After a short hiatus, Tapes ‘n Tapes frontman Josh Grier is getting ready to push his new solo project into the spotlight. With only one show under his belt so far, Grier stopped by the Local Show last night to debut a pair of new tracks from Gingko, a new songwriting vehicle that features production work by Jake Hanson and live support from a handful of familiar faces in the Minnesota rock community.
“I’m really excited for people to hear it, because it’s been a long time of me being down in my basement twiddling knobs,” Grier told me last fall. He estimated he spent about a year and a half writing and recording the songs that would eventually make up Manopause, his debut record under the Ginkgo name, and will release the full album later this year.
The first two singles off Manopause each have a distinctly different feel. “Moped” is upbeat and sunny, with flutes and synthesized drums punctuating Grier’s signature yelps. It reminded me a bit of Erik Appelwick of Tapes ‘n Tapes’ song “Motobike” on the debut Olympic Hopefuls record, if only for the similar subject matter, and also brings to mind some of Vampire Weekend’s more summery material.
“Ride it Out” is a little heavier, but still beat-driven rather than propelled forward by a live rhythm section. The lack of a full band gives the recorded songs a more airy vibe than Grier’s previous work with Tapes ‘n Tapes, but I feel like “Ride it Out” will carry the most weight live, especially with Rob Skoro (who also plays with Mason Jennings) on bass and both Hanson brothers filling out the sound on guitar and drums.
“I was writing songs, and I was like, oh, I think these are just weirder,” Grier told me. “If I’m doing something that’s totally random and different, I can just do whatever the hell I want and not be at all concerned about, oh, does this fit in? Who’s going to play this part? I don’t need to worry about it. I can just have fun with it and mess around.”
That emphasis on fun is certainly apparent in these first two offerings from Grier, who will play his second show ever as Gingko this Thursday, April 25 at the Turf Club. More info on that gig is available on Facebook.