New local bands, releases

by Dan Haugen

We’re only a month into 2002 and there’s already a few bands I’d like to nominate for “Best New Band of 2002.” The newly-founded Kingdom of Ghosts, led by former Glenrustle Glen Mattson, play at the Terminal Bar on Thursday with Shit-Fi and Howlin’ Andy Hound. Their 14-song, garage-y demo deserves at least some of the buzz that The White Stripes generated here locally.

Also on Thursday, Snails and Firetrucs play sursumcorda. Snails sound like a matured version of its member’s previous projects, Guzzard, King Can and Cooper. The trio has been playing live since this fall and released a seven-inch on Learning Curve Records this winter. Firetrucs released their first full-length, Space Loaf, in December. Among the gushy reviews posted on the Firetruc’s website ( is a quote from Veruca Salt‘s Louise Post, who says, “Firetrucs are my favorite new band… Expect to be floored.” Fittingly, the Firetrucs’ grungy-pop sounds as though it was written when people still cared about who Veruca Salt were. That’s a good thing in my book, but then again, I still wear flannel, have a Nirvana poster on my wall and own more than one Foo Fighters CD.

There are two new Internet-only releases to report this week. The first, least official of the two, comes from the noisy, now defunct band capital!capital, who recently uploaded twelve previously unreleased tracks to their page. The songs were due out on a full-length release when the band broke-up in mid-2000.

The second online release comes from St. Paul staples Grotto. After half a decade on the scene, the young trio still shows no signs of staleness. In fact, the new batch of songs might be their best yet. The ingredients aren’t too different from their two previous CDs. Over the 18-and-a-half-minute rampage, distorted vocals buzz over chunky guitar, rattling bass and thundering tom-driven percussion. The seven songs culminate with “Let’s Roll,” three minutes of rocking-out to last week’s State of the Union address by the President. (The recording and mastering was just finished by Mike Wisti last Friday.)

The new untitled EP, as well as last year’s Sicker Liquor EP, is available for free download at

Singer/guitarist Chris Mishek said lack of time and money were the main reasons for doing an Internet-only release. It’s possible that the songs might find their way onto a tangible release sometime this summer.

Grotto plays the Turf Club Wednesday night in what will be one of their last shows for several months. This weekend drummer Jeff Brown departs on a four-month tour with Sean Na Na.

Sean Na Na’s new disc My Majesty has now been pushed back from its original February 12th release date to March 4th. Their show Friday at the Turf Club is still being billed as a CD release show though, and will be the only chance for Twin Cities fans to buy the disc before it hits stores next month. Sean Na Na headlines with Exercise and Detachment Kit. Sean Na Na will also play live in-studio on Radio K’s Off the Record this Friday between 4:00 and 5:45 p.m.

The Beatifics celebrate the relase of their first new CD in five years this Saturday at the Turf Club. The five-song EP pretty much picks up where 1996’s How I Learned to Stop Worrying left-off: jangly, toe-tapping pop that recalls both The Beatles and Alex Chilton. What has changed is the band’s line-up. Now featuring just one original member, singer-songwriter Chris Dorn, the band also boasts producer Jacques Wait on bass, Eric Kassel of the Magnolias and Viovoom on guitar and Divorcee drummer Sean Hoffman on the sticks. The group is readying for a new full-length release called The Way We Never Were sometime this spring.

Dan Haugen is the Lens music editor. Please send comments and correspondence to [email protected].