WHATʼS FRESH, the latest from Minneapolis popsters USONIA, releases on iTunes this month, elsewhere on 15 February 2013. Produced by Brandon Darner (Imagine Dragons), the album was recorded at ARC Studios (Saddle Creek Records, et al.) in Omaha.
WHATʼS FRESH features dance-rock teeming with unctuous satire, drawing on influences ranging from Michael Jackson to Frank Zappa. Donʼt expect life answers, just a 360° view of the culture war over mile-wide grooves. The group conquers musical territory only hinted at on their self-titled 2010 debut, an album so fresh it was listed among the best of 2011 releases at City Pages and 89.3 The Current.
With the addition of Mark Schwandt on drums and Garrett Neal on synths, the already-moxied sound of USONIA blossoms anew on WHATʼS FRESH. The taut funk tunes weave an electronic web in which the listenerʼs ears actually get stuck and they say, “Help.”
“In the Minneapolis scene, you either throw on the flannel and grow a beard, or get some eye makeup and wear dance pants. We threw on a beard and grew some dance pants,” says singer Ross Vander Werf.
USONIA has been featured on 89.3 The Current, glowingly reviewed in City Pages, and has appeared at The Basilica Block Party. The WHATʼS FRESH album release show is 15 February at 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis.
Zack Carroll/George Hadfield/Garrett Neal/Mark Schwandt/Ross Vander Werf
“...A sublime slice of headphone-friendly pop, confidently encompassing everything from jagged- nerve new wave to white-boy soul-rock with enough sass to make Hall & Oates burn with envy...with a knack for ringing hooks and ear for crisp arrangements, USONIA might just be the tightest pop-rock combo to hit the Land of 10,000 Lakes since Semisonic.”
--Rob Van Alstyne (Citypages)