Gig Seeker Pro


Band Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


This band has no press


Let's Build a Fire
Let's Build a Fire (Japan)
Let's Build a Fire (Taiwan)
bloodthirsty butchers vs +/- {PLUS/MINUS} (Japan)
As Seen on Television (Japan)
You Are Here
You Are Here (Japan)
You Are Here / Holding Patterns (Taiwan)
Holding Patterns
Holding Patterns (Japan)
Self-Titled Long-Playing Debut Album


Feeling a bit camera shy


New York City act +/- (Plus/Minus) was originally conceived in 2001 as a vehicle for the songs of Versus guitarist James
Baluyut. Teenbeat released the first LP (Self-Titled Long Playing Debut Album), on which James essentially played and
recorded everything, in early 2002. The act quickly evolved into a full-fledged band, with the addition of fellow Versus member
and longtime friend Patrick Ramos on guitar and vocals, and Austin, TX expatriate Chris Deaner on drums. While James’
voice bears similarities to his brother Richard’s (who sang the male half of Versus’ vocals), this new incarnation of +/-
(Plus/Minus) was an entirely original construct, layering wistful pop with dynamic and complex arrangements and fusing rich,
dense guitar sounds with polyrhythms drummed, strummed and programmed. With the release of the Holding Patterns EP
and their sophomore album You Are Here in 2003/early 2004, it became abundantly clear that +/- (Plus/Minus) was applying
pressure to the pop mechanism, assuring that it would indeed go “POP!”
The last several years have earned the band a powerful reputation as a live act (which resulted in a support invitation from
Death Cab For Cutie in 2005). An extensive tour of Japan forced the band to issue a not-quite-complete version of their third
album Let’s Buid A Fire earlier this year through their Japanese label (which you may have heard thanks to the wonders of
the Internet - completists and fans who shelled-out for the import will note a few tracks have been swapped out from the
Japanese version, several were remixed and the whole thing was properly and painstakingly mastered). After the tour and
landmark shows at both SXSW and the Noise Pop Festival, +/- (Plus/Minus) signed to Absolutely Kosher Records and finished
work on Let’s Buid A Fire, which is clearly the best record of their career thus far.
The first four tracks on the album alone are gauntlet, a flawless snapshot of what makes +/- (Plus/Minus) so great. The title
track starts off the record with crackling gramaphonic sound that is then shattered by a coolly exhuberant horn section and
lumbering bass. The effect is as shocking as yanking the blanket off a sleeping person in winter. “Fadeout” sees them crack
their knuckles and operate like a parlor magician, diverting your attention with sonic
flourishes before you realize that your watch (or your heart) has been stolen. “Steal the
Blueprints,” the album’s first single, impossibly ups the ante even further with every
measured turn of sound or phrase intricately threaded through the whole of the song like
the strings of a master puppeteer, never tangling, and all working the whole into a
seemlessly beautiful choreography. While the originality of their composition and
production deserves notice, at the heart of all of it is a naked and potent lyricism, as
shown on “Leap Year” (one of four tracks penned by Ramos) and the gentle “This Is All I
Have Left.” The entire album is rich with these elements and the end result is both
startling and utterly captivating.
A video for “Steal the Blueprints” (directed by Deaner, an expert behind both lens and
laptop) is featured on the finished CD & can also be seen here:
The band will be touring the nation this fall and early winter (including East Coast
dates with the Wrens) in support of Let’s Buid A Fire. CNN’s Anderson Cooper
says in his iTunes Music Recommendations: “If you hear they are playing some
small venue, go see them before they blow up.” Listen to Mr. Cooper.