For much of their career these bedroom Anglo-poppers from Portland, Oregon, have been buoyed by the tidal wave of hype about the Elephant 6 Recording Company, a loose aggregation of home-recording enthusiasts led by Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo. Schneider lent his flower power to the Minders’ first single back in 1995, when they were based in Denver, and SpinArt Records snapped them up in 1998, after scoring with the Apples’ Tone Soul Evolution. Like fellow Elephant 6 bands Olivia Tremor Control and Neutral Milk Hotel, the Minders turned to Schneider to produce their debut full-length, but Hooray for Tuesday was pretty underwhelming compared to the Apples’ sunny songcraft, OTC’s loopy experimentation, or NMH’s harrowing psycho-folk. On the Minders’ recent EP, Down in Fall, and new album, Golden Street, the Elephant 6 logo is notably absent: singer-songwriter Martyn Leaper, drummer-keyboardist Rebecca Cole, and bassist-engineer Joanna Bolme produced both records themselves in Leaper and Cole’s attic. The EP is nothing to write home about, but Golden Street is a quantum leap, its misfit confessions and carefully considered arrangements recalling the Kinks’ classic albums of the late 60s. The band’s lineup has been in flux since Leaper and Cole relocated (Bolme, whom the couple met in Portland, has since jumped ship to play with Stephen Malkmus), and I’ve yet to see an Elephant 6 act play a great show, so I won’t climb out on any limbs here. But between Golden Street and Elf Power’s superb The Winter Is Coming, the Elephant 6 second-stringers are beginning to come into their own. Friday, March 30, 10:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chelsea Mosher.