Dead Broke Rekerds and Rad Girlfriend Records are sharing a vinyl and digital reissues of Minneapolis garage punk band The Soviettes’ classic, first full-length album, LP1, as well as LP2, and you can check it out right here at New Noise. The digital release is out today, and vinyl is out May 6. 

The reissue of LP1 also comes with limited edition splatter color vinyl. You can preorder the exclusive vinyl at Dead Broke Rekerds and Rad Girlfriend Records.

Formed when guitarist/vocalist Annie “Sparrows” Holoien and bassist Susie Sharp were introduced to guitarist Maren “Sturgeon” Macosko and drummer Danny Henry by their friends Dillinger Four, the band took off from there.

I cannot find punctuation that properly emphasizes the word “active” in active band. Aside from dropping three full-length albums in the span of two years, they also dropped a few EPs, were featured on several splits, and appeared on countless compilations (Ah, the Rock Against Bush comps seem so quaint now).

They also toured all 50 states with bands like Against Me!, The Epoxies, and Smoke Or Fire. After carrying this momentum for about half a decade, fatigue and burn out unsurprisingly began to take hold and the band going on hiatus in 2006 shortly after dropping LP3. The members scattered and started various projects, with Macosko joined Gateway District and Annie and Danny going on to form Awesome Snakes (to name a few).

With Adeline Records closing shop in 2017, The Soviette’s first two albums LP1 and LP2 were handed back to the band and have largely been unavailable for streaming or physical release. That is until the band announced the albums were being reissued via Rad Girlfriend and Dead Broke Rekerds, scheduled to drop May 6, out today digitally.

New Noise caught up with Annie, Danny, and Maren via Zoom to catch up on the last decade, talk about Awesome Snakes (whose LP Venom also got reissued this year via Stand Up! Records) and figure out whether The Soviettes is a problematic band name. (Answer: Maybe. But also, it’s a really good band name.)

New Noise: Where is everyone right now?
Danny: Minneapolis! 

Annie: Yes, we are all in Minneapolis.

That’s where the band is located? That’s where y’all practice?
Annie: I mean we haven’t, but we will!

Danny: I’m gonna practice so hard! (laughs)

Both of you play in The Soviettes correct?

Annie: Yeah.

And that’s the record that’s being reissued right?
Annie: They both are- the Awesome Snakes record is a reissue. When did that come out Danny?

Danny: 2006. 

Annie: And then the Soviettes first record first came out in 2003. 

Danny: LP1, yeah 2003.

Annie: The Awesome Snakes record was just a dumb joke that Danny and I did a really long time ago and it got some traction because it was part of a video game called Skate 2. And then a whole bunch of people heard the band …

Danny: Plus, it was stupid enough that people were like ‘Hey that’s great!’

Annie: A friend of ours has a comedy label, and he always said that our record is so funny, I don’t think people got it at the time. It should come out on a comedy label. But long story short, he’s gonna releases it on his comedy label. 

Danny: It’s called Stand Up! Records. He only does vinyl and he only releases comedy records. We’re the first band I think to be on that record label. And it never came out on vinyl in 2006 or ever, so it’s finally coming out with like four extra songs. 

No new recordings?
Danny: No, there’s only ever been one—well there’s been a few things. But this one really incorporates all the ones that count.

What kickstarted the idea for the reissue?
Danny: On a personal level, I think he just really liked the record and wanted his own copy on vinyl he told me (laughs). But he had a lot of great ideas on how to do it, and he’s really good at marketing. He had all these crazy ideas like, it’s going to have like a reverse groove on it, which I don’t really completely understand how it works. The record is the album that we put out, but on each side, there are also a couple of extra songs, so you go back and catch your groove, and it’ll play the other way. Oh yeah, and special-colored vinyl. He’s got it all figured out. It’s, it’s more of a personal project for him, he just likes the band. 

Annie: I think he likes the idea of doing a musical comedy record to be put out on his roster.

Danny: Yeah, puts a lot of pressure on us. Now we gotta be funny too. 

I mean, it’s a great concept. How did a snake-themed band come about?
Danny: It started out as a joke and became a real thing. We were dumb, hungover, and said, “You know what we should do? We should do a band called Awesome Snakes and every song is about snakes or things that are awesome.’ And then what we did was we went ahead and did that. (laughs) There’s really not anything else beyond that. 

Maren: You guys were awesome though!

Annie: Thanks Maren!

Danny: Yeah, anytime it gets attention, I’m always surprised. 

