Tag Archives: Mini Mansions

Mini Mansions have revealed the new video for ‘Midnight In Tokyo’

Mini Mansions have revealed the new video for ‘Midnight In Tokyo’, taken from their Works Every Time EP which was released on September 28. The video, directed by Will Goodan, finds Michael Shuman headed to Tokyo to shoot the visual. Following on from their critically acclaimed 2015 album ‘The Great Pretenders’, which saw the band tour with the likes of Tame Impala, Arctic Monkeys and Royal Blood, only now are the LA trio ready to unmask themselves more than ever before. The recording of the Works Every Time EP at Hollywood’s Barefoot Recording Studios was co-produced by the band and Cian Riordan, who worked with them on their prior record, whilst Jon Theodore (Queens of the Stone Age) and Darren Weiss (Papa) tracked the drums. Dash Hutton (HAIM) will be playing live with the band.

When we had a chat with Michael Shuman about the new EP last week  he had this to say about  ‘Midnight In Tokyo’ 

” Well, even though it’s a pretty fun, danceable track the content is maybe the most literal song I’ve ever written. Midnight In Tokyo is about a trip I had in Tokyo it was a really deep existential one for me. It was with a ex of mine and I got engaged at midnight on new year’s eve in Tokyo and the song kind of starts there. I don’t know how you can talk about a relationship within 3 and a half minutes but it kind of spans the whole thing because I finished the song after we broke up so it was a really weird thing to do, to try to get all that information into a song.

But then production wise I’m a big fan of Damon Albarn and I started as a big Blur fan and I like how he has progressed. He has gone from punk rock to pop to hip hop. Whatever he does- The Gorillaz, which I think is so unique and I think he is one of the great innovators of our time. So it was a little inspired by that. I listened to a lot of Blur so musically that was my biggest inspiration too.”

You can read the full interview here http://indiebuddie.com/a-chat-with-mini-mansions/

Read our review of ‘Works Every Time’ EP here http://indiebuddie.com/mini-mansions-works-every-time-ep/

Watch the video for ‘Midnight In Tokyo’ below


A Chat With : Mini Mansions

I caught up with Michael Shuman of LA’s Mini Mansions ahead of their show in Paris tonight to have a chat about the trios new EP ‘Works Every Time’ and decipher how these guys create their exquisite sound. After some technical difficulties, phone adjustments and comical “can you hear me now” frustrations we settled in for a chat.

You guys have released your new EP ‘Works Every Time’ it has been a few years since your fans have had new music from you, were you nervous about the release?

I’m never really nervous about releasing new music, we take the time to make sure that we are proud of it and I usually feel really comfortable with it or else I wouldn’t put it out in the world.But the only thing I think is different for us is lyrically the subject matter is a little more personal and emotional than most of the content we have put out before.That’s the only thing.. who knows if people even read too much into it but for us it means a lot more, but I’m not usually a nervous person.

So you are exposing yourself emotionally more than you are used to

Yeah we are and there is no rhyme or reason to it I think it’s just maybe because of our age, maybe we feel more comfortable in our skin where we feel like we can do that. But in doing that I also kind of realise that all my favourite songs all the classics are love songs that are pretty straightforward and honest about love and heartbreak and because the three of us have gone through that in our life we connect to those songs that we love and we feel ok to do the same.

You guys manage to take a cover track to new levels by dissecting it and making it your own with Blondie’s Heart of Glass and Sparks Sherlock Holmes, it was like your own song a fantastically dark ominous cover and now with this EP you do a thrilling cover of Edwyn Collins‘ ‘A Girl Like You’, how do you choose these covers and what is the process the track goes through to become sprinkled with Mini Mansions goodness?

Well the first one we did like you said was Blondie’s Heart of Glass the reason we did that originally was we started the band and like a month into it our friends Autolux asked us to go out on tour with them and we had a handful of songs and you know you’re going out there to a crowd that at that time for sure didn’t know who we were because we were brand new and so you have to figure out some kind of way to connect with them and covering a song is one of the best ways so there is something familiar to them but yet we totally turn it on its head so they then connect with you in this way and they didn’t even know why. A lot of people thought it was a Beatles cover but yeah that’s the reason we did it – for a new band it’s the best way and people seemed to love it so we did a couple of others and the thing with ‘A Girl Like You’ I wanted to do the same thing, re-connect with some people that never had heard us. I heard it when I was young. I thought it was such a hit and in the States it didn’t really do much but I thought it was such a hit song and I know it did do well in the UK. But when we were looking for a song for this EP that one in particular not just because of its musical implications but lyrically  it kinda fits right in to what we were trying to convey lyrically and so I thought it actually could have almost been our words and that’s the best thing about doing covers. You shouldn’t just do a cover and do it exactly the same you should make it your own and you should feel like it is part of you so when you are done you’re like Oh this is our song. So that was the big reason for that song in particular for this EP and just making sure you do it justice without ripping it off

Glorious melodies are something you guys are pros at creating there isn’t one melody that isn’t catchy, sweet and honey soaked, How do you come up with these?

We are just really really smart… (Laughs) I mean I have no idea.The only thing I can think of is that it’s just years and years and records and records and being a music fan – just kind of soaking in all the music you can and all your favourite bands…as it goes inside of you it kind of all swirls up together and comes out, out of your lips and your fingers and your body and that’s the only thing I can think of.

You guys are like the dream team of bands each of you taking part in some of our favourite bands Queens Of The Stone Age, The Last Shadow Puppets, Arctic Monkeys has your experience in these bands aided Mini Mansions?

The great thing about the bands we have been in and the situation that we are in is that you have all these friends that are so talented and you get to tour the world with them, you get to record with them, write with them and just hang out, make records together and I think I make sure that I try to take something from every musician or every tour I go on. Whether that’s what microphone did you use on that ? or what do you do for sound check? you know, talk to their crew. I think it would be a shame to not open your eyes and pay attention to what’s going on or what everyone is doing around you and I think we are just fortunate enough to be around a really great creative group of people and we all share things with each other and we will all influence each other. I think it goes both ways

Not only that but Tyler is part of Mister Goodnite and both You and Tyler have written scores to movies most recently Feed and Kate Can’t Swim and Zach has worked with Brian Wilson and Alexandra Savior as well as a host more artists, all of these showing different musical styles. Is this exposure to different musical styles what makes Mini Mansions so unique?

I’m sure. You learn things along the way but also I think that it’s actually the reverse. The reason that we get to be apart of these different and totally stylistically different projects and bands is that we just have a love for all kinds of music, I love punk rock but I don’t just listen to punk rock and I think some people make a mistake by living their lives that way, it’s not very punk to just listen to punk your confining yourself so much you really ought to open your mind. I think that’s how we get put into these situations, we are very open to all kinds of music.

Your sound has progressed steadily from your debut self titled album with Majik Marker and Monk through to The Great Pretenders, Flashbacks and now Works Every Time it feels like you haven’t lost the original glorious obscurity we all love, just refined it down into manageable sweet doses, how do you feel the albums have progressed?

We just focused more on songwriting. When we first started the band we didn’t really know what we were doing. We knew we wanted to do something different and we knew stylistically where we wanted to go and what artists we wanted to influence the beginning of the band. But now it’s like lets just write really good songs. The music, the production and the style – that’s gonna come naturally to us because we would never let each other stray too far but its always gonna sound like Mini Mansions, that’s what i’m really happy about with these songs when I listen back I’m like this sounds like us for sure.But I think our song writing has just elevated and it goes back to the lyrics really. That’s everything simple chords and lyrics is really all it’s about and then you can put all the bells and whistles on it to make it yours but I think that’s the big leap I see.

There is a natural swagger dripping off every track ‘Midnight in Tokyo’ in particular is pretty suave talk us through how that track came to fruition?

Well, even though it’s a pretty fun, danceable track the content is maybe the most literal song I’ve ever written. Midnight In Tokyo is about a trip I had in Tokyo it was a really deep existential one for me. It was with a ex of mine and I got engaged at midnight on new year’s eve in Tokyo and the song kind of starts there. I don’t know how you can talk about a relationship within 3 and a half minutes but it kind of spans the whole thing because I finished the song after we broke up so it was a really weird thing to do, to try to get all that information into a song.

