News updates for Mind Brains

Thee Koukouvaya, Mind Brains at Stereo Embers

Thee Koukouvaya

An absolute mind-fuck of seductive electronic imagination, nothing much prepared us for this release in August on Saint Marie Records. Plumbing the depths of time while skimming along on the visceral edge of the modern, this Greek band came out of a kind of cosmic left field and left us flattened and exhilarated. “Consider Eno and Roedelius basking in a programmed, sundialed heat, their lizard tongues darting, lolling, darting some more” we said about one of the tracks (“Prismatic Sun”) and that’s but a fraction of the exotic-yet-musically-grounded work that was perfected half a world away on the island of Crete. Consider us mesmerized, ecstatic, and chilled out down to our very marrow. This record left us breathless in the very best way.

Mind Brains

A simply unbelievable stroke of avant/guerilla art-rock, it was this record as much as any that made us just give up being surprised by the unparalleled pop experimentalism issuing out of that never-ending hotspot Athens, GA. Another Hannah Jones joint (as we had fun saying), she of The New Sound of Numbers among any number of other gooseflesh-raising outfits on the excited fringe of what we might call the ‘American Down Under,’ this release wound our clocks in every imaginable direction. Full of dense but adroit surprises at every turn, what choice did we have but to marvel. So far under the radar of most music outlets as to pass by without so much as leaving a shadow, we here at SEM were lucky enough to catch a mythical glimpse, and the DNA of our musical horizons were likely changed forever, and amen to that.

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Mind Brains at Rock Decibels

On pourrait qualifier Mind Brains de supergroupe dans la mesure où le line-up de ce combo d’Athens, Géorgie, comprend des membres d’autres groupes : Olivia Tremor Control, Marshmallow Coast, of Montreal, the Music Tapes, et plus…

Malgré ce pedigree impressionnant la musique de cet « debut album » éponyme n’aura rien d’ampoulé ou de déclamatoire. Le son, au contraire, nait sous forme de vague hallucinogènes, d’harrminies vocales qui se courbent et se distendent, d’éclairs de synthés en distorsion et de percussions vacillantes qui semblent venir d’une séquence onirique issue d’une peinture d’un Dalí nourri aux stupéfiants.

Autres images venant en tête, Queen alimenté par Quaaludes, les Beatles, période la plus acide, en mirage distant ; le tout formant une fête pour des sens qui seraient emplis de béatitude et de joie.

Mind Brains, comme se doit d’être tout effort psychédélique, est un travail collaboratif où se fait jour sa manière évidente une esthétique basée sur l’expérimentation et l’exploration soniques façon The Flaming Lips, mais aussi des bribes de tribalisme krautrock et de new wave à la Gary Numan.

Les freakouts seront charmants par moments (« Body Horror »), plus sinistres à d’autres (« Strange Remember »), liés tous ensemble par des interludes chargés d’effets sonores comme des bruits d’amplis ou des collages de guitares souvent à la limite du pastiche.

C’est une psychedelia faite de nappes et de textures, d’idées cérébrales et éthérées, flottantes et sans véritable suite logique en matière de direction. « Happy Stomp » créera un climat mystique en réitérant, tel un mantra, un seul accord et, bien qu’il soit le titre d’ouverture, il ne pourvoit aucune introduction à un disque fait de compositions lâches faites entre amis. C’est de cette manière qu’il a été conçu, c’est ainsi qu’il doit, par conséquent, être écouté.

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Mind Brains at Babysue

An exercise in pure creativity. Notable musicians in Athens, Georgia team up for an offbeat side project…and the resulting music is puzzling, curious, and mentally stimulating. Mind Brains is comprised of Hannah Jones, Kris Deason, Emily Waldron, and Eric Harris along with contributions from Heather Macintosh, John Fernandes, Andy Gonzales, Jim Willingham, Mary Beth Justus, and Molly Waldron (whew!). All of these musicians are involved with other projects as well. These tracks were seemingly recorded without any regard for sales or commercial appeal. You won’t hear catchy choruses and familiar passages. These tracks flow by like some sort of strange stream-of-consciousness. This music reminds us of some of the more adventurous underground recording artists in the 1980s before everyone became so focused on digital perfection. Lots of experimentation going on here. Odd cuts include “Happy Stomp,” “Strange Remember,” “Whistle Tips,” and “Bouncy Clock.” Interestingly, only the odd numbered tracks have names (!). We sure respect these folks for having the guts to create and distribute something this peculiar… Truly…NEAT.

