Thursday, Feb. 26th, 2015

The Local Store takes home two awards!

Last night (Feb. 25), The Local Store took home two awards at Downtown Eau Claire, Inc.'s annual awards banquet. It was an honor to be nominated along with so many other fantastic local businesses, shops, and individuals.

We won the "Downtown Experience" award, which recognizes a lot more than the retail side of things – it honors the store's many different cultural events and community efforts/services. And we also won the "Customer Service" award, backing up how very proud we are of The Local Store's fantastic staff of helpful shopkeeps.

Again, downtown Eau Claire is bursting with local people providing top-notch shopping and events – and so we're very proud to be recognized by our fans and customers this way.

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Wednesday, Feb. 25th, 2015

National buzz builds around Eaux Claires

Here's a quick roundup of articles about and lists including the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival, all set for July this summer. Please do check out Volume One's own interview with Justin Vernon and Arron Dessner, as well as our infographic mapping connections betwixt the festival's bands.

Consequence of Sound placed Eaux Claires at #5 in their Top 10 Music Festivals in North America: Winter 2015 Power Rankings, saying this:

When Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon announced he was launching a new music festival, it came across as self-indulgent. The US has seen a ridiculous influx in festivals, and, as a result, many burnt out due to hefty competition. Even with The National’s Aaron Dessner by his side picking acts, Vernon’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival seemed fairly predictable. Bon Iver would reunite. The National would probably play. Wisconsin would bring out the usual applauded folk acts. When the lineup began to drop, however, it was clear Vernon and Dessner had something else in mind. As excellent as Low and The Tallest Man on Earth are, the outliers here are what give this festival its bizarre allure. Melt-Banana? Spooky Black? Boys Noize? Let’s not forget Sufjan Stevens and Spoon are sitting gracefully at the top lines, too, promising magical sets in the woods. It all seems a little unreal. So yeah, count us in.

Consequence of Sound also plugged the festival in their Top 10 Unique Gets for 2015 Music Festivals list – at #2 – citing the bombastic addition of Melt Banana to the lineup. They say:

What the hell are Melt Banana? I mean, I know they’re a band, but what are they? Is it punk rock? Is it noise rock? Is it rock at all, or is it electronica or pop? The Japanese act aren’t quite special snowflakes, but more a cake baked with every candy you ever bought, making one colossal sugary treat. Will they be focused more on their modern stuff, the work they recorded as a duo, or go more into the real punk era of things? Why in the name of god are they only playing a handful of shows in America? So many questions, Melt Banana. Eaux Claires has the answers.

Even the New York Times is excited, featuring the festival in Anticipating Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Firefly and More they add:

Justin Vernon, the songwriter behind Bon Iver and a sometime collaborator with Kanye West, is behind Eaux Claires, a new festival in his hometown, Eau Claire, Wisc., July 17-18; he and Aaron Dessner, a guitarist in the National, chose a lineup encompassing not only their own bands and other indie-rock groups but also chamber music, Japanese noise-rock, country, black metal, soul revivalism and electropop. With luck, it will do what festivals should: give listeners something new to love.

Billboard's on board, announcing Bon Iver to Perform at Eaux Claires Music Festival With Spoon, The National, Sufjan Stevens & More, talking with Vernon and company:

Ever the humble Midwesterner, Justin Vernon declines being "self-centered" twice during his conversation with Billboard. "I've always wanted to throw a big party with everything I would want at a place, and assumed other people want the same people there," he says of the festival. "It's self-centered, but at the same time we got the opportunity to do it, so here we are."

And lest we forget, even before the Eaux Claires lineup was announced, Fest 300 went ahead and named it one of the 15 Live Music Festivals to Attend in 2015, placing it at #3.

