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Naked and creaking

Oh Blue Minium gives a quiet guitar rock anthem

Oh Blue Minium inspires nostalgia for the recent past. Photo credit: Facebook

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There are moments in everybody's lives where shepherds emerge to usher you into new musical territories. I often write about how my parents shaped my appreciation of music through their joint effort to get me listening to oldies, and then my father's solo effort to corrupt me with Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, and the Talking Heads. There were other groups of people, though, that met me in the wild and exposed me to new methods of expression. I'm thinking, this week, about Sean Alexander and Peter Lynn, the two originators of the Squeak and Squawk Music Festival, and former owners of an art gallery called the Helm.

Through my friendship with Alexander and Lynn (whom I met while we were all working at The Grand Cinema), and later through my exposure to their music festival and the shows they would hold at their gallery, I was introduced to these oddball, lo-fi ramblings of musical madmen. I was introduced to Okay, the Microphones, Pwrfl Power, and Julie Doiron; I was chided for loving Modest Mouse's Good News For People Who Love Bad News, when I hadn't even heard their two previous masterpieces; I experienced the joy of hearing Alec Ounsworth yelp "Is This Love?" while sitting in a car outside of work. In short, I saw through the sheen of production and into the personalities of the people who are actually making the art, and it has ever enriched my appreciation of the bands I listen to, for this rag or otherwise.

Listening to Oh Blue Minium inspired my nostalgia for those times. The Olympia outfit is the work of Pual Krogh (a copy editor's nightmare of a name), with help from friends that he recruited. Krogh's debut album under the Oh Blue Minium moniker, To the Moon with You, was recorded over the span of a few years, though it all is of one ebullient whole. It reminds me of another Olympia band, Twig Palace, who I also opined reminded me of 2004 (in a good way). Feeling nostalgic for the recent past is a unique privilege, but that won't stop me from feeling it.

If To the Moon with You is any indication, Oh Blue Minium is embodied by a clattering exuberance and Krogh's creaking voice. There's a spirit of play here, possibly due to the extended time frame of the recording process. "Salamander King" represents the most extreme example of this freewheeling style, with its grinding beat and staggered vocals keeping the listener always off-kilter. Sometimes listening to Oh Blue Minium can feel like chasing a song down a narrow side street. Elsewhere, "Kissing and F@#$%^&*" finds Krogh at his most upfront and approachable, a delicate little trifle of a ditty where everything is naked and emotional. This is guitar rock that, while not approaching an anthem, still pricks the hairs up on the back of your neck in recognition.

Sunday's show at Westside Lanes will mark the cassette release of Krogh's new material. Judging by the piecemeal fashion by which Oh Blue Minium recorded their first LP, there's no telling just what you'll hear on this new album. A lifetime to record the first stuff and one year to release the second, as they say. Listening to To the Moon with You, though, one gets the impression that Krogh and Oh Blue Minium have lots to say. This is journaling writ large, given a backbeat and triumphant guitars, accompanied by Krogh's sincere and sincerely flawed voice. Nothing endears me to a band more than warts-and-all vocals and a willingness to bear all, and Oh Blue Minium is a project that brings both in spades.

Westside Lanes & O'Malley's Restaurant and Lounge, w/ Bloody Knives, Liquid Letters, Age/Sex/Location, Sunday, April 10, 9:30 p.m., Cover TBA, 2200 Garfield Ave. NW, Olympia, 360.943.2400

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