MINNEAPOLIS — After kicking off their first full-fledged tour in 20 years this past weekend, Semisonic dropped two new songs on Monday morning to clue the rest of the world into what hometown Twin Cities fans already know: They’re not just a nostalgia act.
The stand-alone singles “Little Bit of Sun” and “Grow Your Own” were released to streaming platforms — the “Closing Time” hitmakers’ first new music in three years. Lyric videos for each song also were introduced to YouTube (and are posted below).
Fans already basked in the warm melodic glow of “Little Bit of Sun” during the trio’s string of shows at First Avenue and Icehouse in January. “Grow Your Own” is a rockier nugget that frontman Dan Wilson wrote reminiscing about his first dabblings in live music while at Harvard University, before the formation of Trip Shakespeare with his brother Matt Wilson and future Semisonic mate John Munson.
“I wrote ‘Grow Your Own’ about the joy and blue sky of starting up a band,” Wilson said in a news release for the new tunes. “If you’re a musician and you hear some music you love, you’re gonna want to make some of that music for yourself. Grow your own. And if you don’t hear the music you want to hear in the world, well, then, all the more reason to grow your own.”
As for “Little Bit of Sun,” the origins of that are pretty clearly tied to coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic: “We’ve all been beaten down by darkness for the last few years. It’s like we can hardly ask for a full sky of sunshine,” Wilson said. “We’d be willing to scrape by on a glimpse of it. But obviously, the song is asking for more. I can get by on a little bit, but at some point I want it all.”
Minnesota fans will have the chance to hear a new song or two played live alongside the ’90s classics and more recent favorites later this week, when the band’s tour with “One Week” hitmakers Barenaked Ladies hits the Ledge Amphitheater near St. Cloud (on Friday) and Mankato’s Vetter Stone Amphitheater (Saturday).
Wilson, Munson and co-founding drummer Jacob Slichter were supposed to tour in 2020 around the release of the redemptive five-song EP, “You’re Not Alone,” their first batch of new music since the 2001 album “All About Chemistry.” But obviously COVID got in the way.
Word is that another full LP is now in the works from the band, which has been recording at Creation Audio in Minneapolis (the former Kay Bank Studio) and in Los Angeles, where Wilson now lives. Surely a nearly monthlong tour should provide a good spark to finish it off.