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Tuesday, Feb. 24th, 2015

S. Carey Releases Super New Supermoon EP

Local singer, songwriter, and jack-of-all-instruments Sean Carey is back with a fresh take on older material. Recorded during the supermoon of August 2014, this six-song EP is a stripped down exploration of songs from S. Carey's first two full-lengths (All We Grow and Range of Light) along with a brand new track and a bonus Radiohead cover. Carey is joined by fellow Bon Iver band member Mike Noyce on viola, and together the two reveal the beauty and intimacy that lie at the heart of these S. Carey songs. The Supermoon EP is available on vinyl only. $12

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Strange Wisconsin: The abandoned, the haunted, and the creepy

"The Gingerbread House" in Crivitz, Wis. Image: Jim Sisko

If you’re like me, you’re fascinated by abandoned buildings. Churches, schools, hotels, factories, and mental hospitals (especially mental hospitals) take on an eerie, haunting beauty when they've been left in nature’s hands. Vegetation crawls over every surface, roofs have caved in, the earth claws its way up through the foundation, wind blows through places it never could have touched when people actually used the building, and graffiti makes you wonder who exactly has been there to paint it. You’ve probably seen a handful of beautiful old buildings like these dotting the Wisconsin countryside, but the website Impulcity has compiled a list of some of the more beautiful, haunting and somewhat strange buildings Wisconsinites have left behind.

Impulcity’s list – which is stuffed with gorgeous pictures – features a seminary, schools, churches, factories and creepy mansions. They make the interesting observation that there are several abandoned schoolhouses in rural Wisconsin, which is likely the result of people moving out of the country and into the city as Wisconsin grew. Some of my favorites on the list are the Maribel Caves Hotel (more commonly known as “Hotel Hell”), rumored to be the site of mass murders, suicides and demon hauntings; The Alexian Brothers Novitiate, which was built on Menominee land, seized by a radical faction of the tribe and then turned over to the tribe by the United States government; and a bizarrely cool “mushroom house” (also known locally as the “Hobbit Home”) in Door County – which was recently put up for sale.

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Monday, Feb. 23rd, 2015

Watch Michael Noyce play two new solo songs

Eau Claire's Michael Noyce was 20 years old when he first went on the road with Bon Iver.

“… it got big really fast,” Noyce said in a long interview with Fresh Independence. “I was scared, I was so scared cause I felt like I had to be that good and so instead of acting like myself and working and playing music I got stuck and it is easy to let what is supposed to be define you instead of what is.”

For the last 10 years, the future of Bon Iver has never, ever been set in stone. But since self-titled-ish Grammy winner, Bon Iver, Bon Iver hit shelves in 2011, we’ve seen records from all kinds of Bon Iver alumni in the forms of The Shouting Matches, Jason Feathers, S. Carey, etc.

But now, Mikey seems to be boldly branching out on his own.

“I feel like sometimes I would be wanting things to be different and I would have an idea, but was losing my identity by compromising and having to let it go which was ridiculous,” he said. “I was in somebody else’s band.”

More recently, he’s been playing a couple shows here and there around Eau Claire with Paul Brandt and Dave Power of Meridene under the name Babe, Unrest – but just in a very casual, experimental, live-only setting. Now, it seems there’s a little more there than just that.

Along with the interview, Fresh Independence shot a gorgeous black and white video (below) of Noyce performing two songs in his house earlier this year. In the video, he’s backed up by Brandt and Power, as well as drummer Colin Carey and Gentle Guest trombonist Andy Hofer, who help round out the folky numbers with subtle touches and flourishes.

Right now the project is called Michael Noyce “as a cop out name until we figure something else out,” and it’s still on the up and up. There aren’t really songs available quite yet, but these songs and words are a good sign, I think, despite Noyce’s understandable nerves.

“This is very overwhelming for me to perform these songs,” Noyce said. “I have a lot of anxiety over it because I used to think of myself as a really good songwriter and then I stopped for a long time and now have to re-do the work. Eventually I want to get to the place where I can make a pop record. We will see if I will get there. I do not know what we will call it. I am really excited about it.”

Michael Noyce Live Session

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