But then production wise I’m a big fan of Damon Albarn and I started as a big Blur fan and I like how he has progressed. He has gone from punk rock to pop to hip hop. Whatever he does- The Gorillaz, which I think is so unique and I think he is one of the great innovators of our time. So it was a little inspired by that. I listened to a lot of Blur so musically that was my biggest inspiration too.

So you guys really put yourselves into the songs, emotional experiences and all when you are coming up with them

Yeah and that is scary to do that. It’s scary to tell you that, I don’t know you, I mean now we know each other but I’m telling you some of my deepest shit and I’m telling the world some of my deepest stuff which I’m not used to. I’m used to being a very private person.I didn’t want to have instagram, I didn’t have instagram until recently. I don’t want anyone to know anything about me I just want to play music and make art and that’s it. But now, I don’t know why but I’m just open to it and I don’t really care anymore. I didn’t give any fucks before, but now I really don’t give any fucks

Do you have a favourite track on the EP?

I think Midnight in Tokyo is my favourite just because I’ve sat with it for so long it means a lot to me but I would never put out a song that I didn’t fully love.so it’s hard to choose – it’s like choosing your favourite child you know.

Have you played ‘This Bullet’ live yet?

We don’t (laughs)

What! I imagine that track would be epic live

To be honest it’s not going to be a hard one to play live but we just haven’t done it yet we haven’t had the time. I mean literally for London and Paris we met up with Tyler because he has been in the UK with Arctic Monkeys so we had one day to rehearse so we didn’t have enough time to dial that one in –  but we definitely will

How do you choose what tracks make the live shows?

A lot of the shows we play are supporting other bands which is a blessing but you only get to play like 40 minutes so you gotta choose wisely and choose which songs – maybe specifically for which artist your supporting what their fans might connect with. It’s like a job interview. You got a really short amount of time to make a good impression so you gotta choose wisely. Then when we play our own shows you wanna give some old songs, you wanna play some new songs, you wanna play songs you think people really connect to the most and that has a natural flow.

I have seen you guys perform live 3 times now and each time the energy is kinetic you give it your all, nothing done by half measures and then you say hello to fans after, that must be pretty tiring ?

It is. Sometimes I just wanna shut my head off and sit by myself because I do put everything out there so my body is fully drained both mentally and physically. So yeah I usually don’t wanna do that. Its funny we just played London and it was quite a small show and they had the dressing room next door.The door to the dressing room was a big glass window out to the street where everyone could see us. So we finished our set and we are standing there changing out of our sweaty clothes and doing all that and there is all of our fans at the window,  it’s like ah! …. You know, I love it and I love our fans and I want them to have a good time and I’m happy to do anything for them but it is tough.

I can imagine that was a little unnerving

Yeah yeah it was.

You have the addition of  Dash Hutton on drums for the live shows what brought about this decision?

Honestly probably since the first year of the band we have discussed having a real drummer, I’m not much of a drummer I just learnt just because we needed one for Mini Mansions and Im a guitar player too so I always write everything on guitar and there was always guitar riffs – they are on the records, so we always talked about it and then I think finally we got to a point where with all our new songs I played a lot of guitar and I was like you know what, i think this is important, important to the song when we play it live and we needed someone that’s better than me too and honestly as soon as it happened it was like oh I can’t believe we didn’t do this years ago, because it really elevated all our songs. It allows me to be free and I’m not restricted to be behind the kit anymore. It just totally changed our world. Dash was in my first band called Wires On Fire. He was our drummer so I have a deep connection with him and so immediately it was like he’d been there forever

Your merchandise has been pretty creative from vintage wine to denim jackets do you have any plans to release some unique merchandise with this EP?

We haven’t fully got into it but we are in the process of making new jackets but only for us so far. We haven’t figured out all that stuff yet, I mean there is this EP but there is gonna be a whole bunch of other songs coming out too so we haven’t fully got into it yet, so no I guess, the answer is no.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start a band?

