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2018-10-19
Minus the Bear: Fair Enough

Minus the Bear is a product of the first two 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 crosspollinations generated from an expanded consciousness of new music forms. With their final EP, Fair Enough, Minus the Bear closes the book on their hybrid of art-rock, indie pop, and warehouse party appeal. The opening track "Fair Enough" went through a variety of permutations before the band found new meaning in its lyrical lament of lost passions and finding "the exact moment we turned it off". The other songs of Fair Enough are a continuation and culmination of Minus the Bear's diverse sounds. The up-tempo drumbeats, lush electronics, and nimble guitar work that initially set them apart are on full display during "Viaduct". "Dinosaur" has the groove of early hits of "Fine + 2 PTS", but crafted with the understated Steely Dan-eque delivery of their more current slow jams. The EP closes with a nod to their ongoing remix collaborations, this time with a rave-up reinvention of "Invisible" by Sombear.

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2017-03-03
Minus The Bear: VOIDS

On their sixth album VOIDS, Minus the Bear started with a blank slate, and inadvertently found themselves applying the same starting-from-scratch strategies that fueled their initial creative process. Album opener "Last Kiss" immediately establishes the band's renewed fervor. An appropriately dizzying guitar line plunges into a propulsive groove before the chorus unfolds into a multi-tiered pop chorus. From there the album flows into "Give & Take", a tightly wound exercise in syncopation that recalls the celebratory pulse of early Bear classics like "Fine + 2 Pts" while exploring new textures and timbres. "Invisible" is arguably the catchiest song of the band's career, with Jake Snider's vocal melodies and Knudson's imaginative guitar work battling for the strongest hooks. "What About the Boat?" reminds us of the "math-rock" tag that followed the band in their early years, with understated instrumentation disguising an odd-time beat. "Erase," recalls the merging of forlorn indie pop and electronica that the band dabbled with on their early EPs, but demonstrates the Bear's ongoing melodic sophistication and tonal exploration. By the time the band reaches album closer "Lighthouse," they've traversed so much sonic territory that the only appropriate tactic left at their disposal is a climactic crescendo, driven at its peak by Cory Murchy's thunderous bass. Not since Planet of Ice's "Lotus" has the Bear achieved such an epic finale. All in all, it’s an album that reminds us of everything that made us fall in love with Minus the Bear in the first place, and a big part of that appeal is the sense that the band is heading into uncharted territories.

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2016-07-08
Minus The Bear: Interpretaciones del Oso

Minus the Bear's sophomore album Menos El Oso was a significant departure from their debut full-length Highly Refined Pirates. The playful guitar-tapping, fluid production, and nostalgia-bating melodies were largely excised for air-tight drums, glitchy guitar samples, and an overall air that was more of a futurist interpretation of sepia-toned noir than their predecessor's contemporary Polaroid romanticism. It was an album that already sounded like a dark, stuttering remix of their previous efforts. But Minus the Bear was still - in both spirit and instrumentation - a rock band, and those staccato riffs and dance beats practically begged to be re-examined from behind the producer's console. So the band enlisted a team of underground remix artists to reinvent each of Menos El Oso's eleven tracks. The resulting Interpretaciones Del Oso is a wild and imaginative ride through a dizzying array of sonic reconstructions. P.O.S. makes "Drilling" a club banger; FOG turns "Memphis & 53rd" into the kind of murky gloom churned out by reclusive black metalhead Xasthur; Dälek producer Oktopus transforms "The Game Needed Me" into a dreamy druggy daze; Battles' Tyondai Braxton deconstructs "Fulfill The Dream" into a send-up of classic Warp Records IDM. As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a limited vinyl repress of Interpretaciones Del Oso on 1000 copies of Taos-colored vinyl with updated artwork, printed inner sleeves, and a download card.

