KEXP Q&A: Mindie Lind of Inly

Mindie Lind has a timeless voice. She has a silky, sultry, smokey sound that transports you to the place of dark night clubs, cigarette smoke and charm. She also fronts the new Seattle band Inly. KEXP caught up with Mindie to see what was up with the new project, what singers inspire her and how Cafe Racer has inspired her to sing.

There is something so classic about the five songs on the Inly EP. Can you explain how you composed these songs, what were you thinking about when writing, both in your own life and historically?  

Here we were thinking our songs were totally weird! Glad to hear you’ve picked up on something familiar!

I write the tunes and then bring ‘em to the band and we work it out from there. For me personally, This EP came out of falling and hurting my arm last year and not being able to move (because I also have no legs so a hurt arm is really not so mild). I was pretty stuck for a few months during what people were describing as the prettiest Seattle summer EVER! Writing music was basically the ONLY thing I had to do. As a result, I think a lot of those songs ended up being pretty melancholic, especially “Bumblebee”, which is me directly speaking about the accident. “Mississippi Misfit”, on the other hand, I wrote before the accident, and the song really began to hold a lot of meaning for me. The lyric, “Don’t do her any favors”, came out of traveling around with my buddy Andre (who also has no legs). We’d go all over town on our skateboards together and people would always ask if we needed help and we just hated it. But after getting hurt, that line seemed a little silly because I basically needed an entire community of favors to get through that.

Who do you listen to for inspiration in your songwriting? Who were you listening to that summer with after the accident?

I spent my summer listening to a bunch of country, basically. Roger Miller, Boswell Sisters, and these friends out of New Orleans called, The Deslondes. I was really pulling from the poppy songwriting style of Roger Miller, the killer sad harmonies from the Boswells and the rootsy twang of The Deslondes. Plus, of course, Corespondents! I still can’t believe those guys are my buddies now, I’m really a massive fan! Having two of those guys in my band... I really try and leave a lot of room for that sound to pull through when composing the songs. It’s so pretty and melodic, I love it. Also I was living with a bunch of Balkan musicians at the time, so I made sure to let some of that Eastern European sneak in – I am obsessed with the joyful celebration of sadness those folks embrace.

You’ve spent a lot of time at Café Racer over the years – how has that place affected your music?

Man, I never would have made music if it wasn’t for Racer! Firstly because, sure, its a bar, but Racer has always been about the music for me. It just felt odd to go there without songs to share… not to perform, but to give, just as all your other friends just did. I’m really glad I wasn’t intimidated by all of the talent coming out of that place, because I very well should have been. I mean, the open mics would probably be a pretty sweet ticket today! Shana (La Luz) used to blow my mind with how weird and raw she gets when she plays, I’ve never seen anything like it. Christian and Luke (Thousands) used to sing these old barbershop numbers from sheet music. I remember crying one time from that pretty stuff. That was back when Lonesome Shack was just Ben, and he had a weekly. Corespondents and Cast Iron Maidens, also had weeklys… I was always there. It totally became my home, except better than the home I grew up in because it was chalked full of misfits who were swimming in talents and alcohol abuse!

I would go there and play these acapella songs (that was before I learned to play piano). They must have sounded silly but everyone was so supportive and interested by it so I kept trying.

So after the shootings happened… I was hugging 3/4 of the Corespondents boys. We were all crying I think it was Olie who said, “I feel like we all need to go make some music… together” It was very intentionally not like in that Seattle way, where you say, “Let’s do that… sometime”, but more like, “We are gonna go do this, like right freakin’ now” – We’d always talked about writing together, but after our friends died there was no question there would be no more waiting. We wrote our first song together for Drew and Joe, called “Clown”. It’s not on the EP, but Inly still plays it we hope to put it on or upcoming LP.

You’ve been singing and playing a while around town, but only recently released music. What has it been like to be so patient, creatively?

HA!!! Patient!! No way! I think the other kids in Inly would laugh at that description!  I am wildly impatient and quit pushy with this stuff! I have not been patient, but now with a few years behind me, I am seeing that having some time to grow with only a few witnesses to stuff I was creating (with projects like Gravey Grime Girls and Girlz Nite Out) was pretty necessary! I needed to have a few years to figure out performing, and writing and collaborating and all that stuff.

The short answer though is: We’re just broke, we’ve always been broke. Getting songs out with no money is a huge mystery to me. Free takes longer! It just does.

On “Hard Times” you end a line by saying, “My troubles are here for me.” Can you talk about what that bit of language means to you?

That whole song is about my orphan identity: no momma to see the life I’m living, no papa to seek. The right and wrong I’m doing is mine oh mine to keep. I got hard times but they are here for me to take care of, they are there for me to get stronger from and finally, they are my own, I can’t really put them off on my family. This song is really heavy lyrically, and for me, personally. I get more emotional about this song than any other when my head ain’t right. But it’s so upbeat, musically, so its weird. That’s where some of that Balkan celebration of sadness comes in – the middle part of that song attempts to break down some of the sadness with some Klezmer-like joy!

Is there anything you’d like people to know about you better? Something you wish your friends knew about you? Something you want to tell strangers?

My friends already know too much.

Strangers: Check yourself! Wheelchair is not a symbol for help me. Knock it off!

In general I’d like people to know about Inly and also that I am a huge advocate of crip culture!

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Live Video: Temples

photo by Dave Lichterman (view set)

“It happens to be the most played album on the Afternoon Show this year”, Kevin Cole gushed about Sun Structures, the shimmering debut by Temples. The young UK group has been touted by Brit pop luminaries no less than Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher, and though they may not yet be Top of the Pops, Temples is one of the buzziest bands in the US. It’s a sound you’ve heard before — particularly from pop, glam and psychedelic bands of the 60′s and 70′s like The Byrds, The Beatles, T.Rex, The Electric Prunes and many others — but the band’s approach is refreshingly fresh, making them more sonic cousins to Tame Impala than any sort of Summer of Love imitators, as they layer thrumming bass lines, fuzzy guitars licks and kaleidoscope keys into bright pop melodies that float aloft with their hazy vocal harmonies. With Temples, it feels good to get lost in the past.

Temple’s performance this week was part of our ongoing Live Streaming Video series. Find out more here, and tune in to our next session with The Afghan Whigs on