Minneapolis musician Monica Laplante was feeling “Over-worked and underwhelmed” as a waitress, and used the pandemic to “untangle the weird web inside her mind”. That untangling has led to the Quarantine EP which features the current single ‘Compression’, a Tom Tom Club-goes-indie slice of 60s tinged pop that gets better and better with each listen.

Most of us have done jobs that chip away at our self-assurance until we are compliant and mentally flat so it’s remarkable that, given this was Monica Laplante’s experience, ‘Compression’ is as upbeat as it is despite having a sardonic side. It’s a tale of ‘be careful what you wish for’ given that COVID-19 meant an enforced break in work and therefore an opportunity to focus on creativity: “Yeah I’m doing okay, plenty of art to make, got my wish but it seems sick, to have it happen this way”.

‘Compression’ builds on a funky, but rock-solid, bassline (which is what had put me in mind of Tina Weymouth/Tom Tom Club), along with constant drums, keyboard swells, and hand claps. Everything supports the rising and falling tune which makes this song so enjoyable and I also love the gloriously atonal guitar riff which comes in twice in the song.

The video for ‘Compression’ is playful fun, with a black and white theme that feels like Blondie’s album cover for Parallel Lines has come alive. The smiles throughout are wry and the band, comprising Monica, Orion Treon on synths, Christy Costello on bass and Austin Cecil on drums look like they would all be great fun to hang out with.

I also wanted to include one of the two covers on the EP, a cracking version of ‘Do It Clean’ by Echo & The Bunnymen. Despite being pretty faithful to the original I think anyone who was hearing for the first time wouldn’t question whether it was a Monica Laplante track as she has made it her own.

Monica Laplante was kind enough to answer some questions for Joyzine about the release, her influences, current favourite bands and Echo & The Bunnymen.

Joyzine: It seems that COVID-19 was a terrible gift for so many creative people. Can you talk about what it was like shifting gears from work stifling art to suddenly having the freedom to concentrate on your music.

Monica: I felt like I had a genie grant me my wish. But of course, any time there’s a genie involved there’s always a sick twist. Like, YES you can work on art, but also here’s a global pandemic! Be careful what you wish for! 

Joyzine: ‘Compression’ and ‘So Alone’ seem to give a modern take on the best 60s pop but with but also gave me Tom Tom Club vibes. Who have been your musical influences.

I was actually making my way through Mike Judge’s Tales From the Tour Bus. The second season is all about funk music and the powerhouses that made it. So much of the Bootsy Collins and James Brown episodes were centered around THE ONE. Being the main accent always lands on beat one, as opposed to traditional 2 and 4. So I quickly made a beat on my drum machine and grabbed a bass so I could practice this concept. As far as guitar goes, I love the scrambly zaniness of King Crimson’s “Elephant Talk”, which at the time involved Adrian Belew, so Tom Tom Club adjacent for sure! I do also really like Tom Tom Club’s  2012 album Downtown Rockers! It’s a groover and mover!

Joyzine: I love the playful spirit of the video and the black and white aesthetic. How did the video come about?

I was able to team up with photographer Areca Roe. She’s always experimenting with doing music videos but pays so much attention to color and detail and sets up each frame like a portrait. Her brother Orion Treon plays guitar in my band. She came to one of our shows and really liked the black and white jumpsuit I was wearing. It all started from there! I find myself gravitating to black, white and red, so while she snagged a bunch of wacky patterned wall paper samples, I gathered all of my red household items. It ended up becoming an exaggerated reality of my home. Some of the best art is made when you’re just hanging out with equally creative and talented friends that you trust and respect. It made it all very easy and natural.

Joyzine: I love your version of Echo & The Bunnymen’s ‘Do It Clean’ on the EP.

Echo & The Bunnymen is such a classic and important band to rock music! There’s so much energy to Do It Clean. It’s so choppy and laid back. I don’t know how to fully explain it, but it gives me such a heart-happy floaty feeling when the chorus lands. It makes me want to write songs and hopefully replicate that feeling to others. 

Joyzine: Can you name some of your current favourite bands, people you think the Joyzine readers should check out?

My current morning record is Angel Olsen’s latest album Big Time. There’s so many carefully crafted, sweet lyrics. It’s very well thought out. I’m really into this new band System Exclusive. I’m a sucker for synths and I’m constantly getting their melodies stuck in my head. I’m really excited for one of my favorite local bands, Hot Freaks, to get back together and release a new album. Some TikTok kids randomly brought them back from the dead and it’s amazing to see them get the credit they deserve. And lastly, the Brian Eno record Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy is always within arm’s reach of me. 

Joyzine: Do you think you’ll make it to the UK to play in the near future?


Everyone in the band has really missed traveling and touring. Now that things are opening up, I can’t wait to explore, take in a whole other world of music and fashion. And most importantly become inspired from it. 

Joyzine: Thanks you Monica; especially for introducing us to the phrase ‘scrambly zaniness‘ which I now want to get into as many articles as possible.

The Quarantine EP was released on 7 August and the cover photo of this article is by Noah Hollander.

Monica Laplante socials: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Website

Compression Lyrics

At first I was fine

no trouble spending my time

watchin’ movies, drinkin’ smoothies

doing yoga online

I always said in my mind

that I was wasting my time

bills and cable, waiting tables

til I’m dead inside

Now that I’m home

I can’t stay off of my phone

checking in with every friend

that can’t stand being alone

Yeah I’m doing okay

plenty of art to make

got my wish but it seems sick

to have it happen this way

Hail hope! Heal me!

How can I steady my breathing?

Hail for help! Hear Me!

Over stressing and compression

are getting to me

No I don’t have a fever

or a reason to leave here

I cancel plans to wash my hands

so no one else can come breathe here

Now I’m scrubbing the floors

wiping down every door

I wanna hide and stay inside

until I can’t take no more

Hail hope! Heal me!

How can I steady my breathing?

Hail for help! Hear Me!

Over stressing and compression

are getting to me

Review by Paul F Cook

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