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2014-09-30
Minus the Bear: Planet of Ice (Deluxe Edition)

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2013-10-01
Minus The Bear: Acoustics 2

In Winter 2008/2009, Minus the Bear released an EP called Acoustics featuring newly recorded acoustic versions of fan favorites from the quintet's prolific career along with one new track. Limited to 5000 copies of vinyl, Acoustics is now out of print. Acoustics 2, the second volume in the acoustic series, is a full LP containing eight newly recorded and reinterpreted standout tracks in addition to two brand new songs: "The Storm" and "Riddles." Acoustics 2 is sure to please longtime fans and welcome new fans to this critically acclaimed rock band.

Minus the Bear: This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic

To celebrate Minus the Bear’s 10th anniversary, Suicide Squeeze willissue the band’s earliest recordings on vinyl. “ This Is What I KnowAbout Being Gigantic,” is the starting point, Minus the Bear’s debut. Originally released on CD in 2001, this edition is being remastered, for vinyl, by the legendary Bernie Grundman, the Hollywood-based legend behind many of the industry’s landmark recordings. The initial pressing will be limited to 2000 copies: 1000 black (180gram), and 1000 clear vinyl; each copy comes with a download coupon. A real chance to hear where this sound started...

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2011-10-04
Minus the Bear: Highly Refined Pirates

To celebrate Minus the Bear’s 10th anniversary, Suicide Squeeze will issue the band’s earliest recordings on vinyl. “Highly Refined Pirates,” is Minus the Bear’s first proper album. Originally released in 2002, this edition is being remastered from the original tapes, for vinyl, by the legendary Bernie Grundman, the Hollywood-based legend behind many of the industry’s landmark recordings. Theinitial pressing will be limited to 2000 copies: 1000 black (180gram), and 1000 ‘translucent’ blue vinyl; each copy comes with a download coupon. A real chance to hear where this sound started...

Minus The Bear: They Make Beer Commercials Like This

"Pop" is a tag that's been assigned to Minus The Bear throughout their career. It's been used to set a distinction between the unique brand of complex indie rock they introduced on their first EP and the more angular and aggravated sounds of their previous bands Botch, Kill Sadie, and Sharks Keep Moving. It's also a tag that was thrown around frequently in the wake of their streamlined fourth album, OMNI. And it's a descriptor that immediately comes to mind within the first few seconds of their classic second formal EP, They Make Beer Commercials Like This. Now celebrating its 10-year anniversary and first time in print since 2011, Beer Commercials is the evolutionary step between Minus The Bear's first two landmark albums, Highly Refined Pirates and Menos El Oso. Opening track "Fine + 2 Points" remains one of the band's strongest opening tracks in their discography,charging out of the gates with a syncopated stomp that comes across as a more agitated take on Kylie Minogue's "Can’t Get You Outta My Head". If Minus The Bear were looking to make pop music without any of its major-scale bubblegum trappings, they nailed it here. The band follows it with "Let's Play Clowns" and "Dog Park" - nods to Highly Refined Pirates' formula of frenetic clean guitar work, bombastic choruses, and Jake Snider's lyrics of detached romantic nostalgia. These tracks may represent Minus The Bear's original trademark version of pop, but on songs like "I'm Totally Not Down With Rob's Alien" the band eschews it's restless energy for atmosphere and dynamics, creating a sound that's inspired more than a handful of contemporary melodic post-rock bands. By the time the band belts out "Pony Up!" the listener has watched the three-year sonic transition between Minus The Bear's first two full-lengths transpire within under half-an-hour, with the their earlier math rock predilections yielding to the tightly wound club-banging pedalboard trickery that defined their sophomore album. Even if Beer Commercials doesn't fit within your definition of pop music, the unorthodox energetic charm of this relatively low-profile release serves as an exciting reminder of why Minus The Bear became one of the most important and influential indie rock bands of the new century.

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2005-08-23
Minus The Bear: Menos El Oso

Recorded, produced, and chiefly knob-twisted by Minus the Bear, Menos El Oso moves further into the band's forward-thinking, angular rock canon. Weaving through territories long established by 70's prog-rockers (Yes, Rush), '80s proto punks (Fugazi), and '90s art rock mind-fucks (Jawbox, Joan of Arc), Minus the Bear invokes the modern love affair between dance-driven strategy and lush, Upper Pacific sweater rock.