The Current turns five

Unlike most fifth birthdays, The Current is celebrating with P.O.S., Lookbook, Solid Gold and more



Mark Brenden

What: The CurrentâÄôs Fifth Anniversary Party Who: P.O.S., Lookbook, Solid Gold, Twilight Hours and Mason Jennings When: 9 p.m., Jan. 29 Where: First Avenue ItâÄôs hard to believe that itâÄôs been five years since 89.3 The Current appeared on the scene, providing a high-quality intersection between the soft-voice talk of MPR and the college playlists of Radio K. If youâÄôre following Erik EriksonâÄôs stages of psychological development, age 5 is when one enters a phase called âÄúInitiative vs. Guilt,âÄù which roughly translates to âÄúAm I good or am I bad?âÄù âÄî a smart question for any enterprise to stop and ask once in a while. Given their impression on the local music scene, this stage should be less than arduous for the folks at The Current. For five years now, 89.3 has been providing an unprecedented arena for local bands to gain exposure, all while spoon-feeding Minneapolitans choice national tracks that have defined the latter half of the aughts. A&E spoke with two of the biggest acts in their lineup about birthdays, performances and their opinions on The CurrentâÄôs thermonuclear effect on Twin Cities music. P.O.S. How do you think The Current has benefitted the local music scene? I think itâÄôs been great for a lot of reasons. WeâÄôve always had Radio K playing a lot of local stuff and college music. ItâÄôs just nice to have another option, not in a way thatâÄôs competitive, but, you know, just different stuff. I donâÄôt typically listen to the radio, but when I do, I listen to a lot of talk radio, stuff like that. But when I do find myself going to The Current I also enjoy what I hear. Do you think The Current has affected your career personally? Yeah, I think so. Definitely. I mean, they play my songs. They play Doomtree songs. They play Atmosphere songs. ThatâÄôs one thing thatâÄôs really cool about them: They keep hip-hop in the mix more than youâÄôd expect them to. ItâÄôs their fifth birthday party. Do you remember your fifth birthday party? I donâÄôt. At all. I imagine I had a lot of fun âĦ and that I flipped out, because I like to flip out. You liked to flip out, huh? Do you continue to enjoy flipping out? I still like to flip out, but then I almost certainly was flipping out. Each of your albums seems to have garnered more and more acclaim and popularity. How big do you think you can get, and how big do you want to get? It all depends on my songs, and which songs come out. I donâÄôt know that I have it in me to make my music more accessible. I feel like every time it gets more popular I want to go into the studio and make it more challenging. And with that kind of mindset itâÄôs more satisfying for me, but IâÄôm not sure how big itâÄôs going to actually land me. I would love for it to pay for my whole life and pay for my sonâÄôs life and do all of that stuff. That would be amazing. I cross my fingers, but IâÄôm a very realistic person, and I know that money is very short, so I just kind of ride it and have a good time. Grant Cutler of Lookbook Who is your favorite Current personality, if you can answer that? I think weâÄôll have to say Barb Abney . SheâÄôs really sweet to us. And her and Maggie have got a fun relationship where Maggie will send her these cute e-mails and Barb will put it on the air. Do you remember what you did for your fifth birthday? [Laughs] Holy crap! I donâÄôt think so. That was a long time ago. I remember having a lot of awful birthday parties. When I was 5, it was probably mostly just family there. Right. You probably hadnâÄôt gone to Kindergarten yet, so your friend group probably wasnâÄôt quite established yet. I probably got a really sweet sweater or like some pajama pants or something like that. IâÄôm guessing my grandparents probably got me something really awful. A gift certificate or something. Yeah, a gift certificate to JCPenney or something. Who are your musical influences? We are influenced by The Knife and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And âĦ jeepers âĦ this is a really hard question. And, yeah, I mean you can throw some other ones in there too if you feel like it. WhatâÄôs next for you guys in this new decade of ours? Well, we just released an album called âÄúWild at Heart,âÄù and I think we are gonna re-release that on vinyl in February, which is really exciting. And then weâÄôre gonna go on tour a whole bunch. We are going to the East Coast, and then weâÄôre going to go down to South by Southwest and then we are going to the West Coast. My favorite part about all of this is touring. The CurrentâÄôs Top 89 Countdown, through the years 2006 1. The Decemberists – âÄúSons and DaughtersâÄù 2. The Flaming Lips – âÄúFree RadicalsâÄù 3. Gnarls Barkley – âÄúCrazyâÄù 4. The Hold Steady – âÄúMassive NightâÄù 5. Neko Case – âÄúJohn Saw That NumberâÄù 2007 1. Arcade Fire – âÄúKeep The Car RunningâÄù 2. Radiohead – âÄúJigsaw Falling Into PlaceâÄù 3. Feist – âÄú1234âÄù 4. Wilco – âÄúImpossible GermanyâÄù 5. The Shins – âÄúAustraliaâÄù 2008 1. MGMT – âÄúKidsâÄù 2. Bon Iver – âÄúFlumeâÄù 3. Atmosphere – âÄúYouâÄù 4. Vampire Weekend – âÄúMansard RoofâÄù 5. Cloud Cult – âÄúEverybody Here Is A CloudâÄù 2009 1. Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – âÄúHomeâÄù 2. Animal Collective – âÄúMy GirlsâÄù 3. The Avett Brothers – âÄúI and Love and YouâÄù 4. Phoenix – âÄú1901âÄù 5. Grizzly Bear – âÄúTwo WeeksâÄù