The Free Press, Mankato, MN


March 7, 2014

Raucous rock: France Camp among high-energy lineup at Rumor's Lounge

France Camp among high-energy lineup at Rumor's Lounge

Toward the end of a wide-ranging and affable interview, France Camp bemoaned that his bandmates weren't present for the conversation.

"This interview would have been a lot funnier if they were," he said.

After all, he adds, France Camp — which is a pseudonym for Jay Simonson as well as the name of his band and the self-titled EP it released in November — is a "personality band."

That personality will be on stage today for a show at Rumor's Lounge that includes a second up-and-and-coming Twin Cities rock outfit — Fury Things, which notched the Star Tribune's fifth-best local song of 2013 and was recently named one of First Avenue's best new bands — and Mankato's hard-rocking cover band Royal Atomic.

Camp said the concert represents a long overdue Mankato debut for his band.

"We've been trying for a while," said Camp, who organized the show with Mankato music promoter Chad Roemer. "It finally worked out this time."

Comprised of Camp (vocals/ guitar), James Wolfeatens (guitar), Dylan Rosebringeth (drums) and Kyle Kimm (bass), France Camp (the band) has certainly earned a reputation for personality.

With a sound that borrows a wide range of elements from surf rock to blues and punk, France Camp distills a variety of influences into a surprisingly cohesive sound. Top to bottom, its 8-track EP demonstrates an ability to elevate the wilder and more unfettered elements of rock through an artful attention to musical craft.

Camp, who was formerly part of indie-rock favorites Howler, credits the band's distinct sonic qualities to a hard-won harmony among bandmates. Having created France Camp as a side project with his then-girlfriend while still playing with Howler, France Camp cycled through several iterations before arriving at its present lineup.

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