It’s been 25 years since The Suburbs last played New York—at The Ritz, recalls singer-songwriter/keyboardist Chan Poling.
The legendary Minneapolis punk/dance band, which built the local Twin/Tone label that later became home to The Replacements, Soul Asylum, The Jayhawks and Ween, “loves New York City,” Poling says, and is pleased indeed to be back performing here Friday night at the Mercury Lounge.
“We have a new album, Si Sauvage, and it’s a solid return,” Poling continues. “Adult indie radio stations around the country are picking it up, and it's in the Top 20 of a few of these stations already. It's getting great reviews from fans and selling briskly on iTunes and at our website.”
Si Sauvage is the first new Suburbs studio album since Suburbs, released on A&M in 1986. The group disbanded a year later, but have reunited sporadically, and in June, announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund the new album. The goal was to raise $65,000 in a month, but the band amassed 1,051 backers in raising $73,199.
“People who have heard advance mixes, say it sounds like a culmination of the entire history of The Suburbs, and thoroughly contemporary at the same time,” Poling wrote on The Suburbs’ Kickstarter page. “It's surprisingly upbeat, with plenty of dance grooves, yet also contains the beauty of older songs. It’s mature and fun, and it's obvious that The Suburbs’ audience has grown along with the band. Crowds are already cheering and singing along at recent shows to new songs like ‘Turn The Radio On.’"
The core of The Suburbs remains original members Poling, singer-songwriter/guitarist Beej Chaney and singer/drummer Hugo Klaers. Original guitarist/vocalist Bruce C. Allen died three years ago and has been replaced by Steve Brantseg, who has played with Robyn Hitchcock, ex-Replacement Tommy Stinson and the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls. Replacing retired original bassist Michael Halliday is Steve Price, a founding member of Minneapolis pop band Rex Daisy.
“It feels new because we have new members, new songs, and lots of life experiences behind us,” notes Poling, who played City Winery in March with his New Standards jazz-pop acoustic trio. “This new CD was a real labor of love: I had a pretty nice batch of new tunes to choose from, and Beej brought a gem that was inspired by our good friend Bruce's passing. Personally, I'm quite proud of it and believe it fits right in the Suburbs canon.”
Si Sauvage is “more of an extension of Love Is The Law, our  Polygram record, than the A&M one, I think,” adds Poling. “It's poppy and energetic and funny, too.”
The title, incidentally, is named after the city of Savage in the Twin Cities metro area, near Prior Lake, where Poling and his late wife Eleanor Mondale lived on a small horse farm.
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