Cjell Cruze
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Cjell Cruze

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Band Americana Rock

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"Cjell Cruze channel lo-fi Americana on charming debut"

As home studio equipment becomes more and more accessible, it seems that the narrative arc for new musical projects has taken on a few twists and turns. Now, instead of bands honing their sound in a rehearsal space or out in the clubs, they are able layer sounds and record entire albums without leaving their homes.

It’s not exactly a new development, but certainly one that’s become a familiar trajectory in recent years. A few notable examples of this trend happening locally are electronic artists Elite Gymnastics and Observer Drift -- the former of which has noticeably struggled to translate their masterfully composed songs to the stage, and the latter of which has yet to perform a single show.

When newcomers Cjell Cruze wrapped up a year of recording and played their album-release show at the Fine Line last month, it was only their third time performing live. Even more remarkable? Cjell (pronounced “Shell”) Cruze is the first serious musical endeavor for many of its members, and more than one bandmate took up a new instrument just so he could join the band.

“We kind of went an opposite route,” says lead singer Matt Zittlow. “We basically wrote the album as we recorded the songs. And then once the album was recorded -- with two microphones, super low budget, as you can probably tell from the sound of it -- once it was recorded, then we were kind of like, all right, now we need to start playing some shows. But we don’t even have a drummer.”

“[Guitarist Aaron] Poole sent me a text message and was like, hey man, do you want to come play the drums and kind of make a lifestyle out of it?,” remembers Nick Vanderheyden. “And I was like, no dude. I don’t even play the drums -- I played the drums in sixth grade, for like two years. But I asked him to send me the songs, and they sent me all the songs on the album, and I just listened to it for like three days straight. I just fell in love with it. I just kept showing up and they haven’t kicked me out yet. So I’m the drummer.”

Similarly, bassist Nick Maddux says he was recruited to join the band without any past musical experience, and he bought a bass and taught himself to play it on the fly as the group was beginning to record. On paper, that sounds like a recipe for disaster -- or at the very least the recipe for a mediocre debut. But the end result of all of this impromptu creativity, Cjell Cruze’s debut full-length The Ropes, is a charming, creepingly infectious ode to lo-fi Americana that suggests great possibilities for the future of the group. - The Current


"Cjell Cruze channel lo-fi Americana on charming debut"

As home studio equipment becomes more and more accessible, it seems that the narrative arc for new musical projects has taken on a few twists and turns. Now, instead of bands honing their sound in a rehearsal space or out in the clubs, they are able layer sounds and record entire albums without leaving their homes.

It’s not exactly a new development, but certainly one that’s become a familiar trajectory in recent years. A few notable examples of this trend happening locally are electronic artists Elite Gymnastics and Observer Drift -- the former of which has noticeably struggled to translate their masterfully composed songs to the stage, and the latter of which has yet to perform a single show.

When newcomers Cjell Cruze wrapped up a year of recording and played their album-release show at the Fine Line last month, it was only their third time performing live. Even more remarkable? Cjell (pronounced “Shell”) Cruze is the first serious musical endeavor for many of its members, and more than one bandmate took up a new instrument just so he could join the band.

“We kind of went an opposite route,” says lead singer Matt Zittlow. “We basically wrote the album as we recorded the songs. And then once the album was recorded -- with two microphones, super low budget, as you can probably tell from the sound of it -- once it was recorded, then we were kind of like, all right, now we need to start playing some shows. But we don’t even have a drummer.”

“[Guitarist Aaron] Poole sent me a text message and was like, hey man, do you want to come play the drums and kind of make a lifestyle out of it?,” remembers Nick Vanderheyden. “And I was like, no dude. I don’t even play the drums -- I played the drums in sixth grade, for like two years. But I asked him to send me the songs, and they sent me all the songs on the album, and I just listened to it for like three days straight. I just fell in love with it. I just kept showing up and they haven’t kicked me out yet. So I’m the drummer.”

Similarly, bassist Nick Maddux says he was recruited to join the band without any past musical experience, and he bought a bass and taught himself to play it on the fly as the group was beginning to record. On paper, that sounds like a recipe for disaster -- or at the very least the recipe for a mediocre debut. But the end result of all of this impromptu creativity, Cjell Cruze’s debut full-length The Ropes, is a charming, creepingly infectious ode to lo-fi Americana that suggests great possibilities for the future of the group. - The Current


"Cjell Cruze- The Ropes"

Need another noteworthy band that you will slowly become obsessed with? Good, because today we bring you Cjell Cruze, a quartet that is steadily rising in the Twin Cities music scene with their debut album The Ropes out now.

