Left of the Dial

Local electro-pop outfit Dial-Up will be releasing their debut album with a show at the Kitty Cat Klub this Saturday.

Dial-Up's Aila O’Loughlin, left,  Andrew Jansen, center,  and XXXXX will be preforming at their CD release shows this weekend at the Kitty Cat Klub and the Loring Pasta Bar.

Dial-Up’s Aila O’Loughlin, left, Andrew Jansen, center, and XXXXX will be preforming at their CD release shows this weekend at the Kitty Cat Klub and the Loring Pasta Bar.

Raghav Mehta


What: Dial-Up CD release with Buffalo Moon, Phantom Tails and Slapping Purses

Where: Kitty Cat Klub, 313 14th Ave. SE, Minneapolis

When: 9 p.m., Saturday

Cost: $5, 21+

Andrew Jansen and Aila O’Loughlin have a busy year ahead of them.

The two local rockers make up one half of the electro-pop outfit Dial-Up and are prepping for their CD release party taking place this Saturday. They’re also getting married in August. Oh, and O’Loughlin’s eight-months pregnant with the couple’s child.

Formed almost two years ago following the dissolution of Jansen’s former pop-rock three-piece A Paper Cup Band, Dial-Up is a refreshing change of pace for the industrious songwriter. The group’s full-length debut “Landlines” is a solid slab of digitally based pop music that pairs Jansen’s uncanny gift for melody and hook with lush soundscapes. Each song on the record is deftly arranged so that, despite the sheer abundance of bells and whistles riddling the album, it never ends up sounding cluttered or overambitious.

Whether it’s in the studio or on stage, the band’s endured their fair share of creative growing pains. All those seemingly minor flourishes of reverb and delay didn’t come easily while recording.

“With a synthesizer there’s so much you can do,” Jansen said. “There’s a lot of undertones on the album that you wouldn’t really notice, but there will be ambient parts that took like four or five hours — just one single thing.”

There are moments on “Landlines” that will feel like home for synth junkies, but Dial-Up isn’t simply a byproduct of ’80s nostalgia. From the infectiously catchy “Metal” to the melancholic “True Love,” the album’s busy atmospherics sometimes recall the hodge-podge mentality of alt-rock visionaries like Damon Albarn and Beck. It’d be superficial to call Dial-Up electronica. There’s simply way more going on here than just some flashy synth grooves.

“[Jansen] wanted it to sound, like, ‘decade-less,’”**** explained O’Loughlin, who plays synths. “He didn’t want it to sound like the ’50s or the ’70s or the ’90s. He just wanted it to sound like every decade.”

Considering just how sonically dense Dial-Up’s music can be, translating the material into a live performance posed as a challenge early on — especially with the absence of a bass player. The band’s bassist, Jesse Schuster, who also performs with Caroline Smith and Lucy Michelle, can get preoccupied with his various obligations. It took some time to adjust, but Jansen and his cohorts have taken all the necessary precautions to compensate.

“There are just certain songs you don’t play when there’s no bass,” Jansen explained. “We have enough songs at this point where you can feel the room and it’s like, alright, this isn’t going to be that kind of show. It’s going to be a little more punk or something; we’re going to play certain songs that are more based on my energy and being rowdy and having the tambourine and really be the presence.”