White Light Riot re-emerge after label dispute


White Light Riot. Remember them? After falling off the radar last year, we were beginning to wonder what ever happened to this once-promising, upbeat indie rock band who released their first full-length album in the spring of 2007 and then all but stopped playing shows in 2008. Today, thanks to a note posted by lead singer Mike Schwandt on their Facebook page, some of our questions have been answered.

It turns out that the band has been in a heated legal battle with their label, Minneapolis-based 50 Records, for the past year as they have attempted to untangle themselves from what they are referring to as a "soured" relationship. The good news? The band has since parted ways with the label and recorded an album of fresh material, which they hope to release this winter. The band will play its first show in quite some time on November 7 at Sauce.

Here's part of Mike's note:

Our relationship with our former label had started to go south even before we released our first album with them, Atomism, but we had hoped that things would turn around once we put it out. For a while, it seemed like it was. We were touring, and we started getting our music onto commercial radio stations. Things were starting to get on the right track. Unfortunately, this optimism didn't last long as things started to come to a halt time and time again, and we started to get back into the mentality, "It's Us vs. Them," a pitfall every band that signs with a label hopes to avoid. The fun was being replaced with frustration, and the relationship had soured.

And another excerpt, explaining the reason why guitarist Joe Christensen has since left the group:

Our friend and comrade, Joe Christenson, decided it was in his best interest to leave the band early 2009, and for good reason. We weren't doing shit but sit on our thumbs until we could work something out with the label, and Joe was getting a bit antsy. He left a scholarship at Macalester College to give everything to the band, and we will always love him for that. But with the dramatic drop-off in touring and our dwindling relationship with the label, he saw leaving the band to go back and pursue his education as his best move, one that we respect and understand. So it's extremely bitter to say that we lost an excellent guitarist, but sweet to know Macalester upped its average GPA with his return, and we wish him the best.

Welcome back, boys.