Twin Cities, here’s one of Yer best new bands

Scene newcomers Yer Cronies are establishing their delightful drone throughout the metro

by Jay Boller

Yer Cronies Album: When I Grow Up Label: Unsigned What is there to say about a band with one release, no label and little name recognition? Well, in the case of Yer Cronies, quite a bit. Already being touted as “Minneapolis’ next big band” by more than a couple local media outlets, Yer Cronies are poised to be barraged with buzz as their debut LP, “When I Grow Up,” gets more and more spins. Hailing from Apple Valley, the year-old quartet’s record is a swirling mesh of droning vocals, experimental guitars and haunting keys. Think a Thom York-fronted My Morning Jacket with little to no emphasis on country. If that sounds like a refreshing break from indie scenes that routinely churn out lo-fi Yo La Tengo clones at a laughable pace, rest assured, it is.

“When I Grow Up” is a surprisingly well-rounded first effort. There’s certainly some identity searching that can be heard, but for a first release – by a slightly experimental band, no less – that’s not the worst thing in the world. For the most part, it’s an ethereal whirl that’s moody, atmospheric and earnest.

Vocally, the band is sure to receive a nauseatingly high volume of Radiohead comparisons but that’s not without warrant. On “In Absentia” Yer Cronies could almost pay royalties to the band, but that’s not a bad thing. The spastic guitar takes a backseat to some eerie piano and even some honest-to-goodness harmonica shredding.

The disc’s strongest track, “Sacramentosaurus,” begins with the guitars doing a fuzzy stomp and the keys merrily plucking. From there, there’s an effortless swerve into a vocal-driven hook about dinosaurs and graveyards that’s a welcome tempo shift from the song’s equally appealing beginning. If Murder by Death had a more pleasant name and perkier leanings, “Kerouac” may very well be their first recording. It’s a toe-tapping number about – you guessed it – traveling. And for whatever reason, “Kerouac” carries on the rich tradition of indie bands obsessing over beat authors. Who knows why?

For a crash course in what Yer Cronies is all about, simply absorb the final track “On + On.” The six-minute-plus song spans the entire Yer Cronies sonic spectrum, from the drones to the pop. It borders on exhaustive, but is a solid track nonetheless. Casey Garvey’s constant vowel-stretching vocals can become grating on extended listens, but overall, “When I Grow Up” is an almost overwhelmingly strong debut.

A&E met up with Yer Cronies after their sound check at 7th Street Entry. The conversation started out musical but quickly shifted to chemicals. In similar fashion, the band started out drinking High Life, but quickly shifted to Jameson.

How’d Yer Cronies get started?

Greg Reese: A little more than a year ago, we had all just gotten back from a different city, Chicago, and we wanted to start a band. We just really wanted to play with each other.

You guys are about to release your album. Do you like it?

Michael Brown: Yeah, it’s awesome.

Describe it. Describe your sound.

Garvey: We cover a lot of different styles. That really doesn’t tell you anything. I always tell people rock ‘n’ roll, but that doesn’t make sense.

Who are your influences? If that’s not too generic of a question Ö

Brown: It kind of is. (Laughs) Each other. Our friendship. Our parents.

Band of Horses is mentioned a lot in articles about you guys. What’s the association with them?

Reese: Ben from Band of Horses is a friend of ours. He’s a good guy and likes the band.

Who do you guys play with locally?

Brown: You’re looking at ’em. (Gestures toward The Van Gobots, one of the night’s opening groups.)

Reese: There’s Gospel Gossip; they’re cool. And then just kinda random “never play with ’em again” bands.

(Paul Schilmoeller, Mixer/Recorder of “When I Grow Up,” offers up a question): What is the favorite beer of Yer Cronies?

Collectively: Ooo. (As if taken aback by the question)

Schilmoeller: I thought this might get a reaction.

Jared Isabella: I go for Rebel Yell. It’s a straight Kentucky Bourbon. It’s cheap, smooth and nice.

Garvey: Black Label (He pronounced it like Patti LaBelle, minus the “Patti”)

You call it “LaBelle”? It’s not a classy beer Ö

Garvey: No, no. It’s a French beer. (The opinions and facts of this commentary do not reflect the beliefs of A&E regarding which countries beers come from.)

Collectively: Basically, PBR Ö Premium.

Was the recording process enjoyable?

Isabella: It was really fun at times and really tedious at times. But the guy who did the recording, we HATE him. (Looks directly at Schimoeller.)