Press Kit

Dallas Orbiter is a long-running Minneapolis-based rock quartet exploring the cusp between sophisticated pop songwriting and modern, spaced-out psychedelia. The group began with long Krautrock and electric Miles Davis-inspired space jam sessions in the late 90s/early 2000s in the process of refining an ensemble sound.  The band released 3 full-length albums and 2 EPs between 2000 & 2008, along with an online-only monthly singles project in 2011.

Their new full-length LP entitled ‘Spaceman Things,’ recorded & mixed with John Miller at Future Condo Studio, will be released in the summer of 2024, followed by archival self-recorded releases of freestyle improvised music under the band’s collective alter ego Laser Bats From Mars.


Spaceman Things – 2024
Motorcycle Diagrams – 2007
Magnesium Fireflies – 2005
There Are Machines For That – 2002
Five Lights – 2001


Post-punk/art-rock/psych-pop outfit Dallas Orbiter (singer/guitarist Mark Miller, bassist Dan Gahres, keyboardist Jon Schmig, and drummer Greg Flanagan) formed in Minneapolis at some point in 1999 out of the ashes of power-pop outfit Captain Sunshine and ska-punk group The Pinsetters.  Wishing to maintain an element of melodicism, the members were also seeking more open-ended, lysergically-minded sonic and improvisational freedom. They soon settled on their name, a play on the manufacturer of a fairly ubiquitous fuzz guitar pedal from late 60s & early 70s psychedelia.

The band soon went back to a studio in Oshkosh to record their first demo/EP (variously named ‘Switch’ or ‘Five Lights’ depending on the cover art you got) with Fox Valley punk legend JJ Verner of Rebel Waltz engineering. In 2001, Eric Lodahl, former bassist of the excellent Milwaukee band The Lost Toothbrushes, would join on Farfisa organ & rhythm guitar. A limited-edition home-recorded first full-length record ‘There Are Machines for That’ would follow in 2002. Splendid E-zine, a website that no longer exists, would give it a highly enthusiastic review (you’ll begin to notice a pattern here).

Around this time, Dallas Orbiter would be invited to play the first few Twin Cities Heliotrope Festivals, a fantastically curated then-annual event which would feature relative outsider/non-commercial artists & groups playing mostly improvised music accompanied by psychedelic visual projections. DO would construct loosely conceptual frameworks each year and focus heavily on evocative sonic creativity & atmosphere over song structure. These experiences would serve the band well, both artistically and spiritually.

2005 & 2008 respectively would see the releases of self-recorded full-length albums  ‘Magnesium Fireflies’ & ‘Motorcycle Diagrams’ which both got extensive college radio airplay (even appearing high on the CMJ charts—is that even a thing anymore??) and a lot of rapturous reviews on… a lot of websites that no longer exist. The latter record even made a few Minnesota top-10 end-of-year lists, including the Pioneer Press & the MN AV Club site.

In 2011, after constructing a new rehearsal space/fledgling home studio in Northeast Mpls, the group embarked on an ambitious project: releasing a new online single every month consisting of a new Dallas Orbiter song as the “A side” and a newly-recorded cover song as the “B-side.” This being a bit before the widespread popularity of the now-ubiquitous corporate streaming services, the singles were hosted exclusively on The project, while both creatively exhausting and artistically rewarding, obviously never met a wide audience. It was cool though, because the band got to interpret and sometimes mangle songs from Brian Eno/Cluster, Comsat Angels, Rita Coolidge, Manchester UK punk-poet John Cooper Clarke, Blue Oyster Cult, The Zombies, and more. You can find the project (non-monetized, of course) on YouTube.

Eric Lodahl left the band in 2013 to focus on family & raising his young twin sons.  Though never really flashy or upfront, his contributions to those songs, albums, & live performances would be sorely missed. He remains a dear friend of the remaining band members forever.  

The ensuing years would include some sporadic Dallas Orbiter song-based shows (mostly just when invited) and a few more conceptual Heliotrope Festival sets, but mostly, the band just jammed econo in private. The new rehearsal/studio space was now decked out with enough gear & mics to effectively record their weekly freestyle improvisations:  Krautrock repetitions, drone-based zoneouts, fake-jazz skronk, post-rock space jams, and groovy modal explorations became the new aesthetic normal. It was wonderful.

