by Matt Meade
Mineral Girls –
I almost hesitate to tell you about this band. They’re that good. It would not be a stretch to say that they are one of the reasons the “Never Heard of ‘Em?” series exists. I needed a forum for talking about bands like this one. I needed a place to put all those messy feelings of nostalgia, and hope, and excitement that I get when listening to a band like the Mineral Girls.
Why did it take me 7 weeks (8 weeks actually; sorry about that week I missed…) to actually tell you about them? Well, once I tell you about them, they won’t just belong to me anymore. You see, I have this need to possess the things l love. (And we are talking about music here, so let’s stick to that.) I want it to belong only to me. I want Timber Timbre to be my special little secret, I want to be the only one who knows that a deep cut from a Roots album that no one owns is the best song they ever recorded. I don’t ever want to listen to The Shins again, because… well you know why. But I’ve made my peace with all that, because you should know about these guys, and these guys certainly deserve to be known about. I’m still a little wary of what might happen once the word is out, but that is my problem.
Just, please know how hard it is for me to tell you about this group of kids who scream their guts out in a way invented by desperate, angry-for-no-reason, 90s bands who broke up before the kids from this band even hit elementary school.
Listen to this track called, “Connecticut Girls.” Listen to the open string arpeggiation that the guitarist probably learned a week earlier. Listen to how carefully choreographed the tempo shifts are and how they still barely pull them off. Listen to how the horns are lovingly painted on. Listen to how much they fucking mean it.
And don’t even get me started on the hopeless sadness of the lyrics. The way the melodrama of the words chronicles the way a series of lies make up every single relationship of anyone in their late teens.
You never get the sense that they are being coy. It always seems like they are using all the knowledge and ability they have at their disposal. That they are using all the chords they learned from a used Mel Bay book, all the tricks they learned from Get In The Van by Henry Rollins, all the poses they saw in Ondi Timoner’s Dig!.
That’s what it seems like. I can’t say for sure because, the thing is, I don’t know much about them. I sent them several emails to various addresses that they maintain and none were not returned. To be perfectly honest with you, though, that made me like them even more. I mean, these guys are authentic. Fucking authentic. So authentic, in fact, that when some fucking blogger sends them a series of emails, they can’t even be bothered to respond.
They are so authentic that if they told me that they had never gotten around to checking out the BJM, had never heard of Black Flag, and couldn’t read chord charts in any instructional books, I would believe the little bastards. I would believe that the poses they strike are ones they made up themselves, the clothes they are wearing had been in their closets all along, and the songs they are singing are the only ones they can come up with.
I mean, shit. They can’t even be bothered to pick a name for their band, sometimes being billed as Brett Green & The Mineral Girls (if that is your real name, Brett) and other times being called, simply, The Mineral Girls (for the sake of brevity, perhaps?)
There is an earnestness, a truthfulness to these songs that is impossible to fake. It’s something like accidentally seeing a co-workers’ naked selfies, or unearthing an old recording of your parents from before you were born. There is something about this collection of songs that smacks of being an artifact from their lives.
Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s not that they don’t know what they are doing. They know exactly what they are doing. They have a knack for crafting sweet melodies, and for structuring a song to introduce a new element like a fuzzed out electric guitar, or a drunken sing along, mere moments before the repetition of their simple songs gets boring.
They are doing things that we have seen before, mind you. They didn’t invent any of this, but one gets the sense that the form was made for kids like these. One gets the sense that the history of pop music exists so that when kids like these get their hearts broken they will have these tools available to put them back together. And it’s the way they are doing it, not what they are doing that makes them so authentic, anyway.
Hurry up and check them out (you can name your own price at bandcamp) before they get good at their instruments, step out of the drummer’s bathroom and into a studio, get overproduced, and lose the tragic kind of sweaty magic that makes them so special.
Label: Scaredy Cat Records
Next Show: Somewhere, someplace in Charlotte, NC
Best Track: “Tennis”