I discovered My Invisible purely by chance, on the recommendation of a friend. Then I remembered having almost gone to see them last summer when they played a fundraiser for Encyclopedia. (I almost go to a lot of shows —it’s increasingly difficult to get me out of the house, I’m afraid, but my intentions are good, they really are.)
I saw them play at White Electric a few weeks ago. Since then, they’ve quickly become my favorite local band. They’re going on a little tour soon, so I hope they become everyone else’s favorite local band too…
Before they were My Invisible, they were a quintet called Television Astronaut. In addition to Popahna Brandes, Carolina Maugeri, and Miranda Mellis, the band consisted of Talan Memmott on mandolin & Tom V. Davis on drums. Their EP, Wigs for the Headless, was super-limited so I’m giving you a couple of songs from that as well as two songs from My Invisible’s eponymous debut (which comes in a beautiful handwritten sleeve).
One thing that (sadly) got cut from my article (due to space constraints) was Miranda’s answer to the following question: “Leaf Records once put out a series called ‘Invisible Soundtracks,’ where they invited their favorite artists to create one piece in a score to an imaginary film. What would My Invisible's film be like?”
“FROM MY PERSPECTIVE THE FILMS MY INVISIBLE WOULD PLAY WITH WOULD COMBINE THE COMPLEX LUCID AESTHETICS AND PAINTERLY, CONCEPTUALLY HIGH STAKES ABSTRACT SURFACES OF AVANT-GARDE EXPERIMENTAL SUBVERSIVE FILMS LIKE THOSE OF MAYA DEREN, CRAIG BALDWIN AND STAN BRACKAGE WITH THE CROSS-GENRE/POST-GENRE ABSURDISM OF FILMS LIKE THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT WITH THE SCI-FI NOIR OF SAY BLADE RUNNER OR WONG KAR WAI WITH THE SINCERITY AND PHILOSOPHICAL/POLITICAL EMOTION OF FILMS LIKE WAKING LIFE AND DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST WITH THE UNDERSTATED HYSTERIA CULTURALLY ASTUTE IRONIC MELODRAMA OF FILMS LIKE THOSE OF TOD HAYNES ESPECIALLY SUPERSTAR AND SAFE WITH THE SILLY, HAPPY GO LUCKY, CAN DO, EVEN IF I CAN'T SPIRIT OF THE MARX BROTHERS.”
Happy Go Lucky, Can Do Spirit, Understated Hysteria, and Conceptually High Stakes Abstract Surfaces ~ My Invisible.
A selection from my interview with them:
“Put aside your preconceived notions of a chamber-instrument ensemble. Neither aloof nor pretentious, Providence's My Invisible maintains a punk-rock subversiveness while gleefully coloring outside the lines of genre limitations. They’re wry changelings, equally at home crafting waltz-time laments as they are writing off-the-cuff paeans to their favorite Detroit Piston. They even have their own cheer.
Fittingly, it’s easier to define them by what they aren’t than by what they are, given that their very name evokes a kind-of absence by design. Neither drawing-room prim or Gothic kitsch (see: Rasputina), their music — although not rock by any stretch — flirts with the same quiet/loud dichotomy first patented by the Pixies, and to equally stirring effect. Exploiting negative as well as positive space, the band shapes gripping music — sometimes out of thin air.
You can hear it on their self-released debut, My Invisible, but it’s even more pronounced during their vibrant live show, in which the blend of cello, violin, guitar, Roxy (an antique instrument), pick-up percussion, and intricate harmonies intertwine to create something that’s hard to pin down. Searching for influences, one hears echoes of the Slits’ percussive, ramshackle humor, of This Heat’s haunting complexity, of Dirty Three‘s sun-drenched expansiveness. And if that sounds complicated, embodying all sorts of seemingly contradictory impulses is part of My Invisible’s considerable charm.”
MY INVISIBLE'S EAST COAST JAUNT
• May 13 2006 2:00PM AS220, Providence, RI
• May 18 2006 8:00P Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
• May 19 2006 7:00P The Poetry Project, New York City, NY
• May 21 2006 8:00P Montague Book Mill, Montague, MA
PHOTO BY TESS TAKAHASHI.