A new weekly feature on the blog will be a highlight of bands that the local team at The Current is spinning heavily at their desks. You’ll be able to preview a track from each as well as hear them on The Local Show and Local Current.
It may be six months too late to write about the haunted, lo-fi recordings of Sean Jacobsen — his song “Flower Garden” comes from a two-song release called Winter 2011-2012. Seeing as we hardly had a winter, and we have also broken numerous temperature records this past week, Spirit Spirit ultimately emits the nostalgic vibe but still fits the mood which accompanies our summer drawl. Harnessing inspiration from the guitar work of the great Kurt Vile, Jacobsen also has a keen sense of melody on his mind. He’s a singer-songwriter who manages to sound fresh in a genre which too easily recoils from challenging ideas and compositions.
The great thing about Oleh Zaychenko’s project is its startling frankness — his words are exposed and honest. So when I hear the first line of “Aliens” — “I got abducted by aliens” — I’m poised to give him props for having the courage to say such a recycled phrase with 100 percent confidence. And during the next three minutes, we’re treated to the addition of several more instruments that eliminate any feeling of sparseness. Zaychenko seems to know that he has to pull something interesting out of his hat to keep the engagement level in check. From that point forward, the lyrics continue to grow more interesting as each new beat gets added to the mix. This is again the music of a Macalaster College student and a Twin Cities transplant via Chicago and Ukraine. He graduates in May — let’s keep him around.
This may be one of my favorite things to stumble across since the Local Radar feature first came to fruition. Impeccable flow, whip-smart raps and modern production are the key points for this trio based out of St. Paul. Up Rock features Dundee and RDM who were in The Abstract Pack in the early ’90s and K-Boogie plays with Black Blondie and Dessa. “Hit The Floor” could be classified as part of an increasingly popular perspective of hip-hop that strays from industry structure and instead thrives on challenging listeners (who seem to really love being challenged nowadays). It’s reminiscent of Shabazz Palaces who were critical darlings in 2011 for their take on a movement which may sometimes be bogged down in stereotypes.
I’ve now written about OK Thief a handful of times. Here’s a quick refresher for those who haven’t memorized it yet: this is the moniker of Jerome Rankine who has lived in a slew of places including Kingston, Portland, New York, Chicago and now Minneapolis. He’s been releasing new songs steadily every week or two. By the time we get a chance to spin one on The Local Show there’s already new track circulating the web. Here’s the most recent diddy, “The New Marlon Brando,” Rankine’s ode to the actor which includes samples lifted from reggae artists Jah Thomas and Roots Radics who have teamed up with each other in the past. This is again a solid piece of work that fans of instrumentals should enjoy.