Minus The Bear “The Game Needed Me”

Minus The BearArtist:
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April 11, 2006


Hello to all of our cherished programmers! It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo. Spring is in full swing here at HIP HQ and that means another season of terrific videos that we will be delivering to you! Today, we’re thrilled to be bringing you the second clip from the latest album by Seattle art-rockers Minus The Bear. Since sending you the video for “The Game Needed Me” in mid-2005, the quintet has remained crazy-busy: headlining tours of the United States, bringing their fractured sound to Japan, and setting Austin on its end at SXSW. Meanwhile, Menos El Oso continues to earn the group sensational reviews. Aversion.com crowed that the band had entered into indie rock’s big leagues with Menos El Oso, praising its “mix of math-rock complexities, bedroom-pop melodies and new-era atmospherics”. Touching on the group’s newfound storytelling complexity, The Onionstates, “The intricately woven guitars and propulsive beats that anchorMenos El Oso aren’t just “math rock” exercises, they’re a vital mode of expression, tracing the modern worry that the individual is being slowly absorbed by religion, government, corporations, or something more sinister.”

Ah, yes, those song titles. Past Minus The Bear recordings (“I’m Totally Not Down With Rob’s Alien”, “Hey! Is That A Ninja Up There?”, and many others) captured as much attention for what they were called as they did for what they sounded like. The titles on Menos El Oso are just as evocative as the band’s prior handles, but there’s a new seriousness here, meant to match the often chilling content of the lyrics. Menos El Oso is a compendium of dark, fragmentary nighttime journey-stories – flights up empty coastlines; images of gas stations, cargo ships, black oceans, harbors, and strange mysteries of the evening. “Pachuca Sunrise” is a plea to the starlight: a frozen moment on an abandoned beach, and a desperate attempt to transfer what the narrator sees and feels to a woman waiting at home. But there’s a whiff of danger in every utterance and a ghost haunting every road, and the sea seems to promise sweet oblivion and release from worry and waiting. “Feel the earth and dig it up/ put yourself in the hole”, sings Jake Snider, half to himself and half to his intended, “when the tide comes in/ you’ll never feel anything again.”

Behind this bleak tale, the band stutters, blips and cascades, turning sharp corners and drilling home musical motifs with unerring authority. Minus The Bear suggests Synchronicity and late-period King Crimson as much as Jawbox and Fugazi – and the constant interplay between glitch-pop, prog-rock, and math-punk motifs provides much of the friction that makesMenos El Oso and “Pachuca Sunrise” such a compelling listen. This music is relentlessly evocative – and once again, commercial directors FAD have risen to the challenge of capturing those overtones on video. FAD’s clip for “The Game Needed Me” was simultaneously apocalyptic and clinical, and perfectly matched the song’s dispassionate rejection of materialism. For “Pachuca Sunrise”, the directors again tease out the disquietude and incongruity in the piece, using the metaphor of immersion to suggest escape, growth, and erasure.

The directors shoot Snider in a pool of water, singing up toward an overhead camera as he sinks toward the bottom. The involuntary motion of his limbs and clothing are juxtaposed with shots of brightly colored membranes in capsules, expanding and secreting tendrils underwater. These are, in turn, contrasted with images of colliding, clear-colored marbles, shot from the hands of old men; they stand around the outside of the circle, casting their shooters greedily. Each motion echoes and amplifies the action we’ve seen before, and every shot is presented with a kind of chilling circular logic. Are these collisions accidental? Is the growth that naturally happens guided by anything, or is it a simple reaction between chemical compounds? When Snider disappears underwater for good, is he changed, or simply extinguished?

It is our greatest pleasure to be working again with David Dickenson and all the folks at Suicide Squeeze to bring you this latest clip from Minus The Bear. You can catch the band while they are on their national tour with Thursday all the way through the end of May. The band will also be hitting the festival circuit, playing at CoachellaNoise Pop, and The Bamboozle. If you would like to set up video interviews or IDs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can be sure we will have lots ofMenos El Oso CDs for on-air giveaways. If you need more info call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779, or emailHIPVideo@aol.com. You can also visit www.SuicideSqueeze.netwww.SuperFad.com, or www.MinusTheBear.com to find out more about Minus The Bear.

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For info about Minus The Bear’s previous video, “The Game Needed Me” click HERE

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