RKJTfinal: A Guide to Attempted Vehicular Homicide

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At 2 a.m. on Sunday, June 25th, I was struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding my bicycle.

I lived.

I’m still in some significant discomfort, for sure.

But I lived.

As this news made the rounds via friends and family on social media, some openly wondered why this wasn’t covered in the local media outlets. There are three main reasons for this.

First: Don’t let those half-assed, crammed-in bike lanes on Broad Street fool you: The City of Mankato doesn’t give a shit about cyclist safety, and by extension, neither does its police force. My incident is the third such occurrence I’m aware of (anecdotally) within the last three months, and each time the Mankato Department of Public Safety has seemingly expressed zero interest in pursuing the assailants. This isn’t surprising, considering that up until recently, their employees feigned ignorance as to whether parking a motor vehicle in a bike lane was illegal. At the time of the incident, they didn’t even ask me for a statement, meaning that no report of this potentially felonious occurrence likely exists. (Update: According to a journalist with Southern Minnesota News that reached out to me via GoFundMe, the police stated that they made a report within 5 hours of the incident. If this occurred, it was done without any input from anyone directly involved.)

Second: I declined to give a statement to the local news. An employee from the Mankato Free Press reached out to me via Facebook Messenger the day after the incident, and upon returning her call, the conversation basically amounted to something along the lines of well, the police don’t have much information, so if you could provide the basic info, that’d be great. When I asked if there were any questions that she’d like to ask me about the incident, there seemed to be little interest in actual reporting or inquiry, so I declined further statement.

Here’s the deal: My face was riddled with freshly-congealed scabs, my shattered heel was awaiting surgery, and my opiate cocktail was in full effect. The last thing I wanted to deal with was being misquoted in a local fishwrap with a highly-questionable editorial reputation and an online readership comprised of pasty MAGA chuds frothing their jowls at the opportunity to dogfuck tired-ass CYCLISTS BREAK THE LAW TOO AND THEY DON’T PAY TAXES tropes in the Facebook comment sections at my expense.

How I dealt with my own trauma was my own fuckin’ business. I don’t need to martyr myself in the press for your knitting group that spends its time advocating for more Specialized parking at the next Styx concert.

Third: Independent journalism in Mankato is fuckin’ non-entity, or I would’ve gone that route. Yeah, we gave it a shot for a minute there, but life is hard. ANYWAY

If anyone was going to hear the real story behind this thing, I was going to have to do it myself. But I shelved this draft for weeks and weeks, because honestly, it comes off as really bitter and angry. Which is to be expected, given the situation, but the outpouring of love from my fiancée, my family, my Fun.com crew, the Cactus Tattoo collective, and everyone that’s contributed financially has made the usual bile that drives my writing dissipate.

I just ain’t that mad anymore.

But, popular demand is a sonofabitch, so here we go: For those interested in how to nearly kill someone with a 2,000 pound weapon and get away with it, here’s your guide.

At roughly 1:30 a.m., my attorney, Adam, lured me away from Lower North to Blue Bricks for last call. I ordered a High Life. I wanted to get up early and roll the Red Jacket + Dump Loop with the Flying Penguin brigade in the morning, and I didn’t need an IPA headache. (I’d already been pegged as hipster trash because I ride a heavy-ass bike and rarely wear a helmet, so I didn’t need to perpetuate the stereotype with a wicked hangover from “too many growlers.”)

After sticking around for a few uneventful minutes, I made the move to leave, but I was faced with the eternal late-night dilemma: Should I ride home across the Veterans Memorial Bridge, with its drunk drivers weaving to-and-from 2nd Street and its dodgy transitions onto the off-street path? Or take the Cherry Street bike lane down to Hy-Vee, in order to hop on Poplar Street on my way to the North Star Bridge?

The latter option was poorly lit and laid out like shit, but that night, my gut told me it was the way to go.

Plus, it was just a nicer trek. The summer air was crisp and cool, a perfect 60 degrees, the kind of weather where you could just mash away in jeans and a sweatshirt without breaking a sweat. Crossing the North Star and the rolling straight into Lower North is just a rad little ride that’ll never lose its charm.

