Prophet, the sophomore release from Ramona Falls, is an album that recalls the experimental beauty of Laughing Stock by Talk Talk, and the unabashed earnestness of Death Cab For Cutie. Frontman Brent Knopf appreciates those highly regarded comparisons but when pressed for the true inspirations that fed into his overall vision, he cites Martin Gore of Depeche Mode's dark chordal elements, a production style halfway between Tears for Fears and the Homosexuals, and lyrical themes that channel a dyslexic Jorge Luis Borges if he starred in Flowers for Algernon. The stunning album begins with "Bodies of Water", an emotive and rousing anthem about how intimacy bundles together both nourishment and peril. "Spore," a heartfelt highlight of the album bears a substantive core: "I like the idea of someone refusing to feel lonely, despite how utterly alone they might actually be," Knopf explains. "It's a form of rebellion."
sou002lp · LP
Souterrain Transmissions · August 2009
bark90 · CD / DIGITAL
Barsuk Records · August 2009
Ramona Falls is Brent Knopf's first solo venture, but he has an extensive musical resume as part of trio Menomena. His debut release, Intuit, was written and performed by Brent, with guest appearances by 35 friends (including members of The Helio Sequence, Mirah, Loch Lomond, 31 Knots, Talkdemonic, Nice Nice, Tracker, Dat'r, Dear Reader, 3 Leg Torso, and Matt Sheehy), and illustrated by the amazing Theo Ellsworth.
During the last decade, Menomena has become its own reference point. From hooks wrapped around plummeting baritone saxophone lines and nearly inhuman rhythms to serpentine lyrical frameworks and high-concept album art, Menomena has established a singular and unmistakable aesthetic. No one else sounds quite like this band. They embed magic and mystery within pop songs that have never sat still or taken the path of least pressure. Their new album, Moms, is tragic and intimate, comic and endearing, personal and motivated. In 10 songs and just less than 50 minutes, Menomena cast pop cascades into noise kaleidoscopes ("Baton"), chop and twist a melody until it becomes a big dance beat ("Capsule"), and build inescapable arrays of tension and texture that finally release ("Tantalus"). Opener "Plumage" couples its surge of energy with a cleverly playful study of sexuality, while "Pique" turns the same sort of seemingly impossible tessellated-rhythm tricks that have become a Menomena trademark.
Menomena has reissued its indie-classic debut album, I Am The Fun Blame Monster!, as a CD/DVD package with extensive bonus materials. Originally self-released by the band in 2003, this reissue includes the original record, nine bonus tracks, and a retrospective DVD. The bonus material features rare footage of the band's appearances on Portland cable access program The Sista Social Show, an endearingly awkward live performance at the now-defunct Meow-Meow (site of the first Menomena show, ever) and music videos for the album tracks "Trigga Hiccups" and "Cough Coughing".
Alternate versions of two album songs, plus two exclusive b-sides on this limited-edition gatefold double 7" (limited to 1000 numbered copies worldwide).
"(Menomena) continues making one amazing record after another. With Mines, this Portland experimental rock trio continues what they started on their epic debut I Am The Blame Fun Monster and builds upon their ingenious third album, Friend and Foe. Magical." - Filter
"Such a great band... there's a lot of room for your ear to roam on Mines." - Pitchfork
Menomena and The Helio Sequence have teamed up to bring you this limited-edition split 7", available exclusively at record stores in celebration of Record Store Day 2010, and now available here in the Barsuk shop.
Friend and foe shines Northwest indie songcraft through a Chicago post-rock lens, illuminating the quiet recesses with an unpredictable, experimental light. See what others have had to say about this phenomenal album:
"Beautiful and ominous" (The Absolute Sound)
"Equal parts free jazz, Talk Talk, and XTC" (Magnet)
"This just might be what we've waited for." (Filter)
A preview of their upcoming full-length, this EP features the song "Wet And Rusting" from Friend And Foe, plus 2 out-take versions of "Wet And Rusting" and 3 previously unreleased tracks. The packaging was designed and illustrated by Craig Thompson, who created the amazing graphic novel Blankets, among others.
An experimental album, even for experimental group Menomena, Under An Hour was written for 3 modern dance pieces in conjunction with the T:BA Arts Festival in Portland, OR.
This is the first Menomena album, initially self-released and available only online and at a handful of stores, then later picked up by the awesome Film Guerrero label. Menomena reveal a unique vision of inventive, melodic, and ambient-warped-pop, lifting off from the same experimental runway as the Brian Eno and David Byrne era guitar-electronica-collaboration. I Am The Fun Blame Monster! is released in a durable, hand-packaged flip-book.