Local Current Blog

Local Radar: All Eyes, Mankwe and France Camp

Credit: Facebook

Local Radar highlights 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.

All Eyes
Here’s a brand spankin’ new band on the circuit. Alicia Wiley is at the helm of this one, striking a chord that falls somewhere between Portishead’s Beth Gibbons and even a little bit of Fiona Apple’s characteristic warble. Those two singers don’t have too much in common – maybe that’s why there’s an off-kilter vibe to how All Eyes sounds. It’s sinister, atmospheric and still immensely playful and compelling.

The rest of the band fills the hazy space in just the right ways; Jake Hanson, Joseph Christenson and Luke Anderson aren’t new to frequent experimentation. Hanson and Anderson have played in Rogue Valley, Gramma’s Boyfriend, Wishbook and many, many others. Christenson was once a part of White Light Riot and spends time in Copper Field as well. There’s a wide range from influence amongst the quartet from punk rock to chamber orchestrations, just one of several reasons why this act sounds as fleshed out as they do at such a young point in their collaboration.

All Eyes will play with Halloween, Alaska and A. Wolf and Her Claws at the Triple Rock Social Club on Saturday, June 30.

Stream: All Eyes – “Clean Slate” from their upcoming album

Mankwe Ndosi is a veteran of the Twin Cities artistic community. Musicmaker, performer and educator are the three main keywords in her biography, and that reminds me of the great chanteuse Erykah Badu, a woman who was revered in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex when I lived there. Her lyrics have always been biting and generally unforgiving towards society’s constructions and norms, and listening to Mankwe really lends the same perspective. And like Badu, the influences in a song such as “She’s Gone” are the result of heritage: Ndosi’s family hails from Maji-ya Chai, Tanzania, St. Louis, MO and Chicago, IL.

Mankwe has been hard at work on this album with Medium Zach – in fact, it’s been on the docket for a few years. You may recognize her voice from a certain Big Quarters song called “Perfect Match,” which I think many would agree was our first proper introduction to her warm voice. It’s as if Mankwe is beckoning us to come sit down and learn a little bit about the world every time she begins to sing. We’ll get her debut solo album Science and Spirit on July 17.

Stream: Mankwe – “She’s Gone” from the forthcoming Science and Spirit 

France Camp
In honor of Howler’s performance at Rock The Garden, I’d like to take a moment to focus on one of the bandmembers who left the group right before RTG happened. France Camp was the bassist but departed to pursue his other band, also called France Camp. I think Camp is stronger in his personal endeavors – he certainly has the energy to command a space. I also just like this band’s style more. It’s harder for the ears to accept, just about as lo-fi as you can get and sounds raucous in a way that isn’t contrived. It’s just fun and adulterated rock and roll, channeling the likes of Ty Segall, White Fence and Thee Oh Sees.

Like those artists, France Camp would fit well in the historical and explosive garage rock scene of the Bay area, and I hope they can find a similar, secure audience here in the Midwest. Where Howler is slicker and thrives on glam riffs, France Camp isn’t really trying to prove much of anything besides the fact that they would play killer house shows. It’s that aesthetic of young adults without an attitude or sense of entitlement just jamming together, knocking out a few songs which happen to be good and getting well-deserved press that makes the band one to watch.

France Camp plays with Nice Purse and Regal Treats at the Triple Rock Social Club Thursday, June 28.

Stream: France Camp – “Lets Roll” from Your Leather out now