So eventually, I was rolling up Poplar in Kato, sweet-ass mullet flapping in the wind.

On paper, this stretch of road was designed to be “bike friendly.” Poplar boasts dotted bike lanes going in each direction, with no center line for cars. This was implemented roughly 18 months ago, yet motorists are still largely confused as to how this arrangement should work.

[Helpful Hint: Much like regular traffic lines, dotted bike lanes can be crossed by vehicles while solid lanes cannot. On Poplar Street, if there are no bikes in the lane, YOU CAN DRIVE IN IT. Don’t roll down the middle of the street like a goon. If there’s a bike in the lane ahead of you, slow the fuck down and only pass them when it’s safe to do so.]

These bike lanes just straight-up disappear at the Sibley Parkway crossing, as it’s assumed that cyclists will transition to the small stretch of off-street pathway that materializes here.

This is what I have done each time.

And each time, I have done so with extreme caution, because it’s dangerous as hell.

Why?

  • Motorists traveling way from Sibley Park rarely come to a complete stop at the traffic sign under the trestle bridge, despite the fact that the Poplar Street cross traffic does not stop
  • Motorists are often confused by the web created here by the off-street paths and split streets that allow access to both the Sibley Park area and Minnesota River Trail, leading to a lot of “no, you go!” situations regardless of who has the right-of-way
  • There is no signage in this area to notify motorists of increased bicycle and pedestrian traffic, so when craning their necks out to see beyond this deep intersection, they’re often just looking for other cars
  • It’s a deeply set intersection, so when transitioning from the bike lane to the path, you actually have to move 6-10 feet into the intersection to make the move
  • As mentioned previously, the lighting sucks

Each time I make this transition, I rise out of the saddle and put my head on a swivel, looking left and right dramatically, taking precaution to avoid a collision even though I have the right-of-way and am free to travel unimpeded. (This right here is a microcosm for the flaws in our infrastructure: the burden of responsibility and safety is shifted not only to the person that actually has the right of way, but also person with the least-dangerous mode of transport.)

No cars incoming. No headlights at the stop sign to my right. I was good to go.

Until I wasn’t.

I didn’t see anything.

I just felt it.

A jolt.

That blinding-black realization: “ohfuckithinki’mgettinghitbyacar

The smack/scrape of the pavement.

Then a flash-open. Hyperawake.

I looked up. The base of that off-street path was in sight. I was in the intersection.

I looked down again.

At my hands.

Blood was pooling in my palms, pouring down from my face.

“Well, fuck. I finally got hit by a car.”

The car, of course, was gone. It was 2 a.m. and they’d probably been drinking. They might’ve blown a stop sign. They might’ve hit me from behind. Hell, they might not have had their lights on, for fuckssakes.

I never saw it coming.

What I DID see was a different pair headlights coming towards me, turning off of Riverfront. My right leg was still pinned under my frame, and I was too weak and shocked to move. I managed to outstretch my left arm and feebly flag the car down.

The car stopped. A man and woman came running out.

“Oh, man, are you okay?” he asked.

“I…got hit by a car.”

“Oh shit.”

They both approached me, already dialing 911. I looked down at my hands again, collecting more blood from my face, and looked up.

“Hey, man, do…do I look fucked up?”

“Well,” he replied, “you probably broke your nose for sure, man. And, uh…you’re bleeding. A lot. We’ll get an ambulance.”

I reached into my handlebar bag; miraculously, my phone was intact. (It’s a Revelate Mountain Feedbag and it’s super rad and you should get one.) I called my partner. We had announced our engagement earlier that day.

“Court, don’t freak out. I got hit by a car.

I’m okay.

I just need help.”

The next few minutes wrought an absolute STORM of activity; with adrenaline at maximum, my memories are merely snapshots.

Court and Mike rolled up and loaded my blood-spattered bike into his van, where it eventually ended up on display next to the NaKato pool table. (To Court’s immense credit, she did not freak out.)

A paramedic showed up and asked me who the president was. I said “Donald Trump” for the first time. He immediately threw me in the back of the van and pumped me full of fentanyl.

All I’d heard about fentanyl is that it kills people, so I asked, “Dude, is…that okay? I’ve been drinking.”

