The Persian Leaps – “Praise Elephants”


Review by Christine Mlodzik

With a name like the Persian Leaps, I expected something exotic, a sound that would require me to buy armloads of incense to set the listening mood. Not so! The band describes themselves as a noise pop band from St. Paul, Minn., and you know what? That’s exactly what they are.

The Persian Leaps is Drew Forsberg (vocals, guitars), Brad Hendrickson (bass, guitars, vocals) and Mike McCloskey (drums, vocals), and their debut EP “Praise Elephants” features five hyper-catchy tunes that whiz by in less than 30 minutes.

“Praise Elephants” is a nod to 80s post-punk. “Hard Feelings” starts things off on the right foot with pristine and clear harmonizing, brimming with influences by The Smiths and Morrissey. Each of the songs are short and snappy, with some sharp edges (Hard feelings on parade / Took their lemons – choked on the lemonade) and endings.

Next is “Not That Brave” and what follows is my favorite track on the album, “Silent Treatment.” It’s damn catchy and after hearing it just once, it’ll burrow into your subconscious and take root, its melody coming back to you when you least expect it. The EP is rounded out by “Exponentially Devoted” and “Sleepless.”

The Persian Leaps is a group with potential you can’t ignore. Check them out.

Beasthead – “Tallest Trees”


Review by Christine Mlodzik

Not that long ago, Beasthead sent in a video to Rift; it was of them playing at a house party. I’d never heard of Beasthead, but I really liked what I heard. Then they sent us a link to their newest EP, “Tallest Trees.” And I won’t lie, I was somewhat at a loss on how to describe them (this is my second pass at writing this review).

It’s too easy to describe Beasthead’s sound as ambient, although that’s one component – “Tallest Trees” is more of a continually evolving soundscape. Their music’s effect is like taking in visual art; much like looking at a fine painting, their music doesn’t require constant involvement on the listener’s part, he/she can hang in the background and simply add to the atmosphere, but this particular atmosphere is rife with sonic richness.

There’s a silky texture to the vocals and instruments as they thread around each other and finally intertwine. While at times it sounds a little disintegrated, more listens reveal simple, delicate loops that give way to fainter and shadowy works.

Beasthead is comprised of Harry Reynolds (vocals, guitar), Doug Deitchler (guitar, synth, percussion), Nick Whebbe (guitar) and Paul Novak (bass).

There are five tracks on this EP and “Numbers” and “Louder” were my favorites. Local rapper Dem Atlas is a guest vocalist on “Different Son.”

As much as I really like “Tallest Trees,” there’s just one thing I didn’t like: I am not a fan of autotuning vocals. At the beginning of “Numbers” you’ll hear Reynolds’ voice and in my opinion, it doesn’t need any affecting. Like I said, it’s just my opinion.

I recommend you buy “Tallest Trees,” listen, experience and repeat.

The EP is available online; hard copies of “Tallest Trees” will be available for free at Beasthead’s live shows.

July Fighter – ‘Live and Let Live’


Review by Christine Mlodzik

The July Fighters call their new album, ‘Live and Let Live,’ their “most ambitious album to date.” I don’t know that I’d personally call it ambitious, but I would call it a departure from their previous albums. Continue reading

Velahsa – “Cookie Monster Ending”


Velahsa is a rock band featuring Bryan Miller (guitar, vocals and keyboard), Tony Marx (bass), and Jack Smrekar (drums); their new album is “Cookie Monster Ending.” Continue reading

Plume Varia “Prize | Enable”


Review by Christine Mlodzik


One simple word encapsulates what I’m thinking and feeling after listening to Plume Varia, but I’m guessing that’s too simple a review. Continue reading

Crimes (MN) – “Thin Sunlight”

Thin Sunlight Cover

Review by Christine Mlodzik

On Crimes (MN)’s new album “Thin Sunlight,” the band has married a combination of sounds, that on paper, none of which seems like it should belong together, yet it all works in simpatico. Continue reading

Gospel Gossip – Self-Titled

Gospel Gossip

Review by Christine Mlodzik

After a three year lag, Gospel Gossip has returned with a new self-titled album. It’s a woozy dreamworld which threatens to swallow up the listener, but it’s unlikely anyone will resist being pulled in. Continue reading

The Silver Heart Club – “Rookie Card”


Review by Christine Mlodzik

The Silver Heart Club is the brainchild of Wisconsinites Bo Weber and Steven Price; they formed the band in 2006 with no musical background, just a love of music.

In the next two years, the duo taught themselves how to play guitar, piano and other supporting instruments. After that, they tackled the basics of audio engineering, and self-engineered and self-produced their first full-length album, “Rookie Card.”

The songs reminded me of late 90s alt rock and many have a Blink 182 vibe about them. The album is a very solid first effort, but I won’t give them an A for that effort because the vocals in “Four Minute Mile” have been electronicified and I personally don’t like affected vocals – it’s a cop-out. From what I heard, Bo and Steven have good singing voices and don’t need to resort to using it.

The Silver Heart Club has potential, but it’s not quiet tapped. All the songs are listenable, but no one song stood out. The music may not be groundbreaking, but it could be a very good summer album.

Dan Hylton “The Secret of Him”


Review by Christine Mlodzik

The latest album by singer/songwriter Dan Hylton is simply a gem. “The Secret of Him” is acoustic-driven with fresh, smart, yet deeply personal and emotional words capturing life’s significant moments and its lessons taught. Continue reading

Chicane Theory “Things Look Up Again”


Review by Christine Mlodzik

Chicane Theory describes themselves as a guitar-driven Midwest indie rock outfit. I don’t know why exactly, but that description seems too simple. Continue reading


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