I’ve done a lot of traveling in the last five years. I’ve been to Europe a few times, and across the country on numerous occasions. Regionally, I’ve been countless hours in my car making six hour drives from Virginia to New England states. Before I really got into vinyl collecting and played a lot of music from my IPod, and I always had my IPod tuned to the Seattle, WA based indie rock band Minus The Bear.
Calling an indie rock band, unique, is kind of redundant for the mere nature of an indie rock group is to experiment and put out music that may go against mainstream popular culture. Minus The Bear is a truly unique style of music for my ears personal. They blend together electronic synthesizer, finger-tapping guitars, and lyrics that follow story lines. One of my favorite albums of all time is there first release from 2002 called Highly Refined Pirates. They have since released four other full length albums and countless amounts of EPs and other various recordings, including two albums called Acoustics I and Acoustics II. I own four Minus The Bear full length vinyl records, but only one of the acoustics, Acoustic II.
As simple as the releases are titled, Acoustics II is a stripped down version of many of their songs; ten to be exact. It is most noticeably missing many of the electronic aspects the original versions push to the forefront of chorus lines. It includes songs from all of their full lengths. It has become my favorite vinyl of theirs to spin at any time of the day. I love playing it over and over again in the afternoon while preparing dinner with a glass of wine.
I can’t explain why my choice of wine with this vinyl is always a white wine, but it mostly has to do with the relaxed feeling from the original recordings. The music isn’t overpowering to your senses. It just expresses pleasing feelings in all respects. A palate killing red just wouldn’t do with this vinyl, possibly a pinot noir or cru Beaujolais; think of this vinyl as an afternoon drinking auditory companion. The hard part is choosing the right white to go with this album. I tend to lean of southern French whites, a few Greek grapes, and Oregon pinot blancs. Val De Salis is a winery/ vineyard from the Languedoc region of the France. They specialize in regional whites and a few other interesting wines that don’t reach the top end of the palate crushing alcohol and tannin levels you need with a steak or a John Coltrane album. Their Viognier is one of my favorite wines I called a “house” wine. It is great substitute for chardonnay. A lot of winemakers tend to overdo their chardonnay and turn them into high alcohol, oak drenched, and sun soaked popcorn balls. A simple viognier can still have the plump body of a chard but loaded with great aromatics and austere acidity, which compliments Minus The Bear’s vinyl, Acoustics II. Both taken at the raw pure existence are certified gold in my eyes. There is a beauty to the already organic sounds and flavors of each.
Listen to this vinyl on an otherwise lonely, slow day. Listen to the stories lead singer Jake Snider sings, and the beautifully choreographed dances between keyboards and guitars. Have a glass of viognier from southern France, where the pomp and circumstance of winemaking was never an issue unlike in Champagne and Bordeaux. The cultivation of purity and heart is plenty and fruitful with Val De Salis and Minus The Bear.