Minus The Bear
2012, Summer. Seattle, Washington, something mucho significant was built by 5 dudes’ touch. It is called Infinity Overhead. When the air filled with this piece, heat, light, noise and color to be transformed into stream and traveled through the air with the time shift. Pull and push, depth versus altitude. This romance is like having a high tech air-in choccolata from east village. Once you put the cioccolato inside the mousse, something seeps out all around and it smoothly embraces everything they meet. During this process, all the elements start to kick in, sweetness, bitterness, sourness, and saltiness. Flavor dominates all over the mousse. It clings around and soaks in quietly, then fragrance starts to evaporate through tiny sky inside the dark, merge back into the air. Signals flow to the brain and it delivers the joy to the body through the tide. All commotion appears on the movement makes the body sweats and shivers. After a while all these processes change its shapes and falls into mind, realizes it taste like soil in the wildness or unseen experience turns into little piece of unknown memory we might see tomorrow.
Elements to become alive, things might have to go through some process, mashed, squeezed, roasted, fermented, hydrated, blended, and purified. When the time starts to lose its sense, things will slip out from nowhere or somewhere and start to shape. It’s obvious but invisible, like instinctually tracing the path of light waves and particles. It looks like Minus the Bears’ fifth window made the light change into the color eternally.
– Hiro Tanaka (Tour Photographer, Vibe Tech, Longtime Amigo), June 2012
Cursive is the longtime trio of Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar), Matt Maginn (bass), and Ted Stevens (guitar, vocals), with Patrick Newbery (keys) and Cully Symington (drums). I Am Gemini (out February 21, 2012 via Saddle Creek), the band's seventh LP, is the follow-up to 2009's critically praised Mama, I'm Swollen, which caught the attention of publications including Alternative Press, Billboard, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and Time Out New York, among others, and earned the band their network television debut on The Late Show with David Letterman. Cursive has released six full-length albums – including the heralded Cursive's Domestica (2000), The Ugly Organ (2003), and Happy Hollow (2006) – two EPs, a disc of rarities, and numerous singles since the band's 1995 inception.
The band is also known for their vital, magnetic live show, earning rave reviews from outlets including the Cleveland Scene's C-Note music blog ("[Tim Kasher's] effect on the crowd was chilling last night…Cursive was focused and on-spot, composed and gripping"), Nuvo Weekly ("…the five-piece slashed through a near-perfect set of songs from their last nine years of albums"), and the Orlando Sentinel's Soundboard blog ("…the band still knows how to rock on stage…[Cursive] thrashed away with an abandon that heightened the passion of Kasher's dense, emotionally charged wordplay.").
I Am Gemini is the surreal and powerful musical tale of Cassius and Pollock, twin brothers separated at birth. One good and one evil, their unexpected reunion in a house that is not a home ignites a classic struggle for the soul, played out with a cast of supporting characters that includes a chorus of angels and devils, and twin sisters conjoined at the head.
Recorded in the summer/fall of 2011 at Omaha, NE's ARC Studios and mixed at Red Room in Seattle, WA with producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Minus The Bear, Isis), I Am Gemini marks the first time front man Tim Kasher, holding the completed story already in mind, wrote album lyrics in a linear fashion, in order, from song 1 to song 13. The result is thirteen singularly cohesive song chapters that blend effortlessly into one unique narrative. The moody and playfully sinister I Am Gemini is Cursive's musically heaviest in years, with alternately muscular and angular guitars, pounding drums and driving bass. From the eerie introductory sounds of epic barnstormer "This House Alive" and the irresistibly catchy, insistent "The Sun and Moon", to the searing "Double Dead" and the split personality prog-pop of "Twin Dragon/Hello Skeleton", to the roaring, mournful closing track "Eulogy for No Name", the album is a dynamic, mind-bending, and imaginative ride.
Girl in a Coma
Girl in a Coma, hailing from the Lone Star State, formed when best friends Jenn Alva and Phanie Diaz met in Jr-high school art class over a mutual love of the Smiths, Nirvana, and skipping school. All they needed was a singer. Enter Nina Diaz, Phanie's then 12-year old little sister. Nina blew them away with her mesmerizing vocals, a powerful voice some critics have compared to Bjork, Patsy Cline, and the band's hero, Morrissey himself. The trio practiced for three years, gigged at local punk rock clubs, played a High School talent show, one kid's birthday party, and then hit the road, building up a solid and loyal fan base across the country.
In 2006, the Girls played for Joan Jett and long-time songwriting partner and producer, Kenny Laguna, at New York's Knitting Factory as part of a cable TV show featuring unknown bands. Jett and Laguna were so impressed with the band that they signed GIAC to their label, Blackheart Records, on the spot. The band's 2007 debut album, Both Before I'm Gone, was a critical hit with raves from Alternative Press Magazine, the LA Weekly, Bust magazine, among many others, with the album reaching No. 23 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and No. 21 on iTunes. "Clumsy Sky," the band's first single, won a 2007 Independent Music Award in the Best Song-Punk category. The last of the four singles released, "Their Cell," was recently voted by TV viewers into the Top 10 on Logo's The Click List show.
Since the CD's release GIAC has been headlining shows in venues coast-to-coast, playing on Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" tour, as well as opening for the Pogues, Social Distortion, Tegan and Sara in a cross-country national tour, and with Morrissey in both Europe and the U.S.
In between the constant touring, the band was busy writing songs for their new CD, the upcoming Blackheart Record's release Trio B.C. The creative process was a new and liberating experience for the Girls.
"The challenge for this record was having to come up with songs in a matter of a year," Jenn explains, "with Both Before I'm Gone we had 7 years with that material. For this new CD, a little over 18 months."
As with their first album, the end result is a unique amalgamation of eclectic influences: oldies, rockabilly, 90s alternative, and contemporary bands both indie and mainstream. And in a nod to their San Antonio, Texas background, the Girls place their cutting-edge rock sound in a familiar context.
"We chose Trio B.C. as the album title because it was the name of our grandfather's Tejano band way back in the 50s," Phanie Diaz explains. "He was our first musical influence. He would play us guitar and sing and we would love to watch him in the garage with a cold beer in his hand playing his records and singing along like he meant it. His passion is our inspiration. We hope to make people feel that way about our music."
Trio B.C. includes tracks produced by Grammy-award winning producer Greg Collins (U2 and Gwen Stefani) and Gabriel Gonzalez (formerly of Sparta and one of the producers of the band's debut Both Before I'm Gone). Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna produced two special tracks on the CD, "Vino," and "Joannie in the City," a snarling, post-punk rock cut featuring Joan Jett on guitar along with Jett's distinct vocals on background.
"The song is about females in the music business," Girl in a Coma's writer/singer Nina Diaz explains about her song, "having that tough attitude and doing what you want. Joan was the door opener for us all."
The rest of the album's cuts explore different styles and tempos with tracks ranging from the eerie and poetic love song "El Monte" to the fast and hard rocking "Static Mind." Other tracks include the delicate ballad "Pink Lemonade" and the more sonically experimental "Ven Cerca," Girl in a Coma's first Spanish language song, a cover of a bright 1960s Mexican pop song, but made modern and dissonant with feedback and fuzzy guitars reminiscent of Sonic Youth at their grungiest best.
When not on the road Phanie likes to Ghost Hunt. Jenn paints pictures. And Nina has a stuffed bear named Güenther. They all love tattoos.