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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Is/Is is happening

Three rockin’ best friends give countless reasons to dig their music.
Is/Is is happening
Image by Submitted Photo

What: Is/Is

When: Nov. 19

Where: Cause, 3001 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis


ThereâÄôs no time like the present. Following that strain of logic, thereâÄôs no time like the present to develop a healthy crush on local rock trio Is/Is. Riding on the fringe benefits of their 2010 Picked to Click recognition, their enthusiasm is at a high point, their live shows are super-charged and the music itself is addictive.

Is/Is marks a musical merger that was completely unplanned. Close to a year and a half ago, Sarah Nienaber, having established herself within the scene playing with Gospel Gossip, was asked to deliver a solo performance. As it happened, her buddy Sarah Rose ended up sharing her spotlight. The success of the resulting jam sessions left the pair searching for the final piece to the rock âÄònâÄô roll puzzle, a drummer. Enter Mara Appel.

âÄúIt was kind of like an accident how we started, but it was really fun so we kept going,âÄù said guitarist and vocalist Rose.

Since then, productivity has yielded positive results for the charming trio. TheyâÄôve recorded an EP, âÄúThis Happening,âÄù they placed fourth in this yearâÄôs Picked to Click and perhaps most importantly, theyâÄôve become a true family.

âÄúWeâÄôre all best friends at this point and I think that the chemistry that you get playing music with your two best girl friends is really special,âÄù Rose said. âÄúItâÄôs kind of like weâÄôre all sisters.âÄù

The sisterhood aesthetic is clear within their soundscape, which is characterized by atmospheric waves of distorted guitar, matched with the drowsy vocals of Sarah Rose. They emanate a modern female interpretation of Pixies-esque alt-rock, embracing all of its moody glory. ItâÄôs reverb-heavy and thereâÄôs something disorderly about it, yet it never reaches the edge of chaos. The force of their inherent understanding of each other as musicians holds everything together, allowing the listener to simply absorb the sounds.

âÄúThis Happening,âÄù comprised of four sprawling, gritty tracks, highlights the bandâÄôs deep-rooted songwriting ability. ItâÄôs not forced, itâÄôs not over-thought and it radiates a simplicity thatâÄôs established their reputation for the better.

âÄúThis HappeningâÄù might not have even existed if not for encouragement of Red Pens front man Howard Hamilton, who played a huge role in the production of the EP.

âÄúWe didnâÄôt really know each other before,âÄù Rose said. âÄúWe probably wouldnâÄôt have even recorded at that point if he hadnâÄôt have been so interested.âÄù

Well, they did. And with the recording theyâÄôve successfully breached the surface of the local music radar. Now Minneapolitans can anticipate a second EP, not far on the horizon. This time around, the girls are approaching the production end of things a little differently.

âÄúI kind of want to see what it sounds like with me being in charge,âÄù Rose said.

Either way, the noise-bending gals have proved their worth, ensuring âÄî for now âÄî their 15 minutes of Minneapolis fame.

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