Communist Daughter

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Communist Daughter
Communist Daughter.jpg
The band performing live in January 2017
Background information
OriginSaint Paul, Minnesota, United States
GenresIndie rock, indie folk
Years active2009–present
LabelsGrain Belt
MembersJohnny Solomon
Adam Switlick
Molly Moore
Al Weiers
Dillon Marchus
Steven Yasgar
Past membersJonathan Blaseg
Christopher McGuire
Lee VanLith
Ian Prince
Dan DeMuth

Communist Daughter is an indie rock band from Saint Paul, Minnesota, founded by Johnny Solomon in 2009. They have released two albums and three EPs.


2009-2010: Soundtrack to the End[edit]

Communist Daughter was founded in 2009 by singer and songwriter Johnny Solomon in Prescott, Wisconsin. Solomon moved from Saint Paul to Prescott in 2007 after addiction, mental health issues, and a spell in jail caused the breakup of his marriage and of his band, Friends Like These.[1][2][3][4][5] There he took over the Boxcar restaurant and began writing and recording as Communist Daughter, taking the name from a Neutral Milk Hotel song.[3][5] He assembled a band of Twin Cities musicians–bassist–Adam Switlick (formerly the guitarist with Friends Like These), keyboardist Jonathan Blaseg, and drummer Steve Yasgar (formerly of A Whisper in the Noise and Swiss Army)–recording a four-song demo that included the track "Not The Kid."[5] Communist Daughter signed to Grain Belt Records and began recording their debut album Soundtrack to the End. They added singer Molly Moore, whom Solomon met when she visited his restaurant, and guitarist Al Weiers (formerly of Faux Jean and the Odd).[5] Steve Yasgar took a break from the band during the recording, and they finished the album with drummer Christopher McGuire (12 Rods, Kid Dakota).

In March, 2010, the single "Not The Kid" reached No. 1 on KCMP 89.3 The Current's charts.[6] Steve Yasgar returned to the band, bringing along keyboardist Lee VanLith, who played with Yasgar in A Whisper in the Noise. Soundtrack to the End was released in April 2010 on Grain Belt Records. The critic for the Star Tribune placed it as third on his top ten list for the year.[7] Five years later that same critic rated the album as the second best to have come from Minnesota in the first half of the 2010s.[8] Two songs from Soundtrack To The End ("Speed of Sound" and "Soundtrack to the End") were featured in Season 7 Episode 14 (P.Y.T.) of the ABC show Grey's Anatomy.[6]

The year ended with Solomon confronting renewed mental health and addiction problems, just as the band was poised for success. They participated in two end-of-the year tribute shows at First Avenue, beginning with a late November tribute to The Replacements.[9] The band ended the year with a shambolic Golden Slumbers cover at First Avenue's annual John Lennon tribute, after which Solomon checked himself into the Hazelden treatment center.[6]

2011-2015: touring, EPs, and vinyl remix[edit]

Solomon moved back to Saint Paul in 2011, following his release from Hazelden. Steve Yasgar and Lee VanLith left the band in April, 2011 and Ian Prince joined on drums.[10] They remixed Soundtrack to the End for vinyl, rerecording some of the drum tracks with Prince because the original tapes had been lost.[10] They then recorded the EP Something Wicked This Way Comes with a limited release in September 2011. In 2012, Dan DeMuth replaced Ian Prince on drums, and multi-instrumentalist Dillon Marchus replaced keyboardist Jonathan Blaseg.[11] In July they released Lions & Lambs and toured nationally, including the CMJ Music Festival and several dates with Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit.[12][13]

The band toured throughout 2013, 2014, and 2015, as they worked on their second album with Kevin Bowe. The band was featured in Paste Magazine's Best of What's Next 20 issue (#105) in August 2013.[14] In September, 2013, singers Molly Moore and Johnny Solomon married.[11][15] In March, 2014, the band played the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.[11] In July 2014, Dan DeMuth left the band, and Yasgar rejoined as Communist Daughter toured extensively, including more dates with Isbell. The Solomons also began playing acoustic duo shows, reaching out to fans on Twitter.[16] In 2015 they toured as both a full band and as an acoustic duo, and they finished the year with an EP of sad Christmas tunes, Sing Sad Christmas, featuring covers of various depressing holiday tunes, including the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" and The Boy Least Likely To's "Blue Spruce Needles".[17]

2016-present: The Cracks That Built the Wall[edit]

2016 saw the release of the band's second full-length album, The Cracks That Built the Wall.[18] The first single, “Roll a Stone,” was featured in USA Today’s “10 best songs of the week” and on NPR Music’s "10 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing.”[19][20] The album finished the year as number three on the Star Tribune's Minnesota top ten.[21] The song "Keep Moving" was used on an episode of the Showtime series Shameless.[22]

Solomon also became active in speaking out about his mental illness and addiction, and about artists' need to care for themselves. In August he joined the board of Dissonance, a nonprofit organization that works on these issues.[23][24] In September he wrote an article for Talkhouse that frankly detailed his struggles with undiagnosed bipolar disorder and addiction during the band's first years.[25]

The band toured again in 2017, playing dates with The Dig, Jason Isbell, Balto, and Seratones, and returning to SXSW.[26][27][28] Cuepoint named their SXSW performance the 11th freshest that they saw.[29] During SXSW the band played a live session for Paste Magazine.[30] In May, Twin Cities PBS broadcast a short documentary about the band, including footage from a show that had been taped live in their studio.[31]

