by Matt Kelchner
Earlier this month indie rock vets Minus the Bear released their latest album, Lost Loves, on their current home Dangerbird Records. Though as you run through the tracklist, some of the diehard fans may find a few familiar titles. Lost Loves is a collection previously released B-sides and unreleased songs recorded during sessions for the group’s last three albums.
“The way we sequenced these songs pretty much feels like a regular record,” singer/guitarist Jake Snider explains to me as we chat about the surprising cohesiveness of the album. For some of these tracks, they were featured on limited edition 7” singles or as bonus tracks. For others, this is the first time fans have ever been able to listen to them. Snider adds, “I’m just excited to get all these great, cool songs out and in the hands of the people.””
As with most new albums, Minus the Bear is hitting the road in support of it. But the tour serves an additional purpose. This year marks the 10th anniversary of their incredible EP They Make Beer Commercials Like This and Snider and company are celebrating it’s double digit birthday as part of the tour as well. This Saturday, they make a stop at Underground Arts for a somewhat smaller audience than a typical tour.
The songs off Lost Loves are by no means new songs. Some were recorded only a few years after They Make Beer Commercials Like This was released. But to Snider, they still carry a little something special after all this time. “They feel pretty new to us too because we never really ended up playing them much as a band.” But as Snider goes on to explain, it gives a breath of fresh air into their concerts as well. “It’s kind of nice to have these songs to put back into a live list.”
In gearing up for their latest trek, a few cobwebs had to be shaken off on these older tunes. “Sometimes relearning them you like don’t remember playing certain parts,” Snider describes, rehearsing the tracks off They Make Beer Commercials Like This. For many of these songs, it’s been quite some time since they were last played. So long that to Snider and the rest of the band, the songwriting style behind them feels a bit foreign. He goes on to explain how after working out the songs, he discovered it’s played a different way than what he originally thought. He talks about the way some parts seem like they do not make sense and that’s just the way they are played.
Revisiting these songs has started to come around full circle for Minus the Bear. In practicing and performing songs again for the first time in ages, it’s started to spill over into their current work as well. Snider explains to me, “You kind of see where you used to be. Like ‘Oh that was a cool aspect that we haven’t used in a long time’.” He goes on to add that the wheels have started moving on a new album as well, but it’s only the beginning.
For now though, Minus the Bear is focusing on the past and bringing to life songs that have long been buried. In both their new album and the latest anniversary tour, they have given something special to their early fans while exposing the new ones to parts of their discography they may not have came across yet. It’s been a long and winding journey for the five guys from Seattle so far. Saturday night at Underground Arts will give you a glimpse into where they came from while you join them on the road to come.