Indie

Jazzy Indie Combo Stellacutta Took Its Time With Its Debut LP -- It Was Worth It

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Though he managed to reference an early-1900s Broadway musical songwriting duo alongside a proto-goth post-punk band, Knouse's pop binary is erudite and rather unpretentious. Stellacutta's lengthier tracks boast three-part harmonies and dynamic composition, but the arcs are built on effervescent piano leads and Minne's chirping choruses.

Yet the Frisbee has stopped flying. The rest of the band is giving him playfully annoyed looks that say, "You dork."

"Go fuck yourself," Knouse spits in jest, and the Frisbee peanut gallery cackles. They eventually get bored, go inside, and randomly jam on the mess of instruments in the living room, getting the three Stellacutta singers to occasionally crack up at the demented sounds emanating outside.

It's Minne's voice, a tender soprano with the occasional upswings of Dirty Projectors' Amber Coffman, that lead the band's vocal trifecta. She also wrote all the lyrics on the new album, the first batch she'd ever composed. "I'm trying to be more specific in what I want to say instead of being vague and fairy tale-ish," she says sheepishly.

The buoyant slink of "Sundogs" has bright guitar sweeps and funky keyboard accents, but her simple imagery gives the grooved chorus a dose of anguish. "In a nest in a heap / Stealing the things we need / Take and leave / But the car was towed / These sticks and stones fold here," she sings.

Minne informs me that a sundog is a rainbow that occurs during freezing temperatures. "I'm from Alaska," she says. "That's where my head goes. I have a past life there."

The frosty natural imagery littered throughout the album was not only part of Minne's childhood recollection but an extension of her concern about the negative impacts suffered by these delicate environments. "These places I lived were changing," she says. "I tried to remember what they were like when I was a kid when it was a perfect reality."

The band is named for an imaginary character Minne would embody when she was very young, one she took the identity of when dressed up in costume. She is depicted at that age, and in that character, on the album cover photo -- a princess wielding a wand atop a mammoth cube of concrete in the desert.

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Chase Kamp
Contact: Chase Kamp