When: Fri., May 9, 8:30 p.m. 2014
Reunions and reissues, remixes and remasters. During the last decade, that prefix has spread like a pox through the music industry, struggling to counterbalance the lost revenue from potential sales missed online. Indeed, so many acts have overcome once-acrimonious conditions to collect paychecks by returning to the stage or expanding past classics that Morrissey—a prince of sanctimony who has, nevertheless, refused to reconvene the Smiths—seems like one of a scarce few capable of practicing what he's preached.
But not all reissues are about cashing in on nostalgia; some are simply about reveling in it: In the mid-'90s, the knotty California trio A Minor Forest released two albums of complicated and sometimes obtuse post-rock. It wasn't the filmic stuff of Explosions in the Sky or even Mogwai; instead, A Minor Forest suggested Slint Jr., with gentle harmonics giving way to stormy distortion and rhythms, melodies and mercurial vocals interlocked in counterintuitive anti-patterns.
Last November, the trio played their first show in 15 years, and they're now scurrying through a series of mid-sized venues, including Local 506, in a Dodge Sprinter, playing these songs for people who might've been too young to see the band on those tours two decades ago. Just before the tour started, Thrill Jockey reissued their tour albums as a four LP set for about $30. Doesn't sound like a band looking to pad bank accounts, does it?
"On this tour, we've been meeting people who discovered the band who weren't old enough to listen to music the first time we did this. It's made the energy very cool," says drummer Andee Connors.
Since the dissolution of A Minor Forest, the band's members have stuck with music: Connors runs Aquarius Records, while bassist John Benson started a venue inside of a bus that ran on vegetable oil. Guitarist Erik Hoversten toured in Pinback. While they didn't have to relearn how to play their instruments or even many of the parts for these songs, they did struggle to remember the logic of some tunes, or why they'd rendered certain parts so strangely.
"We could play the songs, to a degree, from muscle memory. But when we had to sit down and figure something out, it was 'Oh, for some reason, when we were 25, we decided to do that 37 times for no reason whatsoever,'" Connors says. "We were willfully annoying with those things back then. And now, it's, 'What the fuck were we thinking?'" —Grayson Haver Currin