It was this time of year seven years ago – right before the South by Southwest Music Conference -- when Josh Grier was at the center of a buzz storm with Tapes N’ Tapes. The band’s frenetic frontman quietly put TNT on hold last year for an extended hiatus after touring like a madman since 2005, and fans will have the chance to see what he’s been up to in the interim on Saturday. Grier’s new band, Ginkgo, is making its live debut that night at the Icehouse in Minneapolis (11 p.m., $10, click here for info).
On record, the electronically addled act is mostly all Grier with support from TNT drummer Jeremy Hanson. The pair already has a full album and EP in the can, which were just sent off for mastering last week. On stage, Gingko will turn into quite an all-star lineup, with both Hansons – Jeremy and his guitar-wiz brother Jake (the Pines, Solid Gold, Halloween, Alaska) -- plus Rob Skoro (a reputable songwriter in his own right) and Communist Daughter’s Adam Switlick. Grier has kept a lid on the music and kept mum heretofore about what to expect, which makes Saturday’s show all the more intriguing.
If that’s not enough, though, the Icehouse gig will also serve as a release party for another all-star cluster band, Gramma’s Boyfriend. That’s the freak-frazzled dance-rock quintet featuring Haley Bonar at her wildest and winkingest, shock-and-owww guitar work by Jeremy Ylvisaker and – guess who? – Jake Hanson, plus Michael Lewis (Happy Apple, Bon Iver) and Luke Anderson (Rogue Valley). Their debut album, “The Human Eye,” is coming out on vinyl via psychedelic Georgia label Graveface. The band recently shot a video centered around the Clown Lounge for the album’s two opening tracks, “I Have This Feeling” and “Shuger Crush!” (posted below).