Minus The Bear are a 5-piece technical indie-rock band from Seattle, founded in 2001 on local label Suicide Squeeze (also home to early Modest Mouse and Elliott Smith). A conglomerate of musicians involved in one way or another with influential acts throughout the late 90s/early 2000s such as Botch, Sharks Keep Moving and Kill Sadie, Minus The Bear are the closest thing to a super-group attainable within the realm of indie. Except maybe Gayngs, with their absurd hoard of musicians. Minus The Bear are some of the most seasoned and consistently talented songwriters around, with an uncanny ability to pack each riff to the brim, without ever becoming superfluous. The driving force of the act is found in lead guitarist Dave Knudson, who is probably the most talented, entertaining and innovative guitarist in all indie music (try this on for size: http://youtu.be/9CwL3yb1pLY?t=9m52s). With unprecedented aptitude, he crafts beautifully intricate lines with tapping, looping and sampling of freshly recorded bits on the fly, morphing his piercing, bare naked guitar tone through a meter-wide pedal board capable of generating just about every tone imaginable. Alongside Knudsen is Jake Snider, singer and talented guitarist in his own right, who remarkably manages to carry the simultaneous duty of vocals while forming the foundations of their complex patterns.
Straight from onset, Minus The Bear have delivered a steady supply of quality music. Debut LP “Highly Refined Pirates” (home to arguably their most famous song “Absinthe Party At The Fly Honey Warehouse”: http://youtu.be/m3a4jxt4hcs) immediately set them apart from the pack, with technical work approaching that of a math rock band, but enough repetition and familiarity to sing along too. Follow-up LP “Menos El Oso”, their finest work to date, is the perfect blend of driving rock jams, guitar solos and sampling. Fun fact: the guitar section at 3:06 of closer “This Ain’t A Surfin’ Movie” (http://youtu.be/ikiSGwAURqA) is the literal reason I decided to start playing guitar. 2010’s “Omni” and 2012’s “Infinity Overhead” also have their merits.
Favourite track: Pachuca Sunrise (http://youtu.be/Cib_3se6z1I)… Still trying my darndest to plagiarize these guys.