Two voices “born to sing together” spotlight vocals on stripped-down catalog faves. SEE “Mercury Vapor” via BLURT, HEAR new song “Giftgas” via Atwood.
20 Minute Loop (L-R): Kelly Atkins, Greg Giles. Photo credit: Teresa Miller.
20 Minute Loop – In The Press
“Beautifully morose pop with catchy melodies and tight harmonies.” — NPR / All Songs Considered
“Pop songsmiths of the highest caliber, adept at crafting idea-packed tracks that are clever, catchy and wholly engaging.” — The Bay Bridged
“One of the more refreshing musical experiences I’ve had in months and months.” — Pitchfork
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Hear the brand-new 20 Minute Loop song “Giftgas” via Atwood Magazine or the links below!
See the “delightfully twisted” video for “Mercury Vapor” via BLURT or the link below!
20 Minute Loop album + poster art by Sara Lautman (The New Yorker, The Believer, The Pitchfork Review)
Twenty years of 20 Minute Loop is celebrated today with the release of Songs Praising The Mutant Race, the San Francisco-based band’s first album in over eight years, an achievement marked not only by gray hair, ringing ears and creaky knees, but a shit-ton of songs, stories and shows.
The album features stripped-down re-workings of favorites from the band’s catalog – check out the video for longtime favorite “Mercury Vapor” via BLURT, as well as one brand-new song “Giftgas,” which addresses the Holocaust in the context of a pop song with masterful creativity, sensitivity, and reverence. Atwood Magazine has premiered the track along with an extensive editorial discussing its meaning.
Formed by Greg Giles (vocals, guitar) in 1997, and joined by Kelly Atkins (vocals, keyboards, flute) shortly thereafter, the core duo of 20 Minute Loop follows-up the release of five albums, with this, their sixth, and arguably most passionate, recording yet. The seemingly permanent shelving of 20 Minute Loop due to impossible scheduling, newborn children, and brain-rotting graduate studies, has now given way to Songs Praising The Mutant Race, which offers up stripped down and reinvented versions of ten favorites from the 20 Minute Loop catalog, one cover song, and one never-before-released tune. The record proves that bands may die, but songs don’t. The collection breathes with both the wisdom of age, and renewal.
Inspired by the reactions of longtime fans at a series of intimate house concerts that 20 Minute Loop performed upon initially reforming in 2014, Songs Praising The Mutant Race finds the group recording as a trio in very similar circumstances: live in the room at Ninth Street Opus studios in Berkeley.
In re-imagining, re-arranging, ironing out, and stitching this material back together, the band wanted the songs to shine without being burdened by too much production. Here we have the songs and singers laid bare, accompanied by overdubs from mostly acoustic instruments, including viola, trumpet, flute, accordion, wineglass organ, and more. The result is a perfect depiction of the vibe from one of the living room concerts that inspired the record, with the band’s visceral lyrics and accompanying tempos taking on a woozy, syrupy overtone that makes these songs feel fresh. Sonically, these new versions focus on the vocal interplay between Giles and Atkins, who sound more like they were born to sing together than ever before.
“Singing with Greg has been the single most important musical relationship of my life,” Atkins explains. “It truly feels like ‘coming home’ for me. The nimble instinct that you have after singing with someone for 20 years is a once-in-a-lifetime treasure.”
That special vocal combination is especially affecting on the album’s opening number and first single “Mercury Vapor,” about which Atkins explains, “The re-do of this song includes Caitlin Tabancay Austin adding a third harmony, which absolutely brings the song to life. It’s frenetic, neurotic and makes me feel like I have a nervous tic every time I sing it – but in a good way.”
As a band that came about and went away in the age of the Compact Disc, 20 Minute Loop is very excited for Songs Praising The Mutant Race to be its first album issued on vinyl, and they are doing it with style. In addition to the usual formats, fans can purchase a beautiful vinyl edition of the album with a jacket illustrated by Sara Lautman, whose work has previously appeared in The New Yorker, The Believer, The Pitchfork Review, The Awl, and other publications.
Songs Praising The Mutant Race by 20 Minute Loop is out now. Members of 20 Minute Loop are available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
20 Minute Loop
Songs Praising The Mutant Race
(S/R) – Out Now
02. English As A Second Language
06. Hell In A Handbasket
07. Parking Lot
10. Carlos The Jackal
11. Windsor McKay
12. Never My Love
20 Minute Loop Links
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion