The Minni-Thins
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The Minni-Thins

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The best kept secret in music


"Minni-Thins big sound - March 10, 2004"

The Minni-Thins "band leader" Jeremy Strickland is full of positive energy. At least that's what his bandmate and co-conspirator in musical mayhem Jason Wells says, and if you've heard the band's recordings or seen the live shows, you'd understand the claim.

From riotous, shrieking highs to hopelessly grave lows, the band's self-titled five-song EP, released in December 2003, is like taking a trip to an early-'90s dirty, smoky basement band practice - and hearing a divine fusion of lush garage rock (a little Pixies, a tad Nirvana, some random Beach Boys). It's like Ozzy Osbourne and Damon Albarn got together for an afternoon tea and happened to write some songs, too.

The recording was mostly the work of Strickland and Wells, who produced the CD. "I had always admired Jeremy as a songwriter and was excited at the opportunity to work with him," Wells says. After helping record Strickland's Minni-Thins songs, Wells made it clear that he was joining the band. "After a while I just sort of said to him, 'I am playing keyboards in your band, and you can't tell me no,'" Wells says. "All I needed was a keyboard."

Wells also plays the Wurlitzer, guitar and xylophone and helps out with vocals. For years, Wells has played acoustic shows as For Algernon (often accompanied by friends, including Strickland), and recently released Orange Watches and Lost Loves. (Pre-Minni-Thins, Strickland and Wells were in a band called The Drunken Monkeys; that band is now reviving its past glory and recording a new EP.)

After recording the Minni-Thins EP, the duo enlisted the help of other musicians - Strickland's brother Aaron on drums, Damon Green on bass and Kenny Sprinkle on guitar - to round out the band's live sound.

Green, a newbie to the whole band thing, didn't even play bass until recently. "I've had a guitar for around 5 years but until recently, hardly played it," he says. "So, when I started playing with The Minni-Thins, I had never played the bass. Our first show was in June of last year. We practiced for two months before that. So, I'm definitely learning on the job."

A graphic designer by day, Green is excited not only about the process of learning the bass, but also "the fact that it is like one giant ongoing art project." Green has kept the band beautiful with flyers, the Web site and a new logo that will soon be gracing T-shirts and stickers.

Uniting these characters is vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Strickland. A multi-talented artist, performance is his thing. "I'm a ham and I like being in front of people - I get to scream, which is fun," he says.

Not even a year old, the band has been busy since its first show last summer, playing shows and working the local music network. "It went pretty easy once we started playing out," Strickland says. "The response has been great - it's been swell."

Nowadays the band has no problem getting on local bills because venues and other bands are seeking them out. Summer plans include some out-of-town shows, as well.

Between gigs, the group is working on the soundtrack for a local short film, a 12-minute epic titled "Lullaby," the song that often closes the band's live set. "It's getting closer to the direction we want to take the band to, which is more melodic and sonically dynamic," Wells says. The song will be released on a split single with For Algernon.

With studio time on the horizon, the songs for the next album are ready to go; the band has been passing out a live CD version of what the album itself will be at their live shows.

As Green describes their live sound, "We play loud, fun, sometimes funny songs with lots of screaming." And the screaming is good. You've got to see it for yourself. - CinWeekly - Kari Wethington

"Locals Only: minni mouths - December 15, 2004"

The Minni-Thins talk about building an audience, new releases for the new year and their evolution as a band

Interview By Katherine L. Sontag

The Minni-Thins
Even if your longest love affair never made it past the three-week mark, most people are familiar with the inevitable cycle of love. A few months into a budding relationship, things get nice and comfy, possibly even meant-to-be.

The Minni-Thins are in that stage of their collaborative courtship. They harness a mature, reciprocated sound of six mastermind musicians who share the spotlight. Not much more than a year ago, Jeremy Strickland (lead vocals, guitar) had a vision, a dream of an Indie Rock band, but with an edge. A drop-dead gorgeous edge.

