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Opinion

Finals Fest hosts local band Cloud Cult

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May 4, 2012

The end of the year is finally here. People are studying for final exams next week; there is consistent obnoxious pounding of bed mallets in rooms nearby, and of course, Finals Fest 2012! It was recently announced a few weeks ago that the performing bands at Finals Fest will be alternative-indie band Cloud Cult, along with Jeremy Messersmith and the Bad Habits Brass.

With such an exciting line-up, this year’s Finals Fest is sure to expect a tremendous turn out. While some people have heard of Cloud Cult, I have met very few people who have heard their music. Fortunately for me, Cloud Cult is one of my favorite bands, so I have learned a lot about them, while falling in love with their music.

Cloud Cult is a Minneapolis native alternative-indie band led by singer/songwriter Craig Minowa. The band formed in 1995 and was named after the ancient prophecies of indigenous North Americans. In the first few years of existence, Cloud Cult had received several offers for record labels, but they turned them down because they took more interest in self-publishing.

When they began to perform live, one of the distinguishing features of the band, introduced by Craig’s wife, Connie Minowa, and Scott West, was to complete a painting throughout the course of the show, and will be auctioned at the end. Today, they still keep this painting tradition alive in each of their shows.

In 1997, Craig Minowa expressed his concern for nature and the environment when he created Earthology Records on his organic farm. It is powered by geothermal energy and partially built from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic. His newly created nonprofit label uses all recyclable material and donates all profits to environmental charities. Another distinguishing environmental factor of the band is that they tour in a biodiesel van.

In 2002, Craig and Connie Minowa had to cope with the sudden loss of their 2-year-old son, Kaidin. They dealt with this when they created their second album, “Lost Songs from the Lost Years” in the summer of 2002 after their first studio album in 2001, “Who Killed Puck?”

This new album displayed a ten year anthology of previously unreleased work from Minowa. In 2003, the band came out with “They Live on the Sun” which reached to No. 1 on college radio station charts across the country.

The following year was a busy year for the band, as they welcomed Mara Stemm on the bass and six months later, released their new album, “Aurora Borealis.” This album was nominated by the Minnesota Music Awards as “album of the year.” After the release of “Aurora Borealis,” the band began to tour nationally. They released their next album, “Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus,” in 2006. Critics called the album “insane genius.”

They only got more successful from there. In 2007, they released their next album, “The Meaning of 8,” which the Denver Post ranked as one of the top 10 albums of the decade. This album features popular hits from the band such as “Chemicals Collide” and “Pretty Voice.”

On April 8, 2008, the band recorded what they thought would be their final album “Feel Good Ghosts (Tea Partying through Tornadoes)” on Minowa’s organic farm in northern Minnesota.

After the release of this album, the band took a short hiatus from creating studio albums. However, they were featured in commercials, a 2009 documentary entitled “No One Said it Would Be Easy (a song off their 2008 album),” and were a part of a compilation entitled “Think Out Loud,” an album serving the homeless featuring their song, “A Place.”

On September 14, 2010, Cloud Cult broke their hiatus when they released their most current album “Light Chasers.” This is currently their most popular album and many of the songs off the albums were singles, the first one being “Running With the Wolves,” introduced in April of that year. The album was so well received that the band started to tour nationally in support of the album.

While I have gained a love for their music, I have also created many memories with Cloud Cult’s music. During my senior year of high school, I participated in my high school’s winter drumline.

One of the songs incorporated into our show Profile was Cloud Cult’s “Journey of the Featherless” off their album “Feel Good Ghosts (Tea Partying through Tornadoes).” My two friends also made a music video based off of “Running with the Wolves” last summer that I helped out with.

I hope that the rest of the student body can appreciate Cloud Cult as much as I do and make their own memories with their music.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.