Musical style[edit]

The band's music has been described as folk rock, folk pop, and indie pop.[32][33] Solomon's vocals have been compared with Andrew Bird.[32] Songs on the second album have drawn comparisons to Yo La Tengo and Bruce Springsteen[34][35]

Band members[edit]

Members of Communist Daughter are:

  • Johnny Solomon – guitar, lead vocals
  • Molly Moore Solomon – lead vocals
  • Steven Yasgar – drums
  • Adam Switlick – bass guitar, vocals
  • Dillon Marchus – keyboards, guitar
  • Al Weiers - guitar

Former members

  • Christopher McGuire (2009) – drums
  • Jonathan Blaseg (2009–2012) – keyboards
  • Lee VanLith (2010–2011) – keyboards
  • Ian Prince (2011) – drums
  • Dan DeMuth (2012-2014) – drums



  • Soundtrack to the End (2010)
  • The Cracks That Built the Wall (2016)


  • Something Wicked This Way Comes (2011)
  • Lions & Lambs (2012)
  • Sing Sad Christmas (2015)


  1. ^ Hoenack, Dave (2012) "Communist Daughter's Lions and Lambs EP explores Johnny Solomon's recovery from addiction Archived 2014-12-14 at the Wayback Machine", Minneapolis City Pages, July 4, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  2. ^ Swensson, Andrea (2010) "Johnny Solomon Finds Small Town Sound Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine", Minneapolis City Pages, March 31, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  3. ^ a b Crain, William (2012) "Of Note: Communist Daughter", San Diego Reader, September 26, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  4. ^ Melton, Kyle (2012) "Lions & Lambs", Dayton City Paper, May 29, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  5. ^ a b c d Riemenschneider, Chris (2010) "Local music: Johnny Solomon's kingdom Archived 2010-05-28 at the Wayback Machine", Star Tribune, April 2, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  6. ^ a b c Swensson, Andrea (2012) "Johnny Solomon's Road to Recovery", The Current, January 12, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  7. ^ Riemenschneider, Chris (2010) "The Best Local Albums of 2010", Star Tribune, December 31, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2017
  8. ^ Riemenschneider, Chris (2010) "Best Minnesota albums of the decade (so far)", Star Tribune, July 2, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2017
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ a b Riemenschneider, Chris (2011) "Local music news: Communist Daughter ready for fall rush", Star Tribune, September 22, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  11. ^ a b c Sullivan, Derek (2014) "Communist Daughter takes collective approach in Rochester show", Post-Bulletin, March 25, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  12. ^ Jackson, Josh (2013) "Communist Daughter", Paste, August 18, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  13. ^ "What We're Looking Forward to This Month", Minnesota Monthly, July 1, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2014  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  14. ^ "Communist Daughter Shaking off the Demons". Archived from the original on 2013-09-01. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  15. ^ Gallagher, Natalie (2014) "Communist Daughter's Johnny Solomon talks touring, new music ahead of Wednesday gig", Paste, May 13, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  16. ^ Cook, Julia (2014) "Communist Daughter Goes to Twitter to Find House Venues", Paste, May 19, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2017
  17. ^ Vang, Youa (2015) "Lil' bummer boy: Communist Daughter's Sing Sad Christmas brings holiday drear", Minneapolis City Pages, December 11, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2017
  18. ^ Danton, Eric (2016) "Communist Daughter: The Cracks That Built the Wall Review", Paste Magazine, October 28, 2016. Retrieved November 12, 2017
  19. ^ Wilder, Charlotte and Nate Scott, "10 best songs of the week: Goldroom, JoJo, The Weeknd, Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam", USA Today, September 23, 2016. Retrieved November 12, 2017
  20. ^ "Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing", NPR Music, October 29, 2017. Retrieved November 12, 2017
  21. ^ Riemenschneider, Chris (2016), "ZuluZuluu edges out Haley Bonar in our best-of-2016 Minnesota album poll", Star Tribune, December 30, 2016. Retrieved November 12, 2017
  22. ^ "Shameless - Season 8, Episode 3," Showtime. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  23. ^ Solomon, Johnny "Broken and Complete", August 2, 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2017
  24. ^ Dissonance "Mission & History". Retrieved November 13, 2017
  25. ^ Solomon, Johnny "What It’s Like to Write Music When You Think You’re Going Insane", September 14, 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2017
  26. ^ "Communist Daughter Announce US Tour Dates" Retrieved November 13, 2017
  27. ^ "Jason Isbell at Breese Stevens Field" Retrieved November 13, 2017
  28. ^ "SXSW 2017 Showcase List" Retrieved November 13, 2017
  29. ^ Gorman, John "The 30 Freshest Sets at SXSW", Cuepoint, March 19, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017
  30. ^ Russell, Scott "Here's Everything Paste Is Streaming Live During SXSW This Week", Paste Magazine, March 18, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017
  31. ^ "Communist Daughter", Lowertown Line. Retrieved November 13, 2017
  32. ^ a b Boller, Jay (2010) "CD review: Communist Daughter's "Soundtrack to the End"", Minnesota Daily, April 14, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  33. ^ "Communist Daughter - "Ghosts"", Noisey (Vice), June 26, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2014
  34. ^ DeVille, Chris "Communist Daughter – ″Balboa Bridge″", Stereogum, October 4, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017
  35. ^ Geslani, Michelle "Communist Daughter struggle to “Hold Back” their emotions on new song — listen" Consequence of Sound, September 27, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017

External links[edit]