Yer Cronies
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By Chris Riemenschneider

"Not counting "In Rainbows," it's been a few years since any Radiohead-sounding album has stood out from the pack. But that's only one reason Yer Cronies' debut album, "When I Grow Up," is such a pleasant surprise. The other is the fact that the band of ex-Apple Valley childhood pals still hasn't played out much.

Yer Cronies' big coming-out set was opening for Sub Pop newbies Fleet Foxes at the Entry last month -- a gig reportedly earned through a recommendation by Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell, who has been residing in the Twin Cities in recent months. Not a bad guy to have in your corner (or in your town).

Starting with the pulsating, ethereal opener "'Divi Divi' Tree," YC frontman Casey Garvey immediately stands out as an adept, lonely-guy howler, and the band on the whole balances taut elegance with unbridled electricity. Deeper in, the album flows from the bluesier bouncer "Daniel Day" to the piano-plucked orbital rocker "Apollo" to the haunting, sea-chantey-like outro "On & On." We definitely have a contender for local debut of the year here. CD party is Saturday at 7th Street Entry (9 p.m., $6)." - Star Tribune


By Pat O'Brien

Yer Cronies started the measured comedown from the long night with their decidedly languid, dreamy Neil Young influenced-sound. There are a lot of bands like them (Band Of Horses, My Morning Jacket, etc.) but none reside here, making Yer Cronies stand out in the increasingly crowded Minneapolis scene. Their debut album, When I Grow Up, is almost ridiculous in its perfection (especially for a band’s first offering), and in my opinion they are indeed the best new band in Minneapolis for 2008. They didn’t own the stage as much as could be hoped for but the main room is deceptively intimidating, and they can hardly be blamed for what may have been a small case of stage fright. It was an otherwise tight, imminently enjoyable set at the perfect time of the night as everyone was starting to wind down. If they weren’t on peoples’ radar before, they certainly should be now. - Howwastheshow.com


By Jon Behm

With that ubiquitous Christian celebration looming on the horizon, the holiday fever pitch has officially peaked. Thus, tis the season for Christmas specials, Christmas shopping, and—most importantly—Christmas-themed rock shows. To keep my holiday cheer at a relatively stable equilibrium I chose to only attend one such show this year. I think I got the best one: “A Crony Christmas� at the 7th Street Entry, sponsored by newly minted local faves Yer Cronies. There was basically only one rule for the evening: every band had to perform a Christmas song.

Last to take the stage were Yer Cronies: the evening’s hosts and, by many accounts, one of the best new local bands of 2008. The Cronies played musical chairs with their instruments, with at some point or another pretty much all four of them playing just about everything. Their Band-of-Horses-style alt country and electronic-influenced pop made for a terrific closer; the band’s obvious comradeship on stage was infectious and in keeping with the holiday tradition. While Christmas was still be a few days away, the spirit was very much alive at the Entry that night. Thanks to these bands for a terrific Christmas party, and I wish them all much-deserved success in the new year. - TCdailyplanet.net


By David Brusie

If local indie-rock quartet Yer Cronies seem remarkably cohesive for such a new band, perhaps it’s because the quartet have been cronies and musical collaborators since eighth grade, though the current project and its dreamy and tightly wound sound only came together in 2007. Yer Cronies’ debut record, When I Grow Up, which incorporates folk, rock, and Radiohead-like abstractions, came out in August, and the band has slowly been gaining fans through their many live shows. This week, they deck the halls of the 7th Street Entry with their “Crony Christmas� show on Dec. 20, with openers A Night In The Box, Joey Ryan And The Inks, and The Floorbirds. Decider sat down with the band for a Q&A.

