Little Black Books

The new kings of Duluth, The Little Black Books

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

The Little Black Books have just raised the bar for local albums. Their new one titled, Black Out, is better than everything here and what MTV or any other media source is peddling. They are the new kings of the Duluth Sound.

The Little Black Books consist of Mark Lindquist on guitar, songwriting, and singing. You might remember him locally for the bands Giljunko, Mr. Lindquist, The Lindquists, etc. Or you might know him as the CEO and co-founder Shaky Ray Records who also released the new CD. You may even read his columns that appear on and other places around town. He is not alone though in The Books, he is joined by the great young drummer Chunk who also splits time in the same role with The Black Labels. Kevin Grapski, bass, also may be remembered by the band IPA. Then lastly we have Bob Olson who you know from way back in the band Father Hennepin. He rounds out the sound of The Little Black Books and really adds to the band. They were also assisted on the album by local music sages Mindy Johnson (Keepaways) and Eric Pollard (No Wait Wait or the now divorced Dukes Of Hubbard ).

Now that the history is out of the way let us look to the future. The future of Duluth music is in the hands of The Books as their new CD is better than anything out there today. There must be something in the water up here to have so many local bands writing hit albums? Black Out has no one genre, but moves between sounds effortlessly. Of the nine songs that are there almost every one is a serious hit. This isn’t a band that has to do anything outside of just playing what it wants, and what they play rocks.

The album begins with the song, “Don’t Blame Keith Richards”, and ignites the blast of music that follows. The tune is inspired by the Stones both musically and in subject matter. The best comparison would be to Jet, and keeping the torch of rock lit is always music to the ears. The guitar in the song slithers until it hits the open road and is napalmed in the changes. It is harder than the Stones or Jet, and might make poor old Keith piss his pants musically and lyrically.

“The String” comes next and really highlights Chunks rhythm on drums. He is solid and compliments the nice melodies in the song. “Promise” though is another hit on the CD. There is this Tom Petty beat in the intro that is complimented by Mark singing like a cross between Lou Reed and Bob Dylan. He has a classic rock sound and is true to the roots of rock. At the chorus though it is all Black Books and very modern. Mark sings about the “Secrets I know” and really frames the words musically. There is an ache in his voice on this slower number and gives character to the song.

Another faster tune, “Toughen Up”, is about the darker side of nightlife. What makes the song is the fuzz tone solo on guitar. Mark sings, “I like the harder stuff” and about standing in the back of the room. It really is a great song and pulls you into the album. Even harder is the tune, “Sentenced”. This one has a quickened pace and roundabout guitar riffs. Kind of Alt/punkish, the song moshes in the lyrics, “The devil lives”. You can feel the emotion in this song and where earlier in the album the songs were rock, this one makes you want to smash something in the room.

The best song on the CD that gets wormed into your brain is, “They’re Never Wrong”. By far the best song I have heard from a local band in two years, this one deserves to put the town on the National map. It is an acoustic number set in Duluth. Mark sings about a man wanting to start a band and says, “Wants to start a band that sounds like Dinosaur, I won’t tell him he’s wrong, I’ll just help him along.” This song is lyrically deep and has many meanings that could be derived. One that stood out to me was not telling people they are wrong for naïve things they do, but just to “help them along”. In life we all do stupid stuff that no one corrects us on. We learn when we get older how naïve we were, but at the time it makes all the sense in the world. In the end the song makes you smile and is the best song out there hands down.

The CD closes with a live recording of “Short Drive” that shows off Chunks skills, and “Black Out”. It also ends with the listener wanting more. This week The Little Black Books are playing a show at Pizza Luce’ on Friday, March 10th with The Keepaways and The New Vintage. Do not miss this show; otherwise you will pay $50 very soon to watch them play the Excel in St. Paul. This album makes this band the kings of Duluth, and “They’re Never Wrong” needs to be playing in everyone’s head a.s.a.p.. Run to the Electric Fetus and buy this album before it is too late. This is the CD you have been waiting for!