Submitted for the approval of the Mix Tape Appreciation Society, here lies "Mid West Music Fest (a primer)," another sweet compilation curated by Matthew R. Perrine. Inspired by this year's phenomenal lineup at the Mid West Music Fest in Winona, Minn., I decided to make an entire mix tape comprised only of songs by artists who will be appearing at the festival this year. (Get all the relevant information for this weekend of music -- which runs April 19-21 -- at www.midwestmusicfest.org.) As always, enjoy this and all coming editions of "Toy Boat!" at maximum volume.
1. Ruben - "Wasting Time"
2. Maudlin - "Dancecaster"
Raised on a steady diet of the Pixies (and every other Frank Black or Kim Deal side project, for that matter), you best believe that this group’s twin vocalists, David and Priscilla Priebe, know a thing or two about post-punk and slightly off-kilter power pop.
3. Chris Koza - "Crowded Bed"
City Pages calls Koza's solo stuff "brainy folk-pop." (He's also in the excellent Rogue Valley -- see below.) What this one sounds like to me is a laidback Black Crowes song played by Mason Jennings' band -- and "cherried" with some exquisite P.J. Olsson whistling. Whatever it is, it's good.
4. Tapes 'n Tapes - "Insistor"
These buzzed-about indie rockers don't need any introductions.
5. Midwest Dilemma - "Chicago and North Western"
This Omaha export was quick to win over Americana-leaning fans with the gigantic-in-scope “Timelines & Tragedies” album, which found inspiration in the family lineage of frontman Justin P. Lamoureux — all the way back to the days of fur trading, no less.
6. Kimya Dawson - "Tire Swing"
Yes, the Kimya Dawson who got her 15 minutes with the peachy "Juno" soundtrack (and who will be guesting on the just-announced "Skelethon," Aesop Rock's long-awaited next solo album that will drop on July 10 on Rhymesayers) will be playing in little ol' Winona!
7. Porcupine - "So Far So Good"
La Crosse indie rock at its finest. Damn, this is some good stuff.
8. Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons - "Longer Time at Sea"
If you like your rock epic in scope, look no further than this personal favorite.
9. Toki Wright - "Next Best Thing"
This infectious little hip-hop tune includes these memorable lines: "I read a article that said I'm a hype man / I ain't a hype man; f-----, I'm a live band." Then he goes on to rhyme "catheter" with "Africa." Awesome.
10. Charlie Parr - "Asa Jones' Blues"
One of my first interviews for the Duluth Budgeteer News was with one Charlie Parr. A highlight from the way-back machine (summer 2006): “We love it here in Duluth,” he said, “and we ain’t leaving. ... I’m happy to be a part of this place and the music made here.”
11. The 4onthefloor - "On Tuesdays"
A catchy footstomper about -- What else? -- getting drunk on Tuesdays.
12. Wake Up Bedhead - "Crystal Ball"
13. Def Gone Graphic - "Beware"
14. Apollo Cobra - "Rough"
Paired with the right vocalist (Thao, perhaps?), this would be quite a formidable force on the dancefloor.
15. The Melismatics - "The Hard Way"
A straight-up rock song I've listened to entirely too much in the few years it's been around.
16. Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps - "Where Has Sally Gone?" (Daytrotter.com vers.)
Whimsical -- with an emphasis on the "wh" sound.
17. Ben Weaver - "Cold House" (Live at Beaner's Central, Duluth, Minn.)
While it sounds like Ben is trying to pluck his guitar here, this mesmerizing folk song works.
18. Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank - "It Happens All the Time" (EP vers.)
One of the most consistently entertaining road bands I've ever heard.
19. BNLX - "Vaporize" [FREE MP3]
Ed Ackerson is a golden god. Spend just a few minutes with this alternative-never-died band and you'll hear why. Fans of Ash's amp-melting sonic assault (more so in the early days) will find much to gush over here.
20. Rogue Valley - "I-5 Love Affair" [FREE MP3(s)]
21. White Iron Band - "North Country Bandit"
Written (and/or recorded) while the group was hungover? Hard to tell. Either way, this one will get under your skin. (On a somewhat-related note, does anyone else think frontman Matt Pudas sounds eerily similar to Ed Helms?)
22. The Mages - "Inauguration Day"
Veterans of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's 24 Hour Project, the friendly members of the Mages have music in their bloodstreams: “Through our entire lives, the common thread is that we’ve all always been involved with music, in one way or another,” Amy O'Connor told me back in 2010. “The boys were in high school band, and I was in high school choir. And, as children, we were all involved in music and had very musical households.”
23. Yester - "A Wishing Well"
24. Zoo Animal - "Baybee"
~ A Product of La Crosse, Wis. ~