“Ah, well, you don’t seem drunk, you’ll be fine,” he replied, “and it’s just a little bump, we do this all the time.”

He called it a bump, which didn’t seem hella appropriate. But okay.

“Um…alright, man, do the thing. By the way, uh, my foot kinda hurts.”

Then I blacked out.

Next thing I remember, I was taking this photo.

The timestamp was about 4:30 a.m., and by this time, we had realized that the major damage wasn’t to my glorious visage, but my foot.

My heel, to be exact.

Motherfucker BROKE MY HEEL.

And after a hastily-scheduled Rochester surgery in which they clamped the busted-ass chunks of my calcaneus back together and drove a couple of screws through it…

…one bulbous pain pump mainlined into a nerve in the side of my leg…

…nearly two weeks of couch-bound immobility (and the stench to go with it)…

…two seasons of The Killing (which was basically a played-straight Twin Peaks spread out over one giant episode of Law & Order and it kinda sucked)…

… two August vacations scrapped, three bottles of OxyContin, and well over FOUR weeks of having my independence stripped from me based on the carelessness of another human being…

…I was fucking pissed.

I was pissed that our police force seems more concerned with bragging about their civil forfeiture skills than actual public safety, even with the cratered expectations of someone who believes their entire corrupt-ass institution should be abolished. (They probably knew this is how I felt, too, considering they never returned my calls inquiring about the incident.)

I was pissed that the frauds that run this city think that they can slap a cyclist on their wack-ass “Visit Mankato” logo as a marketing tactic even though there’s no reasonable infrastructure in place for cycling-oriented tourists to access the storefronts that make our city unique.

I was pissed that the Riverfront Drive initiative lacks any meaningful cycling-friendly improvements, making it an instantly-outdated project.

I was pissed that local advocates seem more concerned with free bagel promotions than the safety of the “silent cyclists” that ride squeaky thirdhand MTBs the wrong way down the sidewalk because they think it’s safer than our unprotected, dooring-susceptible bike lanes. (Hint: it’s fucking not.)

I was pissed that none of this is going to change.

The only way for the Mankato police to start giving a shit about cyclist safety is to have them patrol on bikes themselves. But that would require them to leave their steel-and-glass cages and force them to actually interact with the community, and you can’t have that in a workforce culture that is predicated on quashing empathy and treating the citizenry as “the other.”

The only way that the powers that run this city would realize that their line of thinking is lagging behind the times would be to actively seek the input of those that have transformed their cities—look to Madison, hell, to Minneapolis—into safer, multimodal places. And they’re too clannish and myopic to do anything of the sort.

And we all know that our local media won’t hold anyone accountable.

Well, if you’re mad, get involved! Go to meetings, run for office, start a blog, write a magazine, get involved in the sceeene, man.

Nah.

Thing is, here in mid-September, I’m not mad anymore.

I don’t give enough of a shit about bluegrass, cover bands, regressive nu-metal nostalgia, and small pond poseurs to get riled up.

I’m just glad I’m alive.

And nothing’ll make you start a new chapter in life like getting engaged and getting it by a car on the same day, you know?

 

Kato X: The Future is Now

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What’s the best way to attract visitors to the Greater Mankato area?

What about potential renters and homeowners from the Twin Cities or out-of-state?

How do we get even a percentage of the thousands of young professionals that pass through the hallowed halls of MSU to stay in the River Valley?

Okay, those last two issues are tough to tackle, at least in the space allotted. But visitors, right? Let’s start there.

Mankato and North Mankato are trying to STIMULATE GROWTH by relying on conference centers, sports complexes, and sporting events to work as magnets to draw revenue from peripheral populations.

So, again, what’s the best way to not only attract visitors, but entice them to spend their hard-earned $$$ at local businesses so they’ll support the entities that are unique to our city…

…while ALSO easing the tax burden we placed on ourselves to erect these sport-centric hubs in the first place?

Should we represent the best aspects of our city at a major regional sporting event that will draw upwards of 3,000 out-of-towners instead of letting attendees scavenge the big-box wastelands of East Mankato for the nearest Olive Garden?

Or should you make a VR simulation of PETTING A GOAT in a park named after a guy that sentenced 303 people to death without due process?

