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Saturday, April 05, 2008

New Polara Album - Beekeeping, out May 6th on Susstones

Here's something worth blogging about. Hot on the heels of Ed Ackerson's solo album released just last year, Ackerson's band Polara, return this spring with their first full-length album since 2002's Jetpack Blues.

Beekeeping (the album cover is pictured to the left) will be released May 6th on Ackerson's own Susstones label.

I haven't had a chance to hear it yet, but our friends at Sixty to Zero have, and this is what one of them had to say: "Beekeeping is a masterful achievement in PSYCHEDELIC ROCK. There's a 4 song sequence in the middle of the record that is quite stunning; it's as good as anything Ed has been involved with since he made his first record over 20 years ago. In some ways, this is a companion piece to Ed's recent solo album (they share one song in common, although that’s not immediately evident from the tracklisting), even though they bear few sonic similarities. Beekeeping is teeming with the trademark Polara sound – adventurous, exciting “pysch” excursions featuring always amazing instrumental and vocal contributions, all contained within a concise 3-4 minute pop song framework."

Glad to hear of the song overlap (and I personally hope it might be "Flashes of Light.") It's been a while I've been this excited about an album sight unseen, or "sound unheard" you might say.

Update 4/19: I've now had the chance to listen to the album several times, and I love it. It is indeed classic Polara, one of the qualities of that description being that there's a palpable confidence in the songs themselves that blasts its way out of each track. What I mean is, these songs know that they're good and sound as if they were just just dying to be sung. Beekeeping sounds like a companion album to both Ed Ackerson's solo album and Polara's Green Shoes EP. It adds a veritable pile of great new songs to the Polara canon and should make fans feel very lucky indeed, especially since Ackerson and his bandmates have still found time to attend to this important and central Susstones band despite being busy with other projects. (Fans should count themselves doubly lucky that it comes so hot on the heels of Ackerson's solo album.) My favorite tracks so far: The rockers "Game Over," and "Talk Me Down;" and the title track "Beekeeping" which oughtta ring a few bells if you've been listening to Ackerson's recent material. And there are great surprises like "Out of Your Hands," which comes on like Revolver-era Beatles meets Oasis and catches fire. I hate to get into the "best Polara album to date" game, but without quite saying actually that, Beekeeping is still really really good, very listenable and a joy to spin again and again. I know it's still April now, but I can't wait to find out what this album will sound like blasting through my speakers come Summer of 2008.

Polara will celebrate the release of Beekeeping with a release show at the Varsity Theater on Friday, May 9th and HowWasTheShow, stalwart fans of Polara and everything Ackerson will be sure to be on hand.

The full press release regarding the record is below.


Minneapolis noise-pop pioneers Polara release their fifth album Beekeeping May 6th on Susstones.

The core band of Ed Ackerson, Jennifer Jurgens, and Peter Anderson have traveled together on a minor odyssey of labels, tours, hype, dismissal, euphoria, boredom, missteps and victories. Through it all they've made precisely the sounds they wanted to make, and they've stayed friends doing it. They've certainly come a long way since the heady days of their 1995 debut -- Polara, a groundbreaking album that not only made them the toast of the Minnesota music scene but launched them into an orbit that included widespread acclaim from critics and peers alike, national press coverage and intense major label interest.

Each of Polara's 5 albums has been a postcard from the imagination of Ackerson and his fellow sonic explorers. The last Polara album, Jetpack Blues (2002), was a sterling accomplishment in songwriting and production that was in many ways its most ambitious achievement. Widescreen in scope, Jetpack Blues featured the massive "shoulda been" hit single "Is This It?" and the epic title track, both of which garnered very respectable airplay for a small indie release.

Beekeeping is a firestorm of a record, tighter and a little meaner than its more celestial predecessor. The emphasis is very much on songs - more guitars, less beats and blips. The sound of this superbly crafted record conjures the aggressive, poppy, whirlwind momentum of the band's live shows. In typical Polara tradition, Beekeeping is filled with catchy tunes to hum along with the ringing in your ears. Beekeeping is at turns poppy, experimental, honest, cryptic, hard and fast yet swirlingly psychedelic. There's a lot to like in this record for fans new and old. The new vistas opened up on Ackerson's debut solo album from last year -- a one man tour de force that ranks amongst his best work -- reach full fruition on Beekeeping. This release is a major event, perfectly in sync with a resurgent Psychedelic music scene full of adventurous fellow travelers.

Beekeeping is available through local stores and the major digital music retailers from May 6th. To celebrate the release of this milestone, the band is throwing a big to-do at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis Friday, May 9th with special guests The Alarmists, The Mood Swings, Mercurial Rage and others.

To hear new music from Polara and get more details about the album visit: