Local Spotlight: Remo DriveBy Logan Lanphere (First Avenue...




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!

Recent Record Review: Andrew Combs - 'Canyons of My Mind'

Recent Record Review: Andrew Combs - Canyons of My Mind

by Logan Lanphere (First Avenue Marketing Intern)

Nashville based singer-songwriter Andrew Combs is back this year with his third studio album, Canyons of My Mind, a vibrant americana record layered with Combs’ political insight. The album is perfect for a gloomy day when you’re in the mood to do some thinking.

Most tracks tend to have a somber vibe to them, and Combs doesn’t hesitate to comment on his own transgressions as well as society’s as a whole. Throughout the album the most impressive aspect is Combs’ vocal style and the way he eloquently explores his thoughts from track to track. The honesty of his writing combined with his convincing tone are especially evident in “Dirty Rain.”

Not every track on here is a downer, “Rose Colored Blues” features a little more instrumentation than the others with sweet, twangy folk melodies backing Combs. It’s a more energetic side for him, but it still holds on to the consistant mood of the record. This is where the album stretches out a bit, adding some energy and taking the record to a bigger place instrumentally. In fact, the very next track, “Better Way,” is one of the best of the entire piece.

Andrew Combs takes his stripped down folk act to another level on Canyons of My Mind as he explores the inner workings of his mind in a cathartic third effort. Electric guitar solos are sprinkled lightly throughout, always leaving the listener anticipating the next one. Andrew Combs is coming soon to the Turf Club on July 6, don’t miss this emotional journey - get your tickets now!

Local Spotlight: Jake Jones

Jake JonesBy Logan Lanphere (First Avenue Marketing Intern)

Welcome to Local Spotlight, where we have a chat with Minnesota artists coming to First Avenue venues! This week, I had the chance to talk to Jake Jones about his brand of country and his upcoming show at Turf Club July 5 with Flying Buffalos and Federales.

Jones describes his brand of country music as a sort of desert rock, with summer sing-along country tunes mixed with a southern rock edge. It’s not hard to see where this style comes from with influences like Tom Petty and Willie Nelson. More recently, Jones has been listening to bands like Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, and BJ Barham. This is what makes the music his own, blending the varied jams of his childhood and the current state of country music with his own experiences and perspective.

In working on his upcoming record, Jake acknowledges his progression in the five years he’s been songwriting and hopes to build on what he’s learned in that time. On top of that, the band is going for a more collaborative effort in the songwriting as they work on their “own time and own dime” at their studio, the Petting Zoo, with drummer August Ogren working as the producer. As Jones puts it, “I’m trying to get the other guys more involved with it (songwriting) because you kind of pigeon-hole yourself when you’re the only songwriter, sometimes it lacks creativity.” This in-house method of recording and group effort is what allows the members of the band to stay true to themselves and make the music they want to make.

Next month, you can check out the band’s take on country music and rock n roll amidst a genre that, in Jones’s mind, has “a lot of trash out there… I’m trying to dig into contemporary country that’s aunthentic to what it used to be.” Right now you can check out Jake Jones’s new music video for “Cowboy Song.” Then Head to the Turf to turn back the clock on country music with Jake Jones and his band with what they call a “party for the whiskey drinkers.”

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