Imagine my surprise when I’m getting real stupid on whippits in a shitty motel room in Portland, OR, and I start hearing the familiar strains of my favorite Menomena song coming from my friend’s cellphone. But wait, that’s not Menomena, this is some rap song I’ve never heard. My brain wasn’t working but I managed to do some basic math and realized he was playing me a new ScHoolboy Q cut. I was excited to play Menomena for him, but I think I blacked out. We ended up with no enthusiasm for anything, but I think we got some tater tots, no not a total loss.
I think this band gets forgotten amongst the indie rock explosion towards the end of the last decade. Their experimental leanings didn’t make them easy bedfellows with the Grizzly Bears and Spoons of the world or with labelmates Death Cab for Cutie. Their songs—especially from this album—are marvels: outré loops created on custom software, intricate layering of diverse sounds, and complex rhythmic interplay. The lyrics are a little hard to follow when the music is so interesting and captivating, but they’re also solid. This is a rumination on the classic trope of a disintegrating relationship: lovers trying to persevere through personality problems, but knowing they’ll never a chance either way and remain wet and rusting until they are no more.
Here’s a playlist from one of my old radio shows called Minus Numbers. This is from January 29, 2007, when I debuted this album on my show:
Stars of the Lid – Apreludes (in C# Major)
Andrew Bird – Heretics
Menomena – Muscle ‘n’ Flo
Cyann & Ben – Let It Play
Rosie Thomas (ft. Sufjan Stevens) – Much Farther to Go
RJD2 – Get It
Bell X1 – Flame (Chicken Lips remix)
My Brightest Diamond – Golden Star (Alias remix)
Panda Bear – Bros
Campaign for Real-Time – Adjustments
Do Make Say Think – The Universe!
Patrick Wolf – Bluebells
“This is the closest I’ll come to touching you the way I want.”