Around town

Get Ready to Share your ‘Nice Ride’ Once More

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As the snow begins to melt along the shores of the Mississippi, outdoor businesses are getting back to work. Some restaurants are opening up their patio seating, while nurseries are receiving their first shipment of flowers. Meanwhile, Minneapolis’ own bike sharing company is stocking up its bike stations.

The Nice Ride bike rental service, while beginning its 5th summer in Minneapolis, has begun to release its inventory into the city as of Friday, April 11th. At the 170 stations currently in service, Nice Ride hopes to have all of its 1,500 bikes available for use within a couple of days. For those still weary of a bike sharing system, they’re offering an attractive low price 30 day membership offer. The typical yearly membership is $65. There’s also a new pay-as-you-go option, with thirty minute ride intervals.

These bikes are “specifically targeted for short term rentals,” says their website. A membership provides unlimited 60 minute rentals to any of their locations. However, if you need a longer term solution, they recommend you check out another local bike rental service. Their website includes many different paths and tours that one can experience in under the required hour between trips. Once you make a stop, just drop off your bike. Once you head to the next station, you pick up a new one. Therefore, the one hour time limit is not a big deal. It’s meant to be an easy way to get from point A to point B.

Nice Ride bike riders may be travelling much longer distances soon, though. The company plans to expand their coverage to a separate area entirely. Bemidji State University, a nearly four hour drive north in north-central Minnesota, will be the next place to carry Nice Ride bikes. And although nobody is planning on making the 215 mile trek on bike, Minneapolis natives (and current members) will have a bike waiting for them on arrival to get anywhere they need to go on campus.

However, don’t expect to identify Bemidji’s bikes by the classic neon green color. The bikes on campus will look much more traditional. These off the shelf bikes are being used due to a bottle neck by Nice Ride’s supplier. Public Bike System Company, from Quebec, is working through a bankruptcy and is temporarily freezing its future shipments to bike sharing programs. However, once things get sorted out, expect the green bikes to return.

Nice Ride bike sharing typically operates from April to November (give or take a few weeks depending on the weather).  They announce on their website a week or two before the season is officially closed. Likewise, they announce when the weather is warm enough to resume operations.

Music

The Persian Leaps Debut Album is Accessible without Being too Poppy

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Want to be coerced into dance? Would you like to notice yourself bobbing your head and air drumming without consciously telling your body to do so? Hailing from Minneapolis, The Persian Leaps are like an elixir of noise pop which travels through your nervous system and hypnotizes it. They’re hooks are wildly catchy, and so incredibly easy to sing along.

If you had to categorize them, I assume most people would consider them as shoe gazers. However, there’s a lot more in their newest album, “Praise Elephants” than what defines that genre. There are hints of 80’s indie like the Smiths, R.E.M. and the Replacements, with an open noise sound reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine.

In its most simple form, the Persian Leaps have been around for years. Lead man Drew Forsberg used that name to record most of his material, but never released the material publicly. However, in 2012, he teamed with Brad Hendrickson on bass and Mike McCloskey on Drums to record new material under the same name.

They were all big fans of late 80’s and 90’s noise pop and indie bands, and wanted to meld those styles into one coherent product. The result is their debut release, “Praise Elephants.” Its pop in a lot of the ways that shoe gaze is not. The choruses can be sung along with, and the overall melodies are much more easily discerned.

After about four full listens to this album, I’m going to give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s certainly worth a buy, but it might not be worthy of comparison to “Loveless” just yet. While it makes shoe gaze much more accessible to the average music listener, this might be precisely what keeps it from being great. For a band of this caliber, it almost feels like this album is digested a little too easily. The truly great albums usually take a few listens before you can really discover the genius beneath all of the complex layers.

That sounds weird right? I’m docking an album a point because it sounds too good on first listen. I just haven’t heard that greatness that sits beneath the crust yet. On the surface level, it’s a wonderful debut effort that deserves to be in any rock fan’s collection. It just doesn’t force you to go any deeper. With all that being said, I absolutely cannot wait until we hear more from these guys. The sky is the limit for their potential. I also reserve the right to change by opinion after another twenty of thirty listens.

Their next show is at the Hexagon Bar in Minneapolis, and currently they don’t have any shows planned outside of the city limits. However, if you’re reading this from out of state, keep checking. They’re growing in popularity pretty fast and it’s only a matter of time before they expand their touring radius.

Band: The Persian Leaps

Album: Praise Elephants

Label: Independent

Rating: 3.5/5

Around town

The Best Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors this Spring

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Hiking

Believe it or not (Mother Nature has been trying to convince us otherwise), we’re already a week into spring. Eventually, the suns warmth will return, and your old set of hiking shoes will be itching to take a stroll through the outdoors. If you’re wondering where you can experience some of the best outdoors activities that the twin cities have to offer, fm107’s got you covered. Here’s a list of some great outdoor options for you this spring/summer.

Twins Baseball

Target FieldSure, the team didn’t do much last year, but the new ballpark is gorgeous. When the weather is good, it’s totally worth a trip to Target Field to take in America’s pastime. Just put on your Joe Mauer jersey and enjoy the sights and sounds (and food). The Twins play 81 home games over the course of the summer, so it’s not too difficult to find a date you can go. Tickets range from $13 in the nosebleeds to over $500 for right behind home plate. There are also plenty of bars in the area, so you can extend the party if you feel inclined.

Hiking

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, so you should spend at least some of your time hiking around them. The city (and state) offers plenty of hiking and camping options for various skill levels. CBS Minnesota has a great list of hiking sites, while Hiking for Miles can give you great advice on what are the best hiking socks and boots for men and women.

Once you’re at one of the lakes, fishing, swimming, jet skiing, and kayaking can all be enjoyed under the summer sun. Often times, the forest preserve will rent out necessary equipment for you to use on an hourly basis. Feel free to call ahead to see if you can reserve in advance.

The Como Zoo

The Como Zoo is the official zoo of the twin cities and offers a lot of fun for all ages. They house numerous animals, as well as exotic gardens to walk through. Although they’re open during the winter, you don’t really get to see most of the animals in their natural habitat. Animals like giraffes, elephants, and monkeys are most comfortable in the warmer months. The Como Zoo also has great art sculptures that have been donated over the years, see if you can find them all.

The best part of the zoo is that it’s free! They encourage donations, but they are completely voluntary. This is a great way to spend some time outdoors without hurting your budget.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

A bit southwest of the city, the arboretum features 1,137 acres of trees, plants, and gardens to stroll through. They hold everything from a native plant section (plants that grew naturally in the Minnesota region) to exotic displays such as the Palma J. Wilson Rose Garden and Nelson Shrub Rose Garden. These rose gardens have over 400 different types of roses on display. The beautiful smell alone is worth the trip.

With a great group of cities like Minneapolis St. Paul, there is no shortage of fun to be had outdoors once the weather cooperates. These are just a handy list to get you out of the doldrums of winter and into the spring/summer frame of mind.