 

I think the choice is clear.

Thanks, Greater Mankato Growth.  THE FUTURE IS NOW

Nato Coles is Coming On Saturday and You Should Go

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[photo:kendra sheetz]

Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band are playing at NaKato on Saturday. You should go.

There’s been a lot of effusive wordage spilled about this band in redjacket pages past, so interest of avoiding redundancy: Just go to the damn show. Especially if you have an affinity for Springsteen, Lynott, or whoever the hell that guy from the Gaslight Anthem was. Listen:

Music starts at 10. Disclaimer: If your ideal evening of live music involves some quaintly-Minnesotan combination of beards, mandolins, and unnecessary scarves, bring earplugs.

Speaking of earplugs, it’s New Metallica Day, and old kids like me were mildly excited to hear the band’s first new record since 2008’s dull-ass goodwill gesture Death Magnetic. For the most part, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct continues that album’s core mission: turning Metallica from a band that attempted to flirt with artistic relevance and crossover appeal into one that just plays the fuckin’ hits, maaaaaaan.

The Classic Rock Act transformation is completed here, as they rely on familiar, self-aware riffs to tick as many fanservice boxes as they can. Sometimes it works, and it doesso at a higher rate than Death Magnetic. But sometimes it feels contrived, and like everything this band has done since 1988, it’s WAY too long, which makes the Load meets Sabbath Bloody Sabbath vibe of the mid-paced tracks an absolute chore.

But there are some true bangers here in the form of “Atlas, Rise!” and “Spit Out the Bone,” proving that Dad Thrash is alive and well:

Anyway, yeah. Play some air guitar tonight and get hype.

See you Saturday, Mankato.

 

 

RJKT III: November Coming Fire

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[Yes, I know I’ve used that Samhain reference for every post I’ve made in November since the advent of dial-up. Fight me.]

Okay, remember when we said RJKT was going to be a bi-monthly print publication?

If you didn’t notice, we lied. But not intentionally.

Putting together Issue 002 last summer was one of the best experiences of my life, but it was also one of the most stressful. I got to work with some of the coolest people in this tiny city and create something that was totally independent, totally unfiltered, and (for the most part) totally rad. And the reception was great—which kinda sucked, actually, because that meant that we had to make more of them.

Despite the stress involved in getting that issue cranked out by our self-imposed deadline, I was ready to hit the ground running and blast out some more content once the dust had settled.

Then I got drunk.

For a few months.

See, the problem with being a functional alcoholic is that sometimes, the level of actual function grinds down to the barest of Bare Minimums: Show up for work. Pay your bills. (Better late than never.) Shower a few times a week. Vote. Buy more gin.

And after a while, you wake up and realize that time flies when all you’re doing is surviving.

But that months-long haze wasn’t devoid of moments of clarity. One revelation? The truth about keeping free, fun projects like RJKT fun is to keep them generally free of constraints. If there’s one thing I took away my years-long, unpaid career as a music “journalist,” it’s that a hobby is only a hobby if it’s actually fuckin’ enjoyable. As soon as it becomes a job, it, well, becomes a job. Most people hate their jobs. And with RJKT, we didn’t want to start hating the damn thing before it even got off the ground.

So, while our little crew was busy crushing tequila shots and locking themselves in a Halloween-costume warehouse for 40+ days and running for city council seats, we broke a promise. To the seven people that we’re waiting for Issue 003 to drop already: We’re sorry. But we’re going to make it up to you. Here’s how:

  • Issues of RJKT will still cover a two-month period, but we’ll put them out whenever the hell we want. One of the reasons why this blog kinda died is because entertainment events in Kato are both highly repetitive and really, really streaky, making them a chore to cover. This summer brought a buzz of activity, but did you really need a printed alt-monthly to tell you that Nelly was coming this fall? (That shit sucked 15 years ago, people.) Or that a bunch of cranky, white-haired out-of-towners were going to shut down Belgrade Avenue every Thursday to worship decrepit, moblie relics of the fossil fuel industry? Not really. I DIGRESS
  • We’re going to update the blog more often, even if the posts are just short bursts of inanity with a Bandcamp embed attached
  • We’re going to do a new issue very, very soon
  • It’s going to make good on a promise from back in the early blog days, and it’s going to be killer (This one’s for you, Joe)

So yeah. See you soon, Mankato.

