by Nathan Dean
Pushpause are a self-described “new (old?) band” from Minneapolis. New because this particular group of players hasn’t been working together very long, old because all are seasoned vets whose music careers in the cities span multiple decades.
Lead vocalist Cindy Russell got her start as the first singer for Babes in Toyland (back when Kat was still only playing guitar), and riot grrl fire still clearly burns in her belly, judging from the opening lightning bolt that is “Blackout City.” Things get quite kinky on “Task Mistress” (“You’ll be my cabin boy, I’ll tell you what to do,”) and elsewhere.
Not quite punk, the tempos never get fast enough for that label, but plenty raunchy,
the sleazy New York Dolls-inspired riffs and chuggling rhythms of Pushpause
are sure to delight fans of both old school punk-leaning rock like the Babes
or new girl-powered outfits like the Bleeding Hickeys. Fuck yeah!
The Chinch Bugs
went into my Chinch Bugs listening experience with the band already having two
strikes against them. 1) Their horrible band name 2) their even worse album
title and cover. That being said the band ably avoids being sent back to the
dugout for good thanks to some slight and sunny pop craft. Switching between
equally chipper male and female vocals (with a fair bit of harmonizing in the
mix), the Chinch Bugs play crisp, clean pop, lots of keys and gently strummed
electric guitars (and the occasional awesomely cheesy English horn fill). Although
the tunes have a slight tendency to run together in my memory (never a good
thing) there’s some witty wordplay that helps distinguish the stronger
tracks. My favorite couplet is from “Some People Are Dumb” (“Some
people are dumb / They will mix their beer with their rum / and vomit after
they’re done / Some people are dumb.”). The Chinch Bugs cleverly
avoid extermination on Infestation and show promise for future efforts.
Dan Greene 1
over a five-month span after Greene splurged on a Pro Tools program for his
home computer, Dan Greene 1 provides a perfect example of technology’s
newly liberating possibilities for musicians. The record sounds pretty darn
slick and pro for a homemade enterprise, plenty of layered vocals, nice stacks
of melodically strummed acoustic guitars (the only giveaway this wasn’t
made in a real studio is the undeniably rinky-dink drum sound). Greene’s
most obvious point of comparison is fellow local one-man-band-home-recording-pop-troubadour
Eric Kalenze (aka Gawker Slowdown). Greene’s got a similarly pleasant
and unshowy singing voice (although in a slightly lower register) and the same
way with gentle melodies. The strongest cuts here include the Nick Cave-reminiscent
piano ballad “Doctor/Director” and the windingly epic sleigh-bell-abetted
“Snowflakes and Starshowers.” Just how many of these home recording
dudes and dude-ettes with serious skills do we have lurking in the shadows of
the Twin Cities music scene anyway? I command you—step into the light
and be counted!
is the work of Chris Kyllander, and—I get to write this all too rarely—his
music sounds unlike anything else I’ve encountered on the Twin Cities
music scene. Crossing the lushness of latter day Mercury Rev with a bit of Depeche
Mode’s gothic darkness, Untaught provides a highly enjoyable listen for
those who feel their current music is lacking in baroque melodrama. The creepy
piano-lullaby-on-a-bad-acid-trip stylings of “Trapeze Star” will
keep you sleepless for nights if you pay too close attention. More traditional
moments, like the loping folk-rock of “Ask Yourself,” crop up intermittently,
and, by virtue of their juxtaposition qualities, make the weird songs feel that
much more offbeat. A highly intoxicating trip into the macabre, Kyllander’s
endless night will have you trading all your clothes in for black turtlenecks
if you aren’t damn well careful.