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Mind Brains at Tuning Into the Obscure

This disc came to me sandwiched between two pieces of bread in a Ziploc bag. While that was certainly the most original press kit I’ve seen, the music was by far the most gripping thing in the box.  Described as a band with heavy psyche roots (many of the band members have been in psyche and pop rock bands) and a group that loves to break old electronic instruments and rebuild them to create something new, Mind Brains certainly stands as a group that lovers of psyche music should be listening to.  Even after just two tracks, I feel like they’re influenced by the likes of Conny Plank, early Kraftwerk, the Flaming Lips, Eno, the more psyche side of the Beatles, and the psyche side of Athens, GA.  Synth heavy grooves, vocal harmonies and off the wall arrangements of the two with a plethora of sounds, clips, texturing styles, and far out lyrics make this one hell of a ride.  It’s one of the most experimental nodern psyche albums I’ve heard from the US.  The world needs to take notice of this.  Awesome (4.9 out of 5)

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Mind Brains at Mad Mackerel

Click through for the video!

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Mind Brains at Stereo Embers

Twice I’ve torn away pages beginning this review. Do I bring up the fact that the CD arrived unbidden in a slightly oversized envelope with a full-color promo sheet and sandwiched between two slices of white bread each with a perfect heart cut dead center, or leave out that detail as extraneous information no matter how delightfully this bit of postal hijinks struck its recipient? The answer, rather obviously, comes in the asking of the question in the first place. The quirky means of its arrival has already been mentioned and the situationist packaging prank has done its work. I likely would have paid attention anyway, even without the attention-getting inclusion of squishy carbohydrates, given who’s involved here – it’s another Hannah Jones joint (fun saying that) wherein she’s joined, again, by erstwhile Elephant 6’ers etc; Ms. Jones, you may recall, last graced these pages as the main drive behind the eclectic post-punky The New Sound of Numbers – but with the flood coming in daily through every portal, piquing one’s interest via Wonder Bread is a worthwhile ploy, not least as the music inside matches in playful verve, out-of-left-field unexpectedness and haywired inventiveness the wrapping in which it came.

Sounding everything and nothing like the who’s-who list of young Athenian bands that populate the band – of Montreal, Dark Meat, Olivia Tremor Control, M Coast, the Music Tapes and many others; it’s a busy album from a busy scene – this self-titled debut charts wrecked, deteriorating electronic landscapes with an ADD prowess that’s as impressive as it is disturbing, managing to inject a sufficient level of subliminal listenability to prevent the auditory meltdown that might otherwise occur. The type album that can initially seem just pure daft with its own experimentation, a repeat listening or two reveals layer after nuance of reward-granting method to their unique brand of madness, and since I’m tempted to apply it to nearly every track let me just say it out front: there’s a lot of bewitching going on here, a fair amount with surprisingly sylvan undertones, much of it wound inside the convoluted architecture of circuits and ruined mainframes, and a small but notable portion of it taking Eno mountain by strategy. An intriguing amalgam, you must admit.

Opener “Happy Stomp” takes its sunny fractured patchwork intro and lets it unravel into a spaced-out idyll somewhere between a Sun Ra daydream and a St Albans children’s choral track drifting through the cosmos and pulled in by some kid’s trusty transistor in some lost exurb on Ios; “Strange Remember” emerges as an avant-vernal gambol before we find ourselves exploring the bloodstream of an electronic body at rest, floating through arteries at a leisurely pace, the walls dripping with the slowed-down diastolic echoes of those that have come before, the intrepid traveler from the edenic end of the krautrock spectrum, your Clusters, your Harmoniums, while ultimate track “Bouncy Clock” pulses forward with a wiggy safari beat that plants the Residents out on the savanna with only their invincible wits and some craftily damaged synths to save them.