Also, listen to Stage Four.

 

Happy Labor Day, Mankato (or: I Have A Crush On You So I Made You A Playlist)

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The Twilight Sad

Labor Day oft signifies the final day of summer. (And if you think that’s all it’s about, I suggest you start brushing up here. And here.) This particular summer has been one of the most intense periods of my life, both physically and mentally. It’s been awesome. It’s been awful. It’s been fuckin’ ALIVE.

Three things amplified this:

1) My increased connection with my city, which I love dearly; I’m proud to call Mankato my adopted hometown.

2) The direct and indirect support of my friends, both old and new. You’re beautiful people and I love you all.

3) A rekindled relationship with ridiculously uncool music.

So, in the interest of both giving back and being a self-indulgent prick, I made us a Spotify playlist.

Here’s, like, fuckin’, 96 tracks spread across 7 hours of music. No genre rules, no calculation or organization. Just a bunch of songs that kicked my ass or put it back together in a particular way between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Now, if you DO decide to fuck with this playlist, there are a few disclaimers:

A) It MUST be listened to on shuffle and this is NOT negotiable; I put zero thought into the track order–I just went alphabetically and filled in some blanks while backtracking–and randomizing the tracks will only make it weirder…in a good way.

B) Be warned that there’s a lot of wonderfully bad bullshit on here–from mid-80s INXS to mid-90s Napalm Death–mixed in with some brand-newish jams that I think are super legit.

C) On that note, if we’re friends because you knew me from a time when I styled myself as some kind of “authority” on forward-thinking extreme metal, this is effectively a eulogy for that era; there’s enough dad punk and synthpop on here to make a death metal juggalo eat his camo cargos.

D) Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to hear what Jason Molina sounds like sandwiched between Municipal Waste and Lupe Fiasco, your opportunity has finally arrived.

So, as an act of gratitude to the wonderful people of my city, take this little slice of my life and crank it up. Let’s get weird together.

[Also, thank you for your total support of RJKT002. Issue 003 is currently being constructed and will hit the streets this fall. Look out.]

Love, Riffs, and Videotape: An Interview with Fury Things

photo: Darin K

photo: Darin K

[This interview also appears in issue zero of our sister publication, RJKT. Pick up a hard copy at any of downtown Mankato’s finer alcohol, coffee, and tattoo distributors.]

Minneapolis trio Fury Things have spent the past few years whipping up a storm of DIY activity, bashing out colossal riffs (and bigger hooks) at a pace that teeters between blue collar and breakneck. Their prolificacy has paid dividends. In 2015, City Pages named them Best Rock Band, and they’re riding into 2016 with the rare momentum of a young band that’s constantly rewarding their fans. With their latest release, VHS, Fury Things doubled down on melodies without losing an ounce of fuzz-fueled fire, and the result is their most fully-realized statement to date.

In the run-up to the band’s appearance in Mankato at PHE 9, we reached out to guitarist/vocalist Kyle Werstein to talk about the new record, nostalgia, CASH MONEY, and other things that kick ass.

 

2015 seemed like quite the year for you guys. An EP, a high-profile First Avenue set in support of Bob Mould, and a full-length that dropped in December. Is 2016 just going to be about hitting the road and flexing some muscles on the strength of last year’s momentum? Or do you have any fresh tricks up your sleeve?

I think we’ll be doing a bit of both. Success for us as a band involves maintaining momentum. So, yeah, I want us to get out there and play more shows outside the Twin Cities. We’re definitely looking to do some touring around the album and play out more regionally. At the same time, we’ve got some other songs recorded, I’m working on new material and we’re going to be releasing another video before spring. It’s tough to juggle everything, but we’re just trying to stay as productive as we can.

 

Most music scribblers, when pressed to find descriptors for the Fury Things sound, reach back in time for obvious touchstones, such as Dinosaur Jr. and Husker Du. In titling your new record VHS, is there any fear that you’ll be perceived as a throwback act? Or is that the intention? Or doesn’t it matter?

