Whim is a collection of media focused on independent rock/pop/garage and everything surrounding it. Doubling up on Menomena-related creations today, with a track from the band itself (just in time for their laser show CD release kick-off party -- details in full post) and one from Ramona Falls, the solo project of Brent Knopf, former Menomena member. SEE: FULL POST + ALL WHIM POSTS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS

 

Menomena

When I last spoke with Brent Knopf of Menomena for their last record, Mines, things were looking successful but dire. The portrait painted -- and not inaccurately so -- was of a band that was grossly talented but also grossly dysfunctional, living proof that sometimes the people you feel the strongest musical kinship towards are not the people who you are the most interpersonally compatible. Maybe things have looked up since then. Knopf has left the band to pursue Ramona Falls (below), and the newly reformed duo of Danny Seim and Justin Harris worked quickly, pushing out their latest, Moms, in under two years. Has the band become less neurotic? Maybe in some sense, but in another sense, the album is named after Moms, which is ostensibly strange, and the lead single "Heavy Is As Heavy Does" is indeed heavy -- on family problems and cringe-worthy relations to dad that are not at all disguised. You can hear the track below. It's standard Menomena, once again balanced in unpredictable instrumental hysterics and the muted. Menomena's album release LASER SHOW will take place tomorrow, August 24th, at OMSI (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) in Portland! It's only $5, and will be featured alongside Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon! Surely to be a tasty audiovisual treat! Says Seim: laser technicians were too expensive so instead we're just crossing our fingers and setting these lasers to 'Floyd'. Maybe it'll line up like The Wizard of Oz!" Maybe so!

 

See our Menomena Band Interview Moms will be released September 18th on Barsuk Records, and pre-orders will come with a t-shirt designed by Siem. Full tour dates and newly released track, "Capsule", can be found in the complete post.

 

Over the years, and with each new release, Seattle-based Say Hi seemed to lose a touch of its eccentric bedroom-pop quality. The music remained endearing, but was clearly transforming into something more "grown-up." Luckily, the sole creator behind Say Hi, Eric Elbogen, has managed to...

Menomena have always seemed like a happy-go-lucky bunch. With an arbitrarily-chosen band name reminiscent of The Muppets and lighthearted album titles like I Am The Fun Blame Monster!, the Portland band established itself early on as hard-working yet fun-loving. The band members worked tirelessly towards their success without sacrificing their artistic integrity; they employed DIY promotional methods and remained loyal to Pacific Northwest record labels when they probably could have gone to "bigger and better" ones. They took pleasure in simple projects, buffering their live shows with innovative ideas and devoting their second full-length as an instrumental accompaniment to an experimental dance performance. As Menomena constantly pushed the limits of what it meant to be a creative indie rock force, all pieces pointed to a well-functioning musical machine.
Fast-forward to nearly a decade since the band's first live performance. During that time period, Menomena has released four albums and signed to three different Pacific Northwest labels. The band's long-awaited fourth full-length, Mines, was released in mid-2010, more than three-and-a-half years since their previous release, Friend And Foe. On record, the time seems hardly to have made a difference. Menomena sound as united as ever, the same thoughtful songwriting and complexity one finds on their previous albums present on Mines.

A deeper look, though, reveals that the three musicians behind Menomena – Danny Seim, Brent Knopf, and Justin Harris – aren't actually quite as compatible as they might seem. In fact, they've openly admitted that the creation of Mines was punctuated by countless soul-crushing arguments, and it seems remarkable that they were able to complete the album at all. Despite their obvious creative quirks, the members of Menomena are actually quite serious when dealing with one another; it seems the musical relationship they operate within is a gnarled one.
In their self-crafted statement for Mines, percussionist Danny Seim describes the creation of the album, saying, "Nothing holds up a process like an indispensable band member being both a perfectionist and a control freak. Especially when your band features three of these types. And we certainly haven't gotten any more agreeable in our old age – quite the opposite. However, in the wake of brutal disagreements, unrelenting grudges and failed marriages (not to mention a world full of modern terrorism, natural disasters and economic collapse) somehow this band is still standing."

Mines is the silver lining on a cloud that represents years of creative stagnation, difficulty, and compromise.