Flavor Crystals
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Flavor Crystals

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | INDIE

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative New Age


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Flavor Crystals embark on a national tour supporting Brian Jonestown Massacre"

By Jonathan Garrett Wednesday, Mar 25 2009

It must be some sort of cruel irony that I received a speeding ticket on my way to interview Flavor Crystals—after all, no one would ever accuse Josh Richardson and his band of living in the fast lane. The Crystals, rounded out by Dan Miller, Vince Caro, Nat Stensland, and Nick Foerster, are about to embark on their first national tour as the opening act for the Brian Jonestown Massacre, yet you'd be hard-pressed to find an active local band that has been around longer than they have. "We've been playing on and off for 13 years," says Richardson, reclining on a couch in the band's Minneapolis practice space shortly after my inopportune run-in with the police. "There was a time when we just jammed and had fun, didn't play out, but then one day we decided to write songs."

Those songs finally appeared on their long-gestating debut, 2005's On Plastic. Stylistically, the album reflected the band's deliberate, considered approach. Plastic, recorded by Stensland, featured glacially paced compositions and gnarled instrumental passages—Spacemen 3-indebted shoegaze approached with a North American jam band's sensibility. "Our songs kind of evolve organically," says Richardson. "All of us need to be in the room. This is definitely not a singer-songwriter project where I come in and hand everyone the song. For the album, we spent a lot of time together experimenting, but essentially what came out was live takes of the tracks."

The album was released by the local indie label MPLS Ltd., run by Christian Fritz, who is both a friend and fan of the band. But once Plastic was finally out, the band's momentum once again ground to a halt. Flavor Crystals hadn't died, but clearly the band was not a priority for anyone involved. Drummer Nick Foerster admits that all of the group's members have family commitments and regular jobs that demand significant time. As it turns out, he can't even join the band for the entirety of the upcoming Jonestown tour due to his inability to clear his calendar at home. (Jamie Bollman will pick up drumming duties for the second half of the tour.) "Just to get a practice together for [all of] us is a task," Foerster says. "Usually, it's based around a gig or recording some stuff, but fact is everyone's got their own lives."

Richardson thought that the band members' conflicting schedules might preclude a second record altogether. Fortunately, the band finally found a six-day window in January 2007 to record a follow-up. Through some stroke of luck, they also managed to coax recording engineer Kramer (Low, Galaxie 500) from his Florida home in the dead of winter to handle production duties. To ensure that the album was completed in the allotted time and to combat the band's tendency toward endless revision, Kramer forced the Crystals to "keep a lot of first takes." Richardson was hardly a fan of the approach during the recording process, but in hindsight, he appreciates the album's more spontaneous feel. "There are a lot of wacky, off-beat moments on it," he confesses. "When we play the songs live, they're actually much more cohesive, but I still really like the album—even if it sometimes sounds like another band made it."

The album doesn't sound quite as far removed from On Plastic as Richardson makes it out to be, but one can hear more foreign influences beginning to creep in, like the motor-tic Krautrock drumming found on "Churchfuzz" and "Homewrecker."

Through a bizarre set of circumstances, the self-titled second album is still unavailable on CD in record shops here in the U.S. MPLS Ltd. only released it on vinyl, and while the band planned to properly release it on CD domestically, those plans eventually fell though. The album did receive broad physical distribution on CD in England via Kramer's label Second Shimmy, as well as a fittingly dreamy title, Ambergris. However, the album's availability abroad is of little consolation to Twin Cities fans, who find themselves in the odd position of having to place an order online for a CD released by a local band. Richardson wants them to know he shares their frustration. "We're actually out of copies, too, so we're looking to import some just so we can have them on tour. Hopefully, we'll have them soon."

As usual, with Flavor Crystals, patience is a virtue. Fortunately, the band and their fans have had plenty of practice.

