Tag Archives: minor characters

Pops Tops: Top 11 Releases of 2011 (#1-3)

#3: The Wall and the Window-The Years EP

This folk duo came out of nowhere in December, just when I thought I had my top 11 list finished. Though this 5-song EP was recorded using a 4-track cassette tape recorder, I wouldn’t call it lo-fi in the least. But I wouldn’t call it polished either. Honest is the word I think fits best. On The Years, the Wall and the Window combine beautifully warm harmonies and genuine songwriting to create an EP that holds up to the best songs from many of folk’s giants like Simon and Garfunkel or Peter, Paul, and Mary.

#2: Minor Characters-Minor Characters EP

Not many bands can sound like Radiohead and the Beach Boys both in the same song (“Burden”). Minor Characters’ debut EP is equal parts experimental and equal parts pop music, a formula that has allowed them to craft 5 extremely intricate and well thought out songs, none sweeter than the Wilco-driven “Come Break My Heart.” (If I was doing a list for best 11 songs, this would be #1)

#1: The Orwells-Remember When LP

This LP is all over the place. There’s garage, glam, girl groups, punk, and blues-all seen through the lens of five pissed off teens. This band keeps busier than most, seemingly recording and releasing a song every few weeks or so. And it shows because on Remember When, the Orwells have gone from good (last year’s Oh! Well) to great.

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Northpilot: “1000 Lives” b/w “Maps and Dragons”

On their newest single “1000 Lives,” Northpilot has created a 4 minute sci-fi magnum opus. It seems much more appropriate to call it a composition than it does a song. With its darkly churchy synth work and layered atmospheric melodies, I can’t help but be at least vaguely reminded of Julian Casablancas’s solo work (“Glass” in particular.)

Where “1000 Lives” is enormous, the b-side, “Maps and Dragons” pulls back and shows a more folked-up approach. Still present, however, is the perfect mixture of human and electronic instrumentation. The highlight of the song is the not-so subtle homage to “Lake Shore Drive”.

If you hurry, you can catch Northpilot perform live on Audio Tree at 7:30 p.m. You can also catch them at Schubas on Friday, Dec. 16 with Color Radio and Minor Characters.

 

 

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Minor Characters: “If I Were You”

While the name Minor Characters might suggest the band is content playing Watson to any number of experimental indie bands’ Holmes, this song’s instantly catchy hook and singer, Andrew Pelletier’s falsetto tell me Minor Characters would like to prove you and the rest of Chicago otherwise. Check out this live video of “If I Were You,” and then head out to their EP release show on Nov. 10 at Subt with Gringo Star and Village.

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