One teamed with the biggest band in town for her new record, while the other assembled its biggest list of collaborators yet. Here’s an early peak at the ambitious new albums by pioneering Minnesota music makers Dessa and Polica.
DESSA, “Sound the Bells: Recorded Live at Orchestra Hall” (due out Nov. 8)
A collaboration we eagerly documented back in April, the Doomtree singer/rapper/author returned to the Orchestra Hall stage for her third set of gigs with the Minnesota Orchestra, this time with the goal of making an album out of it. Boy, did they.
“Sound the Bells” will feature 18 songs from the two-night stand, ranging from the old-school favorites “Dixon’s Girl” and “The Chaconne” on up to the brand-new song “Grade School Games.” Many of the tracks are Andy Thompson-arranged orchestral re-workings of songs from her acclaimed 2018 LP “Chime,” including “Velodrome,” for which there’s a new Mercies May-directed video that nicely reflects the new version’s elegant, crescendoing pacing.
Dessa won’t be anywhere near home to promote the album its week of release. She’ll actually be in Cardiff performing with BBC National Orchestra of Wales the night before its release (Nov. 7).
POLICA, “When We Stay Alive” (Jan. 21)
Channy Leaneagh and her crew were already deep into the making of their fourth album when the singer fell from an icy roof and broke her back in late February, an accident she said left her feeling “lucky it wasn’t worse” when we talked to her last month. Finishing the record became part of her healing process, and one role complemented the other, according to the press release announcement for “When We Stay Alive.”
The first single from the album is a haunting dark-synth track called “Driving” that apparently came from Leaneagh dreaming of being free to roam when she was confined to a bed. It was released on streaming sites along with a B-side called “Trash in Bed,” which was produced by Boyz Noize, purportedly part of the longer list of collaborators involved in the album, also including Spoon drummer Jim Eno, who mixed the collection.
Hometown fans will get a preview of the new songs when Polica returns to 7th St. Entry for two sold-out shows Nov. 26-27, underplay gigs to help set up the bigger release party next door in the First Ave main room on April 10.