If you think the music that Minneapolis band Oaks makes is all about death, you'd be only half right. The husband-and-wife duo play music that's stripped down to the sparest, simplest parts possible. No doubt there's something a little ominous about the drone of their songs. But through the shadows there are flashes of light in Oaks' music, too — warm, bright moments that are anything but morbid. "A lot of it is celebratory to me," says Oaks' bassist, Jim Kolles. "People tell us we sound really dark, but when we're writing it feels really cathartic and positive." He makes a clenching motion with his hands, and pushes his long hair behind his ears. "It's about death," he adds, "but in a getting-through-it kind of way."

Kolles's wife, Erica Krumm, sits nearby on a futon in their south Minneapolis apartment. She has red hair and jewelry slung around her neck and wrists, and she sings and plays guitar in Oaks. [...] The couple have been together for nearly 15 years, and played in different bands for almost that whole time — Krumm most recently in punk band Sharp Teeth, and Kolles in metal band Children of Euler. Yet Oaks is the first project that they've ever worked on together. "We always thought it was really good to do things separately. We're pretty independent as a couple, and we've tried to maintain a lot of separate stuff as well as stuff that we do together, which has been really good," admits Krumm. "But this was just like, 'Oh shit, this is really fun and really clicking for both of us. Let's just run with it.'" [City Pages, February 2013]