Typsy Panthre's Allison Labonne talks Korda Records and tastes holiday cocktails at Gather
There's a bit of a chill outside as Gimme Noise meets up with Korda Records' Allison Labonne outside the Walker Art Center.
We'll be drinking buddies at the Walker's Gather restaurant for the afternoon, and we'll discuss the multiple musical projects Allison and her friends are currently working on with their recently founded label.
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With a big smile on his face Gather bartender, Josh Reigert pours us something for Winter, something blue: "Usually with this one I put in a rock candy garnish."
Allison takes a sip of what is aptly called Anti-Freeze and speaks contemplatively of the blue curaçao, vodka and pear cider delight: "This goes down real easy. It's a complex flavor though. Has some sort of botanical taste."
Reigert nods, "When I first came up with it I thought 'vodka and pear cider?!' Then I thought, 'Why not!?'"
After another sip Labonne elaborates, "It tastes like nighttime to me. Maybe it's the blue color."
It's musical equivalent: "Hmmm, It really feels electronic. I keep thinking of the Stranglers Feline." she says sounding satisfied.
Being part of the local electronic duo Typsy Panthre with the ever elusive musical mastermind of John Crozier, Allison sings and also stars in all the videos for the handful of songs featured on the pair's debut self-titled release that just came out on Korda Records this Fall.
"It was so cold when we filmed that we almost cancelled the shoot. We were all there so we went for it. Phil Harder had the idea of filming straight up or straight down. You don't see too much of the landscape." Allison explains. "Phil thought of animating it. Someone called the cops when we were out there and they came down to get us off the but then the cop car got stuck on the ice."
With a unique style for a Twin Cities band, Typsy Panthre's sound mixes an almost-European electronic pop sound that's cute and clever on some tracks, and dark and morose on others. Filled with strummed guitars, electronic ambiance and plenty of cooed vocals, Typsy Panthre's record works as a perfect vehicle in building on a lineage of musical projects under Crozier's belt that continues to mystify and promises more of a audio and visual approach than a typical bar band has to offer. "Live performances will be rare if not non-existent" Labonne offers.
"That's white chocolate!" Reigert tells us as he slides a couple more cold weather cocktails towards the two of us at the bar.
Of the Stoli Ohranj, Baileys, cold pressed coffee and yes, white chocolate sauce we both marvel at the results of Reigert's Snow Day cocktail: With a bit of a bitter taste I wince, "This definitely tastes like coffee, I hope this is decaf?!"
Allison interposes with a musical equivalent: "It is kind of a morning drink because of the coffee. Like Belle and Sebastian. You know like that really big record of theirs. What's it called? Why can't I remember?"
"The one with the girl on it." Labonne insists.
"That's like all of them," I shudder.
"You know, red cover. If You're Feeling Sinister!"
Of Reigert's next drink, Santa's Little Helper: "This is like drinking a candy cane!"
The musical equivalent: "My favorite Christmas song is 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' by Judy Garland. Johnny Mathis of course. I really love that Pretenders Christmas song '2000 Miles.'" she says thinking back and taking a repeat sip of the Stoli Strasberi, White Creme de Menthe and Cranberry juice drink.
"How is the infamous Legendary Jim Ruiz band these days?" I ask Allison while taking a look at the new CD called Mount Curve Avenue she'd sent me. "You are called the Jim Ruiz Set now?"
"Yeah! It was all recorded here in this house on Mount Curve Avenue. That's the title and there it is on the cover." she points out. "It was a magical time. Crazy getting a record done that quickly. Allen Clapp came to town and set up the studio. Everyone came in to do their part. It came together naturally. It is like 14 years of Jim's songs. It's a really good batch of songs. So great to have him active again."
Pushing an empty martini glass toward Reigert, I agree, "It seems long overdue but perhaps like a fine wine these songs have now matured and sound really rich and tasty. Not totally unlike these wonderful cocktails."
"He's got a different flare for the '80s which is really apparent in his music. Jim was into new wave. We saw eye to eye on Aztec Camera. I didn't know Jazz Butcher or Everything But the Girl until I met him."
"He kind of goes for that really wholesome '80s kind of sound, right?" I remember.
"Jim?! wholesome?! He has a punk aesthetic but he's pure in the best way. He's such a total nerd. There's nothing "sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" about Jim Ruiz."
Labonne analyzes the process of the new records, "We're completely fulfilled with how everything came together. We put a thing on Facebook about where could we record and someone came forward. It was really unlabored but everyone had the expertise with their instruments. It really combines virtuoso quality and then some natural approach. It straddles Jim's two interests and honors his songs. He's a brilliant songwriter and is able to embody that. The record is an accurate representation of where he's at."
The Jim Ruiz Set
Next up is a red wine, homemade apple cider with Rye, maple syrup and ginger ale or the Harvest Grog: Allison looks semi-elated, "Really rereshing... for a Grog."
Reigert chimes in, "Technically a Grog is a hot beverage."
"Tastes like youth to me." she reacts.
It's musical equivalent:"How you mean? What was the first record you ever got?", I ask her.
With hesitation Allison thinks back, "Blondie. Oh man, I can picture it. The one she has the white dress on."
"Oh sure, Parallel Lines!" I conclude. "So tell me more about Korda records. How did come to be?"
"Well we're all friends and follow each other's music. Everyone was finishing up projects at the same time so it came about because we had four records." Labonne explains. "The Ocean Blue are going to headline for a Korda Records showcase we are going to have January 12 in the Seventh Street Entry. It will be kind of like everyone's release show!"
With a close knit community of friends and musicians Korda Records follows a compact approach to putting out each other's music and helping each other out.
"That's really cool as I know many of you all play in each other's bands and support one another." I acknowledge.
"David Scheizel from the Ocean Blue first brought it up months ago. We never imagined we'd be starting a record label. But it seemed right to pool together our resources getting things done the best way we can. Our goal is to release these records and banding together and getting behind each other." she says with pride. "It's a pure extension of where we're at with music. The vision has matured. Maturity to know no one is going to make this happen for us. There's a strength in friendship and delighting in each other's success. All the bands lift each other."
The Jim Ruiz Set will be performing in the Seventh Street Entry as part of the Prissy Clerks release show this Saturday, 12/8 with Alpha Consumer and Nallo also on the bill. 8pm. 18+ $8
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