Candid Kid | Turf Club | Wednesday, April 1
The young men in Candid Kid certainly fall in line with their band name. The quartet have assembled at an hour too early for normal rock stars at a table in the back room of Cafe Latte in St. Paul. But the group still is able to joke and speak frankly about their latest EP, Turtleneck. Set in the vein of indie-rockers Vampire Weekend, yet distilled to take out the quirkiness, the album traces the band through bedroom recordings to polished sincere tracks that extends from musicians that are young and hungry.
Growing up in Pella, Iowa -- home to Pella Windows and a large Dutch population -- Benjamin Muller felt a calling to move to a bigger city when he searched for a school to study photography, leading him to the Art Institute in Minneapolis. Muller, tall, with long pulled-back blonde hair is the opposite of guitarist Tanner Uselmann, clean cut with horn-rimmed glasses and looking like he stepped out of the pages of a J. Crew catalog -- yet the two are the best of friends.
The band officially formed at a party during their college years under the influence of a couple of beers. Benjamin had been working on solo acoustic music at the time, but wanted to stretch his musical abilities to form a band. Muller recalls, "We'd met prior to the party and practiced about twice at that point, but it was pretty casual. It wasn't until that grillout where someone had a guitar, and I was playing a little ditty. Tanner heard it from the other room and stuck his head around the corner. He came in the room and said, 'Okay, we're gonna do this.' That was the definitive moment for the band."
Muller and Uselmann worked on tracks, collecting some snippets in their Dropbox account to eventually come up with the songs that make up Turtleneck. Gathering their tracks, the two worked with producer Izaak Burkhart to polish and tighten up the record. The album -- actually released last summer, but they are just now having an album release party -- has a vibe that comes from long evenings spent underneath the stars. Tracks like "Young" play into that feeling of throwing caution to the wind and reveling in the beauty of youth first love.
Benjamin shares, "'Young' was something I wrote when I was doing solo stuff. It's funny, because I played that in Eau Claire a long time ago. Someone heard it on the new EP and said, 'Oh, you still play that song.' That's the oldest song. Tanner and I tore it down and rebuilt it."
Bassist Cooper Doten and drummer Reese Kling were drawn in by those cohesive elements when they were asked to join the band, since the album was already recorded and released by the time they formed as a quartet. Cooper says, "Reese and I have played together for a long time. We met and started jamming on bass and drums for four years; we did some pretty out there stuff."
It was perfect timing for both halves of the group. Tanner recalls, "When we first sat down to jam at our first practice session at Bethel [University], Ben and I looked at each other, and we smiled. That was a fine moment. It's like when you meet the right girl." Benjamin simplifies it by adding, "It was like asking the hot chick to the prom," he points to Reese and Cooper, "You guys are the hot chick. Then about 30 seconds after we started smiling, we were told to shut up."
"Bethel has a classical music program, so they weren't really into the type of music we were playing. I'm not even a student there anymore -- I just show up at the music department with these guys," Cooper clarifies with a twinkle in his eye. "We pissed off plenty of people. One time I was there without them, and some guy was like, 'Hey, is your band coming in tonight? 'Cause it's really loud.' He was joking, but it still felt really uncomfortable."
There will be no need to tone it down for their album release show at the Turf on April Fool's Day. Although the album is only five songs long, the band has been writing and collaborating on new material that they will share at the CD release show, alleviating any doubts that an original duo could certainly become a family of four.
Candid Kid will release Turtleneck at the Turf Club with Carbon Handshake and Danny O'Brien [of the Farewell Circuit] on Wednesday, April 1, 2015.
21+, $6 adv, $8 door, 7:30 pm
Purchase tickets here.