Posts Tagged ‘Minneapolis’

Steve Palmer

Sunrise Ocean Bender doesn’t push product with the veracity that some labels seem to adopt these days, rolling out a few choice cuts over the last couple of years – Prana Crafter’s, Enter The Stream and Tengger’s Segye among them – but I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity. The label’s back into the fray this year with the sophomore release from Minneapolis’ Steve Palmer. As with labelmate Will Sol’s Prana Crafter works, Palmer seems adept at mixing the spirit of spare folk with elements of Kosmiche and psychedelia, creating a record that’s densely layered, but also built on a tenderness of touch. I’ve expressed admiration for starting a record off with a crusher in the past (see Axis: Sova) and Palmer does just that, thundering into the album with the cosmic crush of “Statesboro Day.”

As Useful Histories peers out of the clearing smoke from the opener, Palmer blends the barren landscapes of Steven R. Smith and Evan Caminiti with a crumbling sense of American Primitive. Palmer’s version isn’t built on the pristine waters of the plains, but on the ash and ache of our current political climate. There’s less hope to his songs, but it’s there between the cosmic aspirations of “Statesboro” and the ambient numbness of “I Am John Titor.” Palmer has a clear vision that spreads over the disparate, but complimentary impulses on this album and it crafts Useful Histories into a record that is patient and propulsive in equal measures. This record feels like the beginning of a conversation about Palmer that will last well into the coming decade.



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Uranium Club – “Two Things At Once”

A new entry from the Sup Pop singles club sees RSTB faves Uranium Club getting a shout with a new double shot of gnarled punk madness. The single gives birth to “Two Things at Once (pts 1&2)” and the songs display UC’s knack for tightly wound guitars, narrative insanity, and post-punk the way it was meant to be – experimental as hell, rhythmic and ripped. The first part takes more than a few time shifts before settling into a hypnotic slide-out with their spoken-word cadence dripping off the guitars. The b-side is an instrumental wander through the most serene waters I’ve heard from Uranium Club yet. The song acts as a bit of a coda to the half that precedes it, threading in a bit of the same theme, and easing down into the horizon. I’ve always loved the Sub Pop singles for their willingness to take chances on bands that might not be a hit with their huge audience, though here’s hoping that like Omni, this is one band that might stick around. Then again, both Blues Control and Tyvek are in the ranks of Singles alums, so I won’t hold my breath.




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The Uranium Club

Minneapolis’ cracked punk purveyors Uranium Club are back with another LP that draws from the miscreant/art axis of ‘70s derangement that exists between the loosened strands of punk and the buttoned-up prescription of post-punk. The band swings through manic guitar runs, folding riffs into origami shapes that seem ill-advised, yet wind up absurdly catchy if the circadian rhythms of your psyche are knocked properly askew. The band is breaking the catalogs of Dow Jones & the Industrials, Pere Ubu, Devo, MX-80, and Wire over their knee and shuffling the pieces into an order that reads like a buried Burroughs if only you could find the cipher.

They jumped off of the counter and onto the decks with their last EP, proved the madness can’t be contained to 33 revolutions per minute on a live follow-up, and now they’re rubbing oven cleaner in the wounds left raw and reeling with a brand-new slab for hire. The Cosmo Cleaners is stretching your consciousness out through the left nostril and jamming the nozzle of an aerosol air freshener up the other, 9V batter firmly planted on the tongue for full effect. Seemingly stumbling from chord to chord, Uranium Club has actually got the chaos mapped meticulously and printed on line ruled circuit boards for the taking. They punctuate the perilous peaks and crumpled valleys of their songs with car horns attenuated to specific frequencies that’ll induce involuntary full-body jerking. They keep the rolled aluminum din swinging while simultaneously laying out a full spoken word screed over the top. They won’t be taking questions after the session.

With The Cosmo Cleaners the band is proving that their lauded early releases were no fluke of human condition, and more to the point, should have served as a warning rather than a welcome. They’ve set out a statement of ill invective with their latest for Static Shock, built of motor oil and bacteria and given life like a viral golem doomed to wander the streets in search of blood. There’s a heavy sense that the members of Uranium Club find themselves to be more intelligent than you, and perhaps they’re right, but they’ve been left bored and bruised and no job sates the backlog of bile in their system quite like issuing ire through reel to reel. So, they’ll take your twenty dollars and stuff it their socks, saving up for another aural attack, another manifestation of manifesto made metal down the line. Enjoy it… or don’t. I’m not sure that it makes a difference, but it definitely leaves a mark.



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Uranium Club – “Man is the Loneliest Animal”

Out on the tattered edges of punk Minneapolis’ Uranium Club sits chewing the glass that others discard and spitting it back at them as blood n’ bile rendered sonic. While Pere Ubu, MX-80 and Dow Jones & The Industrials left scattered shards of punk’s more frantic future to be ignored by the bulk of the movement in favor of a more melodic beast and greater accessibility, Uranium Club came and picked up the bent metal time signatures as their own. Their second outing for Static Shock launches out of the gutter with the greased rat chaos of “Man Is The Loneliest Animal,” a panicked jab into the collective ears of a less than wanting public. The song stumbles in unassuming, crouching, licking its wounds before slashing wildly and drawing blood hard and fast. Definitely don’t miss out on their upcoming LP, The Cosmo Cleaners.


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The Real Numbers – “Frank Infatuation” 7″

Sweeping up a few of the great entries to the small format world today, starting with this new single from Minneapolis’ Real Numbers. The band have captured full tilt the UK jangle-pop prime, feeling every bit like they stepped out of a Field Mice or Razorcuts show fully enamored and ready to join the ranks. The A-side here is a re-work of their album track “Frank Infatuation,” given a looser recording that actually pulls it closer to their influences, scratching a ramshackle DIY feeling into the track’s frantic strums. The track was already a standout on their album, Wordless Wonder from last year, but here they’ve given even more reason to fall in love with the song all over again.

On the flip, the label pulls in a Pastels comparison that’s pretty spot on. “Leave It Behind” is dreamy and smudged with all the downpour romance that the ’80s underground had to offer. The whole single is wrapped up like a love letter to the C86 set, and while they’re obviously gushing, we all get a win for their sincere homage. More solid senders from Slumberland.


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Uranium Club – “All Of Them Naturals”

Minneapolis’ Uranium Club knocked out a few tapes and singles that have flung them onto plenty of radars both in the US and the UK. They round up a couple of new tracks plus two from last year’s “Who Made The Man” single and “The Beat Sessions” tape for a new 12″ on Static Shock that’s full of the twisted wit (see the smirking ‘intro’) along with the crushed aluminum sound that’s found a festering home in the Midwest for years. They have the immediacy, aloof charms and highbrow/lowbrow double-slap that fueled Devo, MX-80, Pere Ubu or Dow Jones & The Industrials, and they’re pinning it to a festering and incredibly fun brand of jittery punk. Yeah its hits right in the critical sweet spot, ticking a lot of trigger boxes on the record nerd spectrum, but the band’s got a half ton of chops and makes highbrow punk feel just as much fun as bashing it out from the pelvis rather than the horn rim core of anxiety’s grip.

As mentioned several of the tracks here come from earlier releases, though the whole thing fits together seamlessly into a bent and savaged bit of art-punk that’s only real downside is that its too short. But brevity does seem to fit Uranium Club’s brand of mangled earworms, making this one of the most solid 12″s I’ve heard in quite a while. Here’s hoping there’s plenty more in the well, but since Uranium Club keep their movements close to the chest, we’ll just have to wait and see what develops.


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