What: Crimes Vinyl Release with Teenage Moods and Leisure Birds
When: 6 p.m., Friday-Saturday
Where: 7th St. Entry, 701 First Ave
Andrew Jansen isn’t some decorated vanguard of the Minneapolis music scene. He’s not on the cover of City Pages. Tapes ‘n’ Tapes didn’t invite him on a tour. And The Current doesn’t have the new Crimes record in regular rotation.
None of that really matters though. Any serious (or unserious) music listener knows that mass appeal doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality and a city as oversaturated as ours is bound to overlook some of its finest talent. At 27, Jansen is one of those unsung geniuses of the local music scene, and this Saturday his latest band Crimes will be performing at First Avenue’s 7th St. Entry for the release of their debut album “Good Hope.”
Jansen, who also plays in electro-pop outfit Dial-Up, isn’t exactly fresh blood. Originally from Milwaukee, he’s the former front man of A Paper Cup Band — the now-defunct pop rock trio that featured drummer Griffin Hendrickson and Kyle Sobczak (Sleeping in the Aviary).
But Crimes is a far cry from any of Jansen’s previous pop-centric endeavors. Produced by Hollow Boys frontman Ali Jaafar, “Good Hope” is eleven shades of dreary dream pop that oozes with all the warm reverb and retro-surf homage that your typical lo-fi crate digger is always yearning for.
“[Crimes] is a lot more plucky. I was able to be more spacious whereas before I was writing stuff on acoustic guitar. With this you could strum and have it resonate longer,” Jansen said. “I’ve always wanted to make a record where it sounded spacious and warm and wet instead of relying on dryness or tightness.”
The description couldn’t be more apt. The sparse arrangements provide each instrument with some space to breathe alongside Jansen’s and bassist Hannah Kathleen’s languid vocals. But it was a shift that wasn’t just the result of creative progress — it was a matter of equipment too. The band employs everything from an analog delay pedal, a Fender tube amp to a 70’s era Hammond organ. Jansen isn’t shifting the dynamics of music with his sound but it’s a style that’s equipment sensitive.
“I had always wanted to hone in on that sound but never felt like I [could do it]. And then eventually I was like ‘I can do it because I have the classic set of instruments and classic tools to make that sound.’ If you don’t have the right equipment it will just sound all grungy,” Jansen said.
It’s hard to say where Crimes exactly falls on the local music spectrum. And while Jansen and his rock ‘n’ roll cohorts might not have the stylistic drawing power of some of the Minneapolis’ more accessible outfits, Crimes is just more proof that this city just doesn’t seem to ever run out ideas.
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