"Empire Inward" by Stnnng.


Chris Koza

Jeff Wheeler , Star Tribune

Stnnng. photo/artwork by Hannah Haugberg


Local music notes: Another Stnnng album

  • Star Tribune
  • February 21, 2013 - 8:46 PM

Long one of the Twin Cities’ greatest purveyors of MC5-style sonic bombast, the Stnnng has added quite a fab incentive — as in Beatles “fab” — for fans to buy a vinyl edition of their new album. Likewise, they’ve come up with a rather clever idea for a multi-location release party on Saturday.

Twelve-inch copies of “Empire Inward,” the quintet’s fourth and best record (no question), feature sonic remastering done at the one and only Abbey Road Studio. The guys spent an off day there during their December trek to England to perform at the Shellac-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. That’s after they had already recorded the tracks in Chicago with Shellac’s own Steve Albini at the helm — you know, the guy who produced “In Utero” and “Surfer Rosa.” It was Albini who was brash enough to suggest they finish it at Abbey Road.

“Whatever you imagine it to be like, it’s 10 times cooler,” raved bassist Jesse Kwakenat, who tried to explain the complex technical reasons why the vinyl vs. digital mastering had to be different (the latter was done locally by Dave Gardner). More to the point, he said, they really do sound different, “but in all honesty I like them both for different reasons.”

There’s certainly plenty to like in the digital version I heard. Ben Ivascu’s tensely paced drum parts come through like thunder pouring off frontman Chris Besinger’s forever-furrowed brow, and those guitars could fry an egg. As for Saturday’s festivities, the band will kick it off at the Turf Club around 9 p.m. and end the night down the street at Big V’s, site of the first Stnnng gig 10 years ago. The Turf lineup will feature reunions of Signal to Trust and Vampire Hands, while Gay Witch Abortion and Buildings will be at Big V’s. Please, though: No “Abbey Road” album-cover re-creation attempts when crossing Snelling Avenue.

Random mix

Chris Koza has gone back to high school. The Rogue Valley frontman — already one of the more adept indie tunesmiths at incorporating strings into his music — spent the past month rehearsing at Hopkins High School with the student orchestra. The end results can be seen in a concert at the school’s auditorium Friday (7:30 p.m., $5-$7). …

Classic country greats Trailer Trash and the Cactus Blossoms, the Roe Family Singers, Brass Messengers, Fire Roast Mountain Boys and more will perform Saturday at the Minneapolis Eagles Club, 2507 E. 25th St., to raise money to rebuild the historic Walker United Methodist Church, which was consumed by a fire last May (3-11 p.m., $10-$15, tickets on sale at Electric Fetus). …

The finalists in’s fourth annual Are You Local? contest have been chosen: Electonic pop-rockers Carroll, folky indie trio Bad Bad Hats and rowdy hip-hop bros Audio Perm will compete in the March 1 showcase at Mill City Nights, with Solid Gold and Sims headlining. … The 2011 AYL? winners, the 4onthefloor, will roll out their second album with an April 6 party at First Avenue, preceded by an April 4 Turf Club gig for fans who pre-order via Never mind that the record is called “Spirit of Minneapolis” and the Turf is across the river. …

Remember Reed Grimm? The Shoeless Revolution singer/drummer who made it halfway through last year’s “American Idol” season returns to the Cabooze on Wednesday with a new band, Grimtronix (10 p.m., $7). Yep, horrible name. … The same set of Cabooze regulars who helmed last month’s Pink Floyd tribute at the Parkway Theater — where their use of “The Wizard of Oz” was denied last-minute by the studio — perform again Thursday at the Cabooze without any film and with a moniker, Momentary Lapse of Floyd (9:30 p.m., $7). This time, they’re playing the best Floyd albums in its entirety. Yep, “Wish You Were Here.”

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