The whole VHS concept was kind of a joke that stuck. It’s kinda hilarious to us to see a record with the art of a blank cassette tape. I never particularly intended for us to sound like any band or consciously seem like we’re of a certain era. We got together and the songs sound the way they sound. I’m always trying to write songs I’m proud of and that I hope others enjoy. The same extends to the artwork and design concept of the record. I want people to form their own opinions about our music. If one person thinks we’re trying to be a throwback, that’s cool. It’s totally not my intention, but I can’t control the experience of others. I would hope that for every one person like that, there’s another that simply enjoys the tunes.

 

VHS, at least in terms of title and cover art, taps into an 80s/90s vibe that’s hypercool right now, as evidenced in retrowave (Makeup and Vanity Set, Perturbator), synthpop (M83, Carly Rae Jepsen), and even animated comedies. Are we a doomed generation of suckers that are just as susceptible to the pangs of nostalgia that befell our lame-ass parents and grandparents? Or did that era of pop culture truly, honestly kick that much ass?

Who knows? I don’t think you can make a blanket statement about the rise of the 80s/90s vibe. Personally, I just like what I like. I’ve always been fascinated with infomercials and consumer culture and media in general. I love Tim and Eric and the Found Footage Festival and I think there’s something warm and tactile and otherworldly about blank cassette tapes. As a graphic designer, the aesthetic has always been influential to me. And vaporwave, as a genre, piqued my interest, too. But what I get out of it may be different than what you or Carly Rae Jepsen gets out of it. Obviously for some, the use of the aesthetic stems from borrowing nostalgia because they want to be a certain way. I guess I’m reluctant to say we’re all doomed suckers, but I feel like the tiny details are what separates those who really found something in all that pop culture that resonated with them, from someone just doing it to be ‘cool’. Like, I love Com Truise from a musical and visual perspective because his vision of this neon 80s/90s synth wave world feels so real. There’s a difference between someone like him and someone casually applying filters to their videos in an app. The same goes for Tim and Eric or anyone trying to speak that visual language.

 

But then there’s also an equally big part of me that wants everyone to create things. Like, who am I to judge? I feel like we’re all doing our thing and it’s important to have taste, but not be overly judgmental of others at the same time. So.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

This is your fifth release, but first LP. How important is the EP format in this interconnected Age of Too Much Goddamn Information?

The EP is important, for sure, but more important than that is just releasing stuff consistently. Our LP came together naturally. It actually started as our third EP, but material just kept coming together. We release just about everything we write and that consistency is important for progressing as a band. I think our releases will continue to be a mix of longer and shorter collections, but it really doesn’t matter what it is as long as we keep at it.

 

The final song on Saskatchewan is called “Money’s Dumb.” How dumb is it, and why will it expedite the eventual unraveling of humanity?

The full-line is “money’s dumb when you have none,” and I think that’s true as a creative and a twentysomething and as a passive observer to this strange-ass existence in 2016. I think one of the toughest things you face as an independent musician is the feeling that so much is just out of reach for financial reasons. But we’re a DIY band and we make the most out of every opportunity. We hand-make a lot of our merch and we travel light and make the most of the time we can take off work. But still, people scoff at you when you say you want to be a musician. It’s tough out there.

I imagine money’s pretty sweet when you have enough of it. Or if you live in a country where people see the value in musicians and artists. I have friends in other countries who can’t understand why we don’t tour more because they have things like publicly funded higher education and single-payer healthcare. The song is pretty tongue-in-cheek, but it stemmed from some bitterness toward the system.

 

Final shout to the Mankato masses: Five Minnesota bands that are killing it right now and why:

It’s really, REALLY tough to narrow down a list to five, since there are a lot of cool bands doing cool stuff. But here are a few acts we’ve been thinking about lately:

Strange Relations: I saw these wonderful humans open for The Thermals at the Entry and had zero idea they were a local act. Instant band crush for me. I was mesmerized by the depressingly beautiful melodies they were kicking out and incredibly impressed by drummer/singer Casey’s ability to hold such complex rhythms while totally belting these awesome vocals.

