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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Braid kinda sorta but not really gets back together

Posted By on 06.14.11 at 07:50 PM

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It's been 13 years since Braid put out any new material, but the success of their posthumous best-ofs and reissues as well as their 2004 reunion tour indicates that there are still a lot of Braid fans out there. They'll be psyched to hear that the pioneering emo-pop outfit is releasing an EP on August 16, largely due to record geeks' favorite made-up holiday. "Last year I was so excited about Record Store Day," guitarist and vocalist Bob Nanna told me on the phone Monday, soon after word of the new release surfaced. "I thought, how fun would it be for Braid to get together? What I wanted to do was a two-song seven-inch for Record Store Day 2011, and everyone was into it. So we got together in December and wrote a bunch of songs for it. Then we just waited too long to record it so we didn't have it ready for Record Store Day, so that's why it's coming out in August."

Polyvinyl, which released a bunch of Braid records the first time around, will put out the four-song EP Closer to Closed on CD, MP3, and—in keeping with the fetishism of the holiday that inspired the band to make it—180-gram white vinyl. It consists of three new songs and one written by woefully underappreciated Minneapolis singer-songwriter Jeff Hanson, who toured with Braid in his former band M.I.J. and with Nanna as a solo artist before dying unexpectedly in 2009. It was recorded by Jawbox front man J. Robbins, who also worked on some of the group's earlier sessions. "He just understands what we're trying to do and he understands us," Nanna says. "He recorded Frame and Canvas for us in five days. So he's able to handle this weekend 'we've gotta get it done' thing."

"There was no pressure," Nanna says of returning to the studio with his former bandmates; these days he's a social-networking coordinator for Threadless (and can frequently be found modeling the company's shirts on its website). When Braid broke up in 1999, he says, "We were fighting because we didn't want the same things, but now we all want the same thing, which is these new songs. It felt really good to get together without that over our heads."

Braid will play Metro on August 27, and on September 24 they'll headline the Pygmalion Music Festival in Champaign-Urbana, which this year will help Polyvinyl celebrate its 15th anniversary. After that there aren't any plans to tour or record, Nanna says. When asked if playing shows and recording records means Braid might officially be re-forming, he's firm: "The band's not really back together."

Here's a stream of the lead single from Closer to Closed, "The Right Time," sung by guitarist Chris Broach:

You can download it for the cost of sharing your e-mail address here.

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