Divorcing convention: Marriages makes post-rock bliss on Kitsuné

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Marriages-KitsunesmMarriages: Kitsuné (Sargent House, 5/1/12)

“Ride in My Place”


Emma Ruth Rundle has a belated Christmas gift for you. While most of us braved awkward reunions with relatives last winter, the guitarist/singer and her new band Marriages were cooped up in a studio, challenging the very notion of what it means to be “post-rock.”


Review: Marriages’ Kitsuné

Marriages: KitsunéMarriages: Kitsuné (Sargent House)

“Ride in My Place”

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Though their union is new, the members of Marriages are veterans of post-rock experimentation, and their self-titled debut challenges the very notion of the sub-genre.

Sharon Van Etten

Guest Spots: Sharon Van Etten’s ideal drinking partners

Sharon Van Etten: EpicSharon Van Etten: Epic (Ba Da Bing, 9/21/10)

Sharon Van Etten: “Don’t Do It”

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Sharon Van Etten was on the road to becoming a full-blown wine snob. After discovering its magic as a high-school exchange student in Spain, she worked for a time in a wine store and even took classes to increase her vino know-how. Eventually, she decided to pursue music full time instead. The folk singer/songwriter released her second full-length, Epic, late last year. Here, she addresses her passion for wine and explains the five people with which she’d want to share a bottle.

Five People (Living or Dead) I Would Love to Share a Bottle of Wine with and Why
by Sharon Van Etten

The Five People:  Anaïs Nin, Woody Allen, Bill Murray, PJ Harvey, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

The Wine:  A red wine from Bandol in Southeast France. The Mourvèdre grape adds body and spice; the wine embodies the garrigue landscape aromas of lavender, rosemary, licorice, and thyme. Paired with garlic-based dishes such as aioli. Known as one of the five noble wines. France is a country of passion, expression, and class, as are my five guests.

MadCity Music Exchange

Behind the Counter: MadCity Music Exchange (Madison, WI)

Established way back in 1981, MadCity Music Exchange in Madison, Wisconsin has changed ownership a few times, but its diverse selection and high level of service have remained just as high. Local weekly publication Isthmus recently bestowed its readers’-choice award upon MadCity, after fervent fans voted it the best in the area. Before current owner Dave Zero took the reigns in 2007, the store had run by Dave Benton since 1986. We spoke with Zero and learned what exactly makes Madison and MadCity great places for music.

What was your motivation for starting a music store? / What is your background in music?

I was a long-term employee and was lucky enough to be the first person that my boss, the previous owner, asked when he was interested in selling the store.  I’m just another obsessive music fan that wanted to be around music as much as possible.

Dave holds Superchunk's On the Mouth
Dave holds Superchunk's On the Mouth

How has the Madison musical community changed over the years?

The musical community was greatly changed when we lost our beloved rock club, O ‘Cayz Corral, in a fire on New Years Day in 2000.  It was a giant hole that has only recently started to feel closed.  We now have a few places that are wonderful: High Noon Saloon, The Frequency, and Project Lodge.  Within the past five years, there has been a great resurgence of a real DIY spirit with local bands, and we now have more great local bands than we might have ever had before.  Those Poor Bastards, Midwest Beat, Burial Hex, The Hussy, Zebras, Shane Shane, United Sons of Toil, Second Family Band, Dead Luke…just to name a few.

Zulu Records

Behind the Counter: Zulu Records (Vancouver, BC)

With an army-green facade out front and wood-paneled walls and retro furniture inside, Zulu Records is an established musical stronghold in the Canadian metropolis of Vancouver, British Columbia. More than a place to buy music (though it covers that angle pretty thoroughly), Zulu has become a family-friendly, cultural centerpiece of the community with a number of notable in-store performances, art openings, and a continued independent, DIY approach to business.

What was your motivation for starting a music store? / What is your background in music?

Zulu Records grew out of the ashes of an old store called Quintessence that specialized in prog and rock. It was 1981, music was changing, and there was a community of young punkers who were starved for all of the amazing imports coming out overseas. Zulu Records’ owner, Grant McDonagh, was one such fan with big ideas who saw his part-time job at Quintessence fizzle out and an opening present itself. Grant had ties to all of the great Vancouver punk bands and, in the early days, worked closely with  this community, including later starting his own record label to press bands that he felt deserved to be heard. Today, Zulu Records concentrates completely on being one of Canada’s finest indie music shops, and it still prides itself on the model of building and maintaining community ties.

Melanie holds Destroyer's City of Daughters
Melanie holds Destroyer's City of Daughters

What is the musical community like in Vancouver?

Vancouver’s music community is tight-knit. Vancouver has always had a bit of an annexed feel to it; we are in the corner of Canada, and the city is geographically bounded and can’t really sprawl endlessly like other major Canadian and American cities. As a result, the spots where bands play, practice, and congregate haven’t really changed over the last 25 years. There is still a very punk/DIY feel to how bands go about doing things, as really we are pretty far away from the spotlight of the business in Toronto. In fact, we have more of a West Coast / Pacific Northwest vibe going on, and certainly, Seattle feels like kindred musical spirits.

Bongoût: spreads from Down the Rabbit Hole

Posters & Packaging: Bongoût

Located in the central borough of Berlin is the unsuspecting, quirky graphic-design studio and gallery Bongoût. The owners, Christian Gfeller and Anna Hellsgård, have long been infatuated with music, so the prospect of producing music-inspired visual art came naturally to them when they began collaborating on graphic-design projects in 1995.

“When Anna and I first met,” Gfeller reminisces, “we both owned massive vinyl collections. Over time, and due to several house moves, the non-vital part of the collection was cleaned – but we still own a few thousand records. Music plays a very important part in our lives – not just the music itself, but the whole cultural surrounding.”

The two designers are particularly fond of obscure punk, noise, lo-fi recordings, black metal, world music, and electronica. These eclectic influences are clearly discernible within Bongoût’s artwork. The duo has created posters and album covers for a diverse set of genre-defying clients like Black Mountain, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, and PJ Harvey.

Bongoût: Black Mountain concert poster
Bongoût: Black Mountain concert poster

Scout Niblett

Scout Niblett: Raw Minimalism

Crossing the lines of minimalist performer and powerhouse artist, Scout Niblett is one of the strongest voices to emerge in recent years. Acting as an introspective one-woman force of nature, she eschews superfluous support and production without sacrificing an already demanding sound.

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