FLAVOR CRYSTALS will open for Brian Jonestown Massacre on THURSDAY, MARCH 26 at the FINE LINE MUSIC CAFÉ; 612.338.8100 - City Pages

"Best of 2007 (Local)"

7. Flavor Crystals, "Flavor Crystals" (mpls ltd)

The marriage of local space rockers the Flavor Crystals and legendary indie-producer Kramer proved to be a happy one. It's reminiscent of another Kramer-helmed disc, Galaxie 500's 1989 classic "On Fire," in that it sounds timeless and disconnected from any specific era or trend.

Key tracks: "Guppython," "Jumping Jacks"

-Ross Raihala

(Prince's Planet Earth was #10)
- Pioneer Press

"Blog Mention"

Sometimes the music I find on the web doesn't fit in any neatly defined category. It's not quite right for my site but I want to make it fit anyway.

The band Flavor Crystals is a great example. Their spacey, dreamy rock just sounds great. I'd like to throw the terms folk, alt-country or americana in to their description somwewhere to make 'em fit Songs:Illinois but I can't.

For those who are fans of Flotation Toy Warning, Built Like Alaska, Flaming lips, Mercury Rev or Radar Bros. you now have a new band to follow. - Songs Illinois Blog

"Review of "On Plastic" from City Pages"

Do you ever wake up with a song in your head and wonder where it came from? It happens to me all the time. We all play DJ to the nighttime soap opera of our sweet dreams. Here's a scenario I see in my sleep: The city is receiving its first snowfall and I'm outside a rock club, bumming a cigarette. Its embers are a bitch to keep lit beneath the dewy flakes. From inside, I hear the faintest chime of guitar and shrug of a voice forming something like melody. Maybe the soundman is playing a down-tempo rocker from Sonic Youth's Murray Street. Anyway, that cigarette is as good as garbage, and I'm urged back to consciousness with a lithe "Wake up, wake up." That goose-down voice belongs to Flavor Crystals' Josh Richardson, who opens the candied psych ballad "Checker Board" on the Minneapolis quartet's debut. Even without the slo-mo snowdrifts and midnight lights, Flavor Crystals rely heavily on atmosphere; unfortunately they're not much for scene building. When Richardson announces a Dadaist shopping list ("Topsy/turvy/free-form/swervy") midway through "Poolja," his words seem merely objects, chosen for their sounds, à la Gertrude Stein's "Rose is a rose is a rose." In that case, these daydream believers have chosen the right patrons in Thurston and Donovan. The former's hypnotic drones surface in "Poblano" and "Sheep," while Flavor Crystals impressively turn the latter's dippy ditty "Sand and Foam," with its lyrical "tattooed trees" and "valley of Scorpio," into a straightforward rock ballad without much noodling. The guitarists' whisper-light reverberations wouldn't knock a beer off the bass cabinet, but could manage more than a somnambulist sway from the audience.

- Kate Silver

"Minneapolis Star Tribune Article"

More proof that MySpace isn't just for teenyboppers and predators anymore: Local ambient-rock band Flavor Crystals connected with veteran indie-rock producer Kramer via the omnipresent networking site. That unlikely online hookup led to Kramer producing the Crystals' gorgeous new eponymous album, which they're promoting as a vinyl-only release Saturday at the Triple Rock.
"We got to chatting, and we worked it out to fly him into Minneapolis in the dead of winter," recounted Flavor Crystals leader Josh Richardson, a longtime fan of Kramer's work (Galaxie 500, Low, Daniel Johnston). "I figured he must have been excited, because leaving his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, must've been rough."Flavor Crystals" is awash in the beautiful but dissonant and vacant-sounding noise that Kramer is known for (as are the Crystals), from the My Bloody Valentine-copping gem "Church Fuzz" to more instrumental tracks like "Tsar Bomba" and "Smokestacks." It's the kind of swirling, atmospheric stuff you don't need a psychedelic light show or drugs to feel woozy listening to.

- Chris Riemenschnieder

"Myspace comment from 2007..."

