Less than ten seconds into the opening track “Wolves,” I decided I was going to review “Baker-Miller Pink,” the latest album from The Havana Sleeve, dropped back in April. A squeal of the guitar, then heavy riffs, tight minimalist drums, and big vocals all crash into motion at once and the album starts up a pace that doesn’t let up until just over thirty-six minutes later as the final distorted note of the closing track “20 Past 10” sputters out. The Havana Sleeve did something special with “Baker-Miller Pink,” capturing various styles of alternative rock and blending them from one track to the next nearly seamlessly so you don’t ever realize you’ve changed sub-genres until you’re halfway through the next track. I feel the diversity is best on display going from the distorted power-pop on “Veil” ending with blended harmonies that transition smoothly into “Someone Will Survive,” a slower, harm heavy, indie jam that then fades out and into the big and crunchy “Holy Holy Ghost.” Typically, I’m a lyric first listener, but with this album I was right away captivated by the instrumentals and how the vocals interact perfectly with the awesome riffing. While I'm still not 100% sure of what the lyrics are, they are some of the most 'sing-along-able' I have heard in a while, especially in the choruses. I was also very impressed by how well the album was put together and how well it’s able to convey the mood and emotion through sounds more than words. My favorite track is the second from the last song “Pencil Tin (A Tin for Putting Pencils In),” a distorted upbeat ditty with lyrics as best I can tell about how “everybody screamed, everybody died.” “Baker-Miller Pink” flawlessly displays everything there is to enjoy about alternative rock. Check out The Havana Sleeve June 21st at Eagles 34 with Another Heaven and Tijuana Taxi.
The Havana Sleeve:
Cory Maanum- vox guitar songwriter
Chad Hustad - drums
Alex von der Hoff- bass
Tony Najm- guitar,
(Melodic Noise) How's your day going?
(The Havana Sleeve) super duper, and you?
(MN) How did The Havana Sleeve form?
(THS) chad and cory met finally after crossing paths a number of times at a brian herb and the outstanding achievements in the fields of excellence show. chad and cory had crossed paths in their former bands: choplogic and the hasbeen respectively.. cory na and chad wrote ideas and jammed for about a year before recruiting alex (also for The hasbeen bass player). then right about the time we started recording our record we finally got tony (former euphoria, planes for spaces, the alarmists, and new century masters) to join up. cory had recorded and contributed key/synth parts to tony's first band euphoria, and had been friends for many years. alex grew up across the street from cory in norther wi.
(THS) rock and roll
(MN) Do you have a label?
(MN) What is the story behind the album name?
(THS) "baker-miller pink" it's a color/psychology developed to calm or subdue.. used in prisons most notably.
(MN) Lyrically what stands out on the album?
(THS) nothing comes to mind...
(MN) What was the inspiration behind the album?
(MN) What do you hope people take away from the album?
(THS) that it is a cohesive, piece of art from start to finish.. and i hope they enjoyed their time with it.
(MN) Is there something that connects the songs together?
(THS) yes, but i don't know what.
(MN) Are you locals or transplants?
(THS) chad and cory were both born here. tony is from lebanon and alex was born in Illinois but grew up almost his whole life in wisconsin
(MN) Who are some of your influences and Minnesota influences?
(THS) superdrag, kenna, john frusciante, richard ashcroft... locally: joe kopel, brian herb and the outstanding achievements in the field of excellence, fog/andrewbroder/cloak ox, black sam malone, hollow boys
(MN) Favorite current Twin Cities artists?
(THS) joe kopel
(MN) Favorite venue to play and see shows in Twin Cities?
(MN) What can fans expect when they come to your show?
(THS) rock and roll by some weird dudes
(MN) Favorite/crazy memory of playing a show?
(THS) our record release april 12.. good friends, good times
(MN) Who are your dream tourmates?
(THS) ozma, kenna
(MN) Do you have other hobbies?
(THS) build/repair modes of transport... chad planes and cory boats..alex rides bicycles, tony rides wind surf boards
(MN) What do you like about living in the Twin Cities?
(THS) there is a show every night and you're damn likely to see me at one of them
(MN) What sets the Twin Cities scene apart from places you've toured?
(THS) it's unpredictable, but the music is always coming.
(MN) Favorite places to grab food or drink in the Twin Cities?
(THS) all the live music joints... 331, hex, nomad, mort's, icehouse, 7th st.. the depot has food
(MN) Day jobs?
(MN) What are the band's plans for the future?
(THS) get this record in front of people. then start the next.
Review and Interview by: Andrew Perrizo
Edited by: Evan Buse and G Blu
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