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Interview with the Belle Brigade

October 4, 2011

California-based sibling duo The Belle Brigade are currently touring behind their self-titled debut album, with a stop Wednesday, Oct. 5 at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. Girl Germs The Belle Brigadeintern Emma caught up with drummer/singer/guitarist Barbara Gruska (who backed artists like Jenny Lewis and Inara George before forming The Belle Brigade) as she and her brother, Ethan, drove into the Twin Cities. Read on for Barbara’s thoughts on working with her brother, what’s in store for the band and, um…the Twilight movies.

Girl Germs: I wanted to start off talking about your work as a drummer before you and Ethan started collaborating. I know music is really deeply entrenched in your family, so what was it like growing up in that kind of household?

Barbara Gruska: It definitely was influential to grow up with a lot of music in the house. My dad’s studio was in the backyard and all of his musician friends and studio musicians were walking in and out of the house, and I’d come home from school and go and sit in the studio and hear people play. But I don’t know, I think when I was a teenager I loved playing the drums and listening to music, but I didn’t know that that’s what I wanted to do until I was 18.

How did you decide that’s what you wanted to do?

I went to college and then I just pretty much ditched all of classes to practice drums, and I was like, “Okay! I’m going to do this!”

So you toured quite a bit as a drummer…what is it’s like being a female drummer, given that it’s such a male-dominated field?

You know, I guess I’m just kind of used to it because it doesn’t feel…it’s never felt strange to be the only girl around. I mean, it’s always kind of been this way, so it’s not weird.

So the two of you started collaborating when you came back from touring, right?

Let’s see…Ethan graduated from high school three years ago. I was still on the road with Jenny Lewis, and I was home for a break. I had been writing songs just for myself and had been wanting to record a little album of all of the tunes that I’d been writing and so I went to this [studio] called The Hangar in Sacramento, and I brought Ethan. When we were up there I was like, “Hey, would you sing this part?” And then after we did that, I was like, “Let’s join forces, because this is really fun and awesome and you’re amazing, so let’s do this.”

What’s the best thing about working with your sibling?

The best thing about collaborating with Ethan…it’s hard to say, because the whole thing is great, from when we first start with a tiny little idea about a song and write the song together, and then we get to record it, and then we get to perform it live, it’s just…everything is awesome. I love it.

Do you write all your songs together?

Yeah, we do. There’s a couple that I wrote without him and that he wrote without me, but most of our songs are 50-50, and even the ones that we wrote ourselves are pretty much collaborative and 50-50. We both have to both put our hands on them and agree on them and mess with them and have it be collaborative, because that’s the sound.

Is it ever difficult if one of you really wants something in a song and the other one is opposed to it?

So far, we haven’t run into any of that because we have very, very similar tastes and visions of where we want the music to go, and we are constantly talking about it, and talking about the future and everything like that. So when we do have a disagreement about something, we never huff and puff and stomp our feet because we have to agree. Something’s not going to fly if the other person isn’t down with it.

Your album is super-catchy and fun to listen to, but I’ve noticed that when you really tune into the lyrics, there’s this layer of vulnerability. In particular, “Losers” and “Lucky Guy,” because you’re dancing to it and then you think, “Wait a second…”

Yeah, totally. “Wait a second, this is sad!”

How did you decide to blend the really catchy melodies with much sadder lyrics?

That’s the thing that we like to do…it’s kind of going overboard if you have sad lyrics and put it to sad music, or if you put happy lyrics to happy music. That’s just not something that we want to do. We both like having that juxtaposition.

Are you guys working on any new projects now?

Well, we’re always writing and thinking about our next album, even though in reality, when we will get to record the next album is probably a year away or something—which sucks, because we always want to be recording and stuff. At this point, we pretty much have enough new material for the next record.

I was looking at your website, and I saw that one of your songs is going to be on the next Twilight soundtrack?

Yeah, it is!

I’m sort of fascinated by the Twilight soundtracks, because even people who don’t necessarily see the movies still listen to the soundtracks and really love them.

Oh really? I didn’t know that; that’s awesome!

You’re also joining a really great lineup of artists, like Iron & Wine, Death Cab and Florence & the Machine. How are you feeling about joining them and being on that same plane?