Close friends, Matt Zittlow, Aaron Poole, Nick Maddux, Nick Vanderheyden formed Cjell Cruze after finding themselves all on the same track to want more with their young adult lives. Zittlow and Poole got together and wrote the album over a course of 5 months in Matt’s living room. They wrote each song, one by one, and recorded each one after it was written. Enter in old school friends, Maddux and Vanderheyden and they had their dream team.

They have been featured on 89.3 The Current’s blog, and have had several air time slots on their station as well. Cjell Cruze headlined a show at the Fine Line, and their most recent show was a crowded room at 7th Street Entry. We were left wanting more.

Their first written and recorded song, ‘Train Song’ is featured below, along with ‘Limbless’, one of my favorites on the album. Both songs are soulful and full of beautiful harmonies. Cjell Cruze is creating their own sound that will set them apart from the rest. Jump on the bandwagon now, it’s full steam ahead! - Oratory Of Sound


"Cjell Cruze- The Ropes"

Need another noteworthy band that you will slowly become obsessed with? Good, because today we bring you Cjell Cruze, a quartet that is steadily rising in the Twin Cities music scene with their debut album The Ropes out now.

Close friends, Matt Zittlow, Aaron Poole, Nick Maddux, Nick Vanderheyden formed Cjell Cruze after finding themselves all on the same track to want more with their young adult lives. Zittlow and Poole got together and wrote the album over a course of 5 months in Matt’s living room. They wrote each song, one by one, and recorded each one after it was written. Enter in old school friends, Maddux and Vanderheyden and they had their dream team.

They have been featured on 89.3 The Current’s blog, and have had several air time slots on their station as well. Cjell Cruze headlined a show at the Fine Line, and their most recent show was a crowded room at 7th Street Entry. We were left wanting more.

Their first written and recorded song, ‘Train Song’ is featured below, along with ‘Limbless’, one of my favorites on the album. Both songs are soulful and full of beautiful harmonies. Cjell Cruze is creating their own sound that will set them apart from the rest. Jump on the bandwagon now, it’s full steam ahead! - Oratory Of Sound


"Song of the day- Cjell Cruze"

There are some songs that you just know people are going to respond to well. Considering Minnesota’s historical penchant for folk and country, Cjell Cruze practically had it made for themselves ahead of time. Their debut The Ropes is a lo-fi dive into these styles and the result of a unique recording experiment done almost entirely in their living room, and a learning process in the same breath; some of these guys had never even played their instruments before.

When you hear “Train Song,” there is a slight, lilting uncertainty in the air. They know what they are saying, the words are strong. But will anyone else get it? The answer is a resounding “Yes,” as response to this track from listeners has been extremely positive. The local team is impressed with this quartet of mid-20s lifelong friends, and they will be playing only their fourth show ever next week.

Cjell Cruze will be at the 7th St. Entry on Wednesday, August 15 with Portage and The Brilliant Beast. Andrea Swensson also did an introductory profile on the act on the blog. And their debut album is available now on Bandcamp. - The Current


"Song of the day- Cjell Cruze"

There are some songs that you just know people are going to respond to well. Considering Minnesota’s historical penchant for folk and country, Cjell Cruze practically had it made for themselves ahead of time. Their debut The Ropes is a lo-fi dive into these styles and the result of a unique recording experiment done almost entirely in their living room, and a learning process in the same breath; some of these guys had never even played their instruments before.

When you hear “Train Song,” there is a slight, lilting uncertainty in the air. They know what they are saying, the words are strong. But will anyone else get it? The answer is a resounding “Yes,” as response to this track from listeners has been extremely positive. The local team is impressed with this quartet of mid-20s lifelong friends, and they will be playing only their fourth show ever next week.

Cjell Cruze will be at the 7th St. Entry on Wednesday, August 15 with Portage and The Brilliant Beast. Andrea Swensson also did an introductory profile on the act on the blog. And their debut album is available now on Bandcamp. - The Current


Discography

The Ropes, LP, Released July 2012
Train Song, Single, Released July 2012

Photos

Bio

"Need another noteworthy band that you will slowly become obsessed with? Good, because today we bring you Cjell Cruze, a quartet that is steadily rising in the Twin Cities music scene with their debut album The Ropes out now." -Laine, Oratory of Sound music blog

"I’ve been waiting for this record to see the light of day after seeing Cjell Cruze’s name on random live bills the past couple of months. It’s a tremendous debut and one that has seemingly appeared out of nowhere. “Train Song” is tinged in lo-fi Americana and there’s harmonies that sound straight out of the rainy Pacific Northwest." - Jon Schober, 89.3 The Current

"...the end result of all of this impromptu creativity, Cjell Cruze’s debut full-length The Ropes, is a charming, creepingly infectious ode to lo-fi Americana..." - Andrea Swensson, 89.3 The Current