A reformed Pedaljets will be releasing their first studio album of what I assume to be brand new songs in more than two decades before the end of the year. From their first demo cassette in 1986 (which you can download thanks to a devoted fan here) through the band’s debut full length Today, Today in 1988 and the 1990 eponymous follow-up, the band’s sound matured from an artfully craggy but completely shameless take on the idolized Minneapolis punk of that era to one of their own, while still retaining an undeniable pull toward a Mould/Westerberg approach to writing. A break up occurred on the verge of breaking out (even after a stint opening for Hüsker Dü), and left the band all but forgotten outside of the area within a few years.
Followers of Lawrence music history will note that PJ was not the only time much of the lineup had played together. In 1985, there was the Von Bulows, a summer fling fronted by Lori Wray and backed by the entire lineup of the Jets at that time (Mike Allmayer, Rob Morrow, Matt Kesler, and Scott Mize) and was ’80s pop in the best, most danceable way. Though they recorded a handful of tracks, their only attainable output looks to be a contribution on the third installation of the Fresh Sounds From Middle America compilation series.
In the late ’80s, Allmayer, Morrow and Kesler played in The Catherines with Ala Mandelbaum (later of the dreampop bands Smitten and Boudoir), and released only enough material to populate a rather hard to find demo cassette. A few years after the Jets disbanded, Allmayer and Morrow (along with one-time Jet, Mark Reynolds) played together in the much more aggressive Grither, releasing a number of EPs, and a CD on MCA Records in the process. Allmayer fronted a project as equally short-lived as the Bulows in the late ’90s, under the name Missile My Doll. A single demo was released before the name all but vanished from existence.
Fast forward to 2007, and the core lineup was thrilled to get a chance to come back together and completely re-mix the sophomore Pedaljets album, laying to rest a master they were finally happy with. The resulting re-imagining was given a proper CD release on the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it OxBlood Records (a promising combination of efforts between local DJ/music snob Robert Moore and Frogpond‘s Megan Hamilton) and the band played a few shows that summer in support.
I can’t recall hearing any new Pedaljets songs at their recent shows, but then I haven’t gotten a chance to catch them live since they played with the Micronotz in Lawrence last fall. The details, and even the artwork of the new album have been kept mostly under wraps, and a tour in support of the new album is highly unlikely, but a record release show is imminent. Kesler has been performing bass duties at all of the recent ‘Notz shows (a position once held by the locally iconic and sadly departed David Dale), so one can hope a new release may be in store from them as well. As anyone who has seen them recently knows, Jay Hauptli sure as hell still has the throat for it.