Decider: How does your songwriting process work?
Greg Reese, guitarist/singer: We’re all songwriters, so sometimes somebody has something that they made on their own time and brought to be finished by everyone, and sometimes we just make up stuff in the room.
Michael Brown, bassist: There’s times when we’ve been practicing and someone will play a little part, and we’ll just work off of that and end up writing a complete song. And other times, someone will bring in a song front to back, and we’ll just arrange it or simplify it. I think we all do a pretty good job at listening to each other.
Jared Isabella, drummer: And I think that’s kind easy for us, just because we’ve been playing music over the years for so long, and we know how the other person writes or what they’re going for, so it’s easier to tune in on that.
D: You recorded this in a bedroom at Jared’s house in northeast Minneapolis. Did those surroundings affect how it ultimately sounds?
MB: Yeah. With all of us being friends, hanging out, there wasn’t a ton of pressure, recording-wise in each session. The other three would be hanging out, watching Frasier or something. [Laughs.] So it was a relaxed environment.
Casey Garvey, guitarist/singer: I remember watching Wild playoff games on mute, and trying not to be loud. And we had someone recording the Rhodes while two people were sitting on the other end of the couch, watching a TV that that person couldn’t see, on mute.
D: The CD has a, for lack of a better word, “jammy� feel to it. Is that a deliberate contrast, to have that looseness but also have a tight structure in each song?
GR: You’re not the first person that’s said that, that it sounds sort of improvisational. But it’s weird to me, because we’re very much aware of what we’re playing, and it’s very written.
CG: I feel like we’re actually, for the first time, trying to write really structured rock ‘n’ roll songs. It’s really strange that people think there’s a jammy aspect to it.
D: There are a lot of quiet and loud moments on this record, often in the same song.
CG: We like songs that make you want to do a jump-kick, but then we also like songs that put you to sleep, so why not put it in the same song? We all kind of have our own variations of ADD—especially Jared [laughs]—and American culture is becoming more ADD, so let’s just go through all these styles in one song instead of taking ten songs to do it.
D: What happens next for you?
CG: Play out of town, to get our music out of just the Twin Cities. As much as we love it here, obviously, we have goals to get it elsewhere.
GR: There’s still a lot to be done here, but we definitely want to start moving around a little bit. We’re all very serious about [our music], but we want to be taken seriously at the same time. So getting more people to hear it, and getting more cities to recognize that we exist is a big step for that. And we’re writing music all the time; we have a bunch of new songs right now, and we’re just going to make more music.
MB: We still dig this record enough to promote it and support it. It’s only available at one record shop [Treehouse Records] right now, so there’s plenty more to do with this record before we keep going. [But] like Casey said, there’s a lot of ADD, so we can’t just keep playing the same songs and not write new stuff when we’re thinking of it.
D: Where did the idea for a Christmas show come from?
MB: “Christmas� just flows together with “Crony�. And every band has to play at least one Christmas or holiday song.
CG: There will also be formal attire. Blacks, whites, and greens.
MB: The night starts with an acoustic duo and keeps getting more rocking. And it’s all going to be classy, so everyone’s got to dress really nicely.
GR: I’d pay six dollars to see any one of those bands.
MB: I’d pay six dollars to dress classy. - Decider Twin Cities


By David de Young

Yer Cronies are Casey Garvey, Greg Reese, Mike Brown, and Jared Isabella. They were the band I had actually come to see tonight. I’d been digging their CD, When I Grow Up, and I’d hoped and planned to attend their CD Release Party August 9 at the Entry, it turned out not to be in the cards for me. Last month, several of us at HowWasTheShow had caught a case of what, for lack of a better term, I’m going to call groove fever after playing “’Divi Divi’ Tree,� the ethereal opening track on their album on the August HWTS podcast.

At Friday night’s show they opened with “Daniel Day,� the haunting second track from their CD. Wearing a $ sign necklace and a hat with ear flaps, Casey Garvey sang the opening lines of the song: “I am the king of this city, and everybody loves me / I am the king of this city, and everybody hates me.� The song has a bit of the flavor of hip hop, without actually being hip hop, but actually morphs through many musical styles and song structure changes before it ends.

