Minneapolis’ most beloved noise pop organization BNLX smashes an uncharacteristically lengthy period of silence with the new “Flextime” EP. The new EP (#9 in the BNLX EP series for those of you counting!) is available as a limited CD and download via Bandcamp, and also via iTunes/Amazon/Spotify/etc. consists of four tracks:
1. “Flextime”– the EP kicks off with this epic, compulsively hummable title track about reclaiming life from the grasp of the daily grind. 2. “This Is Love”– a cover of the PJ Harvey song and a crowd favorite from recent BNLX live shows. 3. “Til Death Do We Party (110 dbs)”– a sort of anti-anthem that tells a lurid (and humorous) tale of the bridging-and-tunneling of the band’s South Minneapolis neighborhood. 4. “It Was the Light”– in the wake of the band’s highly enjoyable participation in the Drone Not Drones 28 hour drone event last winter, BNLX has been exploring drone/improv/spontaneous composition with glee and aplomb. “It Was the Light” is excerpted from a much longer live improvisational performance recorded by the band at Flowers Studio in October. This track, like the others on the EP, also marks the first recorded contributions of additional guitarist Jim McGuinn to the BNLX sound.
Streaming below, Flextime features a 20-minute drone song, a PJ Harvey cover, and two BNLX originals. Gimme Noise caught up with Ackerson to check on the status of BNLX Fest III, and learn about his run-in with Harvey many years ago. Stay tuned for a cute dog pic too.
Gimme Noise: Nine EPs has to be some sort of record. Not that we’re complaining. Anyone you’re aware of who has done as many as you have?
Ed Ackerson: And of course BNLX has also put out two albums and some other stand-alone tracks. Lots of stuff for just four years. I don’t know if anyone else has put out as many EPs specifically, but I have definitely noticed that there are now a number of other local bands who have put out numerically sequential EP releases. So perhaps we have helped set a trend of uncreative record naming! We’re trying to rectify this with our latest EP, which has an actual title.
I’ve always loved the idea of EPs/shortform releases because they give you a snapshot of a band’s development in a particular time. The nature of a full-length record is to plan and execute things more deliberately, where an EP is often something that’s a bit more tossed off or less premeditated. With BNLX I’ve tried very hard to adopt a more informal, “anything goes” attitude than I did with my previous bands, and I think that’s why this stuff is so much fun.
Name the best EP by an artist other than BNLX.
I immediately think of the Glider and Tremolo EPs by My Bloody Valentine, Watery, Domestic by Pavement, Tally All the Things That You Broke by Parquet Courts, Everything Falls Apart by Hüsker Dü, and Onwards to the Wall by A Place to Bury Strangers as great examples of how a small number of songs can create an entire universe of sound and vibe.
The drone track on your EP is incredible. Why stop at 20 minutes? Take us inside the process.
Well, if you want more, we’ve definitely got more! The drone piece was cut live here at Flowers Studio. Everyone just set up at a station with a bunch of different noisemaking devices, and we let it evolve from there. The piece on the new EP is actually the first section from a larger 70-minute piece. We found that editing it down made it more impactful, and we wanted to make sure the piece was still interesting to our fans who might not generally gravitate towards that sort of music.
Is a drone-centric side project on the way? You could call it DNLX.
DNLX!!! You know, it’s possible. We’ve really been enjoying doing this sort of open-ended, improv, explicitly psychedelic music lately. We’ve found that as a group we’re actually really good at spontaneously generating sounds that are both musical and freaky. Our participation in Drone Not Drones last winter really kicked this process off for us. Our plan is to continue to record these improv pieces over the winter, with the ultimate goal of a potential standalone release. In the meanwhile, BNLX will continue to pursue its normal concise/punk rock direction. I see the two types of expression as complementary and oddly connected to each other creatively.
Photo by Erik Hess
Jim McGuinn and Ashley Ackerson
What’s it been like letting the Current’s Jim McGuinn into the BNLX family? What sensibilities does he bring to the band?
I’ve known Jim since our earliest bands played together in college, so we go way back. Jim is another guy who has knowledge and understanding of a huge amount of music. We have a lots common ground to build on. I loved playing in both the two- and three-piece lineups of BNLX, but having Jim there on guitar now really helps us translate the mass of the recorded arrangements to the stage. Plus, he’s a really fun guy to hang out with and we’re all having a total blast playing together. His sensibilities and energy really add to what we’re trying to do.
