“Right in front of me
Splitting you from me
Where do these cliffs come from
They keep on lining up

 

Can you hold out your hand
just a little bit further
I can feel your finger tips
if I just reach out a bit

 

Save me from myself
Save us from all the rest
Don’t rest till you’ve saved enough
then you know you’ve passed the test”

 ~Surf and Turf
Minus the Bear, Lost Loves

I must never forget how good Minus the Bear records are.

Their 2014 release, the cleverly titled “Lost Loves,” totally slipped by me until someone else’s Instagram shot of “Highly Refined Pirates” made me realize I needed their groovy, funky gutiar parts and silky, sexy vocals as a Friday afternoon pick-me-up. Then I realized they had this album I never heard with these releases I haven’t discovered yet — “Lost Loves” is a collection of rarities and never-before-released cut tracks. Listening to it has solidified everything I knew I liked about this band and have for years – their bright and bold guitar parts, their intricate rhythms, and the upbeat-but-chill sound they pull off in this understated and cool-off manner.

This band reminds me of spending mornings by the beach and weekends by the coast, or late-night drives through cities in the search of debauchery, or even just its guise. A copy of 2010’s “Omni” lives in the passenger side of my car, still in its original packing, and I’ll reach for it from time to time when a drive needs to feel good. Minus the Bear is my kind of party band — guitar playing at its fashionable finest, decadent imagery, and propulsive rhythms for days.

They made a name for themselves in the height of indie emo’s popularity in the early 2000s, with the sultry hooks of “Menos el Oso,” even though they never really represented that sound, and since then their vibe has only veered even further from the “the scene,” favoring this brooding, full-bodied rock and roll.  The songs on “Lost Loves” exemplify this masterfully, as such a collection ought to — from the thumping outro of “Broken China” to the echoing organs of “Cat Calls and Ill Means,” and the brilliant fast-fingered soloing on “Invented Memory,” these phrases and fills that are all feel, all atmosphere, produced with the kind of technique that shows off swagger through restraint.

Must remember to work them back into my rotation. More days could use this.

“Throw all the clocks out
Tell time by touch
Feel it fall through your fingers as it rains down on us”

~Invented Memory
Minus the Bear, Lost Loves