Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Rupert Angeleyes trades in lo-fi for hi-fi on his new album, “Young Sunset.”

Grant Tillery

Kyle Sobczak is a basement dweller.

“I love hanging out in a basement, in my own little studio, and playing all the different instruments,” he said. “From a functional, pragmatic purpose, usually the basement is a spot where no one is occupying it. I’ve also come to identify with being in a basement because it’s like going into a cave – no windows or anything. You just go into this dark, semi-cold place and crank something out.”

Sobczak is the lead singer and instrumentalist of the one-man band Rupert Angeleyes. The project began in 2008, and he’s released three albums under the moniker. The Milwaukee native is celebrating the release of his new album, “Young Sunset,” with a Saturday show at the Triple Rock featuring his Forged Artifacts labelmates.

Rupert Angeleyes’ sound is a lo-fi haze thick as the Los Angeles smog. Sobczak’s high tenor voice evokes elements of long-forgotten ‘70s AM pop acts, but with more panache and an easygoing lilt.

“Young Sunset” takes the band’s trademark sound and makes it sleeker. Sobczak traded in his lo-fi fuzz for hi-fi polish, and he rented out string players from the Minnesota Orchestra to create a fuller musical effect. The album opens with “Jealousy,” a dead ringer for Neon Indian’s 2009 hit “Deadbeat Summer,” but with an injection of smooth ‘70s R&B vibes. It’s followed up by a number of brash, textured psych pop ditties that have a catchy jangle.

Working with musicians from the orchestra proved one of the most meaningful parts of making the album for Sobczak. He had long wanted to write a string score, and he made his dream come true thanks to his friend Elliott Kozel of Tickle Torture, who works as a stage operator at a production studio.

“They just come into the studio, plop the sheet down and are like, ‘Alright,’” Sobczak said of the orchestra musicians.

The brevity of Rupert Angeleyes’ tunes resembles that of Guided By Voices. The Dayton, Ohio, based rock band is known for its brash 90-second ditties, and Sobczak received a copy of their album “Alien Lanes” from a friend’s brother when he was 17.

“‘Alien Lanes,’ I used to always love that one,” Sobczak said. “It’s weird if you take the aesthetic of the lo-fi recordings and just have them perform live, they suddenly become like a classic rock-sounding band. I like those albums because the 27 tracks and 90-second songs seem very casual and pure at the same time.”

Synthesizers also play a large part in Sobczak’s life — he owns about a half dozen of them. It’s no surprise that he’s a fan of synth-pop pioneers the Cars, and he holds their debut album dear to his heart.

“One of the first albums that I listened to that I still listen to all the time is the Cars’ [self-titled] first album,” Sobczak said. “At the end of that record, there’s some spacey synthesizer stuff, but also I can see it connected to rockabilly and more traditional rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of those songs are three chords and remind me of Roy Orbison.”

By nature, Sobczak is nomadic. He currently lives in the closet of a house full of musicians, and he has lived out of his conversion van in the Seward neighborhood over the past year.

“[I lived in the van] in the summer and as far as I [could] in the winter; it’s also my bedroom,” Sobczak said. “I was living in there for a year or two. There’s a PlayStation 2 in the back.”

Sobczak envisions taking Rupert Angeleyes on the road for most of the year. Sobczak is planning a west coast tour and is moving to Oakland, Cal., for a couple months early next year. His lifestyle creates minimal worry and maximal freedom.

“It’s wonderfully simple because you only have to worry about getting to the next point and eating food,” Sobczak said. “In a perfect world, you’d get to the club around six and have three hours to kill, and then I could write a song in the van and then play a show.”

In the meantime, Sobczak is taking things easy. His upcoming plans include banging out an album in a two-week period and drinking inexpensive libations.

“I like all the shitty types of booze,” Sobczak said. “Peppermint schnapps, I’m into that right now. I also like shitty beer with any type of juice in it. It’s like playing a joke on yourself; it’s funny that way.”

 

Rupert Angeleyes

 

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Triple Rock Social Club, 629 S. Cedar Ave, Minneapolis

Cost: $8

Ages: 18+