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ISSUE 121 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/2/2008

Gospel Gossip makes a splash

By April Wright
Variety Editor

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sometimes in our quest to have a rivalry with Carleton, we forget that there's actually some really tight stuff going on over there. Take, for instance, Gospel Gossip, a band made up of Carleton students, a Northfielder and a St. Olaf Alum. Gospel Gossip's, debut album, [i]Sing Into My Mouth,[/i] debuted earlier this year on Guilt-Ridden Pop to thunderous applause from the local music press.

And they deserve every bit of it. [i]Sing Into My Mouth[/i] is a shoegaze masterpiece enlivened by post-punk power. Borrowing a little bit from David Byrne's weird-out noise experimentation, the mournful drive of the Cure and the raw power of early '90s riot grrrl, it's an inventive record that breaks boundaries in a scene that sometimes feels very compartmentalized.

On the band's Myspace (, you can preview a few of their songs. Of particular note are "Shadows Are Bent," a jangly power-popper, "Lucky Lemmings," a slow-burning song that develops steadily into a wall of sound and distortion and "Wind," a tempered explosion of post-break-up emotion.

Gospel Gossip's success has been hard-won. Formed in 2006, the group started out like many other young bands. "We wrote all the songs [on the album] in about six months," lead singer and guitar player, Sarah Neinaber, a Carleton senior.

And what does an enterprising young group of musicians do with a load of new songs? Record them, of course! "About a year ago, we had a bunch of E.P.s recorded and we sent them to labels we liked," said drummer M. Oliver Moltaji, a Carleton alum. The band, which also includes Northfield resident Justin Plank and St. Olaf Alum Deanna Steege '06, was subsequently picked up by the Minneapolis' Guilt-Ridden Pop, a label boasting a roster of active local bands. But due to complications during the recording process, Sing Into My Mouth didn't come out until late last year. "To get it released in 2007 was like pulling teeth," Plank said.

"If you see us live, the sound is very different than the album," Neinaber said. "If we had it our way, it wouldn't be the way it is." While the album doesn't reflect Gospel Gossip's vison for it or the group's live show, it captures the their songwriting and ear for melody and creative instrumentation at its finest.

On stage, the group presents an aggressive front and improvises a great deal, emphasizing a degree of rock 'n' roll mayhem. While I love [i]Sing Into My Mouth,[/i] the jittery sense of raw energy presented during their concerts is refreshing and interesting.

But now that the album is out, Gospel Gossip has embarked upon a blitz of concert dates with other popular local acts including Baby Guts and Unicorn Basement (a band which Steege is also part of) and have received an abundance of praise from the most popular alternative press outlets in the state, including an invitation to City Pages' Best New Bands Showcase and rotation on the Current. It's certainly not bad for relative newcomers.

"I think we've done well," Neinaber said. "We're up in Minneapolis almost every weekend." While much of their energy has been focused on making it in the Cities, playing shows in the Cave and the Contented Cow have brought them back closer to home.

And on Friday, they're getting even closer to our St. Olaf roots. The band will be opening for campus celebrities the Plagiarists for their sophomore CD release show at the Grand. Also opening is über-talented techno percusionist Tarlton, also known as Brett Bullion '07.

So pack away the "Carleton Sucks" shirt and head to the Grand in the name of good fellowship and even better music. The show starts at 9 p.m. and has a $5 cover.

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