ALEX “CRANKSHAFT” LARSON – Tied to the World Behind Me (LP)

Album: Tied to the World Behind Me (LP)

Artist: Alex "Crankshaft" Larson

Label: Slabtown Music Productions

Release Date: November 25, 2015

Alex Larson

The Upshot: Young Minneapolis bluesman defies the easy genre pigeonholing and blasts a sonic cannon straight into the stratosphere.


One of those from-out-of-the-blue records, Tied to the World Behind Me is only the third full-length from Minneapolis roots-rocker Larson but it carries the unmistakable scent of a performer who can claim “veteran” status without any hint of hubris. From thumping, garagey opener “I Can’t Take It” (which, with Larson’s megaphone blare of a vocal and nasty, primal riffing simultaneously channels the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and any number of Memphis blooze-punk combos) and (speaking of Memphis) the funky, horns-accented “The Right Dress” to soul-blues workout “Your Loose Cannon” (it’s a fiery call-and-response vocal duet between Larson and Davina Sowers) and the over-the-top Hill Country boogie—think North Mississippi All Stars and Junior Kimbrough reunited at their favorite juke joint—that is “Boxed and Charred,” all the marks are hit by Larson and his band of miscreants.

Where did this cat come from and why haven’t we heard of him before now? More to the point: what are YOU gonna do now that you’ve heard of him? (If you need a little nudge, check out some music, below.) He is unquestionably the real deal, and although he’s touted as a big deal on the Twin Cities blues scene, that’s far too limiting a description. Larson has his toes dipped into multiple genres, from the aforementioned blues, boogie, soul and funk to full-tilt indie rock and just plain unhinged garage stomp. There’s even a Velvets-eque slab of drone-psych, “Stuck,” that suggests he’s not above doing some onstage conjurin’, if you catch my drift. I can’t imagine his shows to be any less diverse and nonstop fun from start to finish.

Incidentally, the 180-gm. vinyl edition is a visual and tactile delight, a thick, two-pocket gatefold sleeve with a fat LP-sized booklet boasting lyrics, action photos and downright surreal art. (Digital download card is included.) Considering how Larson’s homegrown label is called “Slabtown,” I’d say this is one helluva slab to behold.

DOWNLOAD: “I Can’t Take It,” “Loose Cannon,” “Stuck”

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