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.
One of my bands to watch is still considered a newbie to most local music lovers. Strange Relations really dove in head-first when they relocated to town; they’ve been playing loads of shows with strong line-ups including Gloss, Phantom Vibration, Prissy Clerks and many other up-and-comers. It also helps that these bands are good friends with one another off the stage, so it’s not uncommon to see and hear them promoting each other’s projects. It’s traditional DIY and seems to be paying off, especially for this young trio.
They just won the 2nd annual Humans Win! Recording Studio Songwriting Contest (Carroll was last year’s winner), and if the success of last year’s champion is any indication, Strange Relations is in for a busy and big year. They’ll head into the studio to record with Lance Conrad, a guy who is currently producing some great albums from both old and new groups.
Casey Sowa plays drums and sings, and you can hear the breathlessness in her voice. There’s an urgency as she pounds away and belts out the lyrics in “Endurance.” The intensity here channels Warpaint’s incredible live performances both in style and mystery. Like many of the young bands in town right now, Strange Relations employs a thick layer of haze, which really makes the songs on their debut Ghost World EP permeate every corner of the room. This will be an interesting act to watch mature. You can grab “Endurance” as out song of the day on Friday.
The Ghost World EP is out March 26th on cassette and via digital download.
In the past month, Total Trash has become one of the buzzier bands in the Twin Cities. Only a year old, they had their debut at the Turf Club with Chapter 24 and the Blind Shake last March, and since then have played with some incredible local and national acts including Brain Tumors, In Defence, Animal Lover, Buildings and Pissed Jeans—the band that I wish we could play (and say) on the radio. They’ve already been tapped to open the first night of the second annual Girls Got Rhythm Fest at the Amsterdam with headliners the Avengers.
Leadwoman Jessica Katz is truly a tour-de-force: no frills and insane as all hell on stage. It’s not just her either—the whole band is like a piece of performance art. They’re unabashed and more than anything, having obvious fun under all the screaming and rampaging. You know, I’m gonna go ahead and advocate they get added to that insane Wavves/FIDLAR/Cheatahs bill at the Entry next Friday. Seems like a no-brainer.
The You Don’t Try EP is available now on Bandcamp.
Let’s shift gears a little bit from punk rock to some alt-country. Frankie Lee just put out a gorgeous debut EP called Middle West. You might not know the name, but you probably know the face if you’ve seen enough local shows over the years. Frankie has shared the stage with a number of people, whether that be as a part of their band or as an opening act: Molly Maher, Tim O’Reagan, Actual Wolf, Dead Man Winter, The Cactus Blossoms, the Pines, Trampled By Turtles and countless others.
He has always sat behind the scenes. But the guy’s been writing music since the age of 17, according to an interview Andrea Swensson did with him (look for that on the blog in the coming days). He has over 100 songs to his name and thought it was about time to make some of them public. Good thing, too. Frankie Lee is frontman material—his look, his croon and the obvious command he has over keeping his band tight and together all give this EP some country swagger. Middle West takes off and feels fresh. For a genre that many feel is tired, this is a welcome respite.
Frankie Lee’s debut is out on Friday and will be available at the Fetus, online and at shows.