Don’t… I mean, the music world is so fucked right now it’s so hard. It’s hard for us so starting a new band.. I can’t imagine… I would never want to start a new band right now. The only thing I could say is if you really really really want to do it is you just can’t quit. There is a million bands and some just aren’t gonna be good enough and that’s the sad truth but if you really believe in yourself you can’t stop because it takes a long time.Some bands they have one song it’s a fucking hit and they never even tour in a van they just get a bus so good for them but that’s not how most of it works. I don’t know… that’s not how it worked for me it took me a long time you know. But look we are still a very small band and we have been a band for 9 years so it’s just hard. You have to be willing to….I don’t know- just suck it up.

What’s next for Mini Mansions?

We play Paris tonight we go home for 2 days then we do a tour supporting Arctic Monkeys, hit the States and then we get ready for next year. There is a lot coming next year.

Any Irish Shows?

Of course but they are not booked yet but of course we are coming.

Stream ‘Works Every Time’ Below

 

 


Mini Mansions ‘Works Every Time’ EP

Mini Mansions have released their highly anticipated EP ‘Works Every Time’. Singer/guitarist Michael Shuman, singer/keyboardist Tyler Parkford, and bassist Zach Dawes are the glorious trinity of Mini Mansions, a band who push boundaries and overwhelm our minds with psychedelic encryption and delicious tunes. The band have played in some of the world’s biggest rock bands, Queens of The Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys and The Last Shadow Puppets these guys have been flourishing right at the roots of the rock genre readying themselves and fermenting their sound.This new release arrives three years after their second record, ‘The Great Pretenders’, which received critical praise and featured guest appearances from Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner and The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and ‘Flashbacks’ a collection  of B-side tracks which was released in 2016. Mini Mansions sound is unique and stirring all at once and places them firmly on par if not above their comrades in intricate obscurity and just plain genius. ‘Works Every Time’ is only a glimpse of what these guys are capable of.

‘Works Every Time’ is a concise, flavoursome collection of juicy tracks to re-introduce us to the mouth watering home cooking of Mini Mansions. Title track ‘Works Every Time’ reels us in with a soft beat bouncing off a swoon worthy melody and glistening keys.Filled with wistful tones Parkford takes the vocals on this track, his sweet falsetto cooing over the breathtaking soundscapes as this song floats around a dreamy ethereal atmosphere while the zesty sting on guitars give a lamenting bite and sharpness to the track. ‘Midnight in Tokyo’ rumbles through with Dawes’ elastic bass line teamed with the sticky slapping beats setting the groove infested foundation as the track spirals into a sleazy swagger smacked number. With Prince like Bowie -esque hued verses and a triumphant catchy chorus this track struts in, slicked back, funk fueled and glossy. Shuman’s vocals take the lime light here drenched in panache and gritty rough flamboyance as flashing disco hued electronics dazzle the background while Parkford provides lush tight harmonies. The rich meaty sound is filled gloriously with zingy guitars weaving their way, flickering little bursts of spice throughout. Parkford takes vocals once again on ’This Bullet’ a psychedelic whirl of utter mind melting mania. He ventures to his ominous lower range while Dawes’ throbbing bass and meandering soundscapes rush you with a sinister sense of danger. This track has a residue of Mister Goodnite’s ‘One Against Five’ with a little more darkness and obscurity smeared on top as alien- esque electronics wail about eerie tones and snappy driving beats. There is something magnetic and hypnotic about this track as Mini Mansions distort and dissolve your entire grip of reality with one catchy dizzying tune. It’s dark and creepy especially when Parkford orders take off your vest“ however it’s difficult to prise yourself away from its chilling charm. Of course the band offer up another stirring cover for us to devour. Having previously embellished our ears with Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ and Sparks ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Mini Mansions dissect and dismember a thrillingly dark rendition of Edwyn Collins‘ ‘A Girl Like You’, dousing it in the gritty sleazy and intoxicating tones we love from this trio. It’s dark as Shuman howls, screams and deeply haunts over whining guitars and flashing electronics. Filled with infectious shimmy grooves this track will make your skin crawl and tantalize all your senses while creeping into your mind where it will firmly reside for days. They did a cover the only way Mini Mansions can … better than the original.

The talent of this band is immense. Each track was meticulously cultivated – simmering and ripening slowly in Mini Mansions pressure cooker until the band were ready to delight and shatter our ears all at once. It’s exciting to see what each release will bring. They never compromise their sound yet push boundaries and provide an enthralling full bodied sound with every release. There is no one else like Mini Mansions out there at the moment. We need this trio to keep music fresh.

