Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Chick Rides Artist, Flood of Red, Night Verses - White Rabbit, Plymouth 13.08.12

There’s a strange art to opening a show. Sadly, I turned up late so I wasn’t completely able to see whether Torbay’s recently reformed six piece Chick Rides Artist had this talent. In the four songs I did manage to see Chick Rides Artist conveyed a well-rehearsed emo-hardcore cross over sound that although perhaps not memorable, did its job of warming up the sadly small crowd for what was to come and showed the Devon boys as a band to watch out for in the future.

Flood of Red have been around a long, long time. Their experience on the circuit showed as the Scottish band breezed with ease through a set of songs from their 2009 debut, Leaving Everything Behind, as well as new material soon to be featured on a forthcoming EP. Mysteriously, many of the band members had their backs to the crowd for most of their set, whether this was due to stage and gear limitations or something else we will never know. Endearingly it showed the members singularing personalities, allowing for a hyperactive bass player who did everything from stumbling around to putting his bass guitar up into the ceiling, to take centre stage as the band tore through their guitar heavy, synth dip-dyed Saosin-esque emotional sound that is criminally underrated.

Nearing the end their set, Night Verses vocalist Douglas Robinson tells the crowd that tonight is only the bands twelve gig. Sure, those gigs include a big slot at this year’s Hevy Festival but that just shows how far the band have come in such a short space of time. Tonight’s set was perhaps the smallest of their shows so far but the band do not care with Robinson taking a break between songs to genuinely thank the crowd for coming. Performing songs from their free to download EP, as well as tracks not yet recorded, the band feverishly created a sound that both technically and sonically amounted to much more than just the sum of their four parts. Robinson himself span around until drenched in his own sweat, while drummer Aric Improta seemed to spend more time hyperactively jumping up off his stool than beating his drums leaving us all going The Sleeping who? I can only guess what happened next, I imagine the appreciative crowd did exactly what I did and went home to tell their friends that as of right now, for gig of the year, this is the one to beat.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Minus The Bear - Infinity Overhead

Amusing titles like "You Kill Bugs Good, Man" left in the past. Groove orientated, summery feel good songs gone. Even, the trippy guitar psych-prog sound of Planet of Ice have been replaced by the electronic tones of OMNI. So what is left for Minus The Bear to do? Well, go back to what we would expect it would seem...

In the lead-up to the release of Minus The Bear's forthcoming album, Infinity Overhead, guitarist/vocalist Jake Snider said that Minus The Bear were officially back. Infinity Overhead may not have the long movie inspired titles that Highly Refined Pirates possessed but it shares the same emphasis. A million miles from last release, the highly disappointing OMNI, Infinity Overhead is closer to home when put beside Menos El Oso. Guitar driven, songs like Listing are absolutely drenched to the bone in gloriously sweet melodies that sweep you off your feet while lead single Lonely Gun shows that Minus The Bear haven't lost their touch in writing something that is both progressive and poppy, proving that even on their fifth album they have the ability to create unpredictable music. The stand-out track though is a slow one, Heaven is a Ghost Town. It is neither progressive, nor poppy and yet is a standalone reason why five albums on, if someone mentions Minus The Bear, I am instantly paying attention. Truly showing the vast improvement in vocals Snider has made since the bands early days, simple guitar chords are enhanced by deliciously low key electronics bringing out Sniders almost anti-religious lyrics.

Here's the big spin right here. OMNI wasn't good. At the point of hearing it I was lost as a Minus The Bear fan. Infinity Overhead isn't just a great return to form; it's possibly one of the albums of the year and shows that if there's any justice in the music industry Minus The Bear will stick around for a bit longer.

4 / 5

Infinity Overhead is available from August 28th.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Minus The Bear Interview

Progressing as a band is one of the toughest parts about being a band. On the one hand your fans always hold that nostalgic memory of a certain album close to their heart and don't ever want you to change your style, while on the other if you tried copying that album every two years eventually your fans would grow bored.

In Menos El Oso, Minus The Bear created an album that for myself, and many of my friends may I add, was perfect. Bypass Planet of Ice, a more prog Minus The Bear and you find yourself at OMNI. Here Minus The Bear firmly dipped their toes into electronic water, so firmly in fact that they did some form of shock dance in the middle of the ocean and sadly I must say, left myself and many other fans lost and stranded from what the band were trying to achieve.

September marks the release of Infinity Overhead, Minus The Bear's first album since the 'risky' OMNI and I caught up with bassist Cory Murchy to discuss the new album, how it pits up against previous work and whether OMNI was just one big mistake.

It feels like forever since you’ve released an album, welcome back!

Thanks, a lot has happened in the years since OMNI. We are excited!

It’s been said that Infinity Overhead is a return to the Minus The Bear we know. How do you feel about your previous full-length, OMNI, do you feel that for the fans it was a step too far?

We will always be proud of OMNI. As artists you always want to learn something with each new project and push yourselves in new ways. OMNI was really important in that regard. We gained a lot of new fans and probably lost a few in the process but we don't expect everyone to keep up.

What can fans actually expect from Infinity Overhead in terms of sound?


It's a great sounding album. Matt Bayles did a great job capturing what and who we are. It helps that he was/is "one of us".

You’ve released Lonely Gun to the public. It sounds like it’s treading the border of the groove orientated feel of Menos el Oso whilst maintaining the progressive elements of Planet of Ice. Is Lonely Gun a precursor to how the rest of the album will sound, and why did you choose to release Lonely Gun before any of the other album tracks?

I think you just helped define a genre that actually fits Minus The Bear - "PROGROOVE"!

It's what we've always done, really. To me Lonely Gun fits perfectly in our catalogue. None of the other songs sound like it but it fits in just perfectly in the track listing. You'll see...

Infinity Overhead is your fifth album as a band. Did you approach the song writing and recording for the album any differently than you have on previous albums?

Basically it was the same as in the past. Dave and Erin will bang out a skeleton then the rest of us flesh it out.

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and by working together the five of us manage to put together something we are proud of. It’s worked pretty well for us so far.

It is being released on one of my favourite record labels, Big Scary Monsters. Why the record label change, and what do you think that Big Scary Monsters will offer you that labels in the past perhaps haven’t?

Big Scary Monsters seemed like a perfect fit. We look forward to working with them and it seems like folks have been very receptive to our pairing, which is a good sign so far!

Eleven years after forming did you expect to still be making music now, how does it feel to still be making records and playing live?

I'm not sure if any of us looked this far in the future, but it feels pretty satisfying to still be here doing what we love. We've watched a lot of "hype" bands fizzle out within a year or two while we keep our heads down and grind it out. Each tour we go out on is better than the last and it's a testament to the hard work and dedication the five of us have invested in Minus The Bear. Who knows what the next eleven years have in store, but I can guarantee we will be doing it on our own terms.

What are your plans around touring the new album, will you be playing in the UK at all in the near future?


We have these few shows in the UK in August and then hope to come back sometime in 2013.

Thank you for your time, good luck with the release!


We'll see you at the show and probably run into you in the nearest pub!

Minus The Bear’s ‘Infinity Overhead’ is available for pre-order through Big Scary Monsters now.

You can catch the band live in the UK at Heaven in London on the 17th of August -