Three Minute Tease, the band comprised of Sacramento born culty songwriter Anton Barbeau (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Andy Metcalfe (bass) and Morris Windsor (drums), who are probably best known for their work in the Soft Boys/Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, have developed a reputation for their “pre-apocalyptic psychedelic pop”. In true supergroup fashion, the members of Three Minute Tease are spread out across the map; Andy’s in London, Morris is on the “west coast” of England, and Barbeau is based in Berlin. The group released their self-titled debut record in 2011 and are proud to announce that they will be releasing their sophomore album, “Bite The Hand”, on September 23rd on idiot Records. The album’s title, in all its Spinal Tap glory, is a playful reference to Barbeau’s career-long inability to as he says, “kiss the right parts of the right people at the right time.”
“Bite The Hand” was tracked in London with the legendary Pat Collier (Jesus and Mary Chain, Robyn HItchcock) engineering and overdubs were done in Berlin, Brighton, Sacramento and Swindon, the latter handled by Stu Rowe, frequent Andy Partridge (XTC) collaborator. The record features a number of guest musicians, including The Bevis Frond’s Nick Saloman, who contributes lead guitar to “Tell Me” atop Alexandra Simon’s Mellotron choir; Karla and Khoi from San Francisco’s Corner Laughers chime in with backing vocals on a handful of tunes; and Vince Di Fiore of Cake plays trumpet on “Tie My Laces.” The album is dedicated to the memory of Barbeau’s friend, collaborator and music hero, the late, great Scott Miller of Game Theory, at whose show he first met Windsor and Metcalfe long ago.
Here’s a link to download and stream the first single from “Bite The Hand”, “Bravely Fade Away”:
Though hardly a travelogue, the trio believe that the songs on the new record can be seen as postcards to the world, sent at various times from exotic and mundane locales but ending up together in the same dusty digital shoe box. Says Metcalfe, “It’s better than the first one, and the first one was quite good, so we came into the studio fired with enthusiasm and confidence.” Windsor adds, “It has a lot more stuff going on… it’s swarming with noises.”
Barbeau wrote “Bravely Fade Away” in Berlin after the band thought they’d finished the album. A session was quickly booked and Bite The Hand had a new lead-off track. “Wave Hello,” the album closer, came he says, from “my Cambridge days, all 12-string guitars and attempts at gardening.” “Drain The River” mentions Barbeau’s Sacramento hometown, with an obtuse Avebury reference thrown in for good measure, and “Ciao Ciao Chicken” is the fruit of too many cappuccinos on the songwriter’s first visit to Italy.
The story of how Three Minute Tease came to be involves a cassette from 1987, gigs in Hereford, Swindon and London, a tall man in denim holding a plate of potatoes at a wedding, coffee at Cafe Ringo, a formerly fateful trip to Berlin and Kimberley Rew telling Morris “Don’t let Anton get too weird.” They formed not long after the denim-clad potato man vanished from the scene. The band’s first gig was in June 2010 in Oxford, with steady gigs following. As a live band, TMT are a mix of fuzzy guitars and spiky, shambolic fun, but in the studio, it’s a much tighter affair.
Apart from his collaboration with Metcalfe and Windsor, songwriter/musician Barbeau has released fifteen solo albums, and also tours as a solo act when not gigging with Three Minute Tease. Anton has been included in “SPIN”‘s list of “The 100 Greatest Bands You’ve (probably) Never Heard”, where they wrote, “More than two decades after pop-savvy acid-eaters like John Lennon and Syd Barrett cracked the cosmic egg, this Sacramento songwriter slithered forth with a pure distillation of lyrical jabberwocky, brain-burrowing melody and mystical psych-guitar fuzz.”
With Barbeau’s “…downright genius for offbeat and lush songcraft…” (East Bay Express), and Metcalfe and Windsor’s rhythmic foundation, “Bite The Hand” is melodic psychedelic pop with a healthy dose of weird.
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