It feels really good. I feel like it’s just a great opportunity for us, in terms of exposure and just being a part of something like that. It’s really, really cool and we really, truly lucked out on this.

How were you chosen to do it?

Well, actually, the last song on our record is called “Fasten You to Me,” and before our record was out, originally they wanted to submit that song for Twilight. If we would’ve done that, it wouldn’t have been able to be on our record, and we really wanted that to be on our record, so we didn’t let them use that. They asked if there were any other songs that we could submit, and so we gave them “I Didn’t Mean It” and they wanted to use it, so we really lucked out.

So, I have to ask – do you guys watch the movies or read the books?

I haven’t really – I’ve watched the movies when they’re on TV, but I’m definitely going to watch them now. I don’t want to walk into the theater for this last one and not know the backstory.

–Emma Nelson



Interview with LA-based Musician Whitton

October 3, 2011

Photo by Natalie Gamble

Jaime Whitton (known musically as simply Whitton) just released her album Rare Bird Sept. 24. Her music has been featured in feature films Meth Head and She Wants Me (her vocals have even appeared on Dexter!), and she won Best Female Acoustic Artist at the New York Music Festival. Girl Germs intern Emma had a chance to chat with the Reno, Nevada-born, LA-based singer-songwriter about the new record and her unique, vintage-inspired sound.

Girl Germs: Tell me about your sound — it seems almost like a cross between Joanna Newsom and Billie Holiday, especially on Rare Bird. How did you arrive at this mix between folk and ‘40s?

Whitton: I admire both of these inspiring women very much. Stemming from the same tree, they both have something in common and that’s truth… in their lyrics and vulnerable voice… Yet they’re completely different styles of music. I’m honored to remind you of such greatness. How did I come upon this mix? Well, it’s kinda what has poured of me, naturally. When I met my producer Ian Coyne, I was singing while playing acoustic guitar to a crowd of four people. Just by myself with my guitar, I lean more in the simplistic folk genre like Joanna Newsom. We decided to get together and talk about future recording possibilities. Being brilliant in his craft, I think Ian dissected the characteristics of my singing voice and we built around it. I’ve always had a love for ‘30s/’40s classic music: Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, etc. It was fantastic mixing the two styles in this album.

I’m also really interested in your guest vocalist stint on Dexter. How did the opportunity arise? What was it like? Would you do TV again in the future?

I had a great time singing as a guest vocalist on one of Dexter’s songs. I met the composer, Dan Licht, and spent an evening at his recording studio experimenting with ghostly vocal sounds that added an eerie atmosphere to the song. I never appeared on TV physically, but my voice did!

On your MySpace page, you talk a little about what tough times these are for musicians. How are you navigating the changing industry? What is it like for someone whose sound is more of a nod to the classics, rather than pop? What advice would you give to those just entering it?

Well, I can’t give too much advice on this because I’m still entering! I just try to keep trucking along with the gifts I possess and try to share it with the world. To me, the only real way of getting a strong foot in the door is creating buzz—a fan base. And how to do that is touring and TV/film placement. If you’re lucky to get a great publicist, that’s like having a cherry on top. They get you interviews and reviews online and press in the cities you tour through. It’s an arduous battle representing yourself. You can do it…but most people don’t like to deal with the artist. Besides, being a salesperson isn’t one of my best qualities, I must say. Trying to pitch yourself wears you out—or at least me. I think I’m lucky to have a classic pop/singer-songwriter appeal because my music seems to be pretty universal. Who don’t love classic music? Who doesn’t love singer-songwriter music? And who doesn’t love popular music?

Ten-song albums always seemed a bit on the short side to me, but this year’s releases have really changed my mind: The Decemberists, Bon Iver and most recently one of Minnesota’s own, Caroline Smith. How did you decide on this length yourself? Was it difficult to limit the number of songs?

Of course it’s difficult to limit the number of songs! I had a handful of tunes that I wanted to put on my new album, but I try to put songs together that make a nice thread of emotion, color and sound. And it also came down to budget as well! Ha ha ha! Which was probably a blessing in disguise, because I’d still be working on it and wouldn’t have released it yet!

What are your plans for 2012? Will you mostly be promoting your new album? Are there any other projects on the horizon? 

