On Thursday, November 5, Strange Relations and Babes take the stage at The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis for a night of all-original indie rock, pop, and shoegaze.
Touring (and headlining) Los Angeles band Babes are connoisseurs of making something good from something bad. This five-piece’s latest release, Untitled (Five Tears), explores the terrain of trauma and loss through upbeat, poppy tunes. They claim “I’m gonna be lonely forever” in chorus all while peppy synths back them, and “there’s nothing left in my heart” to a jazzy ballad with guitars and voices that wail away in a major key. Though what else can you do, when the musical inspiration in your life is morose, but as Babes say, you “just dont want to cry so much anymore”? Sometimes, music serves the most basic of purposes. “We play love songs cuz we feel bad and it makes us feel good,” they plug online. So no matter what kind of day you’re having on Thursday, listening to Babes lives is guaranteed to give your spirits a needed lift.
Minneapolis three-piece Strange Relations just released their latest single, “Drift,” after their first full-length, Centrism, earlier this year. Led by Casey Sowa (drums, vocals), this local talent includes contributors Marisa (Maro) Helgeson (bass, synth, vocals) and Nate Hart-Andersen (guitar) to make a now Twin Cities indie mainstay. Strange Relations’ first EP, Ghost World, was only released in 2013, but since they have become well known for their honest, open, and creative presence in the local scene. Sharing the stage with many local and national acts over the past few years, they have grown consistently. Now with an LP under their belt, their beloved presence is expanding, and their musical ambitions solidified.
They speak of a “craving mind” in “Drift,” and while Strange Relations may appear at first more a typical indie shoegaze band with jangly guitars, hazy vocals, energetic drums, and intimate songwriting, it’s the initial source of those sounds – the brain – where they set themselves apart. Where Babes takes negative experiences and flips them around sound-wise, Strange Relations takes undesirable times and turns them into battle cries, discussions, and proud personal declarations.
As they say of Centrism, "There's nothing to hide behind." Strange Relations’ thoughts, opinions, and desires come easily to the forefront through both music and conversation. An admirable trait, to be sure; to communicate freely about what one has experienced and what has been made of it. I picked Sowa’s brain over a few questions about what has led the band to this point, and where it and their present location fits in with the rest of their lives.
On what initially brought them together to make music:
Maro [Helgeson] and I have been making music together for over seven years now, it's our greatest shared passion. We get restless when we aren't involved in an active project, so it was important to us to start a new band soon after we moved to town. We actually headed into the studio to record some tracks for Ghost World only a couple months after the band started, and ended up tracking with three different producers on that (Neil Weir at Old Blackberry Way, Simon Brooks at McNally, and our late friend Henry Mackaman in our practice space).
What was different this time around making their first-full length, Centrism:
The main difference was working with just one producer in one location. We live tracked the majority of the record over a few days in subzero December. Maro and Nate were upstairs in the main space while I was drumming in the basement, which was definitely a unique way of doing things. Something that was fun for me was getting to use a variety of snare drums on different tracks that Lance had available at the studio, and getting really involved in the production process during mixing.
On their recent single, "Drift," and the role of Strange Relations as a band in their lives:
The band is certainly an outlet for all of us to feel all the feelings and for me to express what I'm going through and to share my perspective with other people. “Drift” in particular came about while I was feeling very frustrated with my crappy job and feeling frustrated by the hive mind and passivity of a lot of the people around me. I have a very independent spirit and don't do well in situations where people -dudes especially - are trying to condescend to me or play daddy. "I have infinite fathers and none of them are chosen" is another lyric (from “Panther's Conquest,” off Centrism) I feel really speaks to that.
On what they love about the Minneapolis music scene:
Maro and I love going to shows at the Entry in particular. That space is so intimate and perfect cause it really encourages a different level of engagement amongst the audience, and as a result a lot of shows that could've been pretty good end up being extra special. It's been amazing to see so many talented acts there over the years, and to even get to share the stage with some of them. Some of our favorite shows we've caught there include Metronomy, Cate le Bon, Shamir, Empress Of, Soak, & Bully and when we got to play with The Thermals & PINS.
Babes with Strange Relations at the Cedar Cultural Center
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Doors 7:00pm / Show 7:30pm
$10 / $12
All-Ages; Standing Show