FEEDING OFF EACH OTHER The Jesse Minute ripping it up.
What a year thus far for Providence-based quintet the Jesse Minute. They won the plaque for Best Punk/Garage Act in our Best Music Poll (again), released their first live album (This Happened . . . Live @ AS220), and will wrap up yet another extensive tour with an official album release party for Shut Up and Play (75orLess Records) next weekend at AS220. It's a meaty platter of breakneck chords and rhythms coupled with the operatic pipes of lead singer Missa Hills (known to all only as Missa). Shut Up and Play is faster, louder, and harder than their '09 debut Do or Die, laced with dynamic bursts and bolstered by a new rhythm section.
The Jesse Minute went into a temporary state of limbo following a dominant 2009 BMP victory, full-length debut album release, and tour — both the drummer and bassist decided to leave the band. A Craigslist ad was posted and six months later Hills and guitarists Brian Costedio and Jim Federico wisely decided on the tandem of Mikey Grillo (bass) and Vic Rucinski (drums), who had played together in previous bands around Massachusetts. Since October, the new lineup has performed more than 45 shows, and This Happened . . . Live @ AS220 (recorded earlier this year) is a stellar representation of TJM's infectious catalog, from catchy favorites "Ben" and "Tinnitus" to Shut Up headbangers "I'm Not Fine" "Scratcher," and "Left Behind." Looking for a hot dose of Sleater-Kinney on 78 RPM? The new song "Cinnamon" lands on both new releases and stands out as one of TJM's best moments yet. Other Shut Up and Play highlights include the catchy opener "Sinking" and the manic metal riffs of "Rally" and "Pancake." And the boys must have been spinning old Kyuss records prior to laying down "Easter Island," where Missa advises all to "get ready for destruction," before a thunderous, slow-motion sludgefest of a finale ensues.
We caught up with Missa last weekend, who answered our queries while "listening to the new Coma Coma record [Chateau Rex], riding in the back of the tour van with the laptop, traveling 75 MPH down Route 276 to New Jersey." I asked how the new rhythm section has affected the band's overall sound.
"I had noticed a certain desperation and intensity building in our live shows and songwriting since the beginning of 2009, but Brian, Jim, and I agree that Vic and Mikey's style and energy really brings something new to our sound."
And while Missa writes all the lyrics, the recording process remains a collaborative effort.
"We write together as a band, there's no singer-songwriter stuff going on," she said. "I get all my inspiration from what is going on in the room at the time the song is being created, pretty much on the fly. Feeding off each other is important in this band.
"We didn't really think about a 'loud and fast album' going into the studio, all we knew was that we wanted Richard Marr at Galaxy Park Studios (Allston, Massachusetts) to be involved.
"The new album is louder than our debut, but I think we have some headroom to expand our sound as the band develops."
Shut Up and Play will be available next week, and in the meantime pick up This Happened . . . Live at AS220 for $5 at 75orLessRecords.com.
THE JESSE MINUTE + THE DOWN AND OUTS + THE NEW WARDEN + JESUSCENTRIC | Saturday, July 17 @ 9 pm | AS220, 115 Empire Street, Providence | $6 | 401.831.9327 | TheJesseMinute.com