Uh, 2012 is going to be very interesting on so many levels. I’m anxious to see how it all unfolds. My plan is to promote Rare Bird while touring the majority of the year. And in the early spring, I’ll begin to record my next album with the ever so talented producer/musician, Jon Avila (Oingo Boingo) and the extremely gifted musician, Ben Burget (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy/Erykah Badu).

Just for fun—if you could play a concert anytime, anywhere, and with anyone, what would it be? Venue? Time period? Fellow musicians?

Well, in the future my ultimate venue would be the Hollywood Bowl and I would have a stunning visual performance on screen behind me throughout my show. But right now at my current status, I’d LOVE to perform at the Largo in Los Angeles with any of these marvelous acts: Rufus Wainwright, Andrew Bird, Colin Hay, Ray LaMontagne, Jesca Hoop, Damien Rice and/or Amos Lee.

–Emma Nelson

Interview with Wild Flag’s Mary Timony

September 30, 2011

From left: Brownstein, Cole, Weiss and Timony. Photo by John Clark

Dana had a chance to interview Girl Germs favorite–and pretty much her idol–Mary Timony this week for METRO magazine. Timony’s band Wild Flag, which also features member of Sleater-Kinney and the Minders, performs in Minneapolis Monday, Oct. 3. Read the article below or on the METRO site.

Before the band so much as released a single, Wild Flag was the talk of the indie-rock world. To many nostalgic fans romanticizing the members’ ‘90s heydays, the lineup was nothing short of a dream come true: Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Excuse 17, Portlandia), Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Quasi, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks), Rebecca Cole (The Minders) and Mary Timony (Helium, Autoclave, Soft Power and a prolific solo career).

Sold-out shows and jam-packed SXSW festival showcases only added to the excitement over this collaboration (which started when Brownstein, Weiss and Cole composed music for a documentary) and—to no one’s surprise, really—the band’s first album turned out to be much greater than the sum of its parts. METRO recently caught up with singer/guitarist Timony, a veteran solo performer who broke ground with her band Helium in the ‘90s, about Wild Flag’s inception and the band’s upcoming tour, which kicks off Oct. 3 at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis.

Girl Germs: With Wild Flag getting so much buzz before anyone had heard the songs and expectations being so high, was there a lot of pressure?

Mary Timony: Yeah, it was a little nerve wracking. Basically what happened is, after we started writing songs, we decided to play a lot of shows to hone the songs, rather than just recording a record right away. I guess Carrie and Janet kind of had the understanding that there would be people interested [laughs]. I kind of forgot that…I was just kind of shocked at how much interest there was. I hadn’t been in a band, you know, that people have been interested in like that in…maybe ever. It was kind of crazy. So I was really, really nervous to play the first show… people put stuff on YouTube, so we knew it would be…someone was going to be there with a video camera. But I also feel incredibly lucky that people are interested in it, so it was really awesome too.

So you weren’t really prepared for the reaction you’ve gotten?

Maybe, partly. But I’d just forgotten—I mean I haven’t been playing in a band for so long, that I was sort of used to the way solo records worked. I was lucky if there were 70 people in the audience.  It’s really weird to go from that to having 500 people there.

How did you initially meet Carrie, Janet and Rebecca?

I met Carrie and Janet from touring with them [in Europe] when I was in Helium—I think it was 1996 or 97. It was a really fun tour and we just became pretty good friends and kept in touch after that. Rebecca—I liked the Minders a lot, but had never met her before. But [The Minders] also played with Sleater-Kinney a lot.

What do you think it was about you musically that made them ask you to join the band?

I don’t know…I had collaborated with Carrie before [Timony and Brownstein’s side project, The Spells released an EP in 1999], so we had a thing going. And they wanted another singer-guitar player, so…I’m just lucky they asked me!

Has it been weird not being the only singer and guitarist in a band and sharing those responsibilities?

It’s been so great. It’s awesome because it’s really hard to sing, for me. I’m not a great singer, I’m a much better guitar player than I am a singer. So it’s really nice to just be able to think about what I’m doing on guitar and not have to sing the whole time. It just makes it so much more fun to play a show. I love it.

With you still living in Washington, DC is it hard, logistically, to be in a band with Portland-based musicians?