He sought the touch of two virgins with uncalloused fingers and found Damon Green (bass) and Kenny Sprinkle (guitar). Jeremy's brother, Aaron Strickland (drums), already had numerous notches on his sticks from a previous band.

"I think early on we all just played as hard as we could by each trying to be the loudest and get the most attention onstage," says Jeremy. "But it was too much."

Instead of letting egos get in the way, the persistent Minni-Thins slimmed down the clutter. Incorporating emotive songwriting, boxy percussion and The White Stripes-wish-they-wrote-them guitar serendipities, they are Indie all the way.

But Jeremy's signature screaming, an instrument in itself, is Indie-evolved. It's not just the band members or their sound that's growing up; the genre of Indie Rock is getting bolder, trading in Emo-whinetastic bells and whistles for screaming honesty.

"Since Damon and I were really learning to play for the first time, it was difficult and put a lot of pressure on us," says Sprinkle. "We were excited about the band and wanted to just be able to play."

At a Minni-Thins show today, expect a confident creativity that shows the band is truly comfortable with their approach and how to market it.

"Kenny recently implemented probably the best Minni-Thins marketing play ever," says Jason Wells (keys), who evolves the band further with an appropriate piano/synth vibe.

"He signed up for some vampire freaks dating service," says Jeremy.

"It's not a dating service," interrupts Sprinkle. "It's one of those rate-my-picture and read-my-journal sites," he clarifies.

Apparently, Sprinkle (the Minni-Thin with the Punk/Goth look) posted a picture of himself wearing a black suit, sunglasses and pink hair that looks like he is inside a snow globe. Only, using a little computer magic, floating all around Sprinkle are the Minni-Thins' "M" logo. The caption reads "Here I am acting silly."

"It's really a bunch of 13-year-old Punk girls on the site, so if they e-mailed me saying they liked my look, I would respond with 'Thanks a lot. You should visit my band's Web site,' " says Sprinkle. The stunt added about 50 hits a day to their site for a week or so. Finding new fans is always refreshing, even if they are teenage vampires, says Jeremy.

The band has been laying down tracks for their first album, In Black Cause I Asked, scheduled for release in June 2005. Meanwhile, the group has joined the soon-to-be-launched Vibrating Needle indie recording collective, and will have an EP fresh for the pickin' near Valentine's Day.

Before recording, Darin Strachan joined in on lap steel and trombone. "It seemed that if there was a third guitarist, the Minni-Thins could really get people to believe they use at least three chords in their songs," he says.

For six people of different spheres of influence, the near-complete tracks embody controlled confusion that dares you to not like it. It exudes emotion and energy with the marriage of substance-rich lyrics and orchestral noise.

"We're really on as a band now; there's a lot of love here," says Jeremy. The band plans a tour after the release and roadie applications are being accepted in the form of rigorous make-out sessions, adds Jeremy, as he cuddles with his band in Wells' bed. A lot of love here, indeed. - CityBeat - Katherine L. Sontag

"Demo-lition Derby - July/August 2004"

On the Minni-Thins website, there's a track listing for a recent mix tape made by the lead songwriter of the band. Not surprisingly, the tape includes tracks by Built To Spill, the Beach Boys, the Modern Lovers and Pavement- all clear influences to the Minni-Thins infectious and pop-heavy rock. After listening to these two discs at least a dozen times each, the addictive quality of the music and the overall greatness of this band can't be denied. The Minni-Thins have got "it," that ephemeral quality possessed by certain A-list actresses and pop stars, but in a darker and more complex form. Live, the intensity and eerie depth of their sound is magnified, making these guys a sure bet the next time they pass through town. - Punk Planet - JG

"In Black Cause I Asked Review - August 2005"

Upon first hearing In Black Cause I Asked, one might find themselves trying to duck and cover from the barrage of cowbell, screeching guitar and synth, and schizophrenic vocals. But after the initial aural assault, once the listener gets a chance to settle in to the music, a method behind the madness becomes quite clear. The Minni Thins are a completely fascinating band; their new album an embodiment of punk rock irreverence. Their originality, their cutting sense of humor and sarcasm recall the earliest of punk bands, but their sound is something considerably more modern.

