Local Current Blog

Local Radar: Van Stee, Dial-Up, and Carroll

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.

Van Stee
Here’s a new song from the promising new band Van Stee which features a slew of high-profile local collaborations including Andy Mark from the Minneapolis Dub Ensemble, Joey Kantor from Rogue Valley, Lance Conrad from The Alpha Centauri, and the production talents of Jake Hanson who you may know from bands like Halloween, Alaska and Mason Jennings. However, the two main guys are Charlie Van Stee and Josh Kaplan who have been playing together since their days at Hopkins High (a school where members of Doomtree and The Plastic Constellations once graced the classrooms). I’m curious to hear more; if “We Are” is any indication, with its funky electronic layer and propulsive drums, we could just have a future hit on our hands. The sound is simultaneously accessible and yet ensures a tinge of challenge, teetering on the verge of a krautrock rhythm that totally slays. Highly recommended.

This one’s just a demo, but I can only imagine how much greater this song will sound once it gets the professional treatment. Carroll is another Macalester-based band (and shares a member with Bad Bad Hats who we wrote about last week). They’re also one of the winners of the 1st annual Humans Win! Songwriting Competition; they’ll be going into the studio to record their debut EP for free. This song further confirms for me the extensive talent base residing in that little niche of creativity in the Summit region of St. Paul. This is my call for any and all Macalester bands to just go ahead and send over their music. And that guitar riff in “Big Apple” — I commend you guys.

The new record from Dial-Up, Landline, is out April 21 — pre-orders are already being accepted over at their Bandcamp page. This will be an important release for the local music community, an immaculate exploration of a wide variety of sounds, at once noise rock, pop, electronica, and altogether wonderfully experimental. The band has been working on this one for a while, recorded at the end of 2011’s summer in Washington at the legendary Dub Narcotics Studio which is known as the haven for many of K Records’ seminal artists (think Mirah, The Microphones, and The Blow). The fruits of their labor have evidently paid off though; positive chatter surrounding the album has been steadily growing since I first heard it a few weeks back.