Greg Reese shares vocal duties with Garvey in this band, and they switched back and forth throughout the set. Reese sang the melodic, yearning second song, “Hard to Get By,� then moved to the piano for the darkly bouncy folk of “Kerouac.�

As the set progressed, it occurred to me that what had drawn me to the band on album was also sucking me in live, a definite slacker vibe and songs that you can enjoy easily at first listen. Yer Cronies is an easy band for both local music fans and critics to get behind, even placing in the top 10 in the 2008 City Pages “Picked To Click� critics’ poll. Friday night The Uptown Bar was crowded by both fans and what appeared to be a rather large contingent of old friends of the band. A small gaggle girls held down the front row dancing and taking photos of each other.

The band closed out their set with Reese at the keys for “In Absentia� a Radiohead-like groove, at the end of which bassist Michael Brown inexplicably knocked his bass into part of the drum kit and started to put on his jacket. He actually had both sleeves into it before the rest of the band hit the last note of the song, concluding a set that felt a little short at six or seven songs, but definitely left me looking forward to seeing them again soon. - Howwastheshow.com


By Michael L. Walsh

I'm staring at Casey Garvey, waiting for him to elaborate. He rubs his hand over his trendy mop of brown hair as the seconds tick by awkwardly. Nothing. I look beseechingly at the other three members of Yer Cronies, who are nursing Rolling Rocks and PBRs on the back patio of a ramshackle northeast Minneapolis triplex. Silence.

It was a simple enough request, your typical music critic question: "Tell me what this song is about?" The song, "Sacramentosauras," is the fifth song on Yer Cronies' gorgeous, brooding, proggy, and anxious debut release, When I Grow Up.

With a name like "Sacramentosauras," how do you not ask what it's about? Yet I never do get an explanation. It's almost as if it has never occurred to these four friends that they might actually have to explain what their music means to someone else...or to each other for that matter. It would be like explaining it to yourself. They seem to just "know." The way four guys who have known each other since middle school just "know." It definitely doesn't make for the best interview, but it does provide an enticing glimpse into that rare band in which there appear to be no egos, no individual ambitions.

I know. I know. The whole "We're like brothers, man. We're in this thing together till the end!" thing could not be anymore tiresome and clichéd. But the sentiment seems genuine with Yer Cronies.

"We're a band. We don't see ourselves as individuals. There are no credits on the album as far as who does what," says bassist Mike Brown.

"We try to write as one organism," concurs drummer Jared Isabella.

On the band's MySpace page, next to "Sounds Like," it reads "Friendship."

I like what "Friendship" sounds like. It's melancholy but not despondent. It's anxious but not frenetic. It's expansive but still somehow raw. For a band that is just over a year old and recorded its debut album in one of the member's bedrooms, When I Grow Up is an astonishingly mature, thoughtful, restrained when needed, daring when justified, rock n' roll record.

The ease and intuitiveness with which these four 22-year-olds create music can no doubt be attributed to the fact that they've known each other since middle school, cementing their friendship while attending high school at the School of Environmental Studies at the Minnesota Zoo, also known as the "Zoo School." Did studying amid the social systems of snow monkeys and tapirs and Komodo dragons somehow bond these boys in a strange sort of deeply instinctual, animalistic way? Who wouldn't like to think so?

When asked who their influences are, Brown immediately replies, "Each other," matter-of-factly. No doubt that is the case, but for those of us not part of this hyper-symbiotic relationship, comparisons can be made to the Alarmists, My Morning Jacket, and Gomez.

That said, Yer Cronies aren't some embarrassingly derivative copycat band lurching at the latest indie trend. They are their own thing. They demonstrate this beautifully on the haunting, mysterious, and very much their own "Daniel Day," a reference to that most hunky final Mohican (Garvey was a filmmaking major in college). It begins dreamily, swirling with echoing, gritty guitars. The song lopes along, melancholy and lethargic, but with a brooding anger underneath that the band soon expertly releases as Garvey sings in his best Jim Morrison: "We all sit around waiting to get paid, we ain't getting paid/We all sit around waiting to get saved, we ain't getting saved."

