Review – The Ericksons ‘Bring Me Home’


By Becca Martin

Peering into the mirror the Ericksons have woven a sumptuous tale that is indistinguishable from their lives. ‘Bring Me Home’ is full of rich melodies and ethereal harmonies that come through in the lush arrangements and vocals of sisters Jenny Kapernick and Bethany Valentini. Recorded in the Wisconsin woods at Justin Vernon’s studio April Base with the skilled craftsmanship of Beau Sorenson (Death Cab For Cutie, Bob Mould), Sean Carey (S.Carey, Bon Iver), Shane Leonard (Field Report), and Michael Lewis (Bon Iver, Alpha Consumer) this fourth album exceeds expectations that were high to begin with after the 2013 release of ‘The Wild’. Continue reading


Just another Saturday Night at First Avenue

Farewell Milwaukee at First Avenue

By Becca Martin
Photos By Tony Nelson

Just another Saturday night in the Mainroom of First Avenue, or was it? Continue reading

batteryboy & Gabriel Douglas Present: The Southern Theatre Sessions

southern theater poster 1

By: Becca Martin

“I wanted to hear bands that I like in a great place, to showcase good people, that think like I do. Often when you are in a band the only music you see is the others on the same bill. I picked artists that I would like to see and play with.” That was the driving force behind the Southern Theatre’s three-day acoustic showcase that Cobey Rouse of the band batteryboy organized.  TWELVE BANDS OVER THREE NIGHTS.

I wanted to learn more about this ambitious project, and sat down with Cobey one late night to chat about it. There had to be a tremendous amount of effort to secure dates, a venue, the artists, and then promotion-ultimately hoping that there will be an audience. Rouse and his band batteryboy got the job done with the help of great people, particularly Gabe Douglas of the band The 4onthefloor.

As I delved deeper it was clear that batteryboy has a unique sound, one that has been profoundly influenced by the orchestral folk of Cloud Cult. Ten years ago Rouse had all but quit music. That all changed when he saw Cloud Cult and felt charged up to play music again. To this day he treasures the set list that he has from the first time Cloud Cult played “Energy”. Cloud Cult has set the bar high as very unique players in the music scene. They aren’t exactly radio easy but are much beloved by “outside of the box” radio stations and especially by their dedicated fans. Cloud Cult has succeeded in creating a home for their art, and Rouse clearly respects and has drawn inspiration from that. Batteryboy has evolved to a point where Rouse can write from melodies now to get the structure. “Listen and the lyrics come, and that is it.” The song “Minus One Together” is a beautiful example of this. The lyrics read like a poem. You can see the video and the lyrics here:

Clearly, batteryboy needed to find their place in the Minneapolis music scene. With their unique sound it can be difficult for the band to fill just any slot or play any random venue. Sometimes you find it; sometimes you have to create it.  Cobey and the band decided to take the leap and make a place for their sound. “(We) need to create, to play meaningful shows for other musicians. We deserve to share art and be able to appreciate it. To create events to spread that mentality, to not depend on venues but create the venues.”

This concept has been blossoming in the Twin Cities over the last few years with the likes of Live Letters, Torch, and Sweet 317 to name a few. Events created with the motivation to showcase artists in a spot where they can connect with a similarly intentioned audience. Where you don’t have to fight to be heard, no game on the TV’s, no pool table, no extreme chatter. Rouse, Douglas, and batteryboy have created a path to where they can find “a place to emote, as art, with music as the feature, not just background.” With the overall goal being: “concerts above context.”

The Southern Session’s line-up is like a who’s who of local Twin City’s elite: Taj Raj, Farewell Milwaukee, Gabriel Douglas (of 4OTF) & Lott all signed on for the first night. The Ericksons, batteryboy, The Farewell Circuit, Nick Costa (of The Persons & The People) fill out the bill for night two. The final night is not to be missed with the Katy Vernon Band, Carroll, The Melismatics, and Fairfax, AK.

Rouse doesn’t exactly know where the Southern Theatre’s Sessions will lead but the journey itself may turn out to be the teacher. This will be a very special series to experience as each night promises to showcase a different aspect of our amazing music scene. If you are like-minded and have the desire to connect in a meaningful way with music then I will see you at the Southern!

Road Reports…


By Becca Martin

See behind the stage into the revealed lives of Minnesota musicians on tour in their own words.

