A Grand Forks band will celebrate finishing up its second album tonight in Grand Forks with a CD release show and performances by three live groups.

The Neckties' newest disc, "Raise Your Eyebrows and Have Fun with It," was recorded last November in Minneapolis. The band found some professional help with recording this time around, lead singer and guitarist Dan Christianson said.

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"Our goal was obviously to get a better sound than we had recorded by ourselves," he said. "We picked the six songs that we thought were the best and put those down."

The band's first album, released three years ago, sounded a lot like Blink 182. The Neckties always have been melodic and influenced by late '90s alternative bands, Christianson said, but the band wanted to make a different album this time around.

"There are some new elements I think on this one," Christianson said. "It's pretty exciting."

The CD will be available at any of the band's live performances, tonight's all ages CD release show at 7 at The Rock, 1601 17th Ave. S. in Grand Forks, or by searching on iTunes.

Two other bands, Clifford and Dingus, will perform tonight, and Christianson said people could expect "an awesome time, fun music and all that jazz." There is a $5 cover charge or admission is free with the purchase of the new album.

'Make a band'

The Neckties became a band in 2004, but Christianson said the three musicians' relationship goes back further

"We were all really, really, really good friends and we came from musical backgrounds," he said. "We decided in seventh grade to learn to play guitar and drums and stuff and make a band."

Christianson's younger brother, Ryan, picked up the bass while his longtime friend Jake Gessler became the drummer.

Now 18, Christianson graduated from Red River High School last year and is a music and business student at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

He's trying to build the band's presence in the Fargo area, but The Neckties still consider their home base to be in Grand Forks.

"It's a good music scene in Fargo," he said.

Gessler, the band's drummer, is taking classes at UND, and Christianson's brother, Ryan, is finishing up at Red River High School.

Christianson said The Neckties were planning shows in the Grand Forks area this spring and hope to start performing in Minneapolis more often. They're booking shows for the summer right now.

Playing music is something he hopes to do for a living, but Christianson said the band is trying to stay realistic about their chances of making it in such a competitive field.

"There are a lot of people that are in bands, and that's what they do, and then they don't make it," he said.

Christianson said they're trying to avoid that, which is why the band members plan to get college degrees in case things don't work out. But they're staying hopeful that they could make this hobby into a career.

"We've all kind of reached the point where we do want to play as much as we can, and we do want to take it as far as we can," he said. "Very few people get to do that."

Johnson covers local music and runs a music blog at www.areavoices.com/valleysound. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com.