Spectres – Where Flies Sleep

“Sleep is an uncompromising interruption of the theft of time from us by capitalism.”Jonathan Crary

Anxiety abounds in this tense and compressed new track from Bristol UK shoe-wave band, Spectres.

They made NME’s album of the week and it’s about time to commend the lads for their diligent and provocative sound. For a band that has been anchored to an island, hopefully, the extra attention will garner a tour. Maybe, if the black supermoon aligns, a tour US will follow and they can anoint us all with layers of fuzz, suburban ennui and melancholy for an atrophied diaspora of guitar-centric music.

Getting Quoted in the NY Times

I found this article from a redzee.com search this afternoon, trying out the new search engine that apparently has cracked the puzzle on image based search results. and they’re also screening ‘porn’ results. meaning if you type in ‘lingerie’ you get links to Vicky’s and not Hustler. I dunno, I can’t test that one during lunch…

[quick comment on redzee: its not that great to look at but it is laid out in an interesting way. it could use some design clean up. search results were average and I didn’t get ‘image’ only results. further investigation will be required.]

I wanted to test it out so I searched my name. I usually get similar results from say google or yahoo but I lucked upon this article that came out long before Murdoch’s hostile buyout. When I worked at my old job, nobody raised an eyebrow when I got quoted in this NY Times article by noted times writer, Jeff Leeds. Such was the spirit of my old employ. A dichotomy of emotion. Soul crushingly frustrating at times in its pig-headed bureaucracy then life affirming and uplifting at other times. Such is the corporate process. I digress. Anyway, this was an article that came out at the height of the whole Queen going on tour with Paul Rodgers, singer of Bad Company. I was always a fan of Bad Company, they were, after all, one of the first bands signed to Zeppelin’s Swan Song label in the 70’s. “Feel Like Makin’ Love” is a pretty bad ass song right? The kind of song you hear in your head when you’re about to bed down someone after going to do 70’s era arena rock karaoke…er something. I missed his phone call the first time. Then I called him back and left some long winded (can you believe I’d leave a long winded message?) about legacy and the voice of a band.

I don’t get excited about too much but it was cool to see my name in the NY Times, even though it wasn’t as a contributing writer or lead.

“Jim Morrison wasn’t just some yahoo singing for the Doors, he was a personality,” said Shane Roeschlein, editor in chief of an online music magazine, themusicedge.com. “Morrison was much like a limb on a body. So in that aspect, if you lost your arm you’d get a prosthetic and it could be a really good and realistic prosthetic arm but it’d never be your arm.” For fans familiar with a band’s original identity, he added, there would be “a cycle of diminishing returns – always eyeballing that slightly plastic looking appendage.”

Heres a link to the whole article if you want to check it out. Doesn’t Paul Rodgers look like a brit Danny Bonnadouche?

Minus the Bear

Another vault feature from 2004. This was before MTB became the underdog darlings they are today. I had been a huge fan of Botch and Sharks Keep Moving and when I first heard Highly Refined Pirates I was impressed. I remember Paul at Double Entendre in Denver not being too stoked with their blatant lyrical male chauvinism but being a fan of Bukowski I thought it was clever and mostly character driven. You should do yourself a favor and go and pick up Planet of Ice. It rules.

Minus the Bear hails from Seattle, WA, a place well known for its slew of innovative bands.  Not the kind of bands every grandmother and flannel shirt purchaser of the early nineties knows about though.  Bands of the North West coast like Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Murder City Devils, Undertow (RIP), Pretty Girls Make Graves, Integrity (RIP) and many more notable bands that have scarred the underground, ripping open new wounds to let in the knife of creativity that so often stagnates in the emergency room hipness of New York City and Los Angeles.

Minus the Bear, a veritable host of past indie rock members from bands that had great influence like Sharks Keep Moving (Jake-Vocals, Guitar) and Botch (Dave-Guitar) and Kill Sadie (Erin-drums, Cory-bass).  Dave was a trombone player in the 6th grade and Jake was an avid fan of music from an early age, his influences were from his older brothers friends.

“I took lessons for about three months or so, but that was about it.  I never really learned how to sight read or anything.”  Dave says on his early years as a guitarist, prior to playing guitar in Botch when I caught up with the band at local San Diego live music hot spot, The Casbah.

Jake had a similar upbringing in the guitar world, “I started playing when I was about 12.  The lessons I took, I would just bring in some Metallica songs and the Teacher would just show me how to play the songs.”

Minus the Bear was started as a side project of all the members and initially was just an outlet and break from the other bands they were in though eventually it culminated in a fulltime band as the other bands dissolved.

Minus the Bear’s music is what the logical progression of musicians from former bands should be, progressive.  In that it’s not just a new name with the same sound, or some alliance of musicians that just want to redo what they had done in their former bands.  Relive their glory days so-to-speak. According to Dave, “it’s a different kind of energy (from Botch). You can still get the same kind of intensity out of it whether its playing and going ape sh*t like in Botch or if its playing in Minus the Bear where its more feeling.”

Don’t count Minus the Bear out from the 9-5 world.  While the young insta-punk bands get signed with major label contracts, cash advances and paid tours and merch, Minus the Bear continues to “keep it real” although, admittedly, they would like to see that aspect change.

“We’re trying to (transition) make this (band) a full time gig, but the level we are at isn’t such that, we can make it as a full time band,” says Dave.

As far as major label signing goes, Jake speculates, “Any deal with any label regardless if it’s an Indie or a Major, it just depends on the deal.  If the deal is good and the contract is good than we would consider that.  If we like the bands and music the label puts out then we would definitely consider it.”

Minus the Bear rock the Casbah in San Diego and continue on their West Coast Tour then finish and move on to play five dates in Japan.  Dave is one of the most amazing guitarists to see live and without the light show from the Botch days hindering the performance viewing, it’s worth a look.

Check them out at http://www.minusthebear.com