This week in the ol’ nameless music column we’ve got nothing for you but new local music. No “local music news” for us, thank you very much. What do you think this is, a “local music newspaper” or something? Listen up and enjoy!
Elle PF’s I Woke Up Today Laughing Is Exc-elle(pf)-nt
Renelle LaBiche, the songwriter who fronts Elle PF, currently lives in Los Angeles, the westernmost suburb of the Twin Cities Metro, but we won’t hold that against her. The band’s seven-song new album, called I Woke Up Today Laughing, their first lengthy release in three years, is rooted in Labiche’s keyboards, whether piano or synth, and animated by her coolly observant vocals. The mononymous Doc’s guitar jabs rhythmically, leans into full-on power chording, or melodically augments the arrangements (as, on occasion, does Alex Gale’s viola) and the rhythm section of bassist Jenessa LaSota and drummer John Acarregui shifts along smoothly from the off-kilter “Punk Song” to the disco-adjacent “Think Too Much About It.” The effect is broadly theatrical without being needlessly over-the-top. And super-catchy too. (Full disclosure: Jenessa cuts/styles the hair of 75% of the Racket staff. Who’s the exception? We’re no snitches.)
While I was getting used to this whole “2022” thing, a new Green/Blue record snuck past me in early January. Offering‚ released on Chicago’s HoZac Records, is the latest from Jim Blaha of Blind Shake, Annie Sparrows and Dan Henry of Soviettes, and Hideo Takahashi of Birthday Suits, and I’m sorry to abbreviate the members’ extensive rock resumes (rock-sumes?) like that, but if I didn’t limit my ID’ing to one band apiece, we’d be here all day. Anyway, with Offering they show they deserve to be ID’d now as members of Green/Blue. Once more the prickly, staccato treble guitar leads of postpunk, the unshakable melodies of power pop, and those distantly echoey m/f vocals of shoegaze combine without strictly delineating the bounds of their style. The title track, for instance, reminds me of Sonic Youth more than a bit.
Funky Pandemic Blues Rock (Taylor’s Version)
You may know Taylor Carik from his hard rockin’ band Whiskey Rock and Roll Club MPLS, or for his invaluable events newsletter Secrets of the City, or for terrorizing poor Radio K children on Twitter who mispronounce zillion-year-old new wave bands. But this week Carik’s got a solo album out as PARISHES, Bring on the…, one of those “pandemic projects” that the industrious among us crafted while the rest of us dozed and panicked. The album builds slow, with vocals and guitar on the early tracks hushed, ominous, moody, seething, and all those other good adjectives, then his deftly programmed drum tracks kick in with more force. The whole album is blues-tinged without making a fuss about roots or nothing, and it’s quite quar-relatable, from “Big Belly” through “Thin Blurred Line,” an instrumental with news reports of the 2020 unrest murmuring in the background. However you want to complete the title’s ellipsis, it is… brought on.
Fruit Bats Are Not Trainable and Do Not Make Good Pets
That’s what Google has to say about the leathery mammals for which Eric D. Johnson’s two-decade project is named. If you’ve spent the 21st century otherwise occupied, the newly released and lengthily titled Sometimes a Cloud Is Just a Cloud: Slow Growers, Sleeper Hits and Lost Songs (2001–2021) is a good place to start catching up on the Fruit Bats. The first disc (should you invest in the physical medium) moves, Benjamin Button-like, in reverse chronological order, beginning with an excellent new track, and you can hear the consistency of Johnson’s songwriting as you trace it back to its embryonic core. The second disc, available to preview here, is a more scattered but still enjoyable collection of outtakes and whatnot, including a nice take on Steve Miller’s “The Joker.” We know what you’re thinking: Johnson has been spending plenty of time in Minneapolis in recent years, but does that make him “local”? What am I the local music cops? The U?You want me to start requiring proof of residency?
And now, your local music listings for the week.
Friday, Jan. 28
Saturday, Jan. 29
Sunday, Jan. 30
Monday, Jan. 31
Tuesday, Feb. 1
Wednesday, Feb. 2
Thursday, Feb. 3