We’re not even out of January yet and Alan Sparhawk is already having a great and productive year! Not only is Low, the simmering Duluth-based indie-rock band he co-fronts with wife Mimi Parker and bassist Steve Garrington, recording a new record and in the midst of a short jaunt around eastern Europe, but there are a slew of other excellent Sparhawk projects to be seen and heard in the next few months. Raucous blues band the Black-Eyed Snakes wrapped up 2014 with two spectacular gigs in December (one at the Icehouse and one supporting Kid Dakota at the Turf Club) and there is word of a possible new album while The Murder of Crows, a collaboration between Sparhawk and fellow Duluth musician Gaelynn Lea, is scheduled to open for His Name is Alive on their 25th anniversary tour at the Entry in April.
On February 13th at the Turf Club in St Paul, Minnesota, Sparhawk will join guitarist Rich Mattson, drummer Glen Mattson and bass player Dale Kallman for one of the finest Neil Young tribute acts around, Tired Eyes. What started as a lark one cold January in 2013 at a Duluth bar has become an annual thing, with the guys taking it to the Twin Cities a few times now (including last October at the Indeed Brewery’s Hullabaloo). I’ve heard that this is a really fun show and a must for any die-hard Neil fan - if they’re taking requests, I’m gonna throw mine in right away: Guys, play “World on a String” or “Lookout Joe”! Or hell, anything from Tonight’s the Night! Or “When You Dance” and “Don’t Let it Bring You Down” and “Cripple Creek Ferry”! Or “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere”! Or “Cinnamon Girl”!! There are just too many great songs!
Tired Eyes will be playing with none other than the gentle king of lo-fi himself, Lou Barlow, performing a rare solo show. Barlow has been keeping busy the last few years with Sebadoh, having released anniversary editions of classic albums like Bubble and Scrape and Bakesale and recording a brand new album, the well-received Defend Yourself, their first in 14 years. Recently, Sebadoh wrapped up a tour of North America (they were at the Entry in September) and Europe. And although Dinosaur Jr hasn’t released new music since 2012’s I Bet on Sky, Barlow joined the band as they headlined New York City’s 4Knots Music Festival in July, playing with great acts like Those Darlins and Nude Beach. For podcast listeners and fans interested in learning more about Barlow, comedian Marc Maron had him as a guest on his podcast early last year and it’s definitely worth a listen (check it out at wtfpod.com).
Folks, forget the chocolates and flowers; consider this gig an early Valentines gift to yourself.
One of my favorite bands Looper is back. I've seen the band twice, and the first time I bought all their CDs that they had for sale at the merch table.... but they went away. As you may know, after Looper made over half a million pounds off of their breakthrough lo-fi hit "Mondo '77", they basically just retired from music! You can read all about this bbc.co.uk, where he's quoted, "The four of us have been able to live on this song for the last five years." Look, I don't blame them, I'd probably go offline and live in the countryside too.
Hear "Mondo '77":
Anyway, the brand new album called Offgrid: Offline, and it's coming out on April 14th, 2015, via Mute Records. If you have half a million lying around, the new record will be included in a nice five-CD boxset called These Things.
Offgrid: Offline Track listing:
- Intro (Down The Lane)
- What If…?
- Waiting For Trains
- Oh, Skinny Legs
- Farfisa Song
- I'm A Photograph
- Images Of The Shipwreck
- The Lucky Bird
- Outro (TipToe Home)