4 out of 5 stars. - Origivation Magazine - Kevin Keating

"Spill It: 'Black' Celebration - June 8, 2005"

Six-member Indie Rock unit The Minni-Thins unleash their first full-length album, In Black Cause I Asked, in conjunction with a big show Saturday at the Southgate House. To celebrate, the group has booked all three floors of the Newport venue, lining up a roster that includes Lovely Crash, Frankl Project, Paperback, The Spectacular Fantastic, Dr. Jones, Super 77, Coltrane Motion, For Algernon, The Newbees, Tristen Shields' Bright Orange Robots, Sleepybird and others.

On In Black, the Thins showcase their distinctive sound more precisely, reeling in what can sometimes be a cacophonous jumble in concert (depending on the soundperson). On record, it's more of a bitter sweet cacophony -- and a rousingly joyous one at that. Primal-to-spastic rhythms, searing guitar, subtly quirky keyboard ornamentation and high-wire vocals merge to create a cyclone of sharp, peppy Art Punk (without the slightest whiff of pretentiousness). The band takes cues from Punk and New Wave, but there's a refreshing uniqueness to their playful concoctions.

The songwriting is loaded with an animated catchiness, but the enthusiasm behind every note is even more addictive. When you listen to the songs, you can vividly picture the band bouncing off the walls like a cage full of monkeys on double banana day. The Minni-Thins take screaming back from the Emo kids and make it not only palpable but downright tuneful. Singer/guitarist Jeremy Strickland has some of the best screams in local music, even making them key hooks in many songs (one listen to "Jean Skirt" and you'll be scream-humming his "Jean skirt!/T-shirt!" squawk all week).

Besides the defiant overuse of the cowbell, In Black Cause I Asked succeeds because of its channel-surfing diversity. "Let Me Be Your Liquor Man" is a hair-raising slab of slanted Punk, "Bark Is Brass" and "Mad Matador" are eccentric Blur-like romps, the somewhat less rowdy "Sigh of Relief" and "Lullaby" come off like Bizarro-world Country music and the trumpet-punctuated "Punk Rock Superhero" sounds like the Dead Milkmen covering The Ramones.

The more pinpoint focus achieved by capturing the band's boisterous blare on CD brings The Minni-Thins' formidable songwriting abilities front and center. The album is a lot of fun, a little goofy, incredibly entertaining and excitingly imaginative.
- Citybeat - Mike Breen

"Band to release debut CD at show with all their friends in local music - June 8, 2005"

Somebody get this band on a label, pronto! Wooing fans since its charmingly raw self-recorded demo ended up in the hands of music lovers all over town last year, local indie-punk group the Minni-Thins is finally releasing its debut full-length, In Black Cause I Asked, on the local Vibrating Needle Recording Collective. The recording is smart and slick without compromising the band's raucous, youthful vibe.

Celebrating the release with a mega-show on June 11 at Southgate House, the band will please old fans and win new ones, and lead singer and guitarist Jeremy Strickland says he's amazed at the final product.
"I love the album," Strickland says. "It's exactly what we set out to make, and then some."

Since the Minni-Thins recorded the demo in the attic studio of the band's synth/piano/harmonica player, Jason Wells, recording the new disc was an alien experience. To get the job done, the band hooked up with Jeff and Misty Perholtz of local band the Newbees at their home studio, Tri-State Productions.

"This was absolutely a different experience," Strickland says. "I've known Jeff for a long time, and he's a fan of the band and he understood how I wanted it to sound."

Perholtz was intent on a "big sound" for the album, distinct in the ringing percussion and screamy lyrics of "Let Me Be Your Liquor Man" and the sweet serenade-turned-rock-ballad "Lullaby."

The album was mostly recorded live, with extra parts added in later (keyboards, backing vocals). "We want it to sound like we do live; we don't want it to be an album where there's a lot of manufactured parts that can't be recreated," Strickland says.