Annie: Yeah, we lived in a punk house on Lyndale at the time and partied a lot. We were on tour a lot with The Soviettes when we made it, and it felt like there was a lot of pressure—we just wanted to put something out that was really stupid and funny. 

That was, like, in the mid-2000s. I feel like punk rock wasn’t really funny then, you know?
Annie: Not really. I mean, The Spits actually were like the only band like that at that time that I was aware of that was, like, fun and party and like ridiculous I mean, we made it on our friend’s porch. 

So circling back to the Soviettes …
Annie: Maren and I both played guitar in the Soviettes.

Danny: And I would say you wrote most of the songs.

Annie: Yes. And then Danny wrote the third most of the songs and played the drums. Susie couldn’t be here but she was also in the band.

Danny: Every album that we made had at least 2 or 3 songs from each of us.

And which albums are getting re-released?
Danny: I want to know the answer to this too. (laughs)

Annie: So it’s kind of a long story, I’ll try and keep it short. Our first two albums were released on Adeline Records. And for us, it was like holy shit, wow, this is really cool and fun to meet some of those people. But that record label folded a few years ago, and so they gave us the masters. But in doing that, it had to come down off all the streaming so that we could re-upload it … and it just kind of languished and took a long time. Josh Goldman from Rad Girlfriend and Mike from Dead Broke Rekerds are rereleasing those records and they have been really big champions of the band anyway. They wrote to us and asked why aren’t our records on Spotify or Apple—like you can’t find them anywhere except Youtube where fans uploaded songs. They asked if they could do it, and it was awesome because I thought I would just do it myself, it’s just digital. They offered to do it, and it happened because Adeline folded. 

Maren: And on vinyl! They are putting it out on all the things. If you go and you try to find Soviettes songs, you can’t really find them! And you can’t find them digitally or the records—I mean this age of you can find everything you want in your pocket on your phone instantly—you can’t find any Soviettes songs! 

So LP1 and LP2 right? Those are the ones coming out?
Annie: Yeah, LP3 is still on Fat Wreck Chords and they still have that thing going. 

Danny: They probably still have like 8,000 copies of that record sitting around (laughs.)

Annie: They don’t! And actually, that record has become super collectible. I sold one for a hundred bucks the other day!

Danny: What? Just the regular record? I want a hundred dollars!

Annie: I’m sorry we’re on a tangent.

Maren: Now I want to know!

Annie: LP3 had a few light pink copies that were the colored vinyl version. And I still had a couple of them.

Danny: Who bought it?

Annie: Some guy on eBay!

My first memory of hearing The Soviettes was on the Rock Against Bush compilation. We were talking earlier about how punk rock wasn’t as much fun then, I feel like all the punk rock bands had to be like Anti-Flag or Rise Against. How did the Soviettes fit into all of that?
Annie: We were a pretty political band actually! One thing that kept getting asked of us in interviews was, “How do you write political songs that are so catchy, that you can dance to them?” That was kind of our superpower.

Danny: It was sort of sneaky cause it was poppy, but it had an edge in the content. Todd from Razorcake said, “I can only think of one other band that did that, and it was The Avengers.” And I’m not comparing myself to that, but there was that angle that I never thought about till that point. 

Annie: I hadn’t really thought about that either.

Danny: And I mean, first of all, fuck George W Bush. (laughs)

Annie: I think we just wrote what was going on. We were really young, and George the second was, like, the worst thing that could possibly ever happen. And look now! Like, holy shit. But also, we all wrote what we liked to hear, and I actually don’t know those bands very well, that you listed off because I prefer my music to sound more like The Avengers or X-Ray Spex. We probably go hand in hand was, like, not how anybody thought about it. Like you could totally write whatever you wanted, and it can sound however you want and it doesn’t have to be like this angry-sounding music just because you think shit’s fucked up.

Maren: I think The Strike was really good at that too.

Annie: They played what they wanted to hear and they said what they wanted to say and it came off super dancey.

Maren: They had good hooks! And it wasn’t roar! (laughs) I don’t know if that’s what Anti-Flag sounds like.

Danny: We never really yelled at anyone in our songs, we just sort of sang.

Danny, on Wikipedia, it says someone asked you why The Soviettes broke up, and your response was “I don’t know.”
Danny: There was some dumb thing that I said that made it into the official quote now, that was just some offhanded …

It strikes me as something you say when your mom asks you how your day was.
Danny: I don’t know mom, geez! 

Annie: That’s probably exactly right. But yeah, we just burned ourselves out on that band.

