Local Current Blog

Howler, Nathan Eliot, Better Bones: This week’s Minnesota record releases

Jordan Gatesmith, of Howler, performs in the Current's studios. Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR.

Howler: World of Joy

From the sound of their second full-length album, you’d think that Howler spent the last two years—since their debut America Give Up—locked in a one-room apartment in England, subsisting on nothing but records by the Replacements and the Smiths. Appropriate, considering Howler’s Twin Cities roots (despite their ambiguous feelings about those roots) and the fact that their label is London’s Rough Trade Records. World of Joy, out now, is a mature effort from these young hellraisers, influenced by the golden age of Minneapolis rock and decorated with glittering, 80s-inspired guitar solos. The title track echoes with fuzz-rock harmonies and a deceptively simple composition while “Don’t Wanna” finds a sweet spot between Americana and indie pop territories. With World of Joy, Howler prove that they’re more than just a loud-mouthed punk band. The band is currently on tour in Europe, and will be returning to the U.S. for more shows in late April. Before they left, the band stopped by the Current’s studios to play some of their new songs.

Nathan Eliot: The Universe in Me

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On his first solo release as composer and producer, longtime musician and songwriter Nathan Eliot explores consciousness, psychology, and the mysteries of the universe with The Universe in Me. Conceptually, this seems like an impossible undertaking, but Eliot has more than pulled it off, condensing his existential musings into a gorgeous, Sparknotes-sized package. Sonically, the album is dense with innovative sound layering, organic strings, and warm vocal harmonies. Eliot has transformed his familiar folk instruments into celestial sound machines, as mandola mingles with synth and bells. Eliot will release the CD for The Universe in Me with a CD release show at Aster Café on March 28, with performances by Verskotzi and the Lynn O’Brien trio. The album will also be available on Bandcamp.

Better Bones: American Love Story

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Max Gremillion—the man behind Better Bones—has worked with a diverse group of artists on several local projects in recent years. Among his collaborators are Buffalo Moon, Me As A Pilot, and Rocket to the Moon. On his solo debut, American Love Story, this songwriter and multi-instrumentalist stakes claim on his own turf, and the result is a sunny collection of lovable American folk-rock tunes. Accompanied by friends and contemporaries on lap steel, violin, drums, and bass, Gremillion’s thoughtful lyrics and stretchy, polished vocals fit right into the sonic mix, and the guitars are generous and dynamic as ever. Better Bones will release American Love Story with a release show at Icehouse on March 28, with performances by Lott and Fort Wilson Riot.

KT Lindemann is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Morris, pursuing studio art and Spanish. She is a native of the Twin Cities and is a wannabe musician, artist, and music writer.