Through the recording process, songs the band had been playing live for months took on new life, with tracks tweaked and layered.
"I think (the songs) turned out different than we originally planned simply because of what Darin (Strachan, lap steel guitar and trombone) and Jason added," Strickland says. "I always know (Wells is) doing something cool, but I never knew what his parts were until he recorded them."

Wells added eight back-up vocal tracks and "an insane amount of keyboard parts" to "Yor Song," Strickland points out. The finished song is full of texture and tension, but still consistent with the Minni-Thins' live sound. And Strachan, who joined the band in September, adds another slice of eclecticism to the mix with his steel guitar and trombone.

In Black Cause I Asked is a hard-core rock album that's got one foot in classic punk rock and the other in esoteric Pixies-style garage rock. It's big and glorious and hard to take off repeat.

But the band is hoping things keep getting bigger. Headed for a national tour and working on national distribution, Strickland says. "We're just trying to let people outside of Cincinnati know that we exist," he adds. - Cin Weekly - Kari Wethington

"CD releasers invite 12 of their favorite bands to party - June 9, 2005"

The Minni-Thins' celebration of its debut full-length record, "In Black Cause I Asked," won't be a typical album release show. The band's members have been planning this blastoff for almost a year.

The local group recruited a dozen hometown and out-of-town bands to take over all three stages at the Southgate House Saturday.

All sorts of off-stage revelry has been orchestrated as well. Bassist Damon Green and his colleagues at the Image 1001 photo collective will present a slide show illustrating each song on "In Black Cause I Asked." Some of the band's friends have even created Minni-Thins-themed decorations and a drinking game.

"We figured we'd make it a special event and not just a CD release show," says vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Strickland.

The Minni-Thins' irresistibly raucous sound (just try to shake "Let Me Be Your Liquor Man" out of your skull), punctuated by Strickland's raptorial screams, owes a strong debt to old-school punk. The wide-ranging influences of the band's six members, however, drive their music in sophisticated directions.

Someone recently asked Strickland what to call his band's musical style, and he jokingly created a new genre.

"Punk rock from Kentucky - it's blackgrass," he says, laughing.

Since the diverse roster of independent artists playing the Minni-Thins' album release show also resists easy classification, we asked Strickland to give us the scoop - in five words or less - on each of the bands playing at the event. Here's the schedule and his poetically concise (and occasionally cryptic) descriptions:

9 p.m. Lovely Crash: Sometimes in fishnet stockings.
10 p.m. Cowboy Curse: Darin's old band - Shins-y pop.
11 p.m. Spectacular Fantastic: Killer guitar heroics from Indiana.
12:15 a.m. The Minni-Thins: Last seen at your Mothers'.
1:15 a.m. Dr. Jones: Backstreet Boys with cheap synths.
9:15 p.m. For Algernon: Mountains, lakes and toxic rain.
10:15 p.m. The Newbees: An old Jedi mind trick.
11:15 p.m. Bright Orange Robots: I hate you, Tristen Shields.
1 p.m. Sleepybird: First I'm gonna kiss you ...
9:30 p.m. Frankl Project: Freakin' sweet teenaged punk band.
10:30 p.m. Paperback: Wail with today's Tom Willis.
11:30 p.m. Super77: Fun and bouncy punk shenanigans.
12:45 a.m. Coltrane Motion: Hip-hop Belle and Sebastian. - Cincinnati Enquirer - C.E. Hanifin

"2004 Midpoint Music Festival Description - Sept 22, 2004"

Screaming. It's not the main ingredient but an important one as the band navigates deconstructed Blues and AltRock channels, pausing only to reflect on their enjoyment of the musical melee. They're that addictive hidden track on your favorite CD where the band is just goofing around. - Citybeat - Ezra Waller


Fall, 2003 -- The Minni-Thins EP
- Produced by Jason Wells, Jeremy Strickland, & Dennis Downing

Winter, 2003 -- The Minni-Thins Live at York St Cafe (Newport, KY)
- Live album

Summer, 2004 -- Datawaslost Midpoint Music Festival Promotional Compilation
- Featuring the single Let Me Be Your Liquor Man

