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Mines

16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 27, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Portland, OR art-rock trio Menomena is among the leaders of the new school of indie rock musically complex, melodically and lyrically riveting, and unlike anything that has come before. Their breakthrough album Friend & Foe epitomized
the artistry required to balance a modern band's storm of ideas, and it was anointed Best New Music by indie tastemaker Pitchfork.

The band's newest work comes after a period of significant upheaval that has left them with no shortage of new ideas, and Mines is as good or better than anything they've done to-date. 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) Menomena is still standing, and has made an album that many are already saying defines the state of intelligent pop music one decade into the millenium.

1. Queen Black Acid
2. TAOS
3. Killemall
4. Dirty Cartoons
5. Tithe
6. BOTE
7. Lunchmeat
8. Oh Pretty Boy, You re Such A Big Boy
9. Five Little Rooms
10. Sleeping Beauty
11. INTIL

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 27, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Barsuk
  • ASIN: B003P5AJCG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,564 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Vice on July 27, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Menomena's particular method of songwriting is typically discussed in equal measure with the music itself in any review of a Menomena work. Essentially, they use some custom software to loop tracks while they improvise small pieces of music together until they edit together a full song. On previous releases, discussion of this technique was warranted because those albums sounded like they had been pieced together from tiny fragments, with all the unpredictability and excitement that this method implies. On Mines, the band sounds a little more traditional than their previous releases, though no less creative. Though Dealer was used to construct this album, it sounds like the product of more traditional writing and recording. Regardless of how the band put together the record, it's a strong collection of songs, showcasing the band's ability to shift gears frequently and efficiently within songs, with each one showing a number of styles and techniques fleshed out to create a meaningful work. Mines showcases some of Menomena's best songs, such as the pounding Queen Black Acid or the foreboding Tithe, both of which sound like a distillation of the songs Menomena has been working on since their debut in 2003. Less eccentric and random than its predecessors, Mines is a taut and efficient work, though it loses none of the creativity the band is known for. Another great album for 2010, and something old and new fans alike are sure to dig.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Loudon on July 27, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Formed in Portland, Oregon, Menomena consists of Justin Harris, Brent Knopf, and Danny Seim. Their first record, I Am the Fun Blame Monster!, was built using a looping software program called DLR or "Deeler," short for Digital Loop Recorder, as the cornerstone of the project. Deeler was created by Knopf, the band's keyboard player and guitarist. After a tempo is set, Deeler starts recording one of the members of the band in a loop. Once that track is set, the recording is then passed to the next player who records an additional part to the same track. This process continues until each member has contributed to the track and any extra desired instrumentation has been added.

Now, three albums later, Menomena is still using their trademark looping technique as the cornerstone of their creative process. Opening with "Queen Black Acid," a simple strumming of the guitar leads into a calm drum beat which paves the way for the vocals. Additional instruments including keys and sleigh bells are occasionally added into the mix as the song progresses, but the original guitar loop continues throughout the track. Although it might seem as though this could get boring quickly, the detailed layers Menomena uses to expand their original idea are more than enough to keep the listener interested.

There is no greater example of how Menomena's looping song structure can build into some of the most fascinating stratified tracks than "Tithe." A xylophone intro fades into the distance as a melancholy piano begins the true loop of the song. Suddenly, a distorted guitar gets pressed into the mix standing out like a sore thumb.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can't believe there are so few reviews and ratings of this incredible album.

I discovered Menomena through their album Friend & Foe, but it took me years to make it past the first track (which is, sadly, the weakest on that album). One day I finally made it to the third track, "Wet and Rusting," and the keyboard melody at 1:40 hooked me. Finally, I gave the rest of the album a serious listen... I was ashamed when I realized how many years I'd wasted--how many Menomena concerts I must have missed!--by not discovering the album sooner. I fell more and more in love with Friend & Foe every time I played it. (Humorously, when I listen to that same part of "Wet and Rusting," it's now the bass that stands out to me.) Months after I fell in love with Friend & Foe, I realized that I really needed to check out Menomena's other albums.

I've enjoyed all four of Menomena's traditional albums so far (I Am the Fun Blame Monster, Friend & Foe, Mines, and Moms), but Mines is hands-down my favorite. It took me a few listens to really appreciate it, but that's always been the case with me for albums that have the most staying power. If I like something instantly, I tend to tire of it quickly. More complex songs take longer to appreciate, but they just keep getting better and better with every listen.

There isn't a single bad song on this album. I certainly have my favorites (I love "Taos" for its high energy, "Killemall" for its spookiness, "Dirty Cartoons" for its heart, and "Lunchmeat" for whatever it is that makes it such a ridiculously good and haunting song. "Lunchmeat" is my favorite on the album), but every track is strong.
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By Troy Greer on February 21, 2012
Format: Audio CD
When I first received a copy of Mines back I was in a music funk of sorts. I had been really excited about several releases that were falling well short of my expectations and I couldn't quite figure out why. The National's "High Violet" really let me down after the first several spins and I thought "how could I be this massively disappointed with one of my favorite bands"? What I soon discovered was that with each "highly anticipated" new release, I had "my expectations" of what the record should sound like (based on my favorite parts of a bands previous records) and I was not listening with a true music lovers ear. I had been treating my favorite bands as if they owed me the same record over and over again, which is a huge mistake. This discovery led me to put on High Violet again with a new frame of mind and fall completely in love with it and open myself again. With this in mind I wanted to give the same opportunity to the new Menomena record and I am glad that I did.

Mines is a dense, mature and tense album from one of the more creative bands of the last ten years. While all the trademark Menomena sounds are still intact they yet again expanded their musical landscape to construct tightly packed songs. Take the album's closer "INTIL" which personifies everything that is great about this band. The track starts with a simple and meloncoly piano line and the opening (and closing) haunting line of"I never thought I'd Lie" aka "INTIL". This song is a downer, without being an in your face downer. It tears at you without being blatant about it. The opener "Queen Black Acid" starts as a simple affair, but once again they have played with our senses. Overdubbing baritone sax and distorted guitar slides (doubled with electronics) to keep you from becoming to familiar with it.
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