Unlike most of their Brooklyn, NY contemporaries, Meanwhiles' music does not echo the kinetic, traffic clamor of the city itself, but rather the exhausted beauty of the people continually caught up in it's whirlwind. The characters in their songs (who may or may not closely resemble brothers Josh and Todd Allen) live on the fringes of the metropolis. They watch from the outskirts with tired eyes, knowing all the while they'll eventually be lured back into it's epicenter and be swept up and spun around by it once again. These are big songs about the small moments that we keep coming back to. Powerful and affecting, each recording is a 'symphony about a film still' as one reviewer put it. Heartfelt emotion blended with artful, atmospheric arrangements: this is music that you can really grow close to. The two Allen brothers originally started separate bands for themselves. Both multi-instrumentalists, Todd Allen (bass, drums) preferred the thuds and crashes of fuzzed out low end, heavy drum sounds, and live experimentation, while Josh (vocals, guitars) was more obsessed with writing songs and the texture he could create blending and layering different sounds together on his a multi-track tape machine. By early 1996 (at ages 19 and 22) their individual sounds and styles had begun to converge and they joined up officially as Meanwhiles. The results produced a remarkable combination of raw, almost harrowing energy and well-crafted sonic texture. The band soon found themselves part of the then-burgeoning, mid-nineties live music scene, centered around such clubs as Galapagos and Luxx in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, playing shows with the likes of Martha Wainwright, Teenage Mustache, and Poka Poka. Collaborations with Martha Wainwright led to her singing harmony vocals with Josh on 'Middle of Nowhere' and 'Long walk Home'. Following the release of a series of EPs (most notably 2000's 'Sleep Won't Allow' EP) the band toured the Northeast and Pacific Northwest supporting artists such as Paul Kimble (of Grant Lee Buffalo), Koester, and even Cheap Trick at NYC's Virgin Megastore. Soon after these successes, and poised to record their first full-length record, the band split with drummer Jason Green (now of Hopewell). After repeated attempts to find a new drummer failed, the brothers decided to begin recording the album without one in their Brooklyn apartment, creating layers of drum rhythms by banging on furniture and acquired hunks of metal, using salt shakers and distorted finger scratchings. They also continued touring, experimenting with pre-recorded sounds, or with Todd Allen drumming one-handed while playing a keyboard bass part. By this time, their recordings had grown large with layers of keyboard loops, atmospheric effects, and up to 9 guitar parts on each song. But the band was so thrilled with Todd's live drumming, that they decided to record it alongside their rhythm tracks and detailed electric noises. The result is an innovative blend of textured, ambient orchestration with the force and power of rock drumming, creating an intimate, close performance with a big, far away sound. Their live show has grown to meet, and often times destroy their ambitious recorded arrangements, with up to five performers on stage. Having attracted the attention of Sparklehorse/ Mary Timony producer Alan Weatherhead at a live performance in 2003, the band jumped at the chance to mix their album with him in March of 2004 at Virginia's Sound of Music Studios. Alan Weatherhead's touch at the control board enhanced the natural sonic beauty of Meanwhiles' music and brought the grace and power of a big studio sound to their home recordings. You can hear the results in their first full-length record, The Nights Rewind.
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