Outer Minds — Outer Minds

Band: Outer Minds
Album: Outer Minds
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Free mp3: “Always in My Head” (’til April 11)

Of the many things the Empty Bottle does exceptionally right, I’d say piecemealing bills that make good sense would be at or near the top of the accolades list.

In the new year, I’ve seen a handful of shows there that sustained from opener to headliner. This is particularly true of the Tyler Jon Tyler/Nones/The Runnies show on V-Day, and the Radar Eyes record release about a week prior to that with Bare Mutants and Outer Minds as support.

According to sweet history, getting there early, then, doesn’t seem to be that bad an idea. Had I not known this, god knows whether or not I’d yet be familiar with the snappy fivesome who go by Outer Minds.

I rarely do this — I never do this — but I’ll go ahead and lift my stray observations from the Radar Eyes record release, because my words then on Outer Minds still seem apt:

Least “conventional” of the bands — but perhaps, perhaps, the most explosive — was opener Outer Minds. They’ve got wonderful bump up and go ’60s ‘tude, and base their unique approach to style on hurried keys and shared vocal duty among three bandmates — usually all at once. And then toss in the drums and the pair of guitars and the firm tambourine thumps, and these guys get real silly real fast.

On a dime, really, they’d go from zero to WAHAA! and then back and around again. It was a delight.

Outer Minds certainly was the band that night — again, out of these guys and Bare Mutants and Radar Eyes — that intrigued me most. Like a stone cold football defense, their wall of vocals just smacked me on my ass when the Zach Medearis/Mary McKane/Gina Lira triumvirate reared its cheeky head. Which was often. If memory serves me right, all of ’em shared vocal duties most of the time.

And it wasn’t soft and intricate voice, but brash and exciting commotion. Which, I’ve learned, agreeably translated to recording.

Perhaps the song on the self-titled LP that exemplifies this best — it happens to be my favorite, too — is “Always in My Head.” The tune, which anyway begins things on Outer Minds, might best be explained, I think, as the Mamas and the Papas on Redbull. It’s a swift, ’60s-flared crapshoot that hits all kinds of highs through four-and-a-half-minutes of song. I’m an enthusiast of the whole thing, really, but its latter half of makeshift bridge and keys solo by music virtuoso Mary McKane is super kind.

And it sets a tone, then. What follows on Outer Minds is an escape in intentional lo-fi fantasy. But a ramble that hardly heads to big extremes. With big drums and guitars in a kind of rapport with comfy keys and tambourine — picked up rather quick is how much a unit Outer Minds is — there’s a gentleness at work amidst all the rowdy. It’s a canny mix.

Outer Minds celebrated the release of the LP up and down the west coast in March. They formally release it to the Chicago camp at, yes, the Empty Bottle on Saturday. Ticket info — as cheap as free with rsvp — below.

Outer Minds performing “Footsteps,” “Always in My Head” and “Gimme a Reason”:


  • The Chicago-based Outer Minds is Zach Medearis (vocals, guitar), A-Ron Orlowski (bass), Brian Costello (drums), Mary McKane (keys, vocals) and Gina Lira (tambourine, vocals). | Facebook | Twitter
  • The debut LP is yours for $12. | Southpaw Records
  • Outer Minds, the album, gets formally released Saturday at the Empty Bottle with Mannequin Men, Radar Eyes and Summer Girlfriends. $8. Free with rsvp. | Event Info

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About Eric

Hello there. Email your things to chicagotunes[at]gmail[dot]com.
This entry was posted in Music Review, Outer Minds. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Outer Minds — Outer Minds

  1. Pingback: Outer Minds (record release), Mannequin Men, Radar Eyes @ The Empty Bottle (4/7); Mawrcrest @ Cole’s (4/6) | Chicago Tunes

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