MTV ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Minus The Bear

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OK. We brought you Rodrigo Y Gabriela, you said too much guitar. Team Facelift? Not street enough. Nelly Furtado? Tired of the commercials. And y’all nearly crumbled when we compared Paramore’s Hayley Williams to Avril. So, we realize we’re never gonna make e’ryone happy. So, instead, hopefully SOME of you will be happy to know that varied and sundry indie band Minus The Bear is this week’s MTV Artist Of The Week.

Minus The Bear manages, almost impossibly, to hover somewhere above the treacherous demilitarized zones of indie that divide prog from shoe-gazing from power-pop. Yet while other lesser bands might suffer from the resulting musical schizophrenia that comes from such experimentation, Minus The Bear successfully maintains one overarching truism: they’re cunning lyricists capable of math rock minus the annoying advanced math.

The Little Seattle Band That Could has been quietly putting out smart experimental rock albums for six years. In earlier days, the younger band played around with non sequitur album titles like “They make Beer Commercials Like This,” “Bands Like It When You Yell ‘Yar!’ at Them” and “This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic,” (perhaps that’s where Fall Out Boy, gets it from), featuring song titles like “Hey, Wanna Throw Up? Get Me Naked,” “Potato Juice & Liquid Bread,” “You’re Some Sort of Big, Fat, Smart-Bug, Aren’t You?” and “I’m Totally Not Down with Rob’s Alien.” But in recent years, and on their brand-new album, Planet Of Ice, the guys tone down the emo-esque snark, moving slightly away from singing songs about aimlessness and taking their music in a more somber direction, writing lyrics about lost loves and the general discomfort and insecurity therein. Think Modest Mouse but less of their recent (yet also unexpected) pop stuff, Wilco less the alt-country, and We Are Scientists minus the L Train influence. Throw in some unanticipated orchestral maneuvers, and you’ve got the ultimate thinking man’s indie band.

For their Artist Of The Week run, we met up with Minus The Bear in Seattle and gave them an old-school Super 8 camera. The resulting footage, which you’ll see all week during their Artist Of The Week TV spots, was shot at their favorite haunts, including Capitol Hill pub Clever Dunnes and the Seattle Laser Dome. We think the diverse locations (one down-and-dirty, the other awesomely electrifying) perfectly represent the band’s comfortably dissimilar style.

Check out one of their Artist Of The Week on-air spots below, and watch them all here. And, as always, tell us what you think.