The Foxfire Coffee Lounge was just the shot in the arm the Minneapolis indie-rock scene needed at the end of the ‘90s, giving young bands a place to cut their teeth and more established groups a chance to hone their sound. (Read all about the venue's history here.)
Here are five great recordings from the acts that called the Foxfire home, recorded or released during the club’s brief tenure, along with what City Pages had to say about them at the time.
Lifter Puller – Fiestas and Fiascos
Before the Hold Steady, there was Lifter Puller. The hard-partying crew of wiseacres dominated Minneapolis music at the turn of the millennium, and their grand finale was this raucous travel diary of their tours through the dank underbelly of Twin Cities after-parties. As I put it in a 2000 profile of the band: “The work finds singer/ranter Craig Finn flirting more boldly with melody, and his cohorts still finessing their punk assault with tinkly synths.”
Plastic Constellations – Let’s War
The first full-length from these endearing Hopkins High goofs captures their absurdist humor and noisy abandon, yoked here to a high-concept in-joke. “Basically we represent the Movement, and it’s the Movement versus the Serpent,” is how Aaron Mader explained it to CP in 1999, long before he was reincarnated as hip-hop producer Lazerbeak. Honest, it makes sense when you listen.
Selby Tigers – Charm City
Back in 2000, Peter S. Scholtes called the Tigers “punk rock as feigned tantrum, the sort of performance a four-year-old masters and learns to enjoy while convincing herself the tears are real.” And in case you had any doubt he meant that as a compliment, he went on to say they sounded like L.A. punks X performing the soundtrack to Grease.
Smattering – Rajah Pink and Wading Pool Blue
After a rough major-label experience as the leader of alt-rock local heroes Balloon Guy, Matt Olson regrouped with this poppier and more modest combo. “Rajah Pink flows with languid, literate ease,” Scott Henkemeyer wrote in a 2000 profile of the band, praising the music’s “shimmery lilt and hopeful expansiveness in its rolling keyboard-guitar patterns.”
Walker Kong the Dangermakers – There Goes the Sun
“Featuring an array of instruments from bongos to vintage organs, There Goes the Sun has enough postmodern-pop mettle to predicate the demise of the unadventurous pop poseur (if not quite the apocalypse),” is what Kate Silver said about Jeremy Ackerman and his band in 2001. Here’s a recording of a full 1999 Dangermakers show at the Foxfire.