As a new radio host eight years ago, when Portland three-piece Menomena came down to my station at the time for an interview, I learned a very important lesson: Just because a band or artist makes songs about heartbreak, regret, angst, that doesn’t mean they are heartbroken, regretful, or angsty to interact with. In fact, they likely won’t be, since they’re able to deal with or purge those feelings through their music. A few minutes into my interview with Danny, Justin and Brent, I put aside my notebook full of carefully crafted, What-Would-Terry-Gross-Ask questions and simply embraced our discussions of lactating males, “so…who likes potatoes,” and the band’s a capella rendition of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”*
In the intervening years, the band has also let their videos serve as a counterpoint to the emotion of their music, and this has continued through to Brent Knopf’s project Ramona Falls. Pitchfork just posted “Russia,” a follow-up to the first video from last year’s Intuit (which made my 2009 best-of list). It stars Matt Sheehy (who also joins the band for live shows) opposite a girl who I don’t know, though, she’s nearly the only part of the video I can’t place. (Fellow Portlanders will recognize scenes from First Thursday, Oaks Park, March Fourth Marching Band, Sam Barlow High School, the Springwater Corridor and The Old Church, where Knopf makes a split-second cameo.) It’s directed by Cullen Hoback. Update: The girl is Emily Galash. Thanks Mercury.
Menomena are releasing their fourth album, Mines, July 27 on Barsuk.
Ramona Falls - Russia
Ramona Falls - I Say Fever
Matt Sheehy - Go Missing
Matt Sheehy - About Piano
Matt Sheehy - Lunatics (remixed by Brent Knopf)
Matt Sheehy - Lunatics (album version, via Local Cut)
Menomena - Wet and Rusting
Menomena - Pilgrim’s Progress (stream at Pitchfork)
*Note to self: Find that tape in that one shoebox.