Arrangements on San Francisco-based duo’s first album in eight years spotlight two voices “born to sing together.” See “Drowning” at Stereo Embers.
20 Minute Loop (L-R): Kelly Atkins, Greg Giles. Photo credit: Teresa Miller.
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See the music video for “Drowning” by 20 Minute Loop now via Stereo Embers!
“Intertwining voices and perhaps a bit too much drama.” – Kelly Atkins of 20 Minute Loop on “Drowning.”
“This song was inspired by bands like Low who were on my radar at the time in the late ‘90s, especially the use of intersecting monophonic lines rather than big chords,” says Greg Giles of 20 Minute Loop about “Drowning,” a favorite from the 20 Minute Loop catalog that appears on the band’s new album in a stripped-down, re-worked version.
The song is just one of an album full that were re-recorded with new arrangements for the first 20 Minute Loop album in eight years, Songs Praising The Mutant Race, out now.
“Kelly (Atkins) was there at the inception, co-writing the vocal melodies, and she wrote all the lyrics,” says Giles.
Atkins is the co-founder of 20 Minute Loop, with Giles, and the band now includes avowed 20 Minute Loop loyalist, Kevin Seal, who initially sat in on the duo’s living room reunion shows in 2014, and then joined full-time for the reinvention of these 20 Minute Loop tunes in the studio.
“‘Drowning’ was written during a very intimate songwriting period with Greg,” says Atkins. “Intertwining voices and perhaps a bit too much drama. It did make for a beautiful song, though."
About the music video for “Drowning,” Seal explains, “I wanted the visuals to answer the text of Kelly’s words. It’s morbid, but when I was a little kid, one of the older kids in our neighborhood found his mom deceased. It freaked us all out and the thought of it still flashes into my mind occasionally.”
Seal continues, “In the decades since, I’ve had a persistent fear that I would discover a dead body. That feeling of walking around the woods, trying to quell burgeoning panic, has been in my nightmares for years.”
Regardless of its darkness, Seal admires the song.
“The melody and harmony are so delicate and lovely,” Seal explains. “Kelly and Greg wrote ‘Drowning’ long before I joined 20 Minute Loop, and I’d always found it haunting and pretty. It’s slowcore, really, like 23, maybe 24 beats per minute. It took me a while to get that piano and Rhodes feeling normal. I had to drink some cough syrup first!”
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 with the release of Songs Praising The Mutant Race, the San Francisco-based band’s first album in over eight years. The album features stripped-down re-workings of favorites from the band’s catalog.
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 has now given way to a record that 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 with producer, Jim Greer.
In re-imagining and re-arranging this material, the band wanted the songs to shine without being burdened by too much production. Here the songs and singers are laid bare, and 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 focuses on the vocal interplay between Giles and Atkins, who sound more like they were born to sing together than ever before.
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. 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