First Listen: Ginkgo - Manopause

Ginkgo's debut record, 'Manopause' is available September 3, 2013.
Ginkgo's debut record, 'Manopause' is available September 3, 2013. (Album art)
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    Aug 26, 2013 Listen to all 11 tracks:
    Moped Song
    Line Dancing with the Stars
    Faded Glory
    Rubberheart
    Bitte Meddler
    Ride it Out
    Casiotones
    You Big Dumby
    Runnin and Burnin
    Vitamin Friends
    Exclusive EP bonus track: Don't Bring Me Down

If it isn't immediately clear from the album's title, Manopause is not a "serious" record. But what becomes evident as the album progresses is that Gingko's mastermind, Josh Grier, is not only intent on blowing off a little steam, but that he's really good at creating music that is fun, freeing, and a little strange.

Like Tapes 'n Tapes on vacation in Tahiti, Gingko finds Grier more relaxed and playful, and that easy-going spirit is evident in everything from his song titles ("Bitte Meddler"; "Line Dancing with the Stars") to his lyrics and vocal delivery to his use of old-school Casio keyboard effects like tinny drumbeats and a robotic voice softly crying "Yeah, yeah, yeah." In fact, while listening to the album it's easy to picture Grier puttering around in a practice space somewhere, crouched over an old keyboard and layering odd sounds over one another to create a quirky patchwork.

Though Grier has assembled a respectable live band to carry out his new songs live (including Tapes bandmate Jeremy Hanson), the goal of his debut album as Gingko is not to hit the road to promote his new work but rather to make music just for the sake of making it. That shift away from his life as a frontman of successful, hard-touring indie rock band has also apparently freed him from some of the creative restrictions that had crept into his later material with that group. If there are any similarities between the two projects (besides his signature yelp, of course), it's Grier's ability to tap into the same experimental pop mindset that birthed Tapes 'n Tapes in the first place.

"I was writing songs, and I was like, 'Oh, I think these are just weirder," Grier told me earlier this year, explaining how Gingko first came into fruition. "With Tapes stuff, and when you're in a band with people you bring things in, you work things out with everybody, and there's processes. If I'm doing something that's totally random and different, I can just do whatever the hell I want and not be at all concerned about, oh, does this fit in? Who's going to play this part? I don't need to worry about it. I can just have fun with it and mess around."

"I'm really excited for people to hear it," he added, "because it's been a long time of me being down in my basement twiddling knobs."

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  • Josh Grier of Tapes 'n Tapes offers first taste of new Gingko project "I'm really excited for people to hear it, because it's been a long time of me being down in my basement twiddling knobs," Grier told me last fall. He estimated he spent about a year and a half writing and recording the songs that would eventually make up Manopause, his debut record under the Ginkgo name.