A video history of Is/Is

A video history of Is/Is

The past week has seen City Pages shining a light on one of the Twin Cities' more underrated rock bands, three-piece act Is/Is. In fact, we put them on the cover of the newspaper with an in-depth story about their unique adventure out to Joshua Tree National Park, which you can still grab a copy of for the next couple days out on newsstands.

Assuming everyone's had the chance to take in all that we had to say about the band (hint hint), we figured we'd let the band do a little to tell their own story. Last Friday, that happened in the form of some pretty awesome tour photos they provided us. Today, we've upgraded to moving pictures -- ooh la la! -- with a selection of music videos the members have appeared in over the years.

First Communion Afterparty - "Field of Flowers"
Is/Is's singer and guitarist Sarah Rose first got serious attention playing music when she was still in high school. At the time, she was the bassist for "flower children" rock band First Communion Afterparty. (Sorry, couldn't resist. Deal with it.). She may played a supporting role in the band, but you still see enough of her in this video to get an idea of just how young she was in those days. Spoiler alert: there may or may not be some underage drinking involved.

Gospel Gossip - "Sippy Cup"
At roughly the same time, Sarah Nienaber, who plays bass for Is/Is, was making a name for herself locally with Northfield-reared trio Gospel Gossip. She's the singer and guitarist for that band, which actually finished a close second in the Picked to Click music poll back in 2008. This Current in-studio was filmed the following year, featuring the lead track off their Drift EP. The surprising part? Nienaber's wearing shoes! (We thought she only owned cowboy boots...)

Is/Is - "Eating Hourglasses"
It was in 2009, as well, that Is/Is first started playing together. At the time, their drummer was Mara Appel, another former member of FCAP, and the then-all-girl trio released their first EP the following year, titled This Happening. The song that closed off that record was "Eating Hourglasses," a cut that sums up the sort of slow-burning builds that characterized a lot of the band's early material.

Is/Is - "Fire"
By early 2012, in spite of some lineup changes along the way, the band began to really hit its stride with its first full-length, III, released that April. In this video, shot by City Pages' now-art director, Emily Utne, the girls poke fun at their reputation for supposedly being witches. (You'd never know why, based on the evidence of the "Hourglasses" video...) The irony might have been lost on some, but you need look no further to realize the band has a sense of humor.

Web of Sunsets - "Desert Flowers"
While Rose's attention has most often been focused on one band over the years (she does periodically play bass for Pony Trash outside of her work with Is/Is), Nienaber not only continues to play with Gospel Gossip, but more recently took on another project as well: country-tinged trio Web of Sunsets. This band not only confuses things by throwing yet another Sarah into the mix (Bischoff), but it also features another Rose (Chris, who's not related). Jeez, you guys. With that said, it's awfully pretty stuff.

Is/Is - "Wide Eyed"
That brings us, finally, up to the present, and Is/Is' current incarnation with Ronnie Lee behind the drum kit. Lee (who's in more bands than you can count on one hand -- the show off) joined the crew late last year, and already, by the middle of winter, the band had an album's worth of new material. In fact, this MN Original video was shot in February. It gives a good indication of how the band's sound has changed over the years, and, fittingly enough, looks like it was shot in the woods outside Twin Peaks. (No owls were harmed in its filming.)

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