By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
A curse of broken bones has hit Eufio, leaving a trail of unplayed gigs behind them. None of the injuries are their own: It seems like everyone who wants to play on the same bill as the local band ends up in splints and casts. Q and Not U's drummer broke his foot; show canceled. V for Vendetta's guitar player broke her finger; show canceled. Punky Bruiser's lead singer broke her jaw; show canceled. Finally, just a couple of weeks ago, Delta Dart simply broke up--and, you guessed it, Eufio didn't get to play. Maybe the indie community should be drinking more milk.
So much bad luck might cause a more superstitious group to trade in their instruments for a job with health care benefits. But Eufio remain a group of girl-punk hopefuls: Amid these ill-fated shows, they're still crafting handmade self-titled EPs to sell at gigs like the upcoming Shake the Lakes: Women in Art and Activism festival and building cult followings in Philadelphia and, well, Mankato.
Sitting on the outdoor patio of Vera's, with twittering birds and the pleasant hum of Lyndale traffic around her, guitarist/lead screamer Jenny Hanson describes what could be the origin of the band's optimism: their name. Taking a sip from her curious bright-red drink, she explains, "[There's] a Vonnegut story called 'The Euphio Question' where there's a machine that sucks sound out of a black hole... When they replay the white noise, everybody gets euphoric." The transmitter in the story is called the Euphio, and your first instinct may be to think the band name is ironic (you mean Hanson's shrieks are meant to sound happy?). But listening to the band's D.I.Y. rants, you soon notice that a certain communal "euphoria" might really be the goal of Eufio's fierce music. Think of it: What's angry noise other than a form of release? And isn't release a shot at liberation? And what does liberation bring you?
Don't get me wrong: Eufio is not a mirthful album. Sounding more Bitch than Bust, the seven short, sharp tunes transform the band's daily frustrations into utilitarian rants. The opening track, deceptively entitled "Prog Rock," is the sound of banshees kicking down doors, critiquing "poverty chic" and dropping a wasp's nest of class consciousness onto our laps. "Oh shit, I lost my credibility," Kim Kopischke, Eufio's other screamer/guitarist, yells about making a whopping $12.50 per hour. But by the end of the song, she and Hanson are both proclaiming, "I will die for D.I.Y."
The album's headlong rush continues through the addictive old-school hardcore of "Stop Entrapment" and "Public Property" ("FIGHT! BAIT! CHEW! WAIT!"), highlighting the systole/diastole between Hanson's shrill screams and Kopischke's earthier bellow. (Yes, they are Sleater-Kinney fanatics.) Relentlessly shoving the band forward, Angela Gerend's drumming is a cluttered and powerful sound, less a "beat" than a backdrop, equal parts Keith Moon and Melissa York. The EP closes with one of her songs, an unholy roller-coaster ride (slow ascent, fast drop) called "Capital Disfunction" that finds Eufio ranting, "Shove your rig into our Bush/And surely you will come."
"It's relating erectile dysfunction--the whole problem of males ejaculating--with capitalism," Gerend says with an artist's knack for symbolic abstraction.
But this weekend, Eufio are welcoming pinkos and corporate lackeys alike to attend Shake the Lakes, a power-packed weekend festival that the band organized with help from the Babylon Cultural Center and the Women's Student Activist Collective in order to support Twin Cities women. On Saturday night, the festival presents a rock 'n' roll lineup, with Heads and Bodies, Thoughtcloud, Luke's Angels, the Keep Aways, and Eufio themselves. Sunday night features an acoustic and spoken-word set with performances by Kopischke, Yolanda "Right On" Johnson, Anne Ness, and Maren Hinderlie. The festival also hosts workshops with topics like "Sea Sponge Revolution: Alternative Approaches to Menstruation," "Fashion as a Feminist Tool," and "New Technologies in Contraception." (See a full list of events and discussion topics at www.shakethelakes.org.) Kopischke and Hanson will conduct a workshop called "Girls and Guitars," where they'll give practical lessons on everything from tuning your Gibson to setting up a gig. The event promises to be one of the summer's best gatherings, and it was all generated by a twenty-something power-trio prone to saying things like "We're not, like, very important, connected people."
"I see Shake the Lakes as building a community, getting girls out there, going to shows and starting their own bands," Hanson says.
"Women are always like, 'I can help my boyfriend with his band...'" Kopischke adds, laughing.
As Eufio use Shake the Lakes to retransmit euphoric sounds out of the void, they're hoping that some of the noise may come from kids who see them on Babylon's stage and think, I can do something like this. But if those future riot grrls ever share a bill with Eufio, let's hope some stroke of luck keeps them out of the orthopedic clinics.