Stream ‘Works Every Time’ below

 


Worth A Listen

Our Worth A Listen Track This Week Comes From Mini Mansions

Los Angeles trio Mini Mansions mark their highly anticipated return with their new single ‘Works Every Time’, the title track from their upcoming EP ‘Works Every Time’ set for release on September 28th. The EP follows on from the trio’s  (singer/guitarist Michael Shuman (bassist of Queens of The Stone Age), bassist Zach Dawes and singer/keyboardist Tyler Parkford) critically acclaimed 2015 album ‘The Great Pretenders’, which saw the band tour with the likes of Tame Impala, Arctic Monkeys and Royal Blood and of course the B-sides release ‘Flashbacks’ which we previously reviewed on Indie Buddie.

‘Works Every Time’ is an infectious foot tapping number that swoons around a delicious melancholic melody and wistfully sweet vocals. Parkford takes on the vocals for this tune – his warm lower range resonating through the brooding verses before Shuman joins in for the falsetto chorus. The track laments through hazy key flickers and dreamy backdrops while the steady beat and elastic bass keeps the track bouncing along doused in nectarous gloopy bliss. Naturally, you can’t have a Mini Mansions song without some tasty guitar lines and this track packs in oodles of that in the most sophisticated classy way that only these guys can do. The guitar injections pine and weep with a sting that adds a refreshing spice and dash of zest to the cruising lusciously melancholic track. These guys are immensely talented. Each track they produce is precise and immaculate with refined classy elements on top of fine richly layered musicianship. They are musical magi with the perfect blend of melodies and tones to have us eating out of the palm of their hands longing and craving for every melodic concoction they deliver.

Stream ‘Works Every Time’ below


Worth A Listen

Our Worth A Listen This Week is Mini Mansions ‘Flashbacks’ 

