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When we asked Danny Seim, Menomena's brilliant co-founder and longtime generator of satirical band-bio text, for a few words regarding the band's EP release, he was stuck in a dilapidated Louisville neighborhood, building a giant fence around a future children's museum and therefore too short on brainspace to come up with something more amusing than a straight-up plagiarized excerpt from the press release for U2's force-fed iTunes album Songs of Innocence.

So, it fell to the decidedly unclever 40-person Barsuk marketing staff and Menomena's brilliant co-founder Brent Knopf to craft some notes about the experimental indie-rock band's waning geriatric sex appeal (well — waning except in the case of third and final brilliant co-founder Justin Harris, whose ageless sex appeal will seemingly never decline) — notes that will also serve to inform the uninitiated and to remind those who may have forgotten just how smart, witty, and uncategorizably FUN Menomena was during its tenure as one of the more creative and delightful bands of the early 21st century independent American music scene.

The catalyst for all this marketing copywriting has been the remarkable process of excavating the band members' archives, forgotten iPods, and other early aughts tech in search of worthy materials to include with Deluxe Reissues of the trio's canonical catalog, along with making preparations for an upcoming hometown reunion show.

... all of which has the band members remembering how much they loved being in a band with their two best friends on earth, but how they were young and dumb (or at least some of them were) and figured they had forever to work out their control freak personality differences for the sake of the magical art they were creating together, with their awesome (and incredibly patient) record label.

But let's start at the beginning, and see if we can fill in some of the details that make "a mutant chimera of Danny Elfman, Sly and the Family Stone, and DJ Shadow" an insufficient description of the phenomenon that is Menomena [pronounced just like the song "Mah Nà Mah Nà", from the Swedish mondo film Muppet Show premiere] —

  • Danny, Justin and Brent formed Menomena in Portland, OR in 2000, wrote songs together with home-made music software, and packaged their CD for I am the Fun Blame Monster! (an anagram for "The First Menomena Album") in an 80-page flipbook. Their creative chemistry was nearly as combustible as their first tour vehicle, aptly named "RV Danger" (uninsured, unregistered, unfit) which only caught fire twice on USA freeways in 2004.
  • They started a tradition of making extraordinarily good music videos.
  • They slapped a fake Parental Advisory sticker on their sophomore album Under an Hour and Walmart refused to sell it. It's instrumental music for Modern Dance, and one critic insists it's Menomena's finest album (he's wrong).
  • With failed attempts at career and vehicular suicide under their belts, Menomena would next lose a Grammy (for Album Packaging) with 2007's Friend and Foe. Some say this 3rd LP — their debut release on brilliant Seattle indie label Barsuk — offers up more bangers than British cuisine.
  • Observers have, at times, sized up Menomena's founders as "a coke head, a heroin junkie, and a mute," or, more sympathetically, as "a nerd, a jock, and a stoner." Real personality differences, pressure, and ego made the making of their next album Mines miserable. After their national television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2010, Brent got to shake Jason Bateman's hand. Even that wasn't enough to stop him from quitting Menomena a few months later.
  • Danny and Justin soldiered on, releasing Menomena's 5th LP Moms in 2012 (which despite Brent's absence had quite a few bangers on it), making a couple more insane music videos, and touring with some friendly musicians from other stellar Portland bands.

Take a bow, gentlemen. You may not have survived the Era of Forgotten Music to become festival headliners alongside The National or streaming playlist mainstays like The Decemberists, Grizzly Bear, or TV on the Radio, but your work together will live on in the hearts and minds and bootys of the many thousands of hipsters, music freaks and art connoisseurs whose lives you touched then and will continue to touch for decades to come, as will your work over the years since in Bloc Party, EL VY, Lackthereof, Pfarmers, Ramona Falls, and whatever else you come up with next. We're sure it will be... brilliant.



bark131: Menomena / Moms
  • Plumage
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bark101: Menomena / Mines
  • Taos
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