TIDAL Rising: Communist Daughter
With a name derived from a Neutral Milk Hotel song of the same title, Communist Daughter is an indie rock band hailing from St. Paul, Minnesota.
The band was founded in 2009 by singer-songwriter John Solomon following a whole mess of personal troubles ranging from marital (divorce) to medical (addiction). In 2010, Communist Daughter released Soundtrack To The End, their debut full-length that earned them comparisons to Andrew Bird and folk-leaning indie rockers of the like.
Following their 2012 EP Lions & Lambs, and a prolonged hiatus, Communist Daughter are back with The Cracks That Built The Wall, an engaging LP that marks a compelling return to form.
We sat down with the rising indie rockers to talk Brian Wilson, Back To The Future and more.
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Who is Communist Daughter? Can you introduce yourself?
We’re a six-piece from Saint Paul and Minneapolis MN. Johnny Solomon, singer and songwriter; Molly Solomon, singer; Adam Switlick, bass; Al Weiers, guitar; Dillon Marchus, keys, guitar; Steven Yasgar, drums.
When and how did you start making music? (Or how did you come together as a band?)
We’re kind of born from three or four different bands that used to play together, but specifically, we formed around my [Johnny] songs in various basements around the Twin Cities.
Your band name comes from a (great) Neutral Milk Hotel song. Can you say something about what that tune means to you?
We were born in basements, at 3 a.m. playing acoustic guitar and listening to records. In The Aeroplane Over the Sea was the record that played non-stop. Somewhere in there it stopped being a record and became the sound of our history.
What else inspires you? Who are your musical idols?
Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys is the music that always plays in my head. Fleetwood Mac, Jason Isbell, Bruce Springsteen, just songwriters that surrounded themselves with amazing bands.
Name an album, artist or experience that changed your perspective on music, or impacted the band as a whole.
We toured with Jason Isbell, it was our first real tour, I think we all saw what it really meant to be a legend in the making. The band, the guy, the music. It was all before his big record Southeastern came out, but it was like a masterclass on songwriting.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Best advice I got was from Craig Finn of The Hold Steady; he told me to stop trying to get people to help and just do it yourself, eventually you’ll be good enough that people will want to get on board. And by then you’ll know if you really need them at all.
Tell us about your new album, The Cracks That Built The Wall. What do we get and where’s the title come from?
The record is about fighting your own head. Its a personal record about my own struggle with addiction and mental health. Sometimes they say a wall that has been repaired is stronger then the original, and maybe thats what I feel like now. I’m glad my head and heart was broken, maybe its stronger now.
You hail from St. Paul, MN. Recommend another local rising band or artist you believe in.
Bad Bad Hats. I could listen to them all day. They sound like Liz Phair is 19 again.
What’s next for Communist Daughter?
We’re going to tour, we’re going to see the world. We’re going to make more records. What isn’t next for us?
Looking one year ahead, what was the best thing that happened to you?
Wait, I’m looking: Back to the Future? If thats the case then its the time we met Marty McFly, But for real, I just like to see people taking what we made and running with it. I’d love to play Europe and some summer festivals as well…
And finally, if your music was an object, what would it be?
It would be a box set of The Golden Girls. It starts out something fun, and you love it, and then you get in to the serious themes that it tackles, and then you suddenly realize that three fourths of those girls are gone, and it makes you sad, but so happy you have that box set to always visit.
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