Tonight is a second show here at Hymie’s for punk favorites Kitten Forever and a first for OAKS, the Minneapolis duo who released their first full-length record with Modern Radio Record Label earlier this year. Animal Life‘s eight tracks are weightier than our usual impression of two-member bands, to the extent we’re impressed by the inventiveness of bassist Jim Kolles and guitarist Erica Krumm.
When we first heard the album, we thought of Lou Reed’s famous remark about songwriting: “One chord is fine. Two chords and you’re pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.” The best of its drum-machine driven minimalist jams fall somewhere in between post-punk goth and the Stooges. A standout is “List for the Desert,” a song which proffers the pop potential of minimalism and approaches the quality of classics like Closer and Bauhaus’ Flat Field.
Animal Life‘s dark themes are discordant with what we’d expect having come to know Krumm and Kolles through the record shop as compassionate and active supporters of the local music community, and folks we’d describe as sincerely sunny and sanguine. Perhaps this is a testament to the cathartic quality of songwriting. There’s a moony-eyed sentimentality to “West,” which was released as a video in August, and the album ends with what we’re taking to be a positive message in “Soft One,” with the rhythmic lyric “today the sun is higher” reminding us the harsh seasons of winter always come to an end. The melody repeats itself and the album fades into a cacophony of dwindling feedback.
If you’re not familiar with Kitten Forever, but you’re a fan of feminist-leaning punk rock, you’ll enjoy this endearing documentary about the trio produced by The Lowertown Line earlier this year. They’re an awesome band and always a great live act, so yep tonight’s show in the shop will likely be crowded!
OAKS and Kitten Forever will perform here at Hymie’s at 7pm tonight. As always, this is a free and all ages show. Both groups will have merch for sale, though. And their records are gooood!