March 5, 2005 -- The Dreamers Club Official Soundtrack
- Written, Recorded, Produced, and Engineered by Jason and Jeremy for the independently produced short film, "The Dreamers Club"

March 5, 2005 -- The Minni-Thins single: Let Me Be Your Liquor Man b/w Sigh Of Relief
- Produced by Jeff Perholtz of Tri-State Productions and Jeremy

June 11, 2005 -- The Minni-Thins LP: In Black Cause I Asked
- Produced by Jeff Perholtz of Tri-State Productions and Jeremy


Feeling a bit camera shy


Returning from a long stint as the manager of a bed and breakfast in West Virginia, Jeremy Strickland got into the Cincinnati music scene via Monday Night open mics at the Historic Southgate House. He played in quite a few local bands with friends met at those open stages (The Drunken Monkeys, The Jason Wells Band / For Algernon, Vinyl Eddie, The Shelly Miracle, and Fat Adam with brother, Aaron, on drums).

Indie rock elitism and “High Fidelity” references led Jeremy to become friends with Damon Green while working in the music department of a local bookstore. Soon Jeremy was playing his new songs for Damon, who found them annoyingly infectious. With Aaron on drums, Damon joined on bass, and Jeremy’s fiercely roaring scream became the signature of The Minni-Thins as they played their first performance in June 2003.

Aaron’s rhythms were rock solid with his driving cowbell. Damon’s bass lines were tight and his timing was impeccable. But Jeremy wanted more. He had a plan of turning the band into the loudest, noisiest, indie rock orchestra of all time. Kenny Sprinkle was added as another guitarist from Fall 2003 through Summer 2005.

Also in Fall 2003, long time friend, producer, and band mate, Jason Wells (of For Algernon), became the official keyboard player. His ethereal synth parts and melodic piano countermelodies instantly created a new dimension to The Minni-Thins pungent sound. During their first year together, the band recorded an EP (which was originally released with a crayon and color-your-own-cover) and a live CD.

Summer 2004 saw the addition of another member. Darin Strachan moved to the Cincinnati area the previous year and became a fan of The Minni-Thins’ energetic live shows. From his first practice with the band he misused his lap steel guitar, frequently manipulating unusual feedback. Later he would also play electric guitar and trombone.

In October of 2004, The Minni-Thins joined The Vibrating Needle Recording Collective, with the likes of Folk?, Suchanuglything, The Minor-Leagues, The Slow Break, and For Algernon.

2005 has seen the release of The Minni-Thins’ first full-length album, In Black Cause I Asked, on the Vibrating Needle Recording Collective in June. Produced by Jeff Perholtz (of The Newbees), it has been met with positive reviews both nationally and locally. Continually playing live shows, they toured as far west as Colorado and as far north as Wisconsin. Most recently, the band has been nominated for the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in the Alternative/Indie category, with winners announced on November 21, 2005.

The music of the Minni-Thins is best described as fun indie rock in the vein of the Vaselines, Beat Happening, Pavement, and the Pixies, with the occasional grandeur of Spiritualized.

The Minni-Thins have had the honor of performing in the following music festivals: Lollapalooza 2005 Battle of the Bands, Cincypunkfest IV, Brink 2005 (A New Music Showcase presented by Cincinnati Entertainment Awards), Midpoint Music Festival 2004, Datawaslost Showcase 2004.

Some of the bands The Minni-Thins have had the privilege of sharing the stage include: The Wrens, Troubled Hubble, The Capes, The Cathedrals, The Newbees, Coltrane Motion, Staggering Statistics, Cowboy Curse, Adventure, Spectacular Fantastic, IamIs, Toy Band, Sleepybird, The Sundresses, Hothouse, For Algernon, Wussy, Culture Queer, The Fairmount Girls, Junior Revolution, Mercurochrome, Moth, The Terrors, Oxymoronatron, Houseguest, Fumescrew, M.O.T.O., and Dr. Jones.