Secret experimentalists Meneguar play what basically amounts to pop punk and pretty much pretend that they aren't all in like 34 other bands that play weirdo noise half the time. Since we covered them based off their excellent I Was Born at Night EP, they've released a couple super under the radar albums that weren't afraid to get a little weird. Right at this very moment you can buy their latest, The In Hour on Woodsist somewhere. The In Hour is the same Meneguar as before, just more gritty—like they actually recorded some songs in a real basement (but who in New York has their very own basement? No one! Which is probably why they recorded this in Portland.) We tell you this now for a couple reasons: Meneguar are awesome, Meneguar are catchy and Meneguar have a grip of songs from that album available for free download on their MySpace. Go there and then come back here and read Chris Ryan's Gen F on the band from F38 after the jump.
Download: A bunch of new Meneguar songs from The In Hour
Story Chris Ryan
Photography Jason Nocito
“Intimate” is a term usually reserved to describe the sounds of your lullabye-pushing troubadours—your Devandras, your Oldhams, your James Taylors—but it’s also a totally appropriate descriptor for the chaotic group sounds of Meneguar. The Brooklyn-based trio makes ramshackle indie punk that lives in the spaces in-between: falling apart and coming together, the subtly melodic and the abrasively noisy, the lyrically opaque and the slogan-worthy. The members of the band are also roommates—they make camp in Brooklyn—and Meneguar is basically a re-imagining of their previous band Sheryl’s Magnetic Aura. Over the years, by sharing everything from household chores to the rigors of touring, the group has developed an almost private language, or at least a unique accent that they apply to a familiar tongue.
According to singer/guitarist Jarvis Taveniere (who’s also in the band Wooden Wand), the fluency with which they play with ideas comes from the mundane day-to-day of living together. “Being roommates on top of being bandmates really forms an intimacy that you can’t get from just rehearsing,” says Taverniere. “Sometimes I think it sounds too intimate, like it’s too insular.”
Insularity is one of the major tenets of underground music—the communal ideal of a “scene,” the us-against-them attitude, basically the whole Our Band Could Be Your Life cliché. But in Meneguar, the insularity is more musical than ideological. The songs on the band’s 2005 EP I Was Born At Night (soon to be re-issued) sound like they’re starting somewhere in the middle, like you stumbled into the band’s practice space by accident. Every time you want to pat yourself on the back for thinking, “Somebody owns a Polvo record,” Meneguar switches directions, shifting gears so wildly that you expect the transmission to fall out. Backing vocals come screaming out of nowhere and drones become power pop hooks unexpectedly. Maybe it does sound familial, secretive and intimate, but on “House Of Cats”, when Taverniere and Co scream, Don’t you let us fit in, don’t you let us fit in like it’s a gang slogan rather than a chorus, you get the remarkable feeling that you’ve been made part of the crew.