Local Current Blog

Local Radar: Is/Is, Candy Breaks and more

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.

Candy Breaks
From the little knowledge I can garner about Candy Breaks, it seems to be a duo (maybe trio?) split between Minneapolis and Iowa City. The group was originally started by Jordan Bleau and then joined by Julia Campbell for extra help on vocals and Miles Kean who plays, produces and masters. There are additional contributions at times, but the line-up — and whole backstory — is really pretty vague; all of my information comes directly from their sparsely updated Bandcamp. Either way, “Sick House” is too good to not write about. A glimmering mix of programmed drums and soaring keys, the song begs for comparisons to Surfer Blood, Beach Fossils and even the darker, retro tinges that bands like Chromatics popularized. If I ever figure out the actual story behind this band, there will be more to come.

For those who love garage rock, acid rock, drone rock, or… well, any kind of rock, Is/Is have finally released their first teaser off of III, their debut album due out on April 13. The trio (Sarah Rose, Sarah Nienaber, and Annie May) have split time in a multitude of other local bands, but Is/Is is the crowning jewel, a force that has not been matched since the band first started releasing tracks on local label Guilt Ridden Pop. If you think this song sounds powerful through your speakers, witnessing a live performance somehow harnesses that energy into something even more electric. In Yeti Records’ basement last Record Store Day, I saw a fierce performance reminiscent of A Place To Bury Strangers, where they blew out the power in a venue in North Texas after jumping from speakers stacked five-high. I’ve said it once and will say it again: if Is/Is doesn’t “break-out” this year, I will most likely lose my faith in the ability for the music world to recognize worthy bands. A lofty ultimatum, but this band deserves respect.

Plastic Believers
Andrea wrote a few weeks back about how our local music scene was starting to drift towards this new wave, electronic-tinged rehash of ’70s and ’80s pop, an observation that Jay Gabler first surmised about in his review of Polica’s CD release show. Since then, Wiping Out Thousands has soared to the forefront, and I’d bet a fair amount of change that the Lookbook-inspired style and boy-girl duo of Plastic Believers will be the next. I finally got my hands on the new EP yesterday, mastered and mixed by Alex Proctor (the sound technician at Cause whol also runs his own studio). His talents have transformed the early demos of Plastic Believers into a bombastic affair, and I’m very excited to see where these two go next.

The Olsen Twinns
Oh look: another Macalester band. Those who have been reading this feature the past two weeks will remember that I wrote about Bad Bad Hats and Carroll as well, and then proclaimed that Macalester’s young music community is likely one of the best things about the Twin Cities right now. So here comes the next installment. I am a fan of Mickey Davis’ previous project Radiator Grrrls, a band I’m not even sure will be putting out any new material. It seems Davis is now more focused on a new endeavor called The Olsen Twinns, a moniker for his ambient work that plays into the same genre that James Blake and Nicolas Jaar have been exploring recently. And while this type of music was once considered as having a niche audience, its spotlight is now sufficiently warming up — Davis recently had a gig opening for Oneohtrix Point Never in January.