August 11th, 2006 5:33 pm | by MARK BAUMGARTEN Music | Posted In: Columns, News

Menomena Preps New Record, Signs to Barsuk

MenomenaYou'd be forgiven if you forgot about Menomena. The trio of pop-experimentalists haven't played a show since MusicfestNW last September. And, as I learned during a chat with bandmembers Danny Seim and Justin Harris over some black bean garlic chicken this afternoon, the bandmembers haven't even played instruments in the same room since then. But that doesn't mean Menomena is dead in the water. Far from it.

Rather, Seim, Harris and Brent Knopf have been busy recording their third album, a feat that is accomplished by the bandmembers passing off recordings to each other, each adding to and tweaking the various tracks in isolation. "It's sort of like hot potato," says Harris, whose calm demeanor makes one think that he could hold a hot potato for a good long time.

That might explain why it has taken more than a year for Menomena to finish the album. But it is (mostly) finished now, and the guys let Local Cut in on some details:

The album will be called Friend and Foe, it is darker with some "grandiose" moments that will be near impossible to recreate live, Knopf's Rhodes has been largely replaced by piano, the cover art is being provided by Craig Thompsom (of Blankets fame), and it will be released by Seattle's Barsuk Records in early 2007.

Barsuk Records, as you might know, is brimming with killer indie cred, it being the birthplace of Atlantic Records band Death Cab for Cutie, as well as home to the Long Winters, Mates of State and Portland's own Viva Voce.

The deal the band signed almost three weeks ago, gives the label rights to the band's next album, with the option to release the two following. Let's just assume that is going to happen (because Menomena is so damn good, and nice) and call this a three album deal. With Barsuk, Menomena will receive wide distribution through the Alternative Distribution Alliance and the advantage of having a label with some financial stability (that whole Death Cab thing and all).

The band will be debuting much of the new album Aug. 26 at the Doug Fir Lounge. If you miss them there (and there will surely be some folks turned away at the door), the band will likely be headed out on a West Coast swing later this fall, possibly with new labelmates the Long Winters.

And there's even more. But I'm not going to tell you. Check out the Aug. 23 issue of Willamette Week for the full story.

In the meantime, why don't you take a few minutes to watch this amazing video for "Cough Coughing" from I am the Fun Blame Monster:

Barsuk Records:

Photo: Harris jumps for joy (over the heads of his bandmates).
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