Wilco’s new album impresses for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s vintage Wilco. “Schmilco” gets at the sadness, humor and guitar blending that defines the band’s last two decades.
About a year ago, Beth Ann Dear and Devin Welch were hiding from wildfires in a basement. Now they’re putting out their debut EP together, which began in said basement with just a few drum lines. They call themselves Mini Blinds and their sound is just about as quirky as their name lets on.
The EP, Air Signs, breezes through in one quick eight-track fly by. It features two previous singles and a relaxed cover of Beat Happening’s “Angel Gone.” The EP’s beauty is in its simplicity though. Dear’s vocals are nonchalant and Welch’s kicks and riffs roll effortlessly. There’s a certain mellowness to Dear’s style — equal parts offhand and yet refined. Turn to Frankie Cosmos and Adult Mom for vibe comparisons.
Mini Blind’s lyrics ground the everyday, but in their own casual way of course. Dear calls us all out halfway through the record: “But life means much more, to cry, laugh, be afraid, to grow, learn, and die, why hide it all to get laid?” This, after deadpanning, “I’m happy.” The song “Starfish” half relies on vocables like “doo do do doo” and refers to the decline in our ecosystems by describing “starfish melting in the sea.”
The EP experience ends rather cinematically, with a tender, minute-and-a-half keyboard melody. Air Signs is cute and plays on minimalism for chord progression, melodies and essence. It’s sweet listening and something fun from some Portland up-and-comers.
– Gina Pieracci