Vincent Covarrubias - Drums, Tambourine
Griffin Wright - Guitar, Keys, Vox
Dio McLeod - Guitar
Brian Lin - Violin
Stephen Schroeder - Bass
Recorded: April-May 2012
Stephen Schroeder - Engineering, Mixing, Mastering
released June 12, 2012
Biography by Heather Mathews
The first time I saw Hearts + Minutes was on a Halloween and they were a two piece and wearing Day of the Dead makeup. They played with a mid-90's era Thrill Jockey pseudo-seriousness, or at least it looked that way with all that face paint, and it worked well for their pretty giant sound. The crowd got impressed. I can tell you as loudly as I want how confidently Vincent Covarrubias hit the drums and impressively Griffin Wright played several guitars, keyboard and the mic but it doesn't really mean a dime. You gotta see them. Only now their different...
Griffin and Vince have been friends and creative cohorts like totally forever and have played as Hearts + Minutes since 2007. Vince met Dio McLeod (hello, different) when they were both living up in drippy Portland, Oregon that same year. But they didn't play music together, just chilled. Dio moved down to Los Angeles in late 2009 to play with another band and Griffin was already here, having moved from San Francisco in 2006 (lord, these dudes move around). Vince would hop down to play and record with Griffin when he could. They were still a two piece with the occasional addition of a violin or what not here and there at shows. One swell Angeleno evening in mid 2011, these three fellows finally got it together and jammed. And they realized that there might be a little magic in the number three. Vince went back to PDX and packed his bags for the big migration south and Dio folded up his other projects to concentrate solely on Hearts + Minutes.
With Dio joining the twosome, he brought facets on guitar that I was originally reluctant of and a stage presence that no one even knew the band might be wanting for. Yeah, it is fun to see some movement on stage now and again that doesn't look totally ridiculous. (And let's be honest most bands these days look like absolute nitwits when someone tries to break out and move around. My mind sweats with thoughts of Dave Navarro.) And it's kinda sweet the way Vince and Dio seem to talk to each other with their instruments during certain songs. Secrets?
But the real prize here is what has become of the music. I don't know where the lines have been drawn between who wrote what and what came together where but adding Mr. McLeod adds up to a helluva lot more than the sum of its parts. There are certain decisions being made here that, whoever wrote them, are compelling and very distinct. At the beginning of one song, Griffin and Dio play in sync - at least rhythmically - steady and almost indistinguishable while still thickening the overall effect. And then when the first tonal shift occurs, as dictated by Griffin's ever sure and ever steady axe hand, Dio's guitar dives off in an atypical and unreasonably resonant way. Vince drives and Vince sometimes rides, too, and he always packs a punch. Quick tempo-ed rhythms that might rise to an orchestrated crash. Yes, that could describe a thousand bands. But what that does not account for is the distinguished dialogue between these two guitars, their ever changing compositions are sometimes harsh and sometimes so subtle you haven't even noticed that they changed the subject. Comparisons could be made but some might pigeonhole them thus giving them less credit than they deserve. Because each time I see them play I'm kind of startled, reminded that there is some unvarnished beauty and true originality out there. And that's pretty damn cool.