As far as Midwestern punk rock goes, there's a tried-and-true formula that's been perfected by a few great bands. That's why it's so easy to mention Chicago's The Lawrence Arms, Cincinnati's The Dopamines and Minneapolis bands like Dear Landlord, Off With Their Heads and Dillinger Four when trying to provide a reference point for Banner Pilot.
The reason why Banner Pilot–Minneapolis natives themselves–have been able to stand their own ground in a crowded field is because the quartet hasn't fought against that tried-and-true formula. In announcing their fourth studio LP, Souvenir, bassist Nate Gangelhoff said, "I think that in the end we stuck to the things we do well, but varied them a little without messing them up. And I think the attitude of 'Let’s keep trying to make this better' paid off."
Stream the music video for "Modern Shakes," which features fascinating vintage footage of Minneapolis' Gateway District, above.
"The footage was shot in the '50s and '60s by John Bacich, who owned several bars in what was called the Gateway District, old Minneapolis’ skid row," vocalist Nick Johnson tells Fuse. "Before urban renewal it was home to a ton of seedy bars, pawn shops, flophouses and the interesting characters you see captured in his home movies. He passed away a few years ago and part of his legacy are these amazing images he preserved."
Souvenir, out April 15 via Fat Wreck, is a firm step forward for the band from 2011's Heart Beats Pacific. As a lead single, "Modern Shakes" boils down to reliable topics for Banner Pilot–drinking and missing someone–anchored with a backbone of Gangelhoff's omnipresent bass lines and infectious guitars. For a song whose most memorable hook is "On your rooftop / Drunk in the springtime" (these guys really hate the Midwest winter), it isn't a surprise that the video features plenty of drinking itself.