In a Mess, In a State, and a Second Too Late, 11/19/21 Korda Records=
Muskellunge's new release “In a Mess, In a State, and a Second Too Late” is a comeback story. The recording has drawn an eclectic ensemble of interest ranging from Rodney on The Rock to Ecuadorian music blogs along with UK radio and substantial local Minneapolis press. All of the overwhelming amount of support led to a sold out record release party, the band’s first live show in 25 years.
"One of the Twin Cities' great bands-that-almost-clicked before frontwoman Reba Fritz abruptly veered away from possible stardom in the '90s, Muskellunge reunited during the pandemic..."In a Mess, In a State, and a Second Too Late"... sounds like a welcome flashback to the alt-rock era the band left behind, with echoes of Hole and Throwing Muses alongside Fritz's own uniquely aloof but introspective style."
Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune.
SINGLES: “Still Learning” (9/17/21) is angular and catchy, with bouncing bass and gently sardonic vocals. “Dutch Elm” (single 10/27/21) is a droning and jangly ballad about an ambivalent love affair that finishes with playful ear-worm ba-duh-ba-ba's. "First Rain" (11/11/21) a moody love-lost song about the end of winter with tiltawhirl dynamics.
VIDEO: “Still Learning” is a visual tribute to Minnesota, symbolizing Fritz’s years traveling, and her return to the musical community and city that built her as an artist. The "Dutch Elm" lyric video is a dreamscape, created with personal footage from a roadtrip to the Badlands.
Limited release cassettes available.
“Chartered Trips" copyright Bob Mould.
All songs FCC Clean
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Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7BMYCzOWXH2oRuI6yeJvqh
It's the ‘90s at Kinko's Copies in Minneapolis, MN. Reba Fritz, John Crozier, and Benji Boyd spend their days printing up fliers for local bands and their nights going to alternative rock shows next door at the Uptown Bar. Reba, fresh out of high school, gives John, fresh out of a garage-rock band, a cassette tape of songs. Muskellunge is born.
Adding drummer Eric Tretbar, and later engineer Bryan Hanna to their lineup, they began practicing in a warehouse space also used by The Replacements. Fritz recalls listening in the hall outside the veteran rockers' practice space, and darting back into the Muskellunge room whenever The Replacements' wrapped up a song. The scene in Minneapolis was tangible then. Teeming with radio stations, magazines, papers, venues, and bands, Muskellunge quickly found their place in the vibrant ecosystem.
Opening for bands like Echo & The Bunnymen, Belly, and Yo La Tengo, Muskellunge brought their angular, riffy interpretation of rock to venues around the city. Their songs captured the spirit of the day - soaked in distortion, yet with a pop sensibility beneath it all. Labels started calling, the band seemed ripe for success. And then suddenly, Muskellunge vanished. Bands have a funny way of doing that, don't they?
Fritz spent time traveling around the US. She explored cities like Tucson and Denver before returning to Minneapolis 17 years later. The city may be different, but Muskellunge has lost none of their edge. Fritz recalls, "John and I set up the pedals, turned on the mic, found the chords, and there it all was, still stewing in the embers - still there.” The band didn't reunite - no. They picked up right where they left off.
And now, they've released a full length record. On In a Mess, In a State, and a Second Too Late, you'll hear all the raw power of a band in their prime. The lead single, "Still Learning," seems to reflect on the wisdom of experience. And the music is nothing short of fantastic. The band acts like they're driving head-on into pop territory, then take an exit into sonic experimentation at the last possible second, swerving to avoid anything too predictable. Crozier's angular riffs and Boyd's bouncy basslines provide the perfect platform for Fritz's gently sardonic vocals. It's a song that will keep you on your toes. Crozier, Fritz, Boyd, and Hanna sound fully present, engaging with the details of their craft to bring us something transcendent.
If there's anything to learn from the Muskellunge story, it's that longevity in the arts isn't always a straight line. It resembles life in that way - the slow, persistent wandering across the Southwest. Across the fretboards. Across the airwaves. One way or another, we find our way back to the songs--and the people--that feel like home.
In a Mess, In a State, and a Second Too Late is just the beginning for Muskellunge. They've still got miles to go. Minneapolis may have changed, but Muskellunge are just as vibrant and powerful as their first incarnation. Songwriting is healing - and you can hear that salve in Fritz's lyrics. The joy of creation is still a powerful force for the members of Muskellunge: a fire reignited by the immediacy of the global pandemic. The joy of listening, though, is for us on the other end of the stereo.