With the seasons changing, The Garage under construction, the scene continuing to grow, our writers were interested in “progress” this month. Rachael tackled Infinite Me and Sararosa took on Hippo Campus as two bands with local roots taking great steps forward.
With a brand new singer, a brand new sound, and a brand new album, Infinite Me is back and ready to take on the scene. This five-piece has grown up a lot since we last saw them in the fall. Deano “The Don” Erickson (Molly’s Worst Enemy, Internet Dating) replaced Corey Short as the frontman, and brought a new direction along with him to this already “ever-changing band.”
As bandmates in Molly’s Worst Enemy, adding Erickson didn’t take a lot of thought for guitarist Colby Moores. “We needed a vocalist, Deano wanted to do vocals. It was pretty simple,” he said. Bassist Jackie Fleming admitted that it felt a bit odd adding him to the band on account of the mutual respect and friendship they shared. The actual transition, however, ended up feeling very natural. “He literally picked up the mic, some crumpled lyrics, and melted in right away,” Fleming said. Then, Erickson quite eloquently described this period of change from his perspective. “It was easy,” he added, “like I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter.” (Can you tell that he’s the lyricist?)
Infinite Me spent their hiatus integrating Deano Erickson into the group and working on their self-titled EP. The guys surprised everyone by dropping their Infinite Me on BandCamp for free on February 18th. They then went on to host a solid album release show at The Fallout four days later on the original release date.
This album is unlike anything we have seen from Infinite Me in the past. “The transition itself, the drastic change in sound that we are talking about right now started happening in little ways before Deano joined our band. We moved away from heavy riffs and low-tuned guitars to a more shoegaze, alternative rock kind of sound, with some dramatic effects here and there,” Moores explained. In regards to Infinite Me’s “total new sound,” Erickson said he “tried to write vocals that weren’t the focus of the song, but more a part of the emotion that the instruments blend to represent.”
These five guys are continuously moving and gaining momentum as they go. Moore’s thinks that “the transition was/continues to be a successful one,” and he is “extremely happy with [Infinite Me’s] music right now.” You can catch Infinite Me on April 4th opening for Balance and Composure at The New Direction in Fargo and download the self-titled EP for free on their Bandcamp here.
There’s something really special about Saint Paul’s sudden gem of band, Hippo Campus–and no, it’s not just their age or their precise pop sound as The Current and NME (!) have pointed out. From recently playing The Current’s 10th birthday party, to a song of theirs being featured in a Super Bowl commercial, Hippo Campus has cultivated an audience that young bands in our scene rarely reach. After their recent sign to prominent indie label Grand Jury, one can only expect more to come from this band.
At my school, where some members went and graduated, there’s a sense of cultish pride for this band. Hippo Campus, for my peers, is the success story of our tiny-little-arts-school-that-could. Ask anyone at my school about Hippo Campus and you’ll for sure get a few yelps of excitement. Even our teachers remember the good ol’ days, when the boys from Hippo Campus took the classes that current students do now. It’s almost like they are celebrities at our school, rather than alumni. For a small arts school, that’s huge.
For the wider community and scene, the band is a fresh jolt of change in a place where bands develop under the scrutiny of their fans. When the video for “Little Grace” came out, Hippo Campus had no other songs previously released and yet their sound was fully developed. Like a Vampire Weekend song, “Little Grace” has a rhythm that taps like fingers on a glass window. It immediately draws you in with a sense of unwavering optimism and sound. In a world where artists have so much delicate intention and purpose before they even start with an idea, “Little Grace” is a type of catalyst.
It seems like Hippo Campus came out of the gates raring to go and people couldn’t help but pay attention. Their image is well-tailored and there is a lot of purpose to the way the band goes about things. Whether it’s the stage names the members go by or their sound, the band is constantly working to create a specific way they are seen. If this says anything about their work ethic, the band will continue to make heads turn.
Hippo Campus is that fully blossomed band, the one who’s next move you can’t wait to watch. Keep your eyes on those boys, because if you turn your head for even a second, they’ll be out in the world doing something big. And I can bet you they already have.