Local Current Blog

Local Radar: Blue Blazer, Gloss and the Color Pharmacy

Gloss is preparing to release their debut 7" after the success of first single "Front Porch." (Photo courtesy of the artist)

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.

2013 has already proven to be a year of great debuts. Artists are really taking their time to make something that’s polished and well-produced that can compete—especially on the airwaves—with the big national acts backed by the wallets of major labels. There’s a few early first tastes that I’ve gotten from bands that have made my jaw drop; Southwire and Enemy Planes immediately come to mind. Others just put out their debuts, like Aby Wolf’s collaboration with Grant Cutler, and Carroll.

Chalk it up to some awesome studios, engineers and mastering, maybe, but the actual musicians are the ones who are the most in-tune with how they want things to sound. And it’s immediately evident with the acts above, and many new ones sprouting up, that time isn’t of importance when recording your ideas. You gotta get it right no matter how long it takes.

Blue Blazer

So, let’s add one more to the list: Blue Blazer. Still relatively new, the duo won’t be releasing their debut until May, but this advance of highlight track “Modern Age Cynic” is extremely promising. The guys behind it—Brian Casey of Glorious Monster and Man Is Doom and Mike Schwandt formerly of White Light Riot—have got the chops to sound like a much larger band than they are. A year ago, they decided to start an electronic project together and started rehearsing each week until they had 10 songs in the bag.

“Modern Age Cynic” drives forward without stopping, and the most entrancing four minutes of local music I’ve heard in a while. They’re clearing re-purposing a page from mid-2000s indie music, a time when crunchy pop rock was really beginning to re-emerge and take off. Sometimes it feels great to revisit the past. This is one of those times.

  1. Listen Blue Blazer – “Modern Age Cynic”


And speaking of the past, do you remember when chill-wave was popular? When Washed Out and Toro y Moi put out their first records, the blogosphere collectively lost their heads. Now the genre isn’t as much of a heavy-hitter as it used to be, but there’s still some light out there to keep it going.

Gloss is a five-piece attempting to help people reconnect with this style, and is one of only a handful of bands in the Twin Cities that I can think of bridging the gap between chillwave and its dream-pop predecessor. You’ve probably heard “Front Porch” on the station in some capacity if you’ve been keeping up with our local coverage. That first single gave people a reason to really pay attention, and they’ve played with many of the young, college-based bands emerging in the metro.

They’ve got a new song now as well with “Ian’s Dream,” the B-side to their new 7″ which is available now. What I admire about Gloss is how new they are, how well each member already plays with one another and their extremely DIY ethic. From their artwork to recording to promo,  the quintet’s doing it all on their own with the help of under-the-radar local label Manic Pop.

Here’s where you can see them: February 26th with Deer Tracks and Eighteen Individual Eyes, and March 5th with the buzzy Dan Croll, both at the 7th St. Entry. Then they’ll be heading into the studio to record an EP of all new material.

  1. Listen Gloss – “Ian’s Dream”

The Color Pharmacy

The Schwandts get two mentions in this edition of The Local Radar: Mike’s brother Mark Schwandt (USONIA) gets props for producing the new Color Pharmacy album. Their last release was well-received around The Current, and it definitely made an impact elsewhere, reaching as high as #2 most-added on the CMJ radio charts in 2011. That’s nothing to scoff at, especially if you’re a band with little to no promo push behind you.

This is a band that’s efficient and works hard. Their new, self-titled record was recorded in just four days at Pearl Studios, their frequent gigging has gotten them a large fan-base, and they’ll appear at SXSW for their fifth time. Even still, they sometimes have gotten lost in the shuffle, an issue that should be resolved with this album.

Their video of lead single “Aperture” is a gorgeous ode to the Twin Cities filmed primarily in tilt-shift, and has appropriately gotten loads of accolades over the past month. Their CD release show is Saturday, March 2nd at the Triple Rock with USONIA and Big Tree Bonsai.

  1. Listen The Color Pharmacy – “Aperture”