Danny: Yeah, the last thing we did was a 50 state tour that was three months long, and a lot was going on. It seemed like a natural progression of things. 

Maren: We had a summer tour right before that and a record right before that and maybe it was too much.

Annie: And then Maren moved to California after we broke up for a new project. I had a baby not very long after that. 

Danny: I got a new car … (laughs) But now we all have kids!

Now that you’ve got some distance from it, how do you feel you guys fit into what was going on at the time?
Annie: I don’t know. I kind of always felt like an outsider from everything honestly at the time, in a lot of ways.

Danny: There are very few bands on that Rock Against Bush Vol. 1 and 2 that I have records of, so we were kind of outsiders within that. 

How did you guys get on that compilation?
Annie: Through Fat. 

How did you guys get on Fat?
Maren: [Fat] Mike and Billy Joe [Armstrong] are friends. It was a San Francisco connection. 

Danny: Yeah, didn’t he come to watch us play one time?

Annie: Yeah, Floyd and Mike came and saw us play at the Doll Hut. 

Maren: Not necessarily friends, but they knew each other and some other bands in Minneapolis. Adeline was out in the Bay Area. 

Danny: Yeah, there was another band in town on Adeline called The Crush. And that was kind of a little bit of a connection to that. But also Billy Joe’s wife ran Adeline and she was from Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

Annie: I think that Billy Joe and his wife heard us through their nephew or cousin? Am I remembering this right? 

Danny: We don’t know. The answer is we don’t know. (laughs)

Annie: I think with Fat, Erin, Mike’s wife at the time was a fan.

Danny: Yeah she ran the Pink and Black, right?

Annie: Yeah. And Floyd was a fan. And Paddy from Dillinger Four was a fan as well, he talked about us a lot. We’re really good friends with that band too.

It seems like for a Minneapolis band, you guys had a lot of Bay Area connections.
Annie: Yeah, like Danny said, The Crush from here was on Adeline. And then Susie knew someone who was related to Billie Joe Armstrong, I can’t remember what the relation was. But that person really liked our band. I don’t know if they were specifically looking for bands with female members or not, but a lot of labels around that time really did want to diversify their band roster in someways if they could. I’ll be honest with you, we probably had a lot of opportunities that we might not have had otherwise. Just being honest.

Danny: I remember there being a lot of …  there was a lot of press. We got a lot of press and a lot of support immediately from the Twin Cities initially. 

Annie: We were not very good either, so.. (laughs) I mean, we got good! But we were not very good when we got started. 

Maren: We also played All. The. Time. I recently looked at calendars and it was kind of ridiculous. 

Annie: We practiced every week, twice a week. And we went on tour every summer and every winter break.
Maren: And spring break. And we recorded like three records in those years. It was a timing thing too where a local radio station was just getting going and was like I don’t know who’s playing what shows? Well, this band that’s kind of weird and kind of hilarious and crazy is playing every show all over the place. So we did get a lot of press but we were also really busy. 

Is it true you guys got your name when someone at a coffee shop suggested you call yourselves The Soviettes?
Annie: Oh that’s totally true. I worked at a coffee shop in uptown and there was a regular customer who I’m still friends with who works at Extreme Noise.

Danny: Who was it?

Annie: It’s that super blond skinny guy who’s worked at Extreme Noise forever, and he came in and was like ‘I have the best band name.’ I told him I was playing with Maren and I told him about it. And he’s like, I have the best band name and I’ve been saving it, but I’m gonna give it to you as a tip for the coffee. It’s ‘The Soviettes.’ And I was like, Oh my God, that’s so good.’ So that is where that came from.

You mentioned that you were getting attention from labels looking to diversify their rosters, do you think Adeline was more interested because of your name and the fact that you were ‘female-fronted’?
Danny: Well there were a lot of bands like The Donnas that got big around that time. Sahara Hotnights, remember them? So yeah, there were a lot of female fronted bands that were getting big at the time.

Maren: And it was always a question in interviews, and I guess it’s still a question in interviews. Yeah, we got booked with girl bands and we got asked questions and I think people did treat us differently. I think there was the question of: Is this a band full of girls? Or is this a band to just be a band of people who want to play music and have a party? And you know I always think party’s gonna help.

Annie: And that was the truth, too. We didn’t set out to try to find girls to be in the band, we just wanted to play. Gender was never thought about when we were choosing members for the band, ever.

