Minneapolis City Pages — September 11, 2013
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Red Daughters
Kristoffer Tigue

Waiting for the Man

Red Daughters literally went for broke on Dealer

Red Daughters had come a long way since gigging in an Inver Grove Heights taco restaurant’s basement almost a decade ago, but by June of this year they were flat broke.

Known for a pure throwback persona recalling bands like Cream and the Band and a wild live experience, the Minneapolis quintet decided that their third full-length, Dealer, would be their best shot to launch them out of the occasional local opening slot for national acts like Dawes into a touring power. The album has been in the making for about three years now, and they’ve spared no expense in the process.

“This is the one we’re not gonna cut corners on,” says vocalist/bassist Tony Beres.“This is the thing that we’re not gonna halfass.We’re going all out, make or break.”

Unlike their last two albums, Dealer has been riding on a full professional budget, costing the bandmates over $10,000 in recording, mixing, and mastering, and that’s before pressing or commissioning artwork. No release date yet, though.

“For the most part, all the jobs we were working, the money was going into the recording, into the band, into the [practice] space,” said Beres. “None of us were like going to fucking Bermuda or anything. We were all like making money. Working all day and playing at night.”

They started recording in October 2012 with Jacques Wait at the Terrarium in Minneapolis, a space that has hosted Prince, Pink, Andrew Bird, Dirty Projectors, Semisonic, and Soul Asylum, just to name a handful. Each daily session ran Red Daughters $700. Because they wanted to be able to experiment without a structured schedule, it took them 15 days to finish recording, which they spread out over six months.

“On top of the extra days, we recorded extra songs and that took extra time and extra money, while we had like real-life shit to pay for,” said guitarist/vocalist Ryan Zickermann.

Real-life shit caught up, and the group soon found themselves in financial peril after two members lost their jobs and another was put under house arrest after multiple DUI offenses. Guitarist/vocalist Charlie Murlowski was forced to pull out a couple thousand dollars from a mutual fund to keep the project moving forward.They also picked up shows they normally wouldn’t take, for the higher pay. All the money went back to the recording.

The result is a fuller, warmer, and more professional-sounding record than their previous ones. It’s more akin to the experience of a Red Daughters live show, which is arguably their strongest suit. Dealer blends their countrified-rock sound with new elements of post-punk revival, blues, R&B, lounge-jazz, and even a bit of pop-rock.

“It’s not this countrified barn-burning stuff that we’ve always been reduced to,” says drummer/vocalist Mark Hanson.“There’s a lot of jazzy old standard type of vibes that slip in because of the chords that we use, but we disguise it as pop music and rock ’n’ roll.”

Recently, Red Daughters headlined the Varsity Theater to showcase Dealer, and didn’t disappoint. However, there was a notable difference when it came to their newest material. With Hanson leading most of the vocals instead of Beres, and the remaining four focusing on harmonies, there was a new sense of sophistication to their singing. Songs like “Black Ice” — a single they’ll make available in conjunction with Thursday’s Triple Rock show — and “Voodoo Moon” sounded a little more like Fleet Foxes and a little less like harmonized shouts. They even added horns to the mix.

Whether or not Red Daughters’ new album lands them a label deal, a national tour, or the shark of a manager they so desperately need, one thing is for certain: They will keep playing music together — even if it means starting a cover band to recoup all the money they spent making Dealer.

“The thing is we’re not really the kind of people that are gonna play in like five bands,” said Beres. “We grew up together.We’ve been playing together since 10th grade. That’s kind of our thing... it makes [our sound] a strength. It makes it much better.”

RED DAUGHTERS PLAY ON Thursday, September 12, at Triple Rock Social Club; 612-333-7399