Saturday, August 2, 2008

Minus the Bear - They Make Beer Commercials Like This (2008 Remaster)

Artist: Minus the Bear
Album: They Make Beer Commercials Like This (2008 Remaster)
Released: June 3rd, 2008
Label: Suicide Squeeze
Style: Indie / Rock
RIYL: good music

If you never heard this, you missed out on one of the best albums of the last ten years. Not to mention probably the most talented and inspiring band of the 00s. Minus the Bear are one of those bands that were at the forefront of the indie thing while hipsters all over the united states were still figuring out the indie thing was happening, and how you got to be a part of it. There used to be a time when authentic hipsters were distinguished by there amazing knowledge of bands that would blow your mind out if you heard them. Later on in indie history, scenesters were created to distinguish the real cool kids from their tail-biting, name-dropping counterparts. These scenesters were liable to jump at any new band that nobody had heard of yet. With all this new fan base (buying their merchandise, attending their shows, etc), these minor label bands were gaining great acclaim, converting the 'mainstream' within a few years from the terror extracted upon them that was the 90s music, and dropping sales of major labels all across the board.

This was supposedly due to, according the major labels and their pet government agency the RIAA, internet pirating. The humanity! All these people can get our bands' albums for free, and somehow that increased exposure is doing us harm in record sales! Whatever happened to any publicity is good publicity? Well, that's exactly what was working so well for indie labels. All this new circulation of their bands material was literally exploding their market. Labels like Sub-Pop and Polyvinyl were seeing record sales, and actually began to purchase bands from other labels, playing like the big dogs! And where was all this money coming from? The wallets of people trying to get in on the hipster scene, though I guess this demographic didn't know what the internet was back then, and still did things the old-fashioned way buying actual albums. So where do you go to buy indie albums though? Blockbuster doesn't carry them? Of course, you go to record stores, a key part of modern music sales that major labels appear to have forgotten exist in the free market. And thus, the tight-pants wearing, internet-diving hipsters had actually scared the music kings. The need to be cool, which apparently could not be fulfilled anymore by the mainstream music scene, had actually driven America's music budget underground until the record labels could come up with something good.

At about this time major labels started picking up indie standards like At the Drive-In, Modest Mouse, and later Death Cab for Cutie. Now suddenly, credible hipsters didn't have a leg to stand on. The bands they had established their cool credibility with were suddenly playing all over the radio, international tours, and worse yet.. we kind of liked their new pop-sensible, indie hooks. Meanwhile, since indie was such a huge hit, major and minor labels alike started churning out no-name freshman-singles and debut albums with only minimal listenership, only to blow them up extravagantly on their sophomore release, claiming them as the next big indie thing within circles of supposed cool, in-the-know (read: internet savvy) scenesters. This is how we got legends like The Strokes at first, but it's also how we now have Fallout Boy and Panic At The Disco today (or 2 years ago haha, my how the mighty fall), so be careful what you wish for I guess. You might just get more bands than you could ever possibly keep up with, and become obsolete and uncool to younger, more ambitious scenesters.

Anyway, that's my hipster rant. Within any respectable hipster's r'epertoire in 2002 you would have surely found a copy of Highly Refined Pirates. The really cool kids were already diggin' on This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic in 2001 (I was not among them, I hopped on in '02, admittedly) After a 2 year break, in 2004 both They Make Beer Commercials... and Bands Like It When You Yell "Yar!" At Them were released back to back, simultaneously blowing fans' minds yet again with their ability to create amazing, indie-rock music with no dilution.