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Keeping the music in your hands

Shoegaze post-punk trio, Strange Relations, strive to connect with fans on a deeper level.
Strange Relations will play at the Kitty Cat Klub on Saturday.
Image by Patricia Grover
Strange Relations will play at the Kitty Cat Klub on Saturday.

Casey Sowa and Marisa Helgeson don’t care much for trends in popular music. They’ve been expressing themselves through their shoegaze brainchild, Strange Relations, since moving from Philadelphia to the Twin Cities.

The project began as an offshoot of Post Post, a band Sowa and Helgeson played in together at Bryn Mawr College. When her parents moved from Washington, D.C., to Minneapolis, Sowa transferred to the University of Minnesota, and Helgeson later joined her.

Strange Relations’ meager, DIY beginnings have stuck with the band as they hone their craft.

They self-released a six-song EP, “Ghost World,” in March 2013. The EP features dreamy, atmospheric jams with strains of Bloc Party and the Cure. It was released on cassette and included a handmade lyric booklet created by Sowa and Helgeson.

“We feel like that tactile element is important to having a more meaningful relationship with the music you’re consuming,” Helgeson said.

With an electronic-driven sound, Strange Relations doesn’t cheat during their live shows.

“We’re trying to keep the laptop off the stage. That’s important to us,” Sowa said.

With the addition of guitarist Nate Hart-Andersen last summer, the band said their live shows have stepped up significantly.

“When Nate joined up is when things started really clicking,” Sowa said.

Hart-Anderson brings a new style to the writing process that carries over to the new record. The 11-track album will show off a darker, more focused sound.

“It needs to be engaging on the front end … but ideally, it should also reward paying closer attention,” Hart-Anderson said.

The first single from the album, “Very White Teeth,” will drop in March.

Sowa, the band’s chief songwriter and self-proclaimed manager, is happy with the direction Strange Relations is going.

“When you’re in a three-piece, it really forces you to strip everything back and focus on the necessities,” Sowa said.

The band would like to make a career out of their music, but they need time to sharpen their live show. The new record, while fully tracked, will be pushed back to next year so they can gain touring experience. While Strange Relations love the DIY scene, they want to release their full-length on a label.

Label support would provide relief from the hours of research Sowa does while booking the band’s April tour — their first to the East Coast.

“We’ll take advantage of support if we can get it,” Helgeson said.


What: Strange Relations
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Kitty Cat Klub, 315 SE 14th Ave., Minneapolis
Cost: $5
Age: 21+


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