Then came 2020. Yeah. That.  Anyway, the band reconvened post-vaccinations in May of ’21, recording the usual (and now often even more ecstatic) weekly insular freestyle improv nights. In the summer of 2022, an invite from a friend came in for a live show at a small bar in south Minneapolis and Dallas Orbiter jumped at it, refocusing some songs they’d been working on over the years. The set was well-received and they were invited back for a New Year’s Eve gig heading into 2023, which also went well. Some talk of making a record of those songs had even predated the pandemic, but a committed plan never materialized.

Enter John Miller (the band had to call him JM, since there were two Jo(h)ns & two Millers).  The co-owner and gifted engineer of the Future Condo studio in South Minneapolis reached out to Mark in early Spring of 2023 with a simple message: “Wanna make a record?”  It was an opportunity to finally commit.

The recording of 12 songs for the ‘Spaceman Things’ sessions was completed at Future Condo in 4 days in late April/early May of 2023 & the mix was completed over several evenings in the ensuing weeks. Mastering was expertly done by Bruce Templeton soon thereafter. It’s a much more stripped-down beast than most of the band’s previous self-recorded albums, with an agile, muscular & BIG rhythm section sound plus the interplay between Miller’s guitars & Schmig’s keys somewhat reminiscent of Can’s Karoli & Schmidt, Television’s Verlaine & Lloyd, or Magazine’s McGeoch & Formula.  It’s all good shit. You should check it out. 

The record, lacking a working title before its recording, would eventually be named by a line in the B-side “Let’s Go Out” which said “Forgive my life, I’m just a spaceman, doing spaceman things.”  Something about that line had people in the studio randomly singing it unprompted, so it stuck.

Oh! About those aforementioned recordings of all those years of studio jams:  The band has started combing through them (at least 4 hard drives full of music) and will be releasing their favorite selections under the alias Laser Bats from Mars. Volume 1 of that series will be coming to Bandcamp & streaming services soon!

What people say…


In two minutes, Dallas Orbiter runs laps around what High Llamas have been trying to pull off for a decade.


Soft reflective pop interspersed with lengthy jazzy instrumental passages. This Minneapolis-based quintet is providing unusual content with their music. Instead of utilizing traditional pop formulas or recognizable chord progressions, these fellows allow spontaneity to trip into their tunes…often allowing them to go off on some rather remarkable tangents. The overall sound is something like combining progressive rock from the 1970s with underground pop of the 1990s. Magnesium Fireflies, while unpredictable and peculiar, is a strangely calming album. This band really flexes their muscles here, displaying an amazing range of styles and influences. The only problem they may face is that…their music is probably too complex for most listeners. But our guess it that these gents are in it for bucks or success anyway. Their music is inherently genuine and driven by artistic integrity. Cool tracks include “Bed of Stars,” “So Pretty,” and “Shoot the Lights Out.” (Rating:

Local reviewers have described Dallas Orbiter as a psychedelic, spaced-out group of retrogazers. And while there is certainly some degree of substance to those labels, the quintet can’t be defined by hippie banter alone. There’s a wealth of tracks from this years Motorcycle Diagrams that condense those comparative labels and overshadow them with ingenuity. Throughout the band’s album is a balance of old and new; pulsing keyboards offset gripping guitars, colliding with tasteful pop arrangements. All of which will be on display when the band hits up the Hexagon Bar Thursday night, playing with local instrumental band Build My Gallows High and Dante & the Lobster. 21+.

Dallas Orbiter Critics’ Pick. – Chris DeLine [originally published by City Pages.]

Dallas Orbiter — Arise (Magnesium Fireflies): 
I know next to nothing about this band. I was sent this album to review for This song immediately stuck in my head, It is basically the title cut for this solid album of indie pop. The tune starts with the chorus, which is a simple choral singalong with all sorts of guitar and keyboard noise going on underneath. The verses are Neil Young filtered through Britpop with bits of distortion, and do the job of getting back to that awesome chorus.

Mike Bennett –