Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Martian Dance Band of the Week: Minutes
Last Memorial Day Weekend the band embarked on a weekend road trip that took us to Kalamazoo, MI for the first time. The show was set up by an internet pal, Isaac "Ike" Turner, a dude who posts on the EA Forum (the PRF: the #1 music scene and tour hookup spot on Eahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifrth). We were hoping at the time to play the show with his band, Minutes, whom i had not yet heard but being a PRF band i was sure we'd dig and whose fans/friends would dig us. Unfortunately, as fate would have it, Minutes were playing that same night in Chicago at our normal FIB stomping grounds, Quenchers, and thus we passed like ships in the night, only without the casual hookup that phrase implies in tawdry romance novels. A shame, really, because they sound like attractive, attentive lovers based on their stellar debut LP, which just activated on Bandcamp this week (you can order physical albums from the page; they'll ship in January).
The word from their Quenchers show was that Minutes was positively unfuckwithable, and i can see why as i listen to the new self-titled record. Members of the band have apparently done time in DC and played with Beauty Pill and the Most Secret Method, and it's apparent in the rustic, organic feel of both the songwriting and recording quality, which let's call perfectly mid-fi (not super-slickly produced, but not purposely recorded on a four-track for that hip lo-fi "shitgaze" sound, either). It sounds like a top-notch home recording that, were it coming out on CD, you could envision being wrapped in home-made cardboard sleeves individually screened with a band member's art. These are all positives, by the way.
The songs are quality post-punk that call to mind the classics of 90s indie-rock geography; there's a little Polvo-ish North Carolina in the guitars and vocals and definitely DC in the arrangements, a combination that reminds me of a few of the bands from late-90s Oshkosh that were drawing from the same wells (if i drop the names Chinaski and Hong!, that'll mean jack shit to about 95% of you, but the 5% "fuck yeahs!" will be worth it). They share a lot of influences with Milwaukee's Absolutely, although Minutes' riffs are more tightly focused into sub-three-minute nuggets instead of Absolutely's more adventurous explorations of the same material. The vocals throw around melodies and counter-melodies willy-nilly like they have extras stored away in a secret toybox somewhere in the closet. Sure, let's saturate "Float and Breathe" and "Sunday Not so Bloody" with hooks layered over each other. Fuck it; we've got hundreds. And let's blast through ten songs in twenty-five minutes so each song delivers a mere taste and peeps are forced to listen repeatedly to scratch out that earworm. Good plan, guys.
A download of ten mp3s will run you a cool Lincoln--for two of 'em you'll get the vinyl too. That is what we call in the blogging biz a god damn bargain. Now if you'll excuse me, i need to call a band meeting to see when we can swap shows and get these fools to Milwaukee and get us back to K-Zoo.