WHAT: Tapes âÄôN Tapes with Oberhofer and Alpha Consumer
WHEN: 8 p.m., Friday
WHERE: First Avenue Mainroom, 701 First Ave. N.
They might not be The Replacements, but thatâÄôs OK. Though a rock god he may be, Paul Westerberg canâÄôt relive the past forever, so youâÄôre probably better off forgiving him for that and paying attention to some modern Minneapolis rockage like Tapes âÄôN Tapes.
Since 2005 the local indie-rockers have materialized as one of the most consistent acts to surface from the Twin Cities pop-music scene. Achieving critical acclaim and a red-hot debut record on indie label XL Recordings (White Stripes, Titus Andronicus, The xx), the Minneapolis foursome managed to breach the barriers of hometown fame, stretching their success to the golden stage of David Letterman and their popularity to the endorsements of MTV.
This Friday their third (this time self-released) LP, âÄúOutside,âÄù can be experienced inside First Avenue, which, aside buzzed names like Oberhofer and Alpha Consumer, is likely to provide a satisfying night of local music.
âÄúAll the stuff that happened with our first album was a surprise, and beyond that, if weâÄôre trying to predict anything, itâÄôs kind of a lost pursuit,âÄù guitarist and vocalist Josh Grier said. âÄúYou never know what people are going to get excited about. But they seem to be really enjoying the new songs.âÄù
Initially distinguished by hook-heavy hits and fuzzed-out garage rock that rode on the simplicity of Josh GrierâÄôs clean pop vocals, âÄúOutside,âÄù strips the group down to its individual parts.
âÄúThese songs required a bit more space than our last records,âÄù Grier said. âÄúThatâÄôs what we were going for. You can really pick out parts, and you feel like thereâÄôs space between the instruments as opposed to a wall of sound.âÄù
Though itâÄôs a different stylistic approach for the band, âÄúOutsideâÄù still manages to sound more reminiscent of their addictive debut than to project something radically different. But this isnâÄôt a bad thing.
If all the past half-decade has done is provide a substantial amount of time for a handful of music-loving dudes to become more confident in their jam sessions, whoâÄôs complaining? The songs are still catchy. The technical solidarity of the band is stronger than ever. There is no dire necessity to break new ground.
âÄúWith each record weâÄôve made, thereâÄôs more confidence and more knowing what weâÄôre doing,âÄù Grier said. âÄúThis batch of songs just made a lot of sense.âÄù
Though theyâÄôve been positively regarded on both the local and national level, itâÄôs not always roses and sunshine for Tapes âÄôN Tapes. Because of the buzz that surrounded them in the early 2000s, the group has been deemed by critics as a âÄúblog band,âÄù something that definitely doesnâÄôt leave them smiling.
âÄúI think it just seems kind of lazy and pigeon-holey to say that,âÄù Grier said. âÄúWeâÄôre a band. We make music. We made music before blogs existed, and we will continue making music whether or not blogs pay attention to us.âÄù
In reaction to Tapes âÄôN TapesâÄô third release, this fact is undeniably clear. If the bandâÄôs most significant problem is being talked about on the Internet, then the future might not be so bad. At least theyâÄôre still talking.