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.
The Ocean Blue were still in high-school when they signed a three-album deal in ’88 with Sire Records. From there, the band skyrocketed to critical acclaim, hitting the top of college and modern rock radio charts, appearing on MTV and embarking on major tours. Each of the three records managed to sell over 100,000 copies, with ‘91’s Cerulean leading the pack. But once the decade started to progress, the Ocean Blue fell victim to what many bands in this era had to deal with: the turmoil of the record industry. Fifteen years of silence followed, but now we finally have another record from one of more esteemed bands of yesteryear.
The act has apparently relocated to Minnesota, and the publicity machine behind new release Ultramarine is really pulling out the stops to reconnect new and old fans with the band. In typical Ocean Blue fashion, the album is a gorgeous exploration of dream pop, at once channeling their past and still managing to up the ante on their sound. What’s more, they’ve released it on Korda Records, our new local label which is run by some of the metro’s most admired musicians: Allison LaBonne, David Schelzel, Brian Tighe and Jim Ruiz. They’re all friends helping each other’s bands out, and they’ve already put out great records from the Jim Ruiz Set and Typsy Panthre this year. In July, we’ll get the long-awaited debut from the Starfolk.
Dark Dark Dark sometimes feels like an elusive local band. They’re Minnesotans, but at this point they spend most of their time on the road touring. Last year’s superb Who Needs Who had them on the stage for a good portion of 2012, especially in the UK where their fanbase seems the strongest. That last record was their most polished and accessible – slightly ironic considering the inter-band turmoil that the recordings came out of.
Now the band is back at it, and 2013 is beginning to feel like a pivotal year for them. We’ve got a new 10” release on the way with their What I Needed EP. It’s a Record Store Day exclusive in the UK, but a digital version will be available on April 23. And Nona Marie Invie has been busy providing her talents on the new National album due out in May.
The standout cut on What I Needed is the sprawling “Love Lies,” described by Invie as her best song ever. Also making the cut on the EP are two new songs, “What I Needed” and “I Collect Things,” as well as the bonus remix of “How It Went Down.”
Love Lake is a new band on the staff’s radar. They have a sophomore release on the way called Beachmaster, funded on Kickstarter last October. The lead cut “Dreamland” is an awesome piece of indie pop. It’s feel-good and makes sense. Not much else to it than that. When you hear a song that clicks instantly, you know the band has got their ears in check.
Information about the group is a little scarce though. They’ve been playing since 2011, and I must be blind, because I haven’t seen a bill with their name on it. Originally started as a solo project by frontman Anders Carlson in 2010, he has since added three other guys to the mix: Riley Walker, Shaughn McCurdy and Clay Sollenberger. Everyone sings and the album was tracked live, which is nuts considering how polished this lead single sounds.
More information to come as we dig deeper.