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Los Angeles’ finest Mini Mansions have released a collection of unreleased/unheard B-Side tracks entitled ‘Flashbacks’. This follows their critically acclaimed second album ‘The Great Pretenders’ which was released in 2015. The trio , vocals and drummer Michael Shuman, vocals and keyboardist Tyler Parkford, bassist and multi instrumentalist Zachary Dawes have compiled a collection of nine ravishing tracks that smash all boundaries. We couldn’t choose just one track for our worth a listen but then, why would you choose one when their are nine spine tingling beauties.
‘Flashbacks’ kicks things off with ‘Drive’ a snappy quick step luscious track with Dawes’ fuzzed bass giving an ecstatic bounce. Parkford’s sweet delicate vocals introduces the nectarous melody with Shuman’s backing vocals adding a lush heavenly texture. The fluidity of this track makes it so easy on the ears and soothing with sugar coated sparkle. Building into heavier fuzzed rock instrumentation Mini Mansions introduce us to their gritty glam rock sprinkled with a smooth mouthwatering sweet 60s texture. With the sudden change to deep bass vocals by Shuman a warm mellow tone is added to the rich mix. ‘Drive’ knocks it out of the park and hooks you into the trio’s unique dreamy world of psychedelia and rock.‘Bored To Death’ coos and lulls into a gentle slow dance. With raspy vocals and tender lyrics teamed with elegant keys and dexterous chord progression creating a catchy soothing track that stops time, stilling everything around except for the beautiful melody. Lush harmony and gently sorrowful tones add purity and elegance. The track builds in intensity as a heartbroken tone takes over with heavy rhythm. The sweetened sting on guitar with soft piano and a light beat plays the track out with echoing gingerly soft repetitive vocals.
‘Ticket For One’ illuminates with a bright melody and multi-textures. The infectious slap whack beat combined with nimble keys and Dawes’ sharp elastic bass giving the track a rubber ball rebound effect. The call and response vocals between soft Parkford and deep Shuman as they interact with syrupy smooth melodies that will give you “stuck song syndrome”. Leading effortlessly and perfectly into ‘Ticket For Two’ a witty bouncy track with the catchy and almost “dollish” twinkle piano effect. Adding a catchy “clap clap” effect and steady striking bass ‘Ticket for two’ is a “tour de force” as it pulls similarities from ‘Ticket For One’ while developing a distinctive sound. Of course there is no great genius without a mixture of madness especially where Mini Mansions are concerned as they lead us into a frenzy of heavy manical moshing to end this fantastic track.
‘Fiona’ which we previously featured on Indie Buddie has a darkened dreamy tone and swoon-like atmosphere coated in hazy psychedelia. Once again Parkford and Shuman share vocals as they weave and intertwine melodies with warm seductive textures. The drums exude an oomph and panache to start and then seduce and coax when teamed with the smooth velvety vocals. They build into a sweep and bluster for the intense massive crescendo before the tone slows to a soft gentle echo finish.
‘Shape Recorder‘ has a spooky Halloween party track feeling to start with the peppy organ. The track maintains a sneaky eerie tone with psychedelic fuzz and heavy daunting instrumentation. Its a swirling confusion of blurry haunting fun and dangerous shady obscurity. The intensity of the track fades to a sweet soft vocal with lush harmonies before a final burst of instrumentation.
‘Valet’ is our taste of sensual reggae with Hendrix- esque guitar to start. This body grooving track is effortlessly cool and sleek and shows Mini Mansions in a new light. Its a sit back and bop to the music feel good tasteful track. Shuman’s warm deep vocals contrasting with Parkford’s candied falsetto towards the end adds a charming multi dimension. Exuding fiery strutting swagger with a captivating stride and flaunt this track is magnetic and tantalising.
‘Little Al Capone’ begins with a strong “digging” labour intensive beat and bass vocals adding grounding and depth. The track builds into a theatrical quick passed track with rapid beat and sprightly piano. Tight harmony on vocals and a vibrant dynamism and oomph instrumentation add passion and slappy elasticity. The track sounds like it could have been taken from a scene from a musical where the actors are hard at work, slogging through the daily grindstone.
‘Shadow’ completes our musical journey with the mysterious Mini Mansions in a sombre nostalgic tone. Its labyrinth of interweaving textures meandering through a delicate tender melody and heavenly sweet lavish vocals give this track opulent textures and diversity. The dreamy Utopian wistfulness and visionary fantasy set to swirling rapid beat and whine on guitars in a sway – like motion gives this track an abstracted feeling, like it was all a dream.
Mini Mansions are like a fine wine maturing and coming into their own. ‘Flashbacks’ could have been an album as each track opens your mind to their unique classy musicianship as they guide you into a journey of fantasy and rich textures unwinding your mind and unravelling your senses.

You can buy ‘Flashbacks’ and other Mini Mansions goodies here  http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/mini-mansions/exclusives

Watch the video for Fiona below

Mini Mansions ‘Fiona’

Los Angeles band Mini Mansions will be releasing a collection of B-Side tracks entitled ‘Flashbacks’ in September. The trio (vocals and drummer Michael Shuman, vocals and keyboardist Tyler Parkford, bassist and multi instrumentalist Zachary Dawes) released their critically acclaimed second album ‘The Great Pretenders’ in 2015. While eager fans await their return with their third album, Mini Mansions have decided to ease their withdrawal symptoms a little and let them indulge on some unreleased/unheard B-Sides.
‘Fiona’ is one of the tracks on the lineup for ‘Flashbacks’ and it gives us a nostalgic glimpse of the Mini Mansions we heard on their 2010 self titled debut. ‘Fiona’ has a dreamy swoon like tone, drenched in psychedelia with dark undertones. The diversity between Parkford’s sweet falsetto and Shuman’s warm deep vocals is refreshing. Their vocals intertwine and switch ranges all while harmonising, blending and swirling in a lush melody. Dawes’ elastic bass gives a smooth seductive tone to the track while the drums provide a staggering swagger. The track reels you in from the start and seems to coax you with its luxurious irresistible melody. It builds to a massive crescendo with distorted bass and climatic instrumentation before slowing the tone to a soft gentle echo finish.
‘Fiona’ is another fantastic example of Mini Mansions superior musicianship.Their music is a work of art, refined yet dynamic. Lyrically and instrumentally they are setting the bar high for other musicians. It is clear this trio are getting bigger and better.
You can pre-order ‘flashbacks’ here: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/mini-mansions

Watch ‘Fiona’ below