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Mod Sun, 35, Calls out Phony TikTok Punks

Plus a goodbye to a loyal scene supporter, archived cassettes from ’80s and ’90s Minneapolis radio, and a selection of great new tracks in this week’s local music roundup

“Everything now is about trends... eventually originality will be a lost art."
Nathan James

Apologies in advance for writing so much about Mod Sun here. Sometimes you just gotta keep shooting the fish till the barrel’s empty. Out of shame, I’m making you scroll all the way to the last blurb, past far more worthwhile information, to read it.

RIP Maren Longfellow, Local Music Supporter

After the death of tireless local music scene supporter Maren Longfellow was announced this past weekend, remembrances of her immediately poured in on social media. In the time since, Diane presented a segment on Longfellow on the Current’s The Local Show, archived here, and there’s a nice tribute to Longfellow from Ann Treacy at Mostly Minnesota; Treacy touts Longfellow’s merch wizardry (“I have at least one unneeded shirt because of her”) and, as everyone has, her enthusiasm. The piece also collects short eulogies for Longfellow from Turn Turn Turn, Timbre Ghost, and Richard Madek. They never get the applause, but without folks like Maren Longfellow, local music would pretty much be just a lot of musicians playing for other musicians. 

New Music Friday: Lynn Avery/Cole Pulice, Products, Mary Bue

OK, how about some music? A couple weeks back, Lynn Avery and Cole Pulice released To Live and Die in Space and Time, four tracks of calm but inventive instrumental experimentation clocking in at under a half hour. Avery is best known for her work as Iceblink, the final winner of City Pages’ Picked to Click poll; saxophonist Pulice has played with Bon Iver and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. They also record with Mitch Stahlmann as LCM. They’re worth listening to in whichever permutation they manifest themselves, but this album is particularly fine-textured.

Products are following up their 2021 album Pink Puma with a new single, “I Think We Arrived,” which centers on the very good lyrical question “Why we gotta hurt ourselves?” and will be celebrated at a single-release show at the Entry tonight. And Mary Bue has teamed up with writer Laura Seitz for “Aftermath,” written in memory of a friend of Seitz’s who committed suicide. The song will be performed at an online benefit for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on Facebook and YouTube at 7 p.m. today. 

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Let’s Dig Into Some Local Radio Archives

Twenty-five years ago today (that’d be in March 1997), Rev 105 went off the air. This was about six months before I moved to town, and when I got here there was a pervasive nostalgia for what could have been, plus a sense that whatever exactly the alt-rock era was, it was drawing to a close. That nostalgia hasn’t dimmed with time, and if you’d like to indulge (or you’re curious about what you missed), here’s a collection of some of Rev’s finest moments, which Steve Nelson, who co-hosted Rev’s morning show and went on to become the Current’s first program director, found on cassette in a shoe box. It was compiled by a superfan only known as TG and features Wilco in their early days playing “Box Full of Letters,” as well as familiar local DJ voices like Kevin Cole, Mary Lucia, and Brian Oake. 

Looking for something a little funkier? Well, take a peep at the selection of cassettes that Miles Taylor (who DJs as FNK) got from his dad. It includes cassettes of ’80s non-commercial Minneapolis radio, including pivotal local radio DJ Professor Funk at KFAI and hours of KMOJ. Pure local audio history. 

Mod Sun Has Had Enough of You Trendy Punks

If you’re a cool punk-rock guy like me or Bloomington, Minnesota’s own Mod Sun, you’re tired of all those trendy phonies calling themselves punk just because it’s “in.” I don’t generally pull block quotes out of press releases, but I’ll make an exception for Mod’s eloquent discourse on what has become of, uh, the utopian vision of the Warped Tour era or something.

​​I grew up a scene kid, I grew up a skateboarder and a pop punk kid and I used to get made fun of for being all of those, for the way I looked, the way I dressed, for the way I acted and all the things love and it’s both awesome and hilarious, yet confusing seeing the general public and pop culture embracing all the things that I would get torn down for. This is a song that I wrote for all the kids that feel confident in their own skin and don’t walk around wearing a costume.

This man is 35. 

Lol, OK whatever nevermind, as those of us even older than Mod used to say. The guy born Derek Smith is now adjacent to the new punk rock royalty, including Sid-and-Nancy-as-NFT Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox. And those of us who thought romance died forever after Mod and Bella Thorne split, you’ll be happy to hear that he’s writing songs for his new GF (and fellow eternal teen) Avril Lavigne. I’ll give him this—he is very good at befriending famous people, and if you think that’s not a talent, well, how many famous friends do you have? 

Anyway, Mod’s new song, which features lyrics like “I saw your new TikTok/Oh my god you’re so punk rock” and would have blown away dozens of New Found Glory fans 20 years ago, is called “Rich Kids Ruin Everything.” Kourtney’s gonna be so pissed, dude.