Over the course of their last three albums (and several interviews with PHILTHY MAG) Minnesota-based experimental indie pop outfit Cloud Cult has played World Café Live, Johnny Brenda’s, Prince Music Theater, and The Foundry (In that order, actually…) However, on their upcoming run of dates, which will have them at our very own City Winery this Thursday, May 19th, band leader Craig Minowa had something new in mind, as he told me during a recent phone chat.
“We’ve done shows in Philadelphia in art spaces and rock clubs… When we did The Seeker  we really needed places that could play a full movie behind us while we were playing, and Love  was a little more rocking, so we played a lot of rock clubs… Our goal with the City Winery tour is something more intimate, where we can chat in-between songs, a kind of group therapy… We’re really trying to put a new spin on things.”
Our local City Winery show will be the second of four Cloud Cult play at the venue chain this week, preceded by Washington DC and proceeded by Boston and New York. Earlier this year the band played a handful of regional shows in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including the performances with the Minnesota Orchestra and conductor Sarah Hicks, and this summer they will play a number of West Coast dates (in addition to another stop in Wisconsin).
Cloud Cult’s 2022 dates are in support of their 11th studio album (and first in six years), Metamorphosis, which dropped March 4th on the band’s own Earthology Records. The themes of the album deal with some of the heavier portions of the human experience, inspired by the death of Minowa’s father, a struggle to escape addiction, parental responsibilities during a pandemic, and the suicide of a close friend, but Minowa tells me that the songs seek to find a way to come out of these situations with something positive: “The pandemic, for me, was a big process of changing, to shed the old skin.”
Minowa tells me that the music he was listening to at the time he was conceiving of Metamorphosis reflected many of the things that he was dealing with: “I leaned pretty heavy on singer/songwriters, like Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell… artists dealing with heavier topics, but coming out on the other side.” However, when he describes the sound he intended for the album, it is quite surprising, considering that Cloud Cult has made a name for themselves by embracing large lineups that include strings and horns: “The intention from the get-go was something I could play alone in the woods with a guitar… I approached it with utter simplicity.”
*Get your tickets here.