That’s the hardest thing is that I don’t live [in Portland]. So I’ve been traveling out here pretty often, actually. That’s definitely a challenge. Now that we’re touring so much it doesn’t really make that big of a difference. It was hard when we were first getting things together—and expensive, for me for a little while, and then the band started making money [laughs] and pays for the plane tickets now.

Timony in Wild Flag's "Romance" video.

Carrie has said in interviews that, at first, Wild Flag was on a test run, just seeing where it would go. What was the moment where you saw this being a feasible, long-term project?

When we recorded our demos in the practice space and they sounded good and they were all really excited about them—for me that was when I knew. I like recording music and listening back; it’s hard for me to know in the moment what’s going on. Probably listening back to those songs was when I started to get started to get really excited, to be honest. It was hard because Janet was paying in a couple different bands, so we weren’t sure if she was going to be touring a bunch. But it all worked out.

She’s definitely a busy lady—you all are.

Yeah, she likes to keep busy. She’s a powerhouse; it’s really amazing.

This is an aside, but I’ve been wondering about it for a really long time. How did the whole Team Sleep thing happen [Timony guested on an album by Deftones frontman Chino Moreno’s side project in 2005]? I feel like that was odd…

Random? [Laughs]. I don’t know, I mean Chino contacted me through Matador and he just sent me a file on the computer and I just recorded something.

Were you familiar with Deftones at all?

Nope. Maybe a little bit.

It’s cool that it happened, but it did seem a little…I guess the right word is random, as you said.

Um, yeah. I hear you.

Carrie has mentioned in interviews that she thinks you’re taking more risks and having more fun onstage than with your solo work. Do you think that’s true?

It’s so great to play shows with all three of these musicians. They’re just amazing live performers, so that kind of rubs off on me. I think it’s really awesome not to have to sing the whole time, so that frees me up. I think we just have a chemistry that works pretty well, and I just really enjoy myself while we’re playing.

Have you fallen onstage yet like Carrie?

[Laughs] She did! And some guy put it up on YouTube. It’s so rude that they did that. I’m sure I have, I don’t know. It’s usually pretty messy up there. You never know what’s going to happen. I’ve knocked into Rebecca’s keyboard many times. Good thing I haven’t knocked it over yet. I try to stay away from it but it’s hard.

Helium is considered a relatively underground band—depending of course on what circle you’re in—but do you see Helium fans coming out of the woodwork now that you’re doing this project?

No, no. The awesome thing for me [with Wild Flag] is reading [that] people liked Helium. We really just didn’t tour enough. So it’s been really nice to see that people liked that band.

Is Wild Flag helping people who only knew about Sleater-Kinney to discover Helium, or vice versa?

That would be cool. I don’t think vice versa really, because Sleater-Kinney was much, much more popular. But that would be a great thing to come out of…it’s cool to see that people liked the band. It makes me happy.

How did you decide to go about recording everything live except for the vocals?

We really wanted to have the sound be kind of like…maybe the way bands would have recorded in the ‘60s or ‘70s. We didn’t want it to sound overproduced. We basically wanted it to sound like we went in the studio, played everything…the way people used to record. I’ve worked at home on my computer so much, I’m used to being able to edit anything, fix stuff. It was really challenging, but rewarding because all the live energy is totally captured that way.

You’ve covered some classic rock songs on tour. What’s been your favorite?

My favorite is the Patti Smith song. It just works really well with the band. And Carrie completely gets so into it and it’s really fun. I never know what’s going to happen or where she’s going to end up on the stage. It’s really fun to play that one.

You’ve said before that you’ve never really made music that is similar to music you personally like. Do you think Wild Flag falls into that category now?

I think [that was in reference to] psychedelic or ‘60s music. I was saying that maybe our influences show in the music we’re writing. I think with my own music, I haven’t really made that happen as much in the past. But this band, that definitely comes through. I don’t know why. It just does. So it’s good—that means I like listening to our music [laughs]. 

In that case, maybe you don’t want to overthink it.

Yeah, I don’t want to think about it too much, probably [laughs].

Wild Flag performs Monday, Oct. 3 at the Varsity Theater, 1308 4th Street Southeast, Mpls. Details here.


Join Girl Germs at Yelp’s Drive-In, Oct. 7

September 22, 2011
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Join Girl Germs as we help Yelp Twin Cities host Yelp’s Drive-In Oct. 7 from 8-10 p.m.!

