Free and legal MP3: The Minor Leagues (exuberant, horn-laced pop)

Exuberant, horn-laced pop, performing that endearing trick of sounding more slapdash than it actually is. I think drummer John Kathman, brandishing a combination of full-out bashing and asymmetrical fills, has a lot to do with this. The horns, too, carry with them the sound of a band a half step away from flying apart, maybe just from the inherent imprecision of brass instruments, which must create multiple octaves of notes from (typically) three valves.

“Good Boys” – the Minor Leagues

Exuberant, horn-laced pop, performing that endearing trick of sounding more slapdash than it actually is. I think drummer John Kathman, brandishing a combination of full-out bashing and asymmetrical fills, has a lot to do with this. The horns, too, carry with them the sound of a band a half step away from flying apart, maybe just from the inherent imprecision of brass instruments, which must create multiple octaves of notes from (typically) three valves. On a guitar or a keyboard, each note is precise and unique. On trumpets, less so. This occurs to me as important all of a sudden.

And then, in the middle of this burstingly happy-sounding song comes a philosophical interlude we may not be quite prepared for, as singer Ben Walpole wonders, “Jesus, why did you give me a conscience/If I can’t use it to influence my actions?/And Jesus, why do I have to know wrong from right/When the knowledge never ever beats out passion?” Um, hmm–can we get back to you on that? In the meantime, what happened to the trumpets? The guitars have taken over, along with the existential crisis. Drummer Kathman is still bashing away, however.

The Minor Leagues, from Cincinnati, have grown to seven pieces from the quartet they were when last featured here in 2006. I like how each band member, in the bio material on the Datawaslost site, places him- or herself in an exact year with a particular band, to illustrate with unusual clarity the sound each feels most connected to. “Good Boys” comes from This Story Is Old, I Know, But It Goes On, released in November via Datawaslost, which is both a musical collective and a record label. MP3 via Datawaslost.

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