Summer’s coming early this year if Al Church has his way. His new solo LP, Next Summer, is a suite of pop confections conjuring up carefree days of his youth. […] Like much of his past work, Next Summer has plenty of heart beneath the gloss of the dance-party jams.
Up until this point, Church had more of a rep for guitar-centric work in BBGUN, Dear Data, Al Church and State, Clustercuss, and Private Oates (a Hall and Oates cover band). He’s also been a sideman with Haley Bonar, Pink Mink, Frankie Lee, and Actual Wolf, among other local acts. “All of these other projects, I’ve been hiding behind something in a way,” Church says. “I wanted this to be more naked and revealing. I’m treating this more as my rock band — or my solo rock band. I gave myself a lot of time to do this. I didn’t have any deadline, really. And that freed me up to try anything.”
Church’s many projects kept Next Summer percolating for the past two years. After starting out modestly, the songs grew with guest vocalists Mina Moore (“The Clock”) and Gabe Douglas (“Birthday Party,” “The Clock,” “S.A.T.J.”) along with producer/synth player Matt Sandstedt during recording at the Hideaway studio in Minneapolis. The key players on the album frequently drew inspiration from a secret Google doc filled with lyric snippets and random song notes.
His lyrics are frequently as radiant as the arrangements themselves. “Turquoise Sun” is where “Memories drag on like a cigarette,” and “The Clock” might start a new dance craze. “Birthday Party” took shape when Church overheard a euphoric father and his young son in Brooklyn. “This guy was just hanging out with his kid, singing, ‘I’m coming to your birthday party! I’m coming to your birthday party!’ And I just thought, ‘That’s a song right there,'” Church reminisces with a hearty laugh. “In fact, I had to do some research to see if it was already like a Rihanna song or something.”
26 BATS! is composed of the members of music collective, Kriyative Emblems of a Blue Soul Renaissance. With their multi-genre influences including hip-hop, jazz, soul, and alternative rock, 26 BATS! creates music with no intention of boundaries of a genre. These jazz and blues trained musicians challenge their sound with their desire for sonic exploration. By using themes of self-realization and overcoming hate, this twin cities based band has full intentions of empowering and healing through the creation of music.
First known as the front-woman of ‘ethereal, synth-pop band’ Warehouse Eyes, Jennie Lawless has moved on to something more playful, earthly, and boy-less (her partner Chris Gale was the co-writer/producer in WE.) Her two-song EP Two Songs came out in early 2018. On this debut release, we hear the germ of Lawless’ sound—vocal loops, cheap synths, disarmingly direct lyrics, and—most prominently—her arresting voice. “I’m trying to unlearn the idea of music as competition,” says Lawless. “I’m just looking for a couple moments of actual connection.”
Mina Moore is a singer-song writer from Minneapolis. Her music draws from that of her upbringing, leaning heavily on soul, R&B, and inevitably, pop. Like so many of us, Mina’s pallet is ever growing, and her live performances aim to educate as much as entertain. YSHEYELLIN is Mina Moore‘s DJ guise.
NEAL PERBIX (of BBGUN)
Neal Perbix is a Minnesota native and currently lives and works in Northeast, Minneapolis. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BFA in sculpture and furniture design.