If there are more sonically astute bands bubbling in the murky realm of the indie underground, Minus the Bear probably isn't aware of them. The band's last two releases have garnered the kind of notoriety that only comes with being seemingly oblivious to trendy ebbs and flows; both Menos el Oso and Planet of Ice donned ethereal barbs of post-punk sneer and ambitious orchestral arrangements.
The band's pedigree might have something to do with their wholly unclassifiable persona. Guitarist Dave Knudson was already something of a legend as a member of math-metal crew Botch; Erin Tate (drums) was in a four-year stint with post-hardcore launching ground Kill Sadie, along with Cory Murchy (bass); and the group's longevity thus far has ushered in enticing new elements in an oft-stagnant style of song. The combination of a deep-rooted grip on metal and more experimental endeavors has made the group something of a hot commodity on the festival circuit as well. While the band is currently on a small tour, Minus the Bear just performed at this year's Coachella Festival, and has a planned date at Bonnaroo.
On what became one of many critics' top 10 albums of 2007, Planet of Ice, the band managed to infuse a trippy groove-oriented milieu to tracks like "Dr. L'Ling"—a spookily sparse traipse with drippy guitar blusters and reverb-heavy hooks. But the most eye-popping endearment for the band can be found in their live set, as the seamless electronica is revealed to be composed of syncopated guitar noodles and delay effects, pushing the boundaries of a sound they helped invent anyway.
For now, the band's immediate plans as festival undercards and cred-stacked DIY crew seem to be enough to keep new listeners intrigued. Rest assured, though, that when the dust settles, Minus the Bear just might be the band that saves the underground from drowning.