Minus The Bear

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The Farewell Tour

OPENING ACT(s): Caspian

Sat 10/27

Doors 7:30 / Show 8:30
Electric Factory
— $29.50 ADV - $35 DOS | All Ages | On-Sale Friday, 7/20 at 10am
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Biography

Minus the Bear is a product of the first two tumultuous decades of this century. From their first show in 2001 to their impending dissolution at the end of 2018, the Seattle band thrived on the musical awakening in the era of the mp3, the internet, poptimism, and the endless crosspollinations generated from an expanded consciousness of new music forms. With the aim of sounding like “classic rock from the future,” they initially forged their music from the dichotomous blend of David Knudson’s prodigious finger-tapped guitar lines and Jake Snider’s cool-tempered narratives set against a backdrop of souped-up dance beats. Throughout their career, they’ve carried on the trailblazing traditions of ‘70s prog rockers and guitar-centric indie rock pioneers of the ‘80s and ‘90s, but they’ve also always been a band of new sounds. Synths, drum machine break beats, omnichords, and pedalboard gadgetry all contribute to the band’s electronic flourishes. You can hear the poptimist appreciation for a club banger, a new wave hook, or a solid hip-hop beat in any number of their songs. And with their final EP, Fair Enough, Minus the Bear closes the book on their inimitable hybrid of scholarly art-rock, breezy indie pop, and warehouse party appeal. One of the first tracks written for their last album VOIDS was “Fair Enough”, a reserved track that went through a variety of permutations before winding up on the backburner. Like most Minus the Bear songs, it began as a loose framework of interlocking guitar parts created by Knudson that quickly changed shape as the other members contributed their parts. “It’s interesting because we tried re-doing it twice in the studio,” says keyboardist/vocalist Alex Rose. “I was really into the first new direction as it was very pop, but collectively it didn't seem to fit. Then we tried a more ambient one… it just ended up being one of those songs that didn't beat the others.” But as the band was digging through their archives earlier this year, they stumbled upon an early version of the song. “It jumped out as sounding done,” Rose recalls. “I touched up the mix, fixed a few edits and sent it to everyone while we were on the recent Planet of Ice anniversary tour. The other guys all listened together and by all accounts had ‘a moment.’  I think the song had taken on new meaning after we decided to end the band.” Given Snider’s prescient lyrical lament of lost passions and finding “the exact moment we turned it off,” it’s hardly surprising to hear that the song resonates strongly within the group. Snider insists it was written to eulogize a failed romantic relationship, but it’s hard to not hear the lyrics as foreshadowing the band’s break-up. Minus the Bear are a band born in the new millennium, when the gateways to cult artists were blown open by the internet, rock’s purist aesthetic rules were challenged, and technological advancements completely altered the way we create and consume music. If there was some middle ground to be found between King Crimson’s fretboard gymnastics, Midwest indie rock’s cerebral songcraft, Warp Records’ glitchy compositions, and FM radio’s current bump-and-grind staples, Minus the Bear staked it out first. Suicide Squeeze is proud to release Fair Enough on October 19, 2018. Fair Enough will be available on CD, digital formats, and as a 12” cut at 45rpm. The initial vinyl run consists of 2000 copies on coke bottle green and 1000 copies on black.

Videos

  • Caspian

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    On their new full-length record, Dust and Disquiet, Caspian is saying something. “We’re wide awake now,” we hear in the album’s dead center, track five’s “Run Dry.” This isn’t the first time Caspian has sung a line of discernible lyrics, but the clarity—in the tone and thematic sentiment of both the track and the whole record—has never demanded so much attention. In part, the line is a response to their last record, 2012’s presciently titled Waking Season—an acknowledgement that even they didn’t know what changes that waking process would mean. In the three years since, the band suffered the tragic death of founding bassist Chris Friedrich, and thus felt torn between grief’s desire to hide away from everything and yet knowing immediately that the band needed to continue. But going on meant maintaining a grueling tour schedule, with the members vacillating between elation and utter exhaustion. “Traveling can create a feeling of separation at times,” says guitarist and founding member Phil Jamieson. “After a while, you can forget why you’re out there in the first place. Deciding to do another record after all that was a move to reclaim for ourselves why it is that we do all this: Music is our strongest antidote to feelings of emptiness and disquiet.” To record the album, Caspian returned to Q Division Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts, the stamping grounds where they recorded the highly acclaimed Waking Season (“the Best Post-Rock Album of Year,” said SPIN Magazine in 2012). They also looked again to the legendary chops of Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis, MONO, Minus the Bear) to produce, mix, and engineer the record. 2015 also marks a decade since the band’s inception. Ten years ago, Caspian played a show as a four-piece band at a small pub in their still-home base of Beverly, Massachusetts. After months of practicing before their first gig, never worrying about what it was they were trying to create beyond music that could tell a story, they arrived at a bombastic sound—guitars from Phil Jamieson and Cal Joss that sounded like a 40-piece orchestra, stripped-down drums that showed Joe Vickers could literally control chaos, and a bass sound so big from Chris Friedrich it blew amplifiers almost as often as he changed notes. Their sound only deepened and thickened over the years with the addition of guitarists Erin Burke-Moran and Jonny Ashburn, and touring-cum-permanent bassist Jani Zubkovs. With a sound this expansive, lyrics were simply unnecessary. And yet, 673 shows after their first appearance and on the advent of their fifth studio recording, Jamieson still says, “I view us as storytellers and musicians equally.” That focus on narrative has continued across all of their albums, as otherwise the band would risk becoming a parody of themselves and the post-rock genre they’ve always acquiesced to with crossed fingers behind their backs. “We can do soundscapes, reverb-drenched drones, and songs based around a repeating melody that build and build for 12 minutes until we are blue in the face,” Jamieson says. “It is trying to convey a story through song structure, use of melody, and dynamics that has been the driving motivation from day one for this band.”

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