I first fell love with the truly unique sounds of Minus The Bear just over ten years ago. I was in an indie rock band at the time, well into the scene, and also working as a floor salesman at a wine and spirits shop. My hopes at the time were to become as famous as the bands I was listening to, tour all over, and not really have to do any real work at all for the rest of my life. Even though we were moderately well received locally, and somewhat regionally, I quickly saw the downfalls in my youthful dreaming. As the band broke up, and playing in a band fell out of fashion for me, a few things stuck with me: my love for the bands I was listening to then, and the story telling style of writing some of those bands explored.
Minus The Bear was one of the first bands that took a uniquely creative approach to two guitars dancing together in songs, and their use of the keyboards was a foray into the synthesized digital loops and dubs on certain songs. It hooked me in; as well as many rabid fans around the world. I own four vinyls released by Minus The Bear, one of which entitled Acoustics II. At first I didn’t even realize they had released an all-acoustic album entitled Acoustics I. For a band that was so unique and amazing when plugged in, I thought it would have to be amazing stripped down. I had gone online to find another vinyl from them, but came across sound clips for the first acoustic released and quickly changed my search for that album on vinyl. Not to my surprise, it was a limited pressing and sold out everywhere. To my surprise, the asking price on EBay and other such places was in the hundreds. I love Minus The Bear, but not enough to spend that much on a Vinyl. I am not at that level of collector yet. A few months later, I saw they were releasing Acoustics II, so I pre-ordered it and got my copy at a normal newly released vinyl price. I believe it is still available at decent prices now. This is one of the rare occasions I feature a band I haven’t seen live and it may be one of my biggest failures thus far in my music fandom, but I know someday soon I will catch them live and up close. Acoustics II ended up including two of my favorite Bear songs, Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse and Riddles. In reality, all songs are amazing. Minus The Bear is definitely a wine drinking listen for me. I think it is because I love listening to them so intensely. I love listening every guitar note and the interwoven storybook melodies from the vocals, keys, and other strings. Minus The Bear stripped down does not disappoint, and I feel their melodic lines become even prettier.
When I do spin Acoustics II, I always drink red wines. The creativity and depth of the music is just too strong from most white wines. I usually drink Olde World reds, a lot of French and Spanish ones at that. In fact, in the first of the aforementioned favorite songs of mine, they speak of a night in France. The drinking of red wine is a line in the song. A bottle I constantly fall back on is a blended red from Spain by Can Blau from the region of Montsant. It is a blend of 40% Mazuelo, 40% Syrah, and 20% Garnacha. If you’re a constant reader of this blog, you know that Syrah and Grenache are my favorite reds, when blended together, their power and complexity is unrivaled. Can Blau adds the addition Mazuelo to the mix and it gives the wine a distinctly more supple texture and subtle chalky notes. It has more red fruit flavors, whereas the Syrah and Garnacha are loaded with black fruits like Black Berry and Blackberry flavors. It is not a unique use of these grapes in grapes, in fact, it is very common and rightfully so; they all grow extremely well there.
On a mellow day, even overcast and rainy like the day it is as I am writing this, Minus The Bear and Can Blau can perk all your senses away from the grey. You can get lost in the falsetto vocals, pitch perfect acoustic guitars, deep hues of the red wine, and intense aromas and long lasting flavors on your palate. I recommend buying Acoustic II while it is still fairly affordable, when it’s gone you’ll be out of luck. The good thing is, the wine won’t be gone for a long time and even if it does disappear, there are plenty of other Spanish wines available.