The Minor Canon is a new project from Paul Larson. For those of you who aren't familiar with Mr. Larson, he was a member of a band called Strictly Ballroom that included Jimmy Tamborello, the whiz kid behind Dntel and some other band called The Postal Service. Hmmm, never heard of them. Paul also fronted another band called Athalia and continues to play live and record with Jimmy. He plays on several tracks off the yet to be released new Dntel record. That being said, Minor Canon is working on an EP that is being released in September. After being tipped by a couple different bloggers, The Tripwire got a hold of a few of the tracks off that EP and we're really excited about them.
From the first few seconds of acoustic guitar strumming and light piano, "A False Start" sounds like it could fit perfectly on Wilco's A Ghost Is Born or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. About 30 seconds later, Larson drives the song away from this comparison. The muted trumpet line that enters around thirty seconds reminds me a little of the piccolo trumpets in Paul McCartney's "Penny Lane," although not nearly as prominent and annoying. Larson's voice is smooth and reminds me of a less flamboyant version of John Roderick of Long Winters. The first two and half minutes of "A False Start" sound as if the band is getting geared up to introduce something else, and it's no coincidence. The music falls out and acoustic guitar, distorted drums, trumpets, and "bop-bops" ensue for the next minute or so and ends in a perfectly recorded pseudo drum solo that helps to connect it to the second track, "The Present Time."
"The Present Time" is another relaxed pop song that sounds very similar to another Tripwire favorite, Margot And The Nuclear So And So's. It's orchestral pop that perfectly combines dramatic piano lines, descending trumpet lines, and a repeated line of "You've taken all you can." Like Margot's album, the drama never sounds forced, never contrived, and never unnecessary.
"Killing Spiders" is my favorite track off the EP thus far and I'll tell you why. I'm slowly coming to terms that it's the acoustic track or the ballad on an album of rock songs that I'm always drawn to. It's when the album takes a breather and the artist reminds us that he or she wrote the rest of the songs just like this; with an acoustic guitar in a bedroom with his girlfriend or her boyfriend twinkling on a dusty keyboard by the side of the bed. There's absolutely nothing wrong with getting into the studio or adding instruments while rehearsing, because hell, that's what a band is for. But it's always nice to remember what each song started off as. "Killing Spiders" is that song. It's sparse and has a few sweeping, out-of-place piano lines that sound as if Larson is playing in his bedroom after a long night of drinking and chain smoking. The lines "I don't mind killing spiders for you/Does that make me crazy?" sound like evidence that he wrote this song in a state of confusion and perhaps lacking sleep.
I'm real excited to hear the rest of this EP when it comes out in September. I'd be curious if Larson decides to use anything that Jimmy Tamborello has taught him while in the studio recording Dntel's new album. It sounds as though the electronic beats will hold back from this EP, but you never know. So come back to us in the following months to find out, as we can't wait to get our hands on the remaining tracks.