Maren: And even to go back to your last question about the name… honestly, if somebody had like, waved a wand and said, ‘Do you want to do this differently?’ I would and for both reasons. Like the suffix ‘e-t-t-e-s’ refers to the female gender- but also it wasn’t that cool to grow up in communism! And we met a couple of people who were real clear about telling us how much it sucked to grow up in communism, and they’re like, ‘Do you think your name is a joke?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, I guess it’s not a joke. I’m so sorry.’ And I was young, I didn’t think about it, but then I thought about it. To make a name that really represented a female idea, but that we weren’t really like tied to anything like that … we weren’t all Donnas, we didn’t have like sexy clothes unless we wanted to. And I don’t know, we weren’t out to be girls in a band. But that’s a thing that you can do and that’s the thing that people asked about.

Annie: That’s a good point Maren, when we first started the band, it was just a funny play on words. 

Maren: You gotta call it something and no one likes thinking of band names. We didn’t think about it! I didn’t really think about the ‘Soviet’ part either until… remember meeting that woman on tour? She was part of the former Soviet Union. 

Danny: I mean, for a play on words, it’s a good name.

It is a good name.
Danny: But like you Maren, I didn’t really think about it too much.

So you met someone from the Soviet Union who asked you about your name?
Maren: There were at least two different people on separate occasions who directly confronted me! Annie and Danny you don’t remember that?

Danny: No …

Maren: One was Polish, and one was from a different East Bloc and they had come here as young people and they wanted to talk to me about it! The first time I wasn’t really ready, it took me awhile to get what she was getting at! The second time, I was like I know, I’m sorry (laughs.)

But it is a good name and it was fun. And you know, like I said, we were young.

When viewed in that light, do you think the name could be perceived as problematic at all?
Danny: No.

Maren: No, it does make us sound like girls. And some of us were girls and now are women. Danny is still a man. (laughs)

Did those people you mentioned come up to you talking about the name from an accusatory way or just like ‘Oh, you guys are called the Soviettes! I’m from Poland or something.’
Danny: No more of like, ‘You think this is a joke, why are you calling yourselves that?’ Right Maren?

Maren: Yeah, both of them were upset actually.

Annie: So I guess in that way, it could be perceived as problematic.

But also it’s, like, a really good name …

Annie: And it was a different time too, it was 2001. And there was a ‘90s hangover of just like do whatever, say whatever. Nobody took anything seriously. People weren’t very considerate of other people’s feelings. And certainly not in the Midwest because you just don’t have feelings. You push them down inside of your body and move on with the day.

Maren: Even as far as gender goes, I look at some of the flyers from the ‘90s from even punk bands and stuff. And through the lens of #metoo, this would never fly!

Annie: Boobs! Everywhere! All the time! Boobs and tiny waists on every single flyer ever. 

Do you think The Soviettes work better in the party atmosphere? Is that kind of where you think The Soviettes thrive?
Annie: Yes, yes. Always that.

Danny: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I felt like we kind of brought the party to the stage when we had to, but it was always fun. People would remark about how we would smile, because there’s no pretentiousness. I’m not a tough guy, right? So why not just smile? I mean, and we all decided, I mean, we literally had a had a great time doing it. 

Do you feel the same way Maren?

Maren: I think we always I think had a lot of fun and even though our van was definitely not the fanciest van, it was always the party van. And it always ended up being the party van. And there were many, many people that partied in that van. (laughs) I don’t know. We always had fun. And when it stopped being fun, we kind of stopped doing it. 

Are you excited for these songs to get back out there into the world?
Annie: I am. I feel like those records are old enough now where there’s people who were not even born yet.. 

Danny: Yeah, there’s a gap and it’ll be interesting to see how it’s received. Sorry to interrupt.

Annie: No, that’s exactly what is trying to say, Danny thank you.

Danny: It’s a whole new almost new generation to hear it, and we’ll see if it makes it or not. 

Maren: In a way because it was such a time capsule—t was this fast, hot candle and then it disappeared. And now it can be back in all the ways that you could want to listen to it. And I think it’s fun. I think it’s I think it’s good music. I think it’s kind of relevant and I think it’s totally embarrassing. (laughs)

Danny: I haven’t listened to in a long time!

Maren: It was really fun to remaster it with Jack and listen to it and like we get I mean, like, take you out like even like soloing the vocals. Oh Geez.

What’s embarrassing about it?
Danny: You know? I mean, go back and listen to yourself 20 years ago!