"We love this band and we hope you do too!" - The Brian Jonestown Massacre

"Pulse of the Twin Cities Feature"

"...droning riffage, gossamer guitar webs and perfectly lazy-eyed vocals, fans...will be beside themselves when swooning to the hazy sounds of the Flavor Crystals."
- Rob Van Alstyne


Forthcoming 3rd album, Spring 2011
Soundtrack to "The Disinherited" Summer 2010
"Ambergris" CD Second Shimmy 105 released January 20, 2008
untitled (Ambergris) LP mplsltd 011 released June 2007
"On Plastic" CD mplsltd 007 released July 2005
"Squid Ink" appears on the Radio K Welcome CD released 2007
"Checker Board" appears on the "Turn on Your Mind" Psilocybin Sounds Psychedelic Compilation (UK).
"Underwater Art" appears on the mpls ltd Travel Companion CD mplsltd 05 released 2004



After a 2009 tour blowing minds, opening for the Brian Jonestown Massacre in sold out theatres and club across the US, Flavor Crystals returned to Minneapolis intent on creating their masterpiece.

They took a little detour one night in 2010, creating a soundtrack for Towle Neu's spaghetti western short film "The Disinherited," which is currently making the rounds on the festival circuit.

While recording the new album, they have also taken time out to participate in a burgeoning Minneapolis Psych/Shoegaze scene...appearing at the Transparent Radiation Shows that feature full blown Psychedelic Light Shows in a theatre setting and playing with a whole crop of like minded psych bands like Chatham Rise, First Communion Afterparty, Strangelights, Delta Lyrae, Thunderbolt Pagoda, Gospel Gossip, Sun in the Satellite, and Magic Castles.

The Crystals are now assembling their third album from countless hours of recordings from the past two years. This album will see daylight by Spring 2011 and will expand and convolute the dreamy wobbly sound they found on previous albums.

Added goals for 2011 are a spring trip to Texas and a Fall trip to the UK.

Goin back to the beginning...Flavor Crystals created their first album "On Plastic" themselves, drawing attention and press when it was released on the "mpls ltd" label in 2005, with spacey and subtly engaging music that was stunningly different from anything else happening in the Twin Cities scene.

The album reached #1 on the charts of highly respected U of M college station, Radio K. It also received heavy airplay on MN Public Radio's 89.3 The Current.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre quickly took interest, encouraging the band to play out and develop new material. As the band developed into a strong live act, mindboggled listeners repeatedly commented "I feel like I'm on drugs when you play!" or "you don't sound like you're from here, or from this time..." The band found a way to lose itself in atmosphere and bring listeners along for the ride.

During the coldest week of the ’07 Minneapolis winter, Flavor Crystals holed up in Flowers Studio with the amazing underground producer, Kramer (Galaxie 500, Low, Bongwater) to record the follow up to their 2005 debut “On Plastic.”

The entire album took shape and was completed in 4 crazy days of recording and 2 days of intense mixing. Many of the songs were captured in a primordial state. The album has a spontaneous looseness that captures perfectly what this band is about… Flavor Crystals are constantly getting lost in the moment.

The album hearkens back to early 70’s kraut and psychedelia, but the band’s late 80’s/early 90’s indie/shoegaze vibe has not gone away. "Ambergris" is still spacey and dreamy like its predecessor, but goes deeper with an eerie intensity and insistence that is magnified by Kramer’s unique approach to production and mixing. This album is filled with unrepeatable moments...it lives and breathes with spooky beauty.

The "mpls ltd" label released a limited edition vinyl version of the album in July 2007, and it received lots of airplay again in the Twin Cities, with the track "Squid Ink" spending a month on Radio K's Top 7 singles chart (#4). They loved the track so much, they asked to include it on the Radio K Welcome CD which was distributed to 10,000 students.

In the meantime, Kramer, who had resurrected his groundbreaking Shimmy Disc label as "Second Shimmy", was "haunted by the music we made together" and signed Flavor Crystals! The album, now christened "Ambergris" was released on CD internationally (distributed by Cargo) on January 20, 2008.