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Yellow Minute should never be confused with a New York minute. The atmospheric, psychedelic indie-pop band moves at a much slower pace. With dreamy atmospherics, gentle rhythms and drifting vocals, Yellow Minute is perhaps better for that late-night chill session than the shimmering club scene.
At least, explains band founder Sean Brennan, that was more the old Yellow Minute sound when the "band" was just him with session guys filling out the instrumentation.
"That stuff is just from a long time ago," he corrects this reporter about the Yellow Minute songs available on MySpace and SoundCloud. "All that older stuff is completely different. Listen to any band, their early stuff is very different from what they release currently. My new material is different."
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Yellow Minute initially manifested from a trip to Europe in 2006. There, Brennan discovered the burgeoning electronica scene, seeding his songwriting process. Brennan sketched out songs on an acoustic travel guitar, to be completed back home.
"[Europe] had something going on that America didn't have. Hearing that is what [encouraged] me to make records like that when I got home," he says. "I knew I wanted strings and drums and electronics. I spent a long time programming the electronics. Then it came time to find some people to play certain parts."
The early Yellow Minute songs boosted subtle electronic beats, loops, and effects, Brennan's sing-songy floating vocals, and swirly guitar interludes best classified as chamber pop. Some of those elements remain in Yellow Minute's newer material, despite Brennan's assertions to the contrary.
It's not surprising that the new material would take twists and turns, however, as the current incarnation of Yellow Minute is a "full-fledged collaborative effort" featuring musicians who contributed to Brennan's solo work: Dear and the Headlights guitarist PJ Waxman and bassist David Maroney and drummer Greg Muller, both from What Laura Says.
"I think the only difference between that and now is that this band has more a feeling of it being full time and permanent as far as the member structure," he says, adding that Waxman additionally takes on co-frontman and second songwriter roles.
Brennan says the band's new music drops the electronics and some of the psychedelic overtones (though not completely) for a "more straightforward indie-pop feel" — whatever that means.
"I think pop music has twisted and turned every other way, and there really are no seams to stitch together to determine what the genres are," Brennan says. "It is almost like futurist music or something. We're trying to find simple, standard pop songs, but make them sound brand new . . . We're just trying to find a simple common ground with everyone amongst the chaos."
The new team has been rather prolific as well, and Yellow Minute currently is packing quite a song arsenal, much of it unreleased. There are the early tracks, an 11-song album recorded at Flying Blanket Studios, and the band's recently scored soundtrack to an indie film called Ostrichland. Brennan admits to feeling daunted about how to release everything in a manner that's both commercially feasible and artistically satisfying.
"Music really has no rules any more. It seems like it's reverting back to the way it was in the '50s and people are putting out singles — and these people are getting a lot more attention. We're still battling the idea of putting out a bunch of singles or a full-length album. We're not sure."
Whatever the format, Brennan hopes the music garners enough attention to take the band to the next level.
"We aren't about ego," he says of the new Yellow Minute. "We're closer to understanding that if we can just be ourselves and enjoy it, we can probably make some things happen."