 

Kitten Forever: They consistently kill it and deserve every bit of praise they receive. For me, their ability to energize a room is extremely inspirational. Also, they throw down harder than almost any other band I can think of. Super important messaging and songs. Also, it’s just fun. They played our record release show and it was kind of a dream come true. Recently they opened for Babes in Toyland in the Mainroom at First Avenue after like a decade as a band and I’m sitting here thinking, “Why the hell did it take this long to get them on that stage?”

 

Ego Death: These are some of the hardest working musicians in the Twin Cities right now. They totally beat us in the sheer number of shows they play per month. The songs are beautiful. Jeremy’s a great guitarist. They tour a bunch and you can feel their heart in the music. That’s super important to me. Also, they’re some of the nicest people you could ever meet.

 

Waveless: The first time I saw Waveless, I could have thought I was floating. Plus, I saw Lou Barlow mention their record and it made me incredibly happy. The way the harmonies sit atop this crazy pile of noise…the way it translates live. Their new album, Spirit Island, is definitely worth a listen.

 

The Blind Shake:  Everyone should know about The Blind Shake by now. If I had to pick a singular band in the Twin Cities that I idolized from sheerly their performance, it would be The Blind Shake. It’s incredibly humbling that we get to play with them in April, because every time I get to watch them, I think, “Damn, how can I do that?”

We Didn’t Go Away…We Were Busy Getting Stronger

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This spot has been quiet since bitching about the ineptitude of Mankato motorists and the police officers that are usually eager to generate revenue from their transgressions. For that, I offer exactly zero apologies.

In the interest of brevity (for your sake) and sanity (my own), we’re going to get back up to speed with a numbered breakdown of rant-worthy material. Here’s what’s been brewing behind the scenes:

Regarding the Past

  1. The Mankato Free Press issued their Best of 2015 Reader’s Poll last April, which was promptly skewered for being wrongheaded and shitty. (If the NBA and NHL can’t get fan voting right, the odds of a small city comprised of uncultured, quasi-suburban white people getting their votes correct are pretty abysmal.) At the end of that post, I promised to offer up a real-ass, unsnarky redjacket version of Mankato’s Best of 2015 at the close of, well, 2015.
  2. I didn’t.
  3. There’s a reason for that. I was planning on using the Free Press’ article featuring the winners as a template, making some soft counterpoints and–hopefully–agreeing with some of the selections. Unfortunately for just about everyone involved, the Free Press brain trust published the winners in Mankato Magazine. Which means that their hyper-specific target audience–people without smartphones in waiting rooms–were the only ones privy to the victors.
  4. Since I don’t frequent the DMV or the YMCA men’s locker room, I never came across the final results, and the response piece died.
  5. I’m sure it would’ve been fun, especially considering that Free Press readers voted for Erbert and Gerbert’s over Tandem Bagels for “best sandwich shop.” But…
  6. …it’s pretty easy to tell people what’s up without preaching. Pro tip: cut out the hilltop entirely and do your thing in downtown, Old Town, and Lower North exclusively.
  7. Furthermore, this 10 Best Restaurants list from The Culture Trip is pretty dead-on, rendering any commentary on these pages kinda irrelevant. MOVING ON…

 

Regarding the Present

  1. The Mankato music scene isn’t strong enough to warrant regular updates here, which is why output has slowed.
  2. The reopening of the What’s Up Lounge, hailed by out-of-touch paid writers as a saving grace, hasn’t really made a noticeable impact, and it has failed to become a destination where people actually want to spend their time.
  3. Furthermore, their business strategy seems to be head-to-head competition with Buster’s for has-been/never-will radio rock market share; Buster’s has responded by booking AARON CARTER, proving that capitalism is a sham and that everyone always loses.
  4. Benderz is still awful.
  5. There haven’t been any cool cycling stories to tell because it’s February and February sucks. (Well, Stupor Bowl was okay, I guess.)

 

Regarding the Future

  1. The first print edition of RJKT will hit the streets within the week, featuring an interview with Fury Things amidst a 16-page preview of Midwest Art Catalyst’s Post-Holiday Extravaganza 9.

 

We’re gonna get physical.

physical

AND we’re going to cross-post the articles here, so don’t stray. We’re only getting started.

See you next week, Mankato.