Allison LaBonne & John Crozier: Typsy Panthre

Allison LaBonne & John Crozier: Typsy Panthre

What does Typsy Panthre sound like?  Gang of Four’s erratic stabs of guitar disrupting Stereolab before they could hit trance state with a singer ignoring every crazy change and daydreaming her way through her own French New Wave film  -Ice Palace’s Adam Sorensen

Perhaps you haven’t discovered Typsy Panthre yet precisely because Allison LaBonne and John Crozier are a little hard to get to know.  LaBonne confides, “I have this desire to be an invisible force allowed to flow deeply into to others’ existences largely unnoticed.”  Some beautiful access comes from this gentle state and it wants to be sought rather than forced on anyone.  Maybe you need to be looking to find Typsy Panthre.

“John is still a mystery to me,” LaBonne says of her partner in Panthre.  “He’s fiery and deep and restless.  The music is simultaneously jarring and calming, and like John, witty, imaginative, and magnetic.”

Typsy Panthre’s sophomore full length “Hell” coming 11.11.19 on Korda Records has been percolating for several years, and opens a small window on our dizzying modern plight while dallying in the human condition that binds us in love, loss, yearning, and transcendence.  Crozier is a connoisseur of tones and the arrangements can be dense, intricate, shape-shifting; counter  balanced by intimate, thoughtful vocals from LaBonne.  “Maybe Dream Pop?” LaBonne offers when asked to place it in a genre.

“I like how we get to blur identities,” LaBonne says.  “Some of the lyrics I sing and many of the melodies are written by John and I love the idea of becoming his voice, though it’s an impossible quest.”  The result is more like a two-headed mythical beast of unknown origins.    

Typsy Panthre reside in Minneapolis, MN., and the duo are well versed in musical endeavors.  LaBonne’s singing and songwriting can also be heard in The Owls, The Starfolk, and Ice Palace.  Crozier’s guitar work, songwriting and electronics wizardry can be heard in Ninian Hawick, Ninotchka, The Hang Ups, The She Brews and Muskellunge.

Why “Hell“?
The title comes from a photo John snapped of a Shell station near Winona where the “S” had fallen down.  I was delighted by the idea that the entrance of hell could be so unceremonious.  I was flooded with associations, like Rodin’s The Gates Of Hell and Dante’s Inferno and how countless artists have come up with dramatic and ornate imaginings of hell.  This mundane version John captured spoke to me because of the humor and how it intertwines hell with everyday life.  I think we both wondered was the title too dark?  But it feels cathartic to acknowledge the hellishness of our lives.  Our divisive political landscape, the harrowing outlook for our environment, but also the little hells of heartbreak and human frailty, juxtaposed with how life always manages to thrust merrily and absurdly onward.  Without hell, can there be heaven?
-Allison LaBonne
Typsy Panthre began in 2008 when Crozier asked LaBonne to write lyrics and sing on the instrumental song which was to become “Paper Winter.”  Crozier subsequently opened a treasure trove of his adventurous pop creations, some with lyrics, some without, for LaBonne to collaborate on.  Their efforts were collected in Typsy Panthre’s self titled debut LP which was Minneapolis cooperative label Korda Records’ first release in 2012.  The sound is melodic and full of sonic surprises; like a second cousin of Nick Drake and The Smiths with electronic drums and gentle female vocals.

LaBonne (who sings and writes songs with The Starfolk and The Owls) was already a fan of Crozier’s songwriting in the likes of Ninotchka, Ninian Hawick, and Muskellunge; and of his guitar work in a host of Minneapolis bands from the garage punk Wahinis, to the bossa-pop Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, to the lush, sixties-inspired Hang Ups.
That first Typsy Panthre song came together easily, at least on my end. I added some unsolicited harmonies because I thought it sounded pretty minimal. I didn’t realize how much John would transform songs after the lead vocal was added. Often radically. He’s super adventurous in his arrangements.  Back then the music was our only contact, and felt to me like a secret world, really different from anything I’d done before musically.  During the years-long making of our second album, Hell, John and I kinda became, like, best friends.  Or best fiends?  -Allison LaBonne


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Hitch-Hiker video shoot. Photo by Mark Wojohn.

Hitch-Hiker video shoot. Photo by Philip Harder.

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