Who: Isaac Eiger (vocals, guitar), Fred Nixon (bass), Ben Scott (drums).
For fans of: The early albums by Built to Spill, Modest Mouse and the Microphones.
Sounds like: The O.C.'s Seth Cohen and Ryan Atwood's post-college punk band.
Sioux Falls is the best kind of American band. The members are young, unpretentious and don't care how you vote or what you eat or where you're from. They're just three best friends with day jobs looking for a place to turn it up loud and start screaming.
Isaac Eiger and Fred Nixon grew up in Bozeman, Mont., and played together in bands since high school. They struggled with small-town problems, like finding places to practice and a drummer who wouldn't quit after a few months. Their relocation to Portland, where so many of their favorite bands hailed from, was an attempt to seek out like-minded young musicians who'd dedicated themselves as wholeheartedly as they did.
"When we first came here, we really wanted to get into that PDX Pop Now! indie circuit, but we didn't really fit in," Nixon says, "and now there's a thing that's sort of formed around us."
Sioux Falls' new album, Rot Forever, is an ambitious debut that's been in the planning stages for years. "We wanted to make a really big, sprawling rock album," Nixon says. Adds Eiger: "We wanted to make a road album that goes on for a long time and changes a lot. That was consistent through our musical career. The content changed, but we knew the form of the album we wanted to make, so the songs were born to fit that mold."
The result is a sizable collection—16 songs clocking in at 72 minutes—that never feels daunting. Each track is imbued with spry, incessant energy—it's like a raging party that's outgrown its venue. It's the rare double album that justifies its length, where each song feels like it needs to be there just as it is.
The references to Pacific Northwest indie rock of the early '90s are easily placed. But while these guys have certainly worn out the grooves on Steve Albini-produced records, their version is more a reinterpretation than a direct copy. The bass bends and slinks; the guitars feel both light and densely heavy. The reverberations of Ben Scott's crash cymbals create a haze that closes a majority of the songs, providing a palate for the fraternal dialogue between Eiger and Nixon, their shared affection as palpable on record as in conversation.
"Rot Forever was made with the intention of being able to pull off live and not have it sound vastly different from the recordings," Eiger says. "The next album, I don't want to limit ourselves with that. I want it to be a weird, crazy thing—our Sgt. Pepper!"
SEE IT: Sioux Falls plays Black Water Bar, 835 NE Broadway, with Blowout, Rod and Drunken Palms, on Friday, Feb. 19. 7:30 pm. Call venue for ticket information. All ages.