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

By Tanner Kent

---- — 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.

"We've become the chillest and most drama-free band," Camp said. "Who else practices naked together?"

Whether it's live on stage (where Camp's kicks and howls set an energetic tone). or in practices (which, as the band is fond of claiming in interviews, are "wild" and sometimes au naturel affairs) to raucous studio sessions (though, to be fair, Camp said one report that they were kicked out of a studio for over-inebriation was overblown) — France Camp has plenty of charisma.

Since the release of the band's debut recording — which was actually released on cassette tape by Minneapolis label Forged Artifacts — Camp said the band has enjoyed a positive reception and is working on its next release.

"It's a top-down, summer record," he said, adding this caveat: "If you like listening to Black Sabbath with the top down during the summer."

If You Go What France Camp, Fury Things and Royal Atomic When 6-10 p.m. today Where Rumor's Lounge at Dutler's Bowl, 1247 Range St. Note All-ages show, tickets are $5