In a year that already saw Run Westy Run and Semisonic release their first albums in more than two decades, another Twin Cities rock band that garnered a national buzz in the 1990s has issued its first new recordings in 24 years.
Stormy Minneapolis power trio Arcwelder posted two boisterous new songs to streaming platforms over the weekend. The tracks, "Lafayette" and "Take It Slow," each hail from a full album due Jan. 3 that was mixed by melodic crunch-rock hero J. Robbins of the influential Washington, D.C., band Jawbox.
Sibling bandmates Bill and Rob Graber and drummer/co-vocalist Scott Macdonald will also finally return to the stage Jan. 13 at the Turf Club to promote the LP with Eleganza opening. Arcwelder will play two sets that night, one spotlighting the new record and the other revisiting the old stuff.
The trio cranked out albums in the 1990s for Touch & Go Records — with fellow avant-noise labelmates including the Jesus Lizard, Butthole Surfers and Slint — but stopped making them at the turn of the century, even as the band continued to perform sporadically in the interim.
Asked the obvious question — what took so long? — Bill Graber did not really have an explanation except to say: "Probably not a coincidence that my son Jon turns 24."
"Hard to believe 24 years have passed," he said. "We have been writing songs again and really enjoying writing together again — so hopefully we will be recording another batch in late 2024."
They recorded the basic tracks for the new LP at the Terrarium in Minneapolis with the studio's owner Jason Orris, and then tweaked them over time with Robbins' help. Arcwelder toured with Robbins' Jawbox back in the day and remained mutual admirers.
"Having the opportunity to work on mixes and production with J. was something we have wanted to do for a long time and was super enjoyable," Graber said. "It reminded me of the process of working on our records 'Jacket Made in Canada,' 'Pull' and 'Xerxes' with Brian Paulson back in the 1990s — very collaborative. J. has a great ear and really gets us in terms of what we want to sound like."
Look for the final product Jan. 3 via arcwelderband.com or the group's Bandcamp page, where the two preliminary tracks are now posted. They can also be played via most streaming platforms. Recommended setting: loud.