Jordan Bleau might be better weathering the this year better than any other musician in the Twin Cities.
“I’m not huge into shows anymore,” Bleau says. “I don’t like bars. Or going out, really.”
Split Fountain, the latest project from the former frontman of Frankie Teardrop, squeezed in only a handful of shows before the virus cleared stages and closed doors. But as far as Bleau was concerned, the .band’s principal work was done before they even debuted.
“I wanted to focus on the songs, and on my knowing they’re good,” he says.
Split Fountain is Bleau’s third collaboration with bassist and vocalist Rose von Muchow (Wetter, Cheap Fantasy) and first with drummer Fez Felzan (Wild Firth), whom Bleau calls “the best drummer around.” Bleau’s goal with the trio was to focus on songwriting and recording; concerts could come later.
The group spent six months practicing and perfecting the five songs on Crosstown, released in August, and it shows. These are finely crafted, poppy guitar-rock songs, constructed to deliver melancholy lyrics and sensitive harmonies.
The only thing that feels out of place on the EP is the year it was released. Bleau says he’d been listening to artists like Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, and the Rolling Stones, the sort of music that, he says, seems “pretty uncool” to try making these days.
The title track off Crosstown is the catchiest, probably the one you’d most like to dance to at a show, but Bleau’s favorite is “Wild Heart,” a moody slow burn he wrote, start to finish, in a half-hour. The track is the best showcase for the interplay between his and von Muchow’s voices, his bare and searching, hers airy and pretty.
There’s more Split Fountain music on the way, though Felzan, who’s enrolled in grad school and isn’t in the same pandemic “pod” as his bandmates, might have to contribute the rhythm remotely. Bleau says the new songs are driven by the same urge that drove him to form the band in the first place.
“I haven’t heard a lot of what I’m looking for in music around here lately,” he says. “To me, that means I need to make it.”
And if that finished product ever gets a concert debut, fans should watch for group members’ stylish entrances.
“We’re a motorcycle band now!” says von Muchow, noting that she took up riding to pass time during quarantine, joining Bleau in this hobby. And Felzan? Well... “Fez drives a Hyundai.”