The EP features a cover of PJ Harvey’s “This Is Love.” What’s your best PJ story?
I was bowled over by the first PJ Harvey album when it came out. I was listening to it continuously in the van while my band the 27 Various was out on tour. One afternoon we were bumming around in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before playing a show. I was walking near Harvard Square, turned a street corner, and standing in front of me were PJ Harvey and her band! Turns out they were in town playing their third-ever U.S. show. They were happy but somewhat unnerved that some American indie rocker recognized them on the street, and I was unnerved because it seemed like they’d materialized out of a dream!
They were playing at TT’s, and we were playing at the Middle East, so sadly I didn’t get to see them that time. I did see them a couple months later and then many times since. Polly Harvey is one of the greats, endlessly inspiring to us, and her drummer Rob Ellis is also a real force of nature.
Judging by the state of Cause I’m guessing no BNLX Fest this year? What’s the latest?
We actually had BNLXFest scheduled for Nov. 21-22, but there were problems with the venue. So we decided to do this Live Transmission event at the Varsity with Jake Rudh instead. We were disappointed to have to reschedule, and we had a fantastic lineup in the works, but it was unavoidable. Our plan now is to do BNLXFest III when our next full-length LP comes out, likely in early March. Live Transmission is gonna be a blast in November, and we’ll have an excuse to throw another fest in just a few months!
Transmission Live seems like a smart idea. How did you get involved and which of his song selections will make you dance?
Jake and I have been friends for ages. I think he’s always wanted to do an event like this, and he and I have talked about doing it together since we have a lot of overlapping friends and interests. The combination of the holiday weekend, BNLX’s new release, and Jake’s schedule made this a perfect time to make it happen. You know me, I don’t dance unless I’m either wearing a guitar, very drunk, or both! But Jake is into an enormous range of music and really knows his stuff, so if anyone can get me out on the floor, it’s him!
Wiggy Ackerson has been a dark horse (dog?) in BNLX. Has your new dog Beep taken to the musical lifestyle as well? Do you have photographic evidence?
Wait until you see the new video for our single “Flextime”…that’s all I can say!
Transmission Live. With BNLX, Frankie Teardrop, the Ocean Blue, Two Harbors, the Rope, and Gloss. DJ Jake Rudh between bands. 18+, $8/$10, 7 p.m., Saturday, November 29 at Varsity Theater. Tickets.
Minneapolis’ most beloved noise pop organization BNLXsmashes an uncharacteristically lengthy period of silence with the new “Flextime” EP and an accompanying all-star release party organized with the legendary dance club Transmission.
The new EP (#9 in the BNLX EP series for those of you counting!) consists of four tracks:
“Flextime” – the EP kicks off with this epic, compulsively hummable title track about reclaiming life from the grasp of the daily grind.
“This Is Love” – a cover of the PJ Harvey song and a crowd favorite from recent BNLX live shows.
“110 dB’s (Til Death Do We Party)” – a sort of anti-anthem that tells a lurid (and humorous) tale of the bridging-and-tunneling of the band’s South Minneapolis neighborhood.
“It Was the Light” – in the wake of the band’s highly enjoyable participation in the Drone Not Drones 28 hour drone event last winter, BNLX has been exploring drone/improv/spontaneous composition with glee and aplomb. “It Was the Light” is excerpted from a much longer live improvisational performance recorded by the band at Flowers Studio in October. This track, like the others on the EP, also marks the first recorded contributions of additional guitarist Jim McGuinn to the BNLX sound.
To celebrate the new EP, we’re throwing a massive Thanksgiving weekend party at the Varsity Theater on Saturday 11/29 in conjunction with our Transmission friends and a truly awesome collection of bands.
Self-proclaimed Situationists, BLNX write anti-war, anti-capitalistic, revolutionary rock ‘n’ roll, and make it catchy. Borrowing heavily from hypnotic krautrock, shoegaze, and psych-pop, the post-punkers from Minneapolis – comprised of Ed Ackerson (guitar), Ashley Ackerson (bass) and David Jarnstrom (drums) – draw from an eclectic array of influences, stocking up on a wealth of sonic fodder to form their atmospherics. When not making EPs and LPs, BNLX uses aural experimentation to assert their political viewpoints, recently participating in the feature Drone, Not Drones, a live, twenty-eight hour, fifty act, shoegaze-inspired benefit concert to raise awareness of the victims of The War On Terror and in support of Doctors Without Borders.
Today’s Song of the Day, “Everything Must Go,” opens with a spark of energy, ignited by a steady pop-punk baseline. As quickly as the song begins, its energy shifts into a seemingly hopeful tune with ascending drums and synth arpeggio. Intertwining vocals and harmonies, the two sing “we have got to sell you back your dreams,” a line which reflects their thoughts on the commodification of the human experience. Altogether, BNLX knows how to arrange a solid pop-song that deals with complex, relevant themes. Hopefully, we’ll see more from them in the future.
BNLX, Minneapolis’ premier psychedelic/noise/punk/situationist/”music” group, are set to release their eighth eponymous EP in April. It’s lead single is the very catchy “Opposites Attract” and we’ve got the premiere of it’s music video, filmed in Buenos Aires while on tour in South America. You can watch it below. If you want to play catch-up on their previous seven EPs, their compilation, Produit Collecté, is out now and if you order the vinyl, you also get a download of all the EPs in full (including the new one.) You can stream Produit Collecté below too.
BNLX will be on tour in May and while we wait for details on that, the group have also remixed a single from Swedish noir-gaze outfit Blackstrap. The track, “Make Sense Make Change” features Victoria Bergsman of Taken by Trees/Concretes, and features on the band’s forthcoming TBA album. Stream the remix and the original below.
BNLX, the psychedelic/noise/punk/situationist/”music” entity headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, has an agenda of activities which it would like to share with you.
BNLX is pleased to announce the imminent release of its EP #8 music product. The EP contains four new compositions: “Opposites Attract”, “Permageddon”, “Rapture Me Now”, and “Mass Ejection”. This product will be available in handmade physical CD form directly from BNLX, digitally via iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and those other sites, and also via piracy on the Internet.
“Opposites Attract”, which kicks off the EP, is the designated “emphasis track for media”, and as such is the subject of a music video. This video was shot in Buenos Aires, Argentina during recent BNLX tour activities. It juxtaposes grimy urban imagery with the high energy lifestyle of a touring psychedelic/noise/punk/situationist/”music” group. Please note that the group is not actually performing the song live in this video, although it may appear so…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAdc0XFXwzA
BNLX has recently created a remix of a track for Swedish electro-shoegaze-psych heroes BLACKSTRAP. The song, “Make Sense Make Change”, features an amazing lead vocal by Victoria Bergsman (The Concretes/Taken By Trees/Peter, Bjorn and John “Young Folks”) Blackstrap’s original version was one of the best songs of 2013 in our opinion. We upped the tempo and brought in the noise, as is our way. You can check it out here…https://soundcloud.com/blackstrap/blackstrap-make-sense-make
The BNLX album Produit Collecté (Collected Product) will receive a full national release in early April. The LP/CD/deluxe digital album rounds up songs from the band’s now out-of-print EP 1-7 releases. This release had been available exclusively at the BNLXFest II shows last November (as well as local Minneapolis record retailers), but due to ongoing requests we have decided to give it proper nationwide distribution. For more information on this release, please visit http://bnlx.bandcamp.com
BNLX returns to NYC Pianos on Thursday 11/21! We play at 10:00, followed by our friends Eastern Hollows and The Veda Rays. We’ll have vinyl and CD’s of our brand new Produit Collecté album, plus we saved a handful of the LAST REMAINING COPIES ANYWHERE of the EP #8 handmade CD’s! RSVP to the Facebook event for the show here!
BNLXFest, the BNLX-curated festival of indie rock, returns to Cause Minneapolis Nov. 15-16. Last year’s event was a blast, and this one promises to be even better! Here are the lineups (set times/order still tba)…
There is a high likelihood of surprise guests too…
BNLX is releasing its new vinyl LP/CD/download “Produit Collecté” in conjunction with these shows. We’ve put together a lineup of some of our very favorite local rock friends both new and old. Please join us for a super fun weekend at Cause Minneapolis.