Recent Record Review: Nicolas Jaar - 'Sirens'

Recent Record Review: Nicolas Jaar - Sirens

By Logan Lanphere (First Avenue Marketing Intern)

The second full-length effort from electronic and dance music prodigy Nicolas Jaar is more than just a record, it’s an experience. Jaar uses ambient noise – a set of keys falling to the floor or wind chimes ringing in the distance – to establish an atmosphere of mystery. Making your way through this record is not unlike navigating a labyrinth; you’ll stumble upon new sounds and sensations as Jaar’s voice guides you along. It’s the sort of music that should, whenever possible, be experienced live to really feel the full breadth of its impact.

Sirens opens with “Killing Time,” a lofty track that sets the tone and setting for the rest of the record. It’s eleven minutes long but it effortlessly glides by, leading the listener into a louder tune, “The Governor.” Compared to its predecessor, this track is energetic and lively, making it my favorite tune on the album. From here, the record carries into a series of classic Nicolas Jaar tracks before revealing the best moment of the album.

The final track, “History Lesson,” brings us to this moment. With less than a minute remaining in the entire record, Jaar slams his foot on the gas with an overload of sounds that comes together beautifully like the finale of a fireworks display. The drums kick into gear, and Jaar gives us all he’s got for one minute, only to take it away as quickly as it came. Jaar avoids over-saturating the song with content by keeping it just long enough to satisfy the listener. It’s always refreshing when an artist not only knows when to bring the energy, but when to shut it off.

Check out Nicolas Jaar’s latest record Sirens, and don’t miss a chance to see why his unique brand of electronic dance music has earned him critical acclaim at First Avenue on July 14! Grab Tickets!

Local Spotlight: Remo Drive

Local Spotlight: Remo Drive

By Logan Lanphere (First Avenue Marketing Intern)

This week I had the chance to chat with Remo Drive frontman Erik Paulson about the band’s last record, touring this fall, and their show at Bayfront Park in Duluth on July 8 with Hippo Campus, Poliça, Low, and J.S. Ondara.

This Minneapolis alt-rock three piece doesn’t get too caught up in genre when it comes to the music they write: as long as it’s fun music the kids can relate to, genre labels aren’t as important. Paulson says he’s influenced by Jeff Rosenstock and Vampire Weekend, as well as some classic rock staples like The Police. As the Paulson brothers grew up, they immersed themselves in the world of emo bands until eventually forming Remo Drive together in high school. Drawing inspiration from a high school band that he was “like in love with,” Paulson explains that after seeing them play live he thought,“I think I could probably do that too…they’re super cool, we should be a band too.”

This emo influence is what led the band to write fast head-bangers about adolescence and teen angst, and Paulson uses this almost like a gas pedal, adding more or less emo edge in each individual song. Emo has always been a part of Remo Drive, and it’s on display again in their first full length LP, Greatest Hits. Paulson says the goal was to “tie up the ends of our previous music about growing up and being young… kind of like a time capsule of suburban Minnesota.” The relatability of Greatest Hits made it easy for Minnesota punks to get these songs stuck in their heads, and it’s why Remo Drive’s influence is spreading.

Now that the band has successfully tied up the loose ends of their previous music, they’re moving towards a very bright future. With two tours scheduled for the fall, things have been moving quickly for them since the March release of their record. This will be the first time the band gets on the road in a professional fashion beyond the DIY basement tours they’re used to. They’re getting back on the road with Hippo Campus, and when I asked Paulson about playing with them he said, “They’re some of our favorite guys… it’s crazy how good they are. They’re probably the tightest live band I’ve seen. It gives us a reason to improve.” While all this is happening, Paulson is already working on the early stages of a more mature punk rock record, making them one of the busiest young bands in the scene.

Remo Drive is speeding into the future with their raucous live shows, and you won’t want to miss them play with what Paulson describes as “an incredible lineup as a whole.” Despite the colossal hype they’ve garnered in the past few months, the band members are some of the most humble and grateful people I’ve had the chance to talk to. It’s hard not to want to cheer them along as they gain more exposure and step out of the local spotlight and into the national spotlight. So head to Duluth to enjoy an exceptional bill of Minnesota bands with Hippo Campus, Polica, Low, Remo Drive, and J.S. Ondara on July 8. Get Your Tickets!


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