Nighttime melodies

Minneapolis band Lunar Bedrooms enters the studio to record their first full-length LP.

Lunar Bedrooms rehearse in their basement practice space on July 3.

Alex Tuthil-Preus

Lunar Bedrooms rehearse in their basement practice space on July 3.

by Joe Cristo

The first thing you notice about Lunar Bedrooms is that there is no drummer. 

“It leaves a lot of room on stage,” said bassist Alex McCormick.  “Which is good because then there’s more room for [vocalist Luke Darger] to dance.”

Lunar Bedrooms was founded in January 2015. The seed of the band was planted when guitarist Austin McLaughlin and McCormick met in high school orchestra.

“[McCormick] played bass and I played viola,” McLaughlin said. “The parts that weren’t leading. Which makes sense since we are sort of the support system for the band.” 

Some influences on their music are obvious: Joy Division, New Order and post-punk. Others are a little more confounding, like Prince and power pop. 

“I would say for a long time [New Order] was a big influence,” McCormick said. “Especially on our drum sounds. Just that very driving post-punk kind of thing.”

Lunar Bedrooms initially started as a four-piece with McLaughlin playing drums. After some lineup shifts, McLaughlin moved to guitar.

“Personally, I’ve never seen a band makeup like that,” McLaughlin said. “Like, it’s still a band, but the drummer is fake. That’s interesting, at least.” 

Now that the band is a trio, a new songwriting process has developed. Since there is no longer a drummer in the band, they play over a prerecorded playlist. That playlist includes drums and synths, and the songs segue into each other for an uninterrupted live show. 

“Right now I’ve got a couple different options,” Darger said. “One is a playlist, and the other is a 30-minute file that I just cue up. We just play to that.” 

While they have yet to go on tour, they have played some out-of-town shows.

“We went to Milwaukee earlier this month, and we played at this festival,” McCormick said. “It was for this tape label called Tasty Tapes. It was very fun, very relaxed.” 

Lunar Bedrooms has released one record, last year’s self-titled EP. That EP was written primarily by Darger and produced by McLaughlin. 

“We did a lot of stuff ourselves,” Darger said. “It was mostly an experiment in studios, sounds and what we are going to do and sound like.” 

The EP features a blend of taut drum patterns and prickly piano parts. Everything is purposely tight and repetitious, reminiscent of ’80s synth-driven rock. 

Since then, they have begun the recording process for a new full-length album. The bulk of the recording was done at Humans Win! Recording Studio, and now they are working on post-production and overdubs. 

“We are hoping to get a single from the new record out soon,” McLaughlin said. “Hopefully before the summer is over.”

While Lunar Bedrooms might not look like a typical rock band, the point is to differentiate themselves. Between twitchy guitar lines and an emphatic, almost religiously inspired vocal delivery, there is little room for subtlety in Lunar Bedrooms music — a sensory overload. 

“A lot of people might not get it,” McLaughlin said. “But it’s cool to be that weird band that doesn’t have a drummer.”