This week we’re doing something a little different for our Song of the Day podcasts. We’re teaming up with 89.3 The Current, in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, to swap songs. Like KEXP, The Current is a strong supporter of independent music and their local music scene. Like Seattle, the Twin Cities has always had a strong vibrant local music community. We thought it would be fun to share some of the best new music being created in each city as part of their Local Music Exchange series. Tune in to KEXP at 4:30pm PST each afternoon this week to hear Kevin Cole exchange songs with the Current’s Mark Wheat. We’ll find there’s more to Minnesota music than Prince, Husker Du, and the Replacements. Today’s featured song is “Onward and Over” by Rogue Valley from the 2011 self-released album False Floors.
Twin Cities songwriter Chris Koza is the mastermind behind Rogue Valley, a project that is steeped in grandeur and ambition. Along with band members Peter Sieve (guitars, vocals), Luke Anderson (drums), and Linnea Mohn (bass, vocals), Koza is celebrating the release of False Floors, the fourth full-length album Rogue Valley has released since April 2010. Some may balk at the scope of Koza’s epic, but in his own words, “I have always wanted to write a novel or tell a story –- something epic –- both to keep me focused as an artist, but also to differentiate myself from other songwriters.”
“Onward and Over” is a folk-inspired track that borrows less than you’d expect, a soaring song that may best sum up Koza’s ardor for the stars. Group vocals, sweeping strings, stomping percussion, and affecting piano chords all find a home in “Onward...”, fusing into the perfect, wistful soundtrack for a midnight run from home - or back to it. Maybe that’s where Rogue Valley succeeds most - evoking moods with detailed and meticulous soundscapes.
Equally abstract are the band’s videos. Below, see the simple yet eerily hypnotic clip for “Cleaning Slates”: