Posts Tagged ‘St Paul’

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St. Paul, Minnesota indie foursome Hippo Campus have dropped their first new material since last autumn’s ‘warm glow’ EP and earlier ‘Landmark’ full-length.

Titled ‘Passenger’, the stand-alone track is out now via Transgressive Records.

Passenger was written in the winter of 2017 after the first four months of touring on landmark,” says singer/guitarist Jake Luppen. “Lyrically the themes deal with the challenges of growing alongside the person you love. For this song in particular I tried to challenge myself to write a more complex chord progression to sing to. I started off with a TR-8 groove and the rest followed pretty naturally.”

Haley Bonar, 'Impossible Dream'

Don’t let the title of Haley Bonar’s seventh album fool you into mistaking this St. Paul singer-songwriter for some quixotic optimist. From the regretfully resigned “hometown goes wherever you go” to the wistfully self-deprecating “I was impossible when I was beautiful,” the past clings heavily to her lyrics, an unwelcome anchor that her band’s warmly churning guitars, subtle keyboard ripples and forthright beat battle to dislodge. The characters who populate these songs have varying degrees of success in leaving yesterday behind – Bonar repeats the title of “I Can Change” in a futile attempt to convince herself, but ends the album with a full-throated, and at least momentarily credible, chant of “You can be whatever you like.” Reverbed into soft-focus, Bonar’s voice radiates out from the mix in a manner that suits lines open-ended and allusive enough to read your own history into or as cryptic as an overheard conversation between strangers.

Bad Bad Hats perform “Midway” off their new album ‘Psychic Reader’ live in The Current studio.

Psychic Reader earned Minneapolis’ Bad Bad Hats praise from critics all over the country. With the catchy single “Midway” is equal parts honest and accessible, all frontwoman Kerry Alexander could have hoped for as she revealed in a session for Current Radio by her band Bad Bad Hats. The Twin Cities music scene is bursting with young talent like indie-rock trio Bad Bad Hats. Bandmates Kerry Alexander and Chris Hoge met at Macalester College in St. Paul and started writing songs together in 2010; bassist Noah Boswell joined in 2012. This summer, Bad Bad Hats released its full-length debut, Psychic Reader. Find their full interview and performance, recorded live at The Current,

Bad Bad Hats.

The upstart four-piece that met in art school in St. Paul may be as fresh-faced and wide-eyed as they come, but this summer they’re going to have to get used to success. Thus far they only have a six-song EP to their name, but lead single “Suicide Saturday” has the precise kind of ebullient catchiness characteristic of the most infectious summertime anthems. When we put the band in a room to record a stripped-down version of the track at uShip’s Austin headquarters, the band was gearing up for a few more SXSW performances followed by their first national tour, which will include a stop at Lollapalooza.

“It’s overwhelming a little bit,” they said about the prospect of hitting the road. “Minnesota has awesome venues and awesome fans, but it’s a dream to be able to go across the world and check out all the other places we could possibly branch out to.”

The enthusiasm in their performance for us was so genuine that it didn’t surprise us in the slightest when, suddenly, a week later they made their national television debut on Conan. It’s an achievement not many bands claim during their first trip to the West Coast, but if you’ve got the goods, you’ve got the goods, and we dare you to listen “Suicide Saturday” without it getting lodged in your head. Summer can’t come soon enough.

Watch our exclusive live session with Hippo Campus from SXSW below.


Bashful Creatures is an unabashedly fun guitar pop record that only grows more rich with each listen. Alright, listen. What I’m trying to say is that it’s pretty much perfect.Favorite track: “Suicide Saturday”. 

Four-piece rock band Hippo Campus, made up of ’13 grads from a charter high school in St. Paul, managed to emerge with a debut song and video that are at a higher quality than many of the veteran bands performing around town.

“There’s so much talent in younger bands nowadays,” says Jake Luppen, who leads Hippo Campus along with co-frontman and guitarist Nathan Stocker. “We have a bunch of friends who are doing the high school thing like we were doing last year. They’re all really talented, but it seems like a lot of venues prey on the fact that they’re so young, and make them sell a bunch of tickets. It’s a really big problem. These booking agencies, they don’t compensate for performances. You play shows for free unless you sell a bunch of tickets.” the band feed off of each other’s frenetic, restless energy. The band met up between recording sessions for their almost-finished debut album, The Halocline, which is being produced by the guitarist Dustin Kiel (who most frequently performs with Dessa), and are clearly raring to get back into the studio to knock out the last few takes and start mixing it into the final product. Though they have only been performing together for a year, the four musicians in Hippo Campus have already spent time refining their skills in other bands—Lussen and bassist Zach Sutton played together in Whistle Kid, while Stocker and Allen were in a band called Northern. The four met up at the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and became fast friends, which eventually led to them forming an exciting new project.

On the band’s one and only single, “Little Grace,” Sutton leads the quartet through a buoyant, beachy guitar jam that could easily be mistaken for a Vampire Weekend B-side, if only because his voice closely mirrors Ezra Koenig’s tone and inflection. But just don’t tell the band that they share similarities with that chart-topping indie band.

In reality, the band says the are most influenced by Bombay Bicycle Club, Last Dinosaurs, Little Comets, and the defunct Manchester group WU LYF, who also had an enduring philosophical impact on Hippo Campus.