“One of the best parts of being on the road is listening to and discovering/rediscovering artists together as a band.  Our vehicle of choice has a CD player and a radio that works sometimes, so the ease of an iPod was out.  We spent some time scouring record stores looking for the albums we were craving.  We came out with an awesome Sam Amidon album, “I see the sign.”  It has a beautiful cover of R. Kelly’s “Relief”. I think we listened to that song at least 40 times and that album almost as much.  There was also a dark, rainy hour in which we dove deep into Lisa Loeb’s second album. “Firecracker.”  This was great in a very different, 90’s nostalgia sort of a way.”

-Jenny Kapernick (The Ericksons)

Stone Arch Bridge Festival 6/14 and 6/15


The Stone Arch Bridge Festival is back and better than ever. There will be more than 250 visual artists, more than 40 musical acts, a family art park, the Father’s Day car show and a food market on the Minneapolis Riverfront, June 14-16.

The art and music will be spread out among several stages, with three performance stages near St. Anthony Main: Main Street, Water Power Park and Father Hennepin Park.

The best part? It’s free.

Friday, June 14

7:00 pm – Rockstar Storytellers

7:30 pm – Apollo Cobra

8:15 pm – Rockstar Storytellers

9:00 pm – Caroline Smith & The Goodnight Sleeps Continue reading

A Review of The Ericksons’ new EP “The Wild”

Review by Kristine Volvsek

“Come to The Wild with Me”
There has been a lot of buzz about The Ericksons lately. For example, as I’m writing this, The Ericksons’ ‘Gone Blind’ is The Current’s ‘Song of the Day’ and I just heard “The Wild” on RadioK. Originally from La Crosse, WI, the sister-duo of Bethany Valentini and Jenny Kochsiek moved to Brooklyn for a few years before settling in the Twin Cities. January 17 marked their second EP release.

“No, it’s not easy”
The band is named after Valentini’s late first husband, who was the first person to encourage the sisters’ musical careers. Essentially, the name is an homage to the person who inspired their music. It’s the subtly pervasive darkness and beautiful harmonies that really stand out for me in this album. You can sense the sisters’ relationship and closeness in how they harmonize with one another. Heart-breaking, and sometimes heart-warming harmonies form the base of their “haunting folk” sound. I love the guitar in ‘Gone Blind.’ It really accentuates The Ericksons’ vocal sound. ‘Six Feet Underground’ represents a letting-go of sorts; a gentle, healthy purge. This is one of those songs you feel on a primordial-gut-level. I get a sense that as difficult as it may seem, they will carry on.

“No, it won’t be pretty”
Though at first, I thought the rhyming in ‘Turtle Dove’ was kind of cheesy, I generally think it is quite cute. In the same vein, even though there really is no other logical place to put a song called “Tail Lights” other than the end, this also has a little cheesy aftertaste. Overall, I feel this album has some catchy, melodic repetition; it’s easy to fall into its groove. However, lyrical repetition has its place and every song doesn’t need to use it so much – personally, I prefer less repetitive lyrics. The impressive imagery in “Dirty Dishes” transports you directly into the kitchen. In this song, I think the repetition is effective. It demonstrates something burning in the brain – thoughts intertwined with feelings one cannot escape.

“And you wait for the sun to rise again”
The more I get to know about The Ericksons and the more I listen to this EP, the more I like it and respect where it is coming from. I recently heard The Ericksons on The Current’s Local Show as they announced their participation in Local Current Live on February 28 with Prissy Clerks and Greg Grease. I am intrigued because of the variety of genres being represented together. No doubt it will be a show to remember.

Get “The Wild” here:

Local Current Live
Thursday, February 28
At the Amsterdam Bar and Hall
Doors at 6pm
7pm — Prissy Clerks
8pm — The Ericksons
9pm — Greg Grease
Free, 18+, standing-room show

The Ericksons CD release with Jimmy Peterson of Bellwether Jan.17.13

The Ericksons CD release with Jimmy Peterson of Bellwether Jan.17.13

Celebrate The Ericksons release of “The Wild” this Thursday at the Cedar Cultural Center. Sisters Bethany Valentini and Jenny Kochsiek recorded this collection of eleven songs at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios in Fall Creek, Wisconsin. Produced by Beau Sorenson (Field Report), “The Wild” is described as “both heart-wrenching and uplifting, rooted in folk, tinged with country and blues, and woven together with impeccable, haunting harmonies.” Jimmy Peterson from local twang-rock outfit Bellwether will open.

Thursday, January 17, 2013 – 7:30pm
Doors Open: 7:00pm
Advance: $12.00
Day of show: $15.00
Seated show
All Ages

for tickets:
for videos and other information about The Ericksons: