Local Current Blog

Greg Grease, What Tyrants, the Cactus Blossoms, and more: This week’s Minnesota record releases

Greg Grease, featured on the Minnesota Sounds playlist, performs in The Current's studios in 2013. Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR.

Greg Grease: Born to Lurk Forced to Work

Oh, it’s so smooth! Born to Lurk Forced to Work is here, and Greg Grease’s lyrical prowess is stronger than ever. The album has more variety on the production side than his debut Cornbread, Pearl, & G , and the voice you love Grease for carries even more weight: potent commentary, airtight delivery. Some lines hang mid-air before sinking in on tracks like “Seeing Being” – which features Ak Rite, Tall Paul, and Alicia Steele on the hook. Grease played a special release show in Northeast Minneapolis last Friday, performing alongside a plethora of local talent.

What Tyrants: No Luck

Surf-rock titans What Tyrants are back with their first full-length, No Luck. Their previous self-titled 7” showed their strengths, and their fast-paced crunchy rhythms are once again pouring out of whatever basement depths they came from. Amidst the garage-rock explosion that has been happening in Minneapolis, What Tyrants stand tall with Sean Schultz (Black Diet) on vocals and his brother Kyle’s splashy drum playing. Schultz can go from gruff to sweet on vocals, giving this high-energy rock-trio an edge. They will celebrate the new release at the Triple Rock on April 3.

The Cactus Blossoms: “You’re Dreaming”

  1. Listen You’re Dreaming – The Cactus Blossoms

Old-fashioned country duo the Cactus Blossoms bring it all back on their new 7” “You’re Dreaming.” Jack Torrey’s and Page Burkum’s voices meld together in country bliss. Strong songwriting is key to their success, and they don’t disappoint on either the A-side or the B-side, a new version of “Stoplight Kisses.” They’re going a different route for the release show and are having it at the Electric Fetus tonight. The songs are sure to be a good fit for the intimate performance. You can stream both songs right here on The Current.

Tin Can Gin: Coming Home

Nothing brings late summer nights to mind like bluegrass music. Tin Can Gin‘s warm tones on Coming Home are bringing in those warm winds in—and along with them the hope that fires, beers on the beach, and camping season will soon be here. The Duluth band will be at Icehouse next Monday for the CD release.

Human Kindness: Not Apathetic

Human Kindness are dropping their Not Apathetic tape at the Turf Club on Thursday. Their music is a reflection of how much fun you would imagine a band like this might have fun. What does that mean? Well, their music is quirky, high-energy, and has a healthy amount of sarcasm. “Ahoy! The St. Croix” is a great example, and the title says it all. Their literal lines are on point, and have a humorous side, but the wall of noise washes all that away before the next line begins.  Nancy’s Raygun and and Gloss will be joining them on Thursday.

Straya: Healthy Steps

Here’s a band you should probably have on your playlist this week and from now on. Straya is a nice step back from your typical Minneapolis sound, and “Comma Spaceman” off their new Healthy Steps release is a great place to start to understand what I mean. Spaced-out electronics bring you into the fold before the track builds. There’s no lack of activity here: nice guitar lines with some funk added in, and keys that resonate. Straya play with time and tempo to create their own space. If you must have a genre to label them as, go listen for yourself because “math rock” doesn’t cut it.

Unturned: Acceptance

This pop-punk trio have had a quick turnaround since their split EP with Remo Drive a couple of months ago. They are releasing their new EP Acceptance Wednesday. Take a listen: close your eyes, and you might open them in the early ‘00s.

Amanda Standalone: Trouble

Amanda Standalone represents for Georgetown, Minnesota (pop. 130) in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but her soulful folk would fit in just as well in the coffeeshops of that other Georgetown you might have heard of. Standalone’s new album Trouble was funded by the Lakes Region Arts Council, the McKnight Foundation, and 38 backers on IndieGoGo. The album comes out on Saturday, and Standalone will celebrate that night with a show at Ecce Art + Yoga in Fargo; Twin Cities fans can hear her at the Acadia on April 16.

Aaron Bolton is a senior at the University of Minnesota. Currently he is a co-host on Radio K’s Off The Record and is the music reporter at Radio K. He hopes to continue a career in music journalism.