There there’s “Whistle Tips,” fooling us into thinking we’re stuck in the Olduvai Gorge with its distorted huffs from a caveman’s lungs before flipping into Mind Brains‘ rockinest moment that, despite its odd volume drops and one strategic bang on the bottom of an aluminum pot (maybe), charges along with a tight, bass bomp rhythm that reminds, frankly, of a lost track on a Dutch compilation circa 1981 which delights yours truly no end, even considering its brief 2-minute tenure. On the Eno tip, “The Morning Before the Morning Before Dawn” exhibits the type of disorienting time-slip pop the bald prophet pioneered on tracks like “Backwater,” this one just a mite scarier with something of a candle-flickering ritual about it underlined by an unsettling vocal that manages ‘menacing’ and ‘soporific’ to an equal degree, while the droning bed of lively hypnotics and pop electronic poltergeism (yep, made that one up) of “Body Horror” takes that song title and transforms it via sly studio trickery into “Paw Paw Mind Brains Blowtorch.”

All of this, it should be noted, is animated by an unquenchable spirit that suggests, at every turn, playfulness in the face of the surrounding dark, and nowhere is that disorienting child-likeness more exemplified than on “The Era of Late Heavy Bombardment,” taking as it does the implied template of the melodic refrain of ‘ashes, ashes, all fall down’ and applying it to a blitzkrieg scenario. While it’s anything but easy listening it’s also likely the most emotionally evocative audio picture of a child’s innate playground-centric response to the terrible wonder of a bombing campaign you’ve ever imagined.

Aside from the slight “Sea Shore Minor” – a wisp of existence that gets lost in its own sonic mist and, though eerie enough, never finds a mooring to tie up to – and a handful of placeholder tracks that I’d say shall go unnamed except the band themselves leave them untitled and off the tracklist (itself a bit of charming subterfuge, I felt), Mind Brains is essential to the health of our collective modern music soul. We need more records like this (with tips of the hat to fellow travelers Tunabunny and The Bastards of Fate and no doubt others we’ve yet to hear), ones that sneakily undermine our comfortable assumptions of what a ‘rock’ record should be, that discomfit, make us look askance at everything else around. Ones that frolic at the edges of our consciousness where most other records fear – or are simply unable – to tread. It’s both refreshing and no wonder that bands coming out of the Athens scene continue to surprise and even unnerve. It’s as if some torch from Akron drifted south a few decades ago and lit the fires of weird exuberance that has been yielding all these strange dividends for years now.

Ain’t music wonderful?

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Mind Brains at Dagger

Man, you never know what you’ll get coming out of Athens GA. You’ll recognize a few of the names here form other bands (ie: Eric Harris) and this is all over the map. Weirded-out psych pop one minute and Krautrock the next.  (check out “Body Horror”). A bit too out there for me, but it may be your bag.

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Mind Brains at See Sound

Mind Brains open for Neutral Milk Hotel for Florida dates of tour. Watch new video “Strange Remember”.

Athens Georgia’s Mind Brains announce tour dates with Neutral Milk Hotel. The band will be opening up for NMH on the Florida dates of the tour.

May 4th – Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckhard Hall
May 5th – Orlando, FL @ Beacham Theatre
May 6th – Miami, FL @ Gusman Theatre
May 7th – Ponte Verde, FL @ Ponte Verda Theatre

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Mind Brains and Marshmallow Coast at Scared to Dance

Click through to stream the podcast!

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Mind Brains at With Guitars

Mind Brains open for Neutral Milk Hotel for Florida dates of tour. Watch new video “Strange Remember”.

Athens Georgia’s Mind Brains announce tour dates with Neutral Milk Hotel. The band will be opening up for NMH on the Florida dates of the tour. Mind Brains would also like to share their new video Strange Remember“. This is the third video released so far from their self-titled debut album.

May 4th – Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckhard Hall
May 5th – Orlando, FL @ Beacham Theatre
May 6th – Miami, FL @ Gusman Theatre
May 7th – Ponte Verde, FL @ Ponte Verda Theatre

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