This 1950s-style sock-hop at 514 Studios in the North Loop includes local street food bites, a spiked soda fountain, suds from local brewers, hula hooping, car-hopping roller girls, throwback photo booths, vintage fashion and a whole lot more. Aside from a $5 suggested donation that will benefit local nonprofit Secondhand Hounds, this shindig is FREE with an RSVP on Yelp. So slap on your hippest retro threads, tease up your beehive and haul ass to Yelp’s Drive-In!

21+ with ID, no ankle-biters. Girl Germs will be spinning tunes all night!

In addition to Girl Germs, fellow sponsor include: 514 Studios, Chef Shack, Natedogs, Gastrotruck, Foxy Falafel, Chowgirls, Fork In The Road, 10,000 Licks, Bare Honey & The Beez Kneez, Popchips, Corner Coffee, Fulton Brewery, Harriet Brewery, Crispin Cider, DRY Soda, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Kinky Liqueur, Mighty Swell, On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals, Snapz Photo Booth, Unbooth, North Star Roller Girls and Eliesa Johnson of Photogen Inc. See you there!

REVIEW: Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps at First Avenue

September 22, 2011
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When Caroline Smith emerged on the First Avenue Mainroom stage Friday night wearing a black mini-dress and a pink wristwatch, her hair in wild, Janis Joplin waves, she didn’t try to hide her excitement. She—along with the three members of her back-up band, the Good Night Sleeps— smiled blissfully at the crowd through their opening number, “Closing the Doors,” from 2008’s Backyard Tent Set.

“Want to know why I’m really proud of myself?” Smith asked the audience. “I remembered to wear shorts under this dress!”

Much of Smith’s appeal lies in her ability to be at once sexy and down-to-earth, self-deprecating and graceful. Her songs are sweet and deceptively simple, and it is clear that she feels each lyric deeply, a quality that endears her to her bandmates and audience members alike. When the opening bands (including Girl Germs favorite Dark Dark Dark, featuring songbird Nona Marie Invie) joined the Good Night Sleeps onstage midway through the set, their energy was palpable. Particularly moving was their rendition of Smith’s achingly beautiful “Eagle’s Nest,” which moves elegantly between a soaring chorus (“I am taking you to the eagle’s nest tonight”) and a tender refrain (“My mother’s work is more than this.”)

Afterwards, Smith leaned into the microphone, looked out into the crowd and said, “However much fun that was for you, it was so much more fun for me.”

The most memorable number of the evening was not one of Smith’s originals, however. Toward the end of the show, out of nowhere came Kanye West’s “Power,” with the Simon & Garfunkel-esque boys of the Daredevil Christopher Wright on backup vocals. If Smith had seemed versatile before with her effortless movement between electric, acoustic, and banjo, her rapping sealed the deal. She was spot-on, and the crowd devoured every moment of it, erupting in an uproar of applause.

“That was either the coolest or the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done,” Smith admitted, gracing the crowd once more with her delighted, girl-next-door grin. –Emma Nelson

Join Girl Germs for Twin Cities Zinefest, Sept. 24

September 19, 2011
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Dana from Girl Germs' zine collection! Photo by Tate Carlson.

If you’ve listened to Girl Germs, well, ever, you know that we are huge fans of anything having to do with DIY and zine culture. We’ve even devoted episodes of the podcast to such subjects, as DIY culture often goes hand in hand with feminism, pop-culture criticism, the GLBT movement and other issues we discuss on Girl Germs–not to mention the amazing music that has sprung from DIY culture (Bikini Kill, anyone?). In fact, Girl Germs takes its name from the Girl Germs zine, which was a huge part of the Riot Grrrl movement of the ’90s.

So, we could hardly contain our excitement when we found out we were sponsoring the 2011 Twin Cities Zinefest, a celebration of all things handmade and DIY! Join us Saturday, Sept. 24 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Powderhorn Park Building (3400 15th Ave. S., Mpls.) and gorge on all the Xeroxed, self-published, hand-bound, screen-printed goodness you can handle. Exhibitors range from queer-awareness zines to local comic artists to animators and filmmakers to retail outlets like Boneshaker Books.

