Local Current Blog

Strange Names, Camp Dark, France Camp and more: This week’s Minnesota record releases

Strange Names perform last year at First Avenue for The Current's ninth birthday party. Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR.

Strange Names: Use Your Time Wisely

Though Strange Names are now based in New York, many of these songs will be familiar to Minnesota listeners who followed Strange Names here until they moved east last year. Taking new wave to what they call “next wave” is what the band are doing on Use Your Time Wisely. “Ricochet” is a fun, catchy track with bright synth parts and an addictive drumbeat. You will find the LP littered with these singles and songs that are hard to leave. That’s why there’s the repeat button, right? Use Your Time Wisely and take a listen.

Camp Dark: Nightmare in a Day

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The new synth-pop project out of Minneapolis, Camp Dark, produces vivid imagery, darkly layered production, and catchy breakdowns. Their debut LP Nightmare in a Day addresses the sexism, racism, and homophobia that singer Adam Svec experienced while living in North Carolina for a year. Tracks like “Dixieland” and “Charlie” are cinematic stories that are straightforward and emotionally tangible. Nightmare In A Day dropped last week.

France Camp: Purge

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The “casual punk” band France Camp are back with their third release Purge. On their new release, the fast-paced punk crew add depth to their sound. It’s a little more folky, a little more psyched-out, and has more swirling, cathartic shrieks. Purge is available via local label Forged Artifacts.

Brianna Lane: The Navigators Club

Americana singer Brianna Lane is releasing The Navigators Club at Icehouse tonight. The crowd-funded LP is Lane’s third effort and has her stamp of authenticity all over it. “New Tattoo” showcases smoky vocals that swell and recede over the mellow backdrop while Lane tells her story of revenge and bitter love.

Social Arcadia: Heart Cycle

Social Arcadia‘s debut EP Heart Cycle is tinged with ‘80s pop-rock goodness, but they’re still taking a modern approach with their smooth production that throws those jangly guitars into the background for a bright summer sound. This six-song EP may become your guilty pleasure for the season and satisfy your summer love-song fix. Social Arcadia will be at the 7th Street Entry on Saturday to celebrate the release.

The 4onthefloor: All In

The Minneapolis rock ‘n’ roll powerhouse are back. The 4onthefloor are set to release All In on May 26, but this stompin’ blues band want to celebrate with their hometown in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday. To bone up for the gig, check out our guide to 4onthefloor frontman Gabriel Douglas.

Small Town Anthem: Long Time Coming

Small Town Anthem is releasing their Long Time Coming EP today. The folk-rock group shared new tracks with their crowd at Dayblock Brewing last Friday. They will be making their way to Duluth on June 5 and Mankato on June 20. No tracks have found their way onto the Internet as of yet, but “Kate” from A Key To The Brain should suffice for now.

Taj Raj: Night Speech

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Taj Raj are dropping their Night Speech LP today. It’s 11 tracks of emotional anthems and stripped-down folk tracks. “Alder Tree” has a world music vibe to it. The vocals wisp off the cavernous walls of the soundscape, eventually coming into moments of stark clarity all the while violins soothe the listener along with the rest of the band. You can grab Night Speech digitally today.

Fox and Coyote: Boardinghouse

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Yes, Fox and Coyote are a banjo-wielding, backwoods-sounding folk quartet with strong bluegrass influences. They’ve just dropped their Boardinghouse EP. They are not straightforward as you might think a bluegrass-influenced folk group might be, but have a delightful awkwardness. It’s almost as if they’re fighting off stereotypes with eccentric vocals, spare banjo, and drumming that moves every track down the back roads.

Fury Things: Saskatchewan

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Fury Things are continuing to drop small releases with their Saskatchewan EP. Loud garage-rock is their game, and it’s a simple pleasure they serve up well. If you haven’t seen them live as of yet, their high energy shows are a great place to dive into garage-rock executed to a high degree. If you find yourself in Duluth on Friday, you can catch them at the Red Herring Lounge.

Aaron Bolton is a senior at the University of Minnesota. Currently he is a co-host on Radio K’s Off The Record and is the music reporter at Radio K. He hopes to continue a career in music journalism.