Saturday, March 2, 2019

Minihorse's "Drink You Dry" (featuring Anna Burch) from the "Living Room Art" Album is so heavy and sweet

Drink You Dry by Michigan's Minihorse and from their latest record "Living Room Art" is a blistering sound of distorted guitars that deliciously tweak and squeak and fold over into dissonance and back and while there is so very much within this song that pulls you in, for me, the guitar sounds here are crushingly captivating. Then when you add the plodding cadence, the drums (John Fossum) and bass (Christian Anderson) that meter out every bit of heaviness in a precise way filling up the space with more and more heaviness and angst and, of course, Ben Collins (guitar) hushed, whispery vocals with lovely supported harmonies by the amazing Anna Burch (guitar). The track itself asks that questions and rides on sad sleepy melodies and then awaken in big ways is inspired by a car crash Collins experienced in 201l. 

Collins considers Minihorse as a DIY "home recording project"and an avenue to build gear and step back to learn how to record on tap. The 2016 "Big Lack" EP which caught the attention of his band mates was made up of demos during that fertile learning process and some weird forays into experimental treatments like sleep deprivation and transcranial direct current stimulation as a way to effect his creativity. 

"I find songwriting to be the hardest thing in the world," he explains. "You have these moments of inspiration and it'll feel like the easiest thing in the world, and then you'll have years where that never happens again. You find yourself in these strange patterns, trying to coax creativity out of yourself again."

Robb Donker

Press Notes:

Collins and minihorse recorded Living Room Art's ten indelible cuts in his home studio, as well as Ann Arbor's Big Sky Studio—and they weren't alone. "I tried to bring friends into the studio to make it more collaborative and enhance the process," he explains, and Living Room Art indeed represents a true Midwestern come-together, with contributions from Fred Thomas, Kelly Moran, and Anna Burch—the latter of which sings on and appears in the video for first single "Drink You Dry." "She's really great, so self-reliant—she's a genius," he enthuses. "We thought it would be fun to incorporate her into some of these songs."

Gooey and tactile, Living Room Art often takes on surreal shapes, from the overwhelming waves of guitar on "Summer Itch" to the careening melody of its title track. "I feel very focused on melody and rhythm and very unfocused on lyrics," Collins explains when discussing his songwriting approach. "I've often told people that I don't care about the words, but I do care about the lyrics. These songs have been educational for me, personally. Some of the songs started out impressionistic, lyrically, but when I got done with them it became a learning experience as to what they were about. I'm blind to it in the moment, but I couldn't have written a better song if I tried to."
Despite possessing a natural aversion to drug use ("I've had anxieties for so long that I'm capable of having a bad trip while I'm eating an ice cream cone"), Collins had a lyrical breakthrough of sorts after taking part in a sacred medicine ceremony in Tulum, where he took ayahuasca. "I felt these strange, cyclical things happening with some of the newer songs where they felt connected with that experience. Lyrics I'd written before that were descriptive of things I'd learned during the ayahuasca ceremony. There's no way I could've known it would've applied. It makes you question the nature of time."

"When you look at your thoughts and watch them happen, you almost don't feel responsible for them at a certain point," he continues. "Thoughts happen toyou. You feel more like an observer, as if you're the victim of your own thoughts. It's freeing—when you don't feel like you have to control, you can be more open and listen to what your brain is doing." His perspective often hovers over these songs, even when they're directly connected to his past; "Drink You Dry" centers around a car crash he experienced in 2011, but he describes the song as "Very impressionistic. It came to me very quickly—a shadowy figure in our band's career. People always come up to me and say, 'I love that song.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, it sucks—I can't beat it,'" He says with a laugh.
Then there's the haunting closing track "Misophonia," which features contributions by Moran: "It's about this idea of having an aversion to sounds, which I've always had. I just hate certain sounds—it's the opposite of ASMR, where people have these euphoric connections to sound. Certain types of sound grate on my ears to the point where they're psychically difficult to handle. I thought that was a really interesting theme to explore—someone like myself having these sonic aversions. Kelly did a great job illustrating that with sound." The result mirrors to the experience of listening to Living Room Art as a whole: it's alluringly just out of reach, to the point where you can't help but hit "play" once more to unlock this record's strange pleasures.

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