Like most every band made up of early 20-somethings, the members of Yer Cronies claim they are hell-bent on making a career out of making music, yet they admit they haven't figured out exactly how to make that happen yet.

"We basically can't not do this," Garvey explains. "We want everyone who is involved with the music to feel part of it, too, not just four guys who are completely detached."

As if to prove the band doesn't take itself too seriously, the five-foot-seven-inch Isabella responds, "Personally, I'd love to play pro basketball." - City Pages


By Ross Raihala

New local band Yer Cronies can claim one heck of an endorsement for their new debut album, "When I Grow Up." Ben Bridwell, the leader of the South Carolina/Seattle group Band of Horses who now lives in Minneapolis, had this to say: "Upon seeing my first Yer Cronies show, I was convinced that this was the best new band in Minneapolis ... (after hearing the record), I'm convinced they're one of the best new bands anywhere." After a few spins of "When I Grow Up," it's easy to figure out what got Bridwell so excited. Yer Cronies exist in the same Neil Young-influenced sphere as Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket. But, like MMJ on their most recent album, they're not afraid to dabble in Radiohead-style experimentalism as well as various strains of '70s AM radio. "When I Grow Up" is all but guaranteed to show up on local year-end lists — you can say you knew them when at their Saturday CD-release show at the Entry, with support from So and So, the Van Gobots and the Floorbirds. - Pioneer Press


By Jay Boller

What is there to say about a band with one release, no label and little name recognition? Well, in the case of Yer Cronies, quite a bit. Already being touted as "Minneapolis' next big band" by more than a couple local media outlets, Yer Cronies are poised to be barraged with buzz as their debut LP, "When I Grow Up," gets more and more spins. Hailing from Apple Valley, the year-old quartet's record is a swirling mesh of droning vocals, experimental guitars and haunting keys. Think a Thom York-fronted My Morning Jacket with little to no emphasis on country. If that sounds like a refreshing break from indie scenes that routinely churn out lo-fi Yo La Tengo clones at a laughable pace, rest assured, it is. Yer Cronies

"When I Grow Up" is a surprisingly well-rounded first effort. There's certainly some identity searching that can be heard, but for a first release - by a slightly experimental band, no less - that's not the worst thing in the world. For the most part, it's an ethereal whirl that's moody, atmospheric and earnest.

Vocally, the band is sure to receive a nauseatingly high volume of Radiohead comparisons but that's not without warrant. On "In Absentia" Yer Cronies could almost pay royalties to the band, but that's not a bad thing. The spastic guitar takes a backseat to some eerie piano and even some honest-to-goodness harmonica shredding.


The disc's strongest track, "Sacramentosaurus," begins with the guitars doing a fuzzy stomp and the keys merrily plucking.

Yer Cronies capturing a natural pose.From there, there's an effortless swerve into a vocal-driven hook about dinosaurs and graveyards that's a welcome tempo shift from the song's equally appealing beginning. If Murder by Death had a more pleasant name and perkier leanings, "Kerouac" may very well be their first recording. It's a toe-tapping number about - you guessed it - traveling. And for whatever reason, "Kerouac" carries on the rich tradition of indie bands obsessing over beat authors. Who knows why?

For a crash course in what Yer Cronies is all about, simply absorb the final track "On + On." The six-minute-plus song spans the entire Yer Cronies sonic spectrum, from the drones to the pop. It borders on exhaustive, but is a solid track nonetheless. Casey Garvey's constant vowel-stretching vocals can become grating on extended listens, but overall, "When I Grow Up" is an almost overwhelmingly strong debut. - Minnesota Daily


Discography

Debut album, 'When I Grow Up' featuring songs, "'Divi Divi' Tree," "In Absentia," and "Daniel Day" receiving radio airplay.

Photos

Bio

Our music varies since we all contribute to the writing process. From dreamy pop to rock n' roll, from jazz to drum n' bass, we take all these elements and put them together and form Yer Cronies. We are high school sweethearts, have been in bands together and have been in the same circle of friends since 9th grade.