NIGHT 2 LINEUP
The temporary always has its way of gaining permanence.
Early Eyes was not supposed to last this long. A temporary pop-up ensemble, the band formed for a show that consequently cemented them in the heart of the Twin Cities music scene.
It's got all the late night sounds in crowded houses, all the happiness of that basement, overflowing onto Dinkytown asphalt.
It's got all the swagger of baggy shirts and cuffed pants, all of that hair flying to the tune of fuzzy, warbling guitars constrasting a smooth backbeat.
It's never a lasting thing, however—bands end, people go their separate ways—but the awareness required to witness the temporary leaves a mark of permanence. Anyone who sees this group of guys perform knows it; it stays with you.
Early Eyes as a project serves as a reminder to all of us listeners that music songs and the performance of them are something to be present for. Smiling, bobbing heads, dancing along.
Energy. Just energy. And power.
In the DIY community, the sweat and grime and graffiti and tight spaces are all part of the experience. For Why Not, those aren't troubling details in the slightest—they're details to be embraced. The rawness, the closeness of it all powers their sets; the rowdy, youthful energy flows through their hands.
They will give you what you give them and ten times more.
Sifting through their progressive rock sentiments, power pop choruses and math-y breakdowns, this high-school age trio formed just over a year ago has put the work and the thought in. They're technical while remaining accessible; it's difficult and simple all at the same time.
It's been just over a year and they've played a plethora of shows, released a full length album, and planned a summer tour. What were you doing between the ages of 15 and 17?
Bursts of angst and flashes of poignance—it's all getting more powerful.
There is not a local artist that can seamlessly transition between power pop riffs and slinky acoustic ballads quite like Wyatt Moran. There is not anyone his age who is so candid in his musical expression.
In 2015, Wyatt Moran set out to write an EP every year of high school. From Freshman to Sophomore and now onto Junior, the change is beyond the years of schooling...
The range is more dynamic, the lyrics are more blunt, the feelings are more present.
There are two words to describe the sound Moran is developing: devastatingly honest. Those two words feed off each other—the former heightens the latter's power. Those two words are, at times, what we ought to be with each other and with ourselves.
It's how we begin to grow up.
Between places, people and time lies clarity.
There is a strong connection in art to place and person. We all know that; it informs the way we consume art. We compartmentalize works of art in different locations and associate them with different people or times in our life. We grow with the art—it changes us or we change it.
Northbound EP is the For Emma, Forever Ago of the Rochester music scene—an origin story. It is the result of a college student's retreat to Midwestern seclusion after a bout with depression and anxiety—a reassessment of the attachments made to places, relationships and periods of time.
We are given the luxury (or the burden, depending on how you view it) of time in this stage of life for self-reflection and growth. With that, the ultimate goal is to achieve clarity and a way forward.
Sometimes that comes in the form of a change in scenery.
Sometimes that comes in the form of the conclusion of a relationship.
In this case, clarity comes in the form of a collection of songs.
Greentop, a quaint Missouri township situated alongside Highway 63, is the namesake of Isaac Jahns' solo endeavor. It holds 442 people in less than a square mile of land and passes you by with the blink of an eye, but it is a way forward. That's all it needs to be.
Coffee, glasses, street lights, stoicism.
Everything about the voice and the songwriting can be said and has been said directly to him. "What a beautiful voice you have." "What a catchy tune you've written." Although true, he's past that. The music has always been more than the recognition. Always has, always will.
The creative process, I've noticed, has a way of tearing artists down and building them back up again. It's about quitting and coming back, changing and yet still repeating the same mistakes. It's the anguish, the hope and the high standards held.
Reinvention, in this way, is unavoidable. The creations change as the person does. They mature and find new meanings. They adjust to their surroundings and learn to fit in different spaces.
Reinvention, in this way, is inevitable; it's the only way forward.
Yet, Sam's songwriting still evokes the past tense, capturing that nostalgia in the late nights of a hometown, in the smell of coffee on the breath and snow in the socks, and in the lightness of day and all that it brings crouching behind the horizon. It's the people and places and events and emotions that grind and infuse together to form the pieces of a puzzle to be put together by him—sometimes painfully, sometimes masterfully.
The sound curls up, lies around your feet.
In a quiet house, the air floats above heads as not to disturb the sounds below. Soft-spoken and present, she's closing the blinds and letting the lights rotate off the walls...
Softly strumming and humming with the streaks of light leaking through...
The ease of the music making is hypnotic. It pours out of her like it's sparkling: there's simmering in her whisper—growing and bubbling. It's a crescendo we all expect but are never quite sure when it will come. But when it does...
Rochester's best kept secret—hiding in plain sight.
In the auditorium of a midwestern public high school, you don't expect that kind of voice to materialize in front of you. An old soul on a beaten down mini grand.
Cut to a year later. That same voice reflecting off exposed brick as espresso machines steam and sputter. Thursdays became a day of refuge. There was a home found in the cavernous storefront adjacent to the downtown alleyway.
Cut to present day. Smoke and breath settles just above the back patio as if not ready to face the frigid air above. It has to be the 100th time she has played in the same spot but the look on her face is still the same—contentment. We cannot begin to question internal motivations; adventure can be found in a hometown, too. What we should be questioning, however, is how such immense talent exists in such a small radius.
CARPET BOOTH SIDE STAGE FEATURED ACTS
Lead singer of Why Not and bass prodigy, Henry Breen has already developed his own unorthodox style at the age of 16. A member of seemingly endless groups from acoustic duos to jazz groups to his main math rock project, Breen is a seasoned player in his own right. The title track of Why Not's most recent full length, "Spring Cleaning," features Breen's jagged baritone over a slinky acoustic bass progression.
Influenced heavily by post-rock, post-punk, and shoegaze, Hilliker has slowly grown into a confident solo artist in the Rochester scene. Making his start playing in his brother's old band, Dystonia, Hilliker decided to focus on his own creations. The music that comes out is characterized by jangly acoustic guitar tones, a soft, broken up tenor voice, and introspective lyrics. He released his first original song, 'appreciation purgatory' this year on SoundCloud.