Girl Germs will be there handing out swag (spoiler alert: there will be 1″ buttons!) and Fly Away Zine Mobile, Zine Apothecary and the Dinner+Bikes Tour will also be there! We’re looking forward to hanging out with our friends from Creative Ladies Are Powerful (CLAP) and w o m a n h o u s e zines, and finding some new favorites, too. Hope to see you there!

What: Twin Cities Zinefest

Where: Powderhorm Park Building, 3400 15th Ave. S., Mpls.

When: Saturday, Sept. 24, noon to 5 p.m.

Why: Because it will be awesome. And you need some new reading material.

Find more info on Zinefest here and make it Facebook official here.

Local photographer, librarian and zinester Lacey Prpic Hedtke organized this year’s Zinefest and is a longtime member of the Twin Cities’ creative community. Lacey will be our guest on the Sept. 23 episode of Girl Germs (watch for it here); she’ll be playing some of her favorite DIY artists, giving us some background info on Zinefest and making zine recommendations for Girl Germs listeners. To read more about zines, read Girl Germs host Dana’s article on them for METRO magazine.

Punk of the Month: Alicja Trout

September 13, 2011

Girl Germs might be an all-female show, but we have plenty of supportive gentleman friends – and even some honorary ladies – who number among our compatriots (see: DJ Phizzy, King Cole and Marinos of On the Corner; Evan and co. over at Fancy Pants Gangsters; and Chris and Qualler of Blogulator Radio, among others).

You might remember our friend Nate from his days on Radio K’s Out of Step; he guest DJ’d on Girl Germs back when we were all the same station. Nate is our go-to expert on all things punk and he’s kindly agreed to write a monthly feature for you all called Punk of the Month! Watch the blog every month for a profile of a female artist who has broken ground on the punk scene. 

Thus far, we’ve mined the distant past for our Punk of the Month profiles. “But what about the present?” you might ask. Surely there are some inspiring, groundbreaking punk ladies making it happen right here and now. Well, you’d be completely correct. That’s why we’re casting this month’s spotlight on one of today’s most happening females: Memphis’s own garage-punk goddess, Alicja Trout!

A multi-instrumentalist artist and label boss (who also happens to be someone’s mother), Trout keeps busy. Her most productive band, the menacing synth-punk Lost Sounds, is likely her most renowned.  Also featuring Trout’s one-time beau, the late Jay Reatard, Lost Sounds managed to release a handful of singles and LPs on various labels before its demise in 2005.

Trout quickly regrouped and formed the three-piece River City Tanlines. Eschewing the dark paranoia of her previous outfit, the Tanlines focused instead on driving, slashing punk rock ‘n’ roll. Trout’s melodic snarl carried the band through an LP and a series of 7”s like 2004’s essential debut, Black Knight.

In between her higher-profile bands, Trout somehow scraped up enough free time for such sundry projects as the hardcore terror of Destruction Unit, the indie-pop Mouserocket, The Clears’ clattering synth-punk, the appropriately named Nervous Patterns and the briefly-burning CC Riders. But that’s not all. Black Sunday, having released a slew of singles and a full-length LP, showcases the versatile lady performing almost all of the instruments herself.  Her latest offering is a single by her other one-woman band, the markedly more pop-oriented Alicja-Pop, released by Certified PR Records.

The restless Trout has also conceived her own DIY punk label, Contaminated Records.  In addition to releasing recordings by her own bands, Contaminated has also served to foster the careers of such subterranean garage-punk greats as the Creteens, the Feelers, the Test Patterns, and the Ponys.

And let’s not forget to mention her skills as a sound engineer, having recorded the two treble-punk nuggets found on the Oscars’ Jump for Joy release on the Goner label. Trout’s inspired momentum has also pushed her into both painting and designing gig posters.  And for the true collector, she even creates custom-built iconic dolls based on her clients’ own specifications.

Trout with River City Tanlines

Truly one of the busiest players in today’s garage punk game, Alicja Trout’s wide-ranging talents and ambitious drive has proven that she has yet to find comfort in complacency. Here’s hoping she keeps it up.

–Nate Rastetter

Nate is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a former co-host of Out of Step on KUOM Radio K. He has volunteered at Extreme Noise Records in Minneapolis since June 2000 and presently serves on its Board of Directors.  He seriously, fanatically loves record shopping.  Music is his mistress and vinyl is his vice.  He is also a moderately talented bass player.