Hippo Campus

The storytelling on Hippo Campus’ new EP, Wasteland, is set against a dystopian, painterly backdrop, fragments of humanity lingering at the edges of the end. On the horizon, a tornado-like entity looms - and instead of turning away, we go forward, plunging into the storm of unknown, and remaining somehow hopeful, in spite of it all.

The five songs collected on Wasteland are totems of friendship, hardship, heartbreak, and, ultimately, perseverance. It’s dispatched from an unnamed disaster spread out across the Midwestern plains; the band was heavily inspired by country music, the way that songwriting gets straight to the point, and using that straight-forwardness, imagery, and dark humor as a vehicle for talking about the grief, loss, and love they’ve collectively experienced in the past year.

Since the very beginning, with their debut album, 2017’s Landmark, to 2022’s LP3, Minneapolis’ Hippo Campus -- made up of vocalist/guitarists Jake Luppen and Nathan Stocker, drummer Whistler Allen, bassist Zach Sutton, and trumpeter DeCarlo Jackson – have tried to make sense of the world around them. They’ve always embraced the ride, the good and bad, trudging through together, and Wasteland is the most honest version of that. Nearly a decade into being a band, Hippo Campus still embraces and is guided by the ethos of shaking it up, sonically or otherwise. Early Hippo Campus records wanted to be cerebral, heady, to use poetic language and obscure their feelings – now, they want to be understood.

Wasteland was recorded with longtime friend and collaborator Caleb Wright (Samia, Miloe, Baby Boys), and is the first batch of new music from Hippo Campus since the release of LP3. The songs were written mainly in Minneapolis, then recorded at Asheville’s Drop of Sun studios. It marks a new chapter for the band – embracing simplicity and hands-off, pared-back production. LP3 and Good Dog, Bad Dream skewed more experimental and glitchy, maximalist and unpredictable, but here the band wanted to get back to the core of their songs. With this EP, they capture the energy of the five of them playing live in a room. The demos seamlessly flowed into the final product – Hippo Campus wanted the way they felt while recording to be immediately accessible to anyone who listened, so they embraced simplicity.

The EP is adventurous, and runs the gamut of genre, but the hook-laden songwriting and weirdo pop peeks through. “Moonshine” is a post-apocalyptic indie-country love song, written by Luppen and his partner Raffaella; it’s about falling in love with a world on fire, a final Tennessean sunset, deceptively upbeat. “Probably,” a spacious and low-key ballad was recorded in just three takes and is acoustic guitar-forward, while “Kick in the Teeth” feels more psychedelia-imbued. “Honeysuckle,” also known as honeyberry, is a plant that can endure extreme winter conditions – and is the song that directly addresses the hardship of perseverance most directly, a distillation of the idea that canopies across the whole EP.

The sinewy “Yippie Ki Yay” might be the outlier in its energy, in its anthemic encapsulation of loneliness. It’s a sprawling, cinematic track powered by propulsive drumming, high energy, and penned as a full group. Built on a guitar riff that had originally floated around as an idea during their Landmark era but didn’t make the album, the final version today is the sort of song the band would’ve only dreamed of writing at the beginning of their career. Now, all these years later, it's an exciting encapsulation of Hippo at what they do best – of a band operating at the height of their powers.

Past Shows


Jun
24
th
2023
Bayfront Festival Park
Jun
24
th
2023
Bayfront Festival Park

Hippo Campus

with Miloe and WHY NOT
Apr
23
rd
2022
Armory
Apr
23
rd
2022
Armory

Hippo Campus

with Ginger Root
Aug
18
th
2021
Bayfront Festival Park
Aug
18
th
2021
Bayfront Festival Park

Water Is Life ⏤ Stop Line 3

Hosted by Winona LaDuke
with Bon Iver, Mumu Fresh, Hippo Campus and more!
Oct
22
nd
2020
NoonChorus
Oct
22
nd
2020
NoonChorus

Hippo Campus

DREAM STREAMS
Oct
15
th
2020
NoonChorus
Oct
15
th
2020
NoonChorus

Hippo Campus

DREAM STREAMS
Feb
1
st
2020
Mainroom
Feb
1
st
2020
Mainroom

Andrew Broder

with Hippo Campus, Marijuana Deathsquads, Dizzy Fae and more!
Nov
24
th
2018
Palace Theatre
Nov
24
th
2018
Palace Theatre
Nov
23
rd
2018
Palace Theatre
Nov
23
rd
2018
Palace Theatre
Feb
17
th
2018
Palace Theatre
Feb
17
th
2018
Palace Theatre

Hippo Campus

with Sure Sure
Jul
8
th
2017
Bayfront Festival Park
Jul
8
th
2017
Bayfront Festival Park

Hippo Campus with Poliça

with Low, Remo Drive and J.S. Ondara
Mar
12
th
2017
Mainroom
Mar
12
th
2017
Mainroom

Hippo Campus

with Magic City Hippies
Mar
11
th
2017
Mainroom
Mar
11
th
2017
Mainroom

Hippo Campus

with THE HAPPY CHILDREN
Dec
17
th
2016
Mainroom
Dec
17
th
2016
Mainroom

Low

with Hippo Campus, Gaelynn Lea, ERIK BERRY Irish American and more!
Jul
9
th
2016
Bayfront Festival Park
Jul
9
th
2016
Bayfront Festival Park

Trampled by Turtles

with Hippo Campus, The Cactus Blossoms, The Pines and more!
Feb
5
th
2016
Clyde Iron Works
Feb
5
th
2016
Clyde Iron Works

Hippo Campus

with Cherry Cola
Nov
28
th
2015
Mainroom
Nov
28
th
2015
Mainroom

Hippo Campus

with Bad Bad Hats and Danger Ron & the Spins
Sep
29
th
2015
Turf Club
Sep
29
th
2015
Turf Club

JR JR

with Hippo Campus
Mar
20
th
2015
Holy Mountain
Mar
20
th
2015
Holy Mountain

Midwest Day Party 2015 ( Austin, TX )

with Allan Kingdom, Prof, Mike Mictlan and more!
Jan
23
rd
2015
Mainroom
Jan
17
th
2015
Mainroom
Jan
17
th
2015
Mainroom

FIRST AVENUE’S BEST NEW BANDS OF 2014

with Hippo Campus, PaviElle, Sam Cassidy and more!

More Shows

Jun
25
th
7th St Entry

Barely Trev

with Chase Elliott and Izek Rose
Jun
16
th
Turf Club

Emily Nenni

Jun
12
th
Turf Club

Arkansauce

Aug
6
th
7th St Entry

Shallow Alcove

with Hana Eid