Category Archives: Twin Cities

Best Radio Station Ever

Today at approximately 3:00 p.m. it became official. The first chords of U2’s “In God’s Country” echoed over my radio and 89.3 FM The Current became the best radio station ever. I’d been listening non-stop for five or six days and though I loved what I was hearing, I’d yet to hear my favorite band ever. With those opening strains I stopped what I was doing and sent The Current an e-mail telling them the news: Best. Radio station. Ever.

They’re a Minnesota Public Radio station playing a vast mix of music–I hesitate to call it rock or indie rock or alternative rock because they’re all over the place. They also play some folk, electronica, country, hip-hop, straight-up pop–even oldies. It’s amazing. In the several days I’ve been listening I’ve liked about everything I’ve heard. Only once or twice have I turned to the radio and frowned. Most of the time I’m shaking my head no: “No, no, no–don’t stop a rockin’!”

And did you hear that first part: public radio. It’s non-commercial. Can you imagine the joy of not ever hearing obnoxious radio commercials? It’s the joy of NPR with hip music! They’re playing all sorts of music I like (Johnny Cash, Radiohead, Polyphonic Spree, Badly Drawn Boy), introducing me to lots of new stuff (Arcade Fire, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Arthur Yoria) and playing tons of local music (Low, Valet, The Olympic Hopefuls).

I never have to listen to another pathetic endorsement from a Cities 97 DJ (“You know, when I want to put my hair in dreads, I call the pros over at…”). I never have to listen to Drive 105 play another single into the ground. I can listen to good music and get the weather and news. Sorry iPod, you’re looking lonely.

The Pulse of the Twin Cities has a lengthy interview with the staff of 89.3 FM and the Star Trib has a factually inaccurate little piece. You can also listen online, supposedly (I’ve yet to get the stream to play).

Darren Jackson a Hot Local Commodity

The Star Trib covers local music phenom Darren Jackson, aka Kid Dakota and front man for the Olympic Hopefuls. Jackson has also done work with locals Alva Star, Vicious Vicious, and former local Brenda Weiler, who will be in town this Monday for a show at the Bryant Lake Bowl.

Kid Dakota will be having two CD release parties this weekend at the Triple Rock Social Club to celebrate his second album, The West is the Future.

Minneapolis Bans Smoking; St. Paul to Follow

Restaurants and bars in Minneapolis will go smoke free on March 31, 2005 after a surprising 12-1 vote by the city council. Minneapolis joins Bloomington, Minn. in stamping out smoking in public places, primarily as a workplace safety issue.

St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, who vetoed a similar measure last month in favor of a regional approach, said he is now willing to approve a similar ban in St. Paul. Good to know we have such bold, daring leadership in the mayor’s office.

Twin Cities Go Mini-Golfing

Mini-Golf at the Walker Art CenterMini-golf has been elevated to an art and a science in Minneapolis and St. Paul, respectively. Both the Walker Art Center and the Science Museum of Minnesota are offering mini-golf courses for the summer. The Science Museum’s nine-hole course teaches about water and how it shapes our world, while the Walker’s 10-hole course is created from different pieces of art.

The Walker includes a bit of mini-golf history (at least on their web site) from the book Miniature Golf (Recollectibles), including the tidbit that a Los Angeles course in the 1930s “featured a live bear cub as an obstacle; course owners trained it to go after balls by dipping them in honey.”

Free Romantica Show @ the Fine Line

Romantica - It's Your Weakness That I WantTwin Cities alt-rock band Romantica will be playing at the Fine Line tonight. You can get free tickets (PDF) through their web site. They’re an up-and-coming band worth checking out. I’ve thought so since following two-thirds of the band around to dumpy coffee houses in college.

Their new album, It’s Your Weakness That I Want, is tight and catchy, and sounds exceptional, especially for a local band’s debut recording. The only time I saw them live was worth the second-hand smoke, and the set included a few tracks that didn’t make the CD and should have.

Misplaced Music

Misplaced Music - An Internet Radio Station featuring Local Twin Cities Music.A new local music co-op is starting in the Twin Cities, Misplaced Music. They have their own Internet radio station playing local music 24-7. It’s all over the place stylistically, but most everything I’ve heard is quality. They happily invite local musicans to submit music for the radio and consider joining the co-op.

Misplaced Music is planning a fundraiser concert Saturday, June 19 at the Uptown Bar, featuring music from Romantica, Coach Said Not To, and others.

The view from here.

I have an all day computer class today, and it basically amounts to working a real schedule for a day. I had to get up with the alarm and leave before my wife even rolled out of bed.

I rode my bike into downtown St. Paul (17 minute trip, in case you’re counting) — which has to be one of the best commuting experiences — and arrived at the Science Museum in time to see the morning sun lighting up the Mississippi River and the turning leaves. Pretty nice.

During lunch I walked down to the river level and ate in the nature area between the river and the Science Museum. They’re still working on some water-front parks, but it’s still a nice little escape. I always thought Minneapolis had the best riverfront, and although St. Paul can’t touch St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge, it’s close.

The Science Museum also has a new National Park Visitor’s Center (where you can pick up a handy Trail Guide for the trails along the Mississippi River). In the lobby there’s a giant aerial photo of the Twin Cities. Very cool.