Oh yeah, fair enough!
Danny: Yeah, and if it’s just vocals, that’s always embarrassing. Yeah, it’s always embarrassing. That was a good description, Maren. I think that’s a good description the hot candle analogy that’s really good.

Maren: Or it was a firecracker on the third record? You could go either way. Yeah, I think that’s what they’re called an English firecrackers. 

Oh man, you guys toured with Against Me! and The Epoxies?
Annie: Yeah, that was the tour that we did for three months, we went to all 50 states. We were with those guys for three months solid. We played every day except for we had some days off in Hawaii, which seems cool except that we were so poor. I think we shared a hotel room with, like, nine people. And ate $2 poke from the grocery store and just kind of waited to be able to leave, you know? (laughs) But aside from that, I think on the mainland, what do we have three days off in three months?

Danny: There weren’t many.

Maren: Yeah, we had some days. We had Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think they gave us Christmas off. Anyway, yeah it was a pretty relentless tour schedule.

Maren: Yeah, it was. It was really fun though. 

Danny: No, it was. And Against Me! They’re all sweethearts.

Maren: Yeah, it was interesting to be around them right as they were breaking too.

Danny: Yeah it was a really fun time. Met a lot of great people made a lot of friends, that we’re still friends with.

Being from Minneapolis, it feels like there’s a Midwestern emo movement that went really hard in the last decade. How does the Midwest reflect who you guys are?
Danny: I don’t know the answer to that. What’s a Midwest emo band? 

Like Tiny Moving Parts? Banner pilot? Dear Landlord?
Annie: Nate from Banner Pilot and Maren write all the songs in Partial Traces.

Marin: Nate writes all the music and it is so cool.

Danny: Yeah, he’s great at that. 

Annie: It’s really different from Banner Pilot too, but anyway, I’m sorry. I’m just a tangent.

I’m Brad writes a lot too.

I’m getting confused my Midwestern emo and punk bands crisscrossed.
Danny: I’m confused still about the definition of emo. I mean, when I think about emo I think “One Arm Scissors.” Who did that song? At The Drive In? Yeah, I think about that. And I think about the Bright Eyes guy and whatever band he was in. 

When I think of emo, I think of like, Sunny Day Real Estate.
Danny: For sure. What was the first emo band? Was it, like, Dag Nasty? 

Annie: Are you serious? Stop it.

Danny: Yeah, I’m serious! Go back and listen to that Dag Nasty record. It’s great. It’s so melodic. 

Annie: I haven’t listened to that record since I was 16 years old. I don’t even know what it sounds like.

Danny: It goes like this: nananananana

That sounds super emo.
Annie: Yeah, Danny, I don’t know how we fit into it. I have no concept of what people think of us, I have no concept of if, or when, or where we were popular, if we ever would be again. I have zero concept.

Danny: We show up on a lot of like Best-Of Pop Punk lists. And I don’t even know that we were pop punk—I’m not too much into pop punk. But we kind of get lumped into that. 

Pop punk also means something else now too, you know? When I think of pop punk I think of Green Day or Blink 182. But some people might think of like, Machine Gun Kelly or all this stuff that’s going on right now on TikTok, which is weird.
Danny: I don’t know the answer to the whole question, though. I don’t know where we would fit in to that genre.

I always think of like Midwestern punk as being shaped by, like, the harsh winters and wanting to leave your hometown … compared to, like, San Diego punk bands where everything’s just sunshine and chill vibes all the time.
Annie: I think that there’s a lot of aspects of our music that embody that, like there’s a lot melodically with the guitars. There’s a lot of sadness in a lot of our songs even though the lyrics might not be. Winters are super depressing, and seasonal depression disorder runs rampant on most people that live here which is probably why we partied so much. Because you kind of just do whatever you have to do to get through the winter.

Danny: That’s probably why we made so many records.

Annie: Right. What else are you gonna do? We sat inside and recorded all our records in the winter. We wrote them like in the two months leading up to going in studio and stuff. So in that way, I think we probably sat right in the middle of it. 

I like that thing that you brought up about how maybe that’s why you guys like to party. You got to do something in the face of those long, cold winters.
Danny: You have to. Otherwise, you’re not gonna make it. But yeah, I think that whereas the pop songs, they’re a little bit more complicated because there’s a little bit of bleakness in there too, sonically like Annie said.

I’ve always said the best pop punk has to have a little melancholy in there.
Danny: Yeah! The best songs to me are ones that are happy and sad at the same time. If you can make a song like that, holy shit. I love it.

Listen to LP1 in full here:

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Photo courtesy of The Soviettes

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