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Prairie Pop: Power Ballads 101

Last year, Little Village turned over Kembrew McLeod’s “Prairie Pop” column to Umläut Nideldick—the legendary German song doctor and rock and roll life coach. Once again, we are proud to reprint Nideldick’s latest keynote address at the Eurovision Academy of Musical Arts (EAMA).  Thank you, my fellow rockers! I am here to speak about what […]

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An interview with Michael Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies

To paraphrase Grand Funk Railroad, Cowboy Junkies are a Canadian band—and a family band. It features siblings Margo Timmins on vocals, Michael Timmins on guitar, Peter Timmins on drums and longtime friend and collaborator Alan Anton on bass. Their quiet, hypnotic sound (imagine the Velvet Underground backing Patsy Cline) was cemented on their breakthrough 1988 album… […]

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Prairie Pop: Mobb Deep’s past, present and future

“I got you stuck off the realness / we be the infamous”—Prodigy rapped in the opening verse of “Shook Ones, Part II,” Mobb Deep’s classic 1995 single—“you heard of us / official Queensbridge murderers / the Mobb comes equipped with warfare, beware.” Grimy, blood-soaked and unrelentingly bleak, Mobb Deep’s albums were filled with first-person tales delivered over menacing beats and minor key samples. Prodigy and his partner-in-musical-crime Havoc sounded like they had roamed the mean streets of New York since they were old enough to lift a banana clip. The reality, however, was a little more mundane. […]

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Prairie Pop: A guide to the Bob Mould oeuvre

On Thursday, Aug. 15, the Bob Mould Band will totally rock the roof off the Englert in support of the singer-guitarist’s superb 2012 release, Silver Age. This is reason enough to be super-psyched, but wait, there’s more! Mould has been mining his deep back catalog—performing songs by Hüsker Dü and Sugar, his two previous bands, […]

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El-P Interview: Lucy in the sky with dizzle

Last year, Killer Mike and El-P steamrolled their musical competition with their respective albums R.A.P. Music and Cancer 4 Cure. Both artists have garnered plenty of attention over the years—Killer Mike made his initial splash on Outkast’s 2000 album, Stankonia, and El-P began in the early 1990s with the late, great Company Flow. But in 2012, their profiles skyrocketed. The outstanding Cancer 4 Cure further developed the producer and MC’s singularly dark, claustrophobic musical vision, but El’s production work on R.A.P. Music was the knockout punch. […]

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Prairie Pop: An interview with Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo’s brand of drone-rock is certainly hypnotic—narcotizing even—but their live shows are never boring. That has much to do with this threesome’s restless desire to switch up their act with each tour. I’ve seen them stage a variety show with comedians, perform straight-up rock shows in clubs, use a spinning wheel that lets […]

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Prairie Pop: The story of Quirk

When Too Much Joy frontman Tim Quirk played Riverfest in the early-1990s, things didn’t go well. Mother Nature unleashed a shitstorm of epic proportions, so after a long delay, the gig was relocated to a club downtown. Adam Sandler, the opener, was the first to face the out-of-control audience… […]

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Prairie Pop: For those about to pop

Regular Prairie Pop columnist Kembrew McLeod has turned over this month’s edition to Umläut Nideldick—the famous German song doctor and rock and roll life coach. The following text is drawn from Nideldick’s keynote address at the 2012 conference of the Eurovision Academy of Musical Arts. […]

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Prairie Pop: Jonathan Richman’s playground punk

Most proto-punk legends don’t write songs like “I’m a Little Dinosaur” or “Ice Cream Man,” but Jonathan Richman isn’t your typical rock ‘n’ roll dude. Since forming The Modern Lovers in 1970, he has made a career out of defying expectations.
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