Private Dancer
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Private Dancer

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Private Dancer are a local band who came to me as a great surprise this year. They were the unannounced TBA band on the Cheap Time/Jay Reatard show I saw earlier this year at the Triple Rock, and I was instantly impressed. I was able to see their record release show and have since got a copy of their debut EP, Trouble Eyes. The CD is all over the map, but in a perfect mixed up way that makes it a CD that has infinite listening opportunities. It comes as no suprise that this high quality sounding band starts off so great when you find out their memebers have/still do come from such great MPLS bands as Hockey Night and STTNG.

The 8 song CD has many highlights, starting off with the first song, which happens to be my favorite song from their live set, "I See Trouble." The song has a pulsing guitar rhythm and grinding guitars with lyrics that are more shouted than sang, but it fits the spirit nicely. The highlight is near the end, when the band has pummeled you for two straight minutes, it lets up ever so slightly and the lead singer howls out "Rag, Mama, Rag." I don't know if it is a direct reference to The Band, but I thought that such a melting pot of a song would be appreciated by a one of my favorite genre crashing bands. The last song of the EP, "Do you like to Read", follows in the "I see Trouble" lead and mixes crashes guitars and cymbals with almost Hold Steady like vocals. There is definitely no holding back with these guys on these songs, which makes a couple of the songs all the more arresting.

There are 3 songs that are either all or almost all instrumental. They are epic post-rock songs that are strikingly beautiful and are really the highlight of the album. The songs, titled "1000 year wave", "A Horse named Reverb" and "Ain' leaving no more" could fit in with the best Explosion in the Sky could offer up. The songs are engaging and well laid out and really show a band with some explosive talent. Throughout the whole disc, the band has quite the sense of humor. They have one song titled "Hot Dog Dance", which is about exactly what the title says, and another titled "Perfume Cow." They found the perfect mix of humor, skill and raw emotion to make a CD that hits on so many levels.

Overall, this is one of the best debuts, and overall, CD's to come out of the Minneapolis music scene this year. The band was able to capture their staggering live show and put that lighting in a bottle. The CD is as varied as you could ever ask for, yet it has a certain cohesiveness to it that makes it something that you want to spin time and time again. This is a band to keep on your radar. I would highly recommend this CD and also their live show if you get a chance to see them.
Posted by JOSH at 3:11 PM
- whiskeyfortheholyghost.com


In a spacious Merriam Park duplex, Private Dancer pour rounds of red wine. While bassist Jesse Kwakenat recounts a particularly painful defeat in his Tecmo Bowl career, vocalist and guitarist Alex Achen states the obvious. "This is the fun band," he declares.

Between anecdotes of day trips in frigid vans (look up Private Dancer on YouTube for a harrowing video chronicle of a daring winter expedition), of phantom injuries explained only in myth (Achen's middle and ring fingers are narcoleptic, often lapsing into a death grip when weather turns cold), and all the ensuing laughter, there's scarcely the room or the need for a straightforward interview. Like the melodious, exquisitely crafted pop compositions on their debut LP, Trouble Eyes, their boundless kinship speaks for itself.

"All five of us were friends ahead of time," says Kwakenat, "so it was real easy to fall into. It was real easy to play together, and easy to do all the stuff that can sometimes be stressful when you're a really active band."

"Our first practices, we would get there at 7, stay till 2 in the morning," adds guitarist Nate Nelson, flashing a coy grin. "We wouldn't play too terribly much."

"I don't know if much has changed," says guitarist Cory Carlson.

Achen is quick with a rebuttal. "There's less music now."

Drummer Ben Ivascu smiles. "We have a lot of fun at practice."

Schooled in more complex, esoteric acts like STNNNG, Hockey Night, and Signal to Trust, this conspiracy of musicians has turned Private Dancer into a personal Wildlife Refuge, a padded room in which they can exercise their most appealing appetites. Drawing influence from crates of original pressings by Os Mutantes and the Mummies, Private Dancer have fashioned a straightforward, breezy campaign of pop exaltation.

"Every dude in this band has played in much more complicated bands," says Kwakenat. "And this is a lot more straight-ahead. It's super easy to have fun the way that we play right now."

Like a Zen mantra, fun echoes in every bass line, in each of Achen's perspiring dance moves. It is the manifesto that unites them to one another, and to the crowds that power-pack the floors of so many Turf Club Saturdays. And though their approach is a purposeful meander, onstage and on record the band's sense of carefree exploration galvanizes into something far greater than mere whimsy, and the catharsis of their easy collaboration is the God particle that gives the band such appealing meaning.

"As a band," says Kwakenat, "you have to be engaged with what's going on. How many bands do you see that are always playing, looking down, dialed out, having nothing to do with the show? It has a lot to do with how the band relates to each other. Like the Brokedowns, there's bands that you see, and they look at each other, and you can tell that it's really happening for them. That brings you in."

Carlson nods pensively. "Smiles are contagious," he says.

"Yeah," says Achen. "Smiles are the best trick in the book."

- citypages


Private Dancer - Trouble Eyes (CD, Learning Curve, Rock)
Cool hard pop rock with furious intent. This cool little CD has such incredible energy that it is almost impossible to ignore. The guys in Private Dancer play a unique kind of raw unpredictable rock that recalls some of the more adventurous crazy underground rock bands from the 1990s. Trouble Eyes does not sound like any other bands that we have heard over the past few months. These guys rock super hard and play with loud hairy ballpower...but they are neither heavy metal heads nor thrash rockers. Instead, the tracks on this disc are more like inventive modern progressive hard rock. The songs are amazingly spontaneous and powerful...and the vocals have that cool sort of speak/yell that became somewhat famous in certain circles in the 1990s. And God..those wild guitars are just THE BEST. This is a short disc clocking in at just over 30 minutes...but in that amount of time these guys make their point. Intelligent, inventive, and primitive...this is an obvious top pick for November. Killer cuts include "I See Trouble," "She's A Company Man," "Do The Hotdog," and "Do You Like To Read?" Crazy and intense stuff...! (Rating: 5+++)
- babysue.com


Discography

"Trouble Eyes" LP LCR021-1

Ride To Work 7" LCR027-7
"Alive In High Five" LP LCR031-1

Photos

Bio

Have you ever hada really good hot dog? Private Dancer has, and they've been writing songs about it. Blend the forces of a hodge podge of musicians from the Twin Cities scene, who's resume includes:Herione Sheiks, Stnnng, Falcon Crest and Hockey Night, the listener is stimulated by the good times sonic blender that is Private Dancer. The feel good rock band has finally arrived. They won't drink your beer, they will shotgun it with you, because they brought a case. Don't forget about the after bar... Bring the White Castle.