Doing it digital

The synth-pop trio Dial-Up are releasing their debut EP at the Hexagon this Thursday.

Dial-Up members Aila O’Loughlin (top left), Elliott Snyder (bottom middle), and Andrew Jansen (top right) pose for a picture outside a friend’s house Friday afternoon in Minneapolis.

Erin Westover

Dial-Up members Aila O’Loughlin (top left), Elliott Snyder (bottom middle), and Andrew Jansen (top right) pose for a picture outside a friend’s house Friday afternoon in Minneapolis.

Raghav Mehta

WHAT: Dial-Up EP release show with Phantom Tails and Buffalo Moon

WHERE: Hexagon Bar, 2600 27th Avenue South 

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 10

COST: Free

When Minneapolis pop-rock trio A Paper Cup Band disbanded last summer, few really took notice. Now while the Twin Cities music scene is routinely celebrated for its diversity and richness, sometimes its thriving nature leads to an overflow that can leave even the cityâÄôs most deft musicians lost in the crowded mix of noise.

A Paper Cup Band ended up being one of the more disappointing casualties of this unfortunate circumstance. But that didnâÄôt crush guitarist and songwriter Andrew JansenâÄôs spirit or stifle his creative drive.

JansenâÄôs latest three-piece project, Dial-Up, is a digital dose of lo-fi arcade-pop that reaffirms the songwriterâÄôs inherent knack for simple âÄô90s-esque melodies.

Starting last September, Jansen plays alongside his girlfriend and keyboardist Aila OâÄôLoughlin and drummer Elliott Snyder. Dial-Up originally cut their teeth as a duo, with Jansen and OâÄôLoughlin playing a string of shows in Europe and the eastern Mediterranean before returning to the states to record and release their new EP âÄúSeller Door.âÄù

In the aftermath of his last bandâÄôs break-up, Jansen was exploring new mediums of sound, tinkering with drum machines and synthesizers. He was driven to create beat-oriented music, citing obscure European pop as his biggest influence in the course of writing the EP.

On âÄúSeller DoorâÄù JansenâÄôs distorted vocals drawl over a warble of retro-synths and fuzzed-out bass grooves. ItâÄôs accessible, catchy and sometimes even reminiscent of the soundtrack of your favorite childhood Nintendo game.

âÄúWith Paper Cup, people would say it was kind of like a punk vibe I guess,âÄù Jansen said. âÄúThis kind of has that in it but IâÄôd like to think [Dial-Up] is more grindy and hip-hop, like it makes you want to dance more rather than just shove people.âÄù

Perhaps the trioâÄôs greatest feat comes with the EPâÄôs closer: a (surprisingly good) tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the oft-maligned Dave MatthewâÄôs hit âÄúCrash Into Me.âÄú

âÄúWe were talking about songs that are aesthetically bad, but could have good substance in them,âÄù Jansen said. âÄúWhen you take that song and put it into pieces, itâÄôs actually a really well-done songâÄù

Dial-UpâÄôs debut not only illustrates JansenâÄôs consistency, but also his versatility as a songwriter. From the feel-good bounce of âÄúI Feel Like Metal When I Talk to YouâÄù to the ethereal Blur-like britpop of âÄúRubstep,âÄù the album flows seamlessly without missing a beat anywhere in-between.

With the DessaâÄôs and Jeremy MessersmithâÄôs still dominating local airwaves, Jansen might not be the most celebrated songwriter in the Twin Cities right now but heâÄôs certainly the best one you havenâÄôt heard of (yet).