 Northside Tavern in Cincinnati, OH
4/12 Blind Bob’s Bar in Dayton, OH
4/17 The Black Sparrow in Lafayette, IN
4/19 Cowboy Monkey in Champaign, IL
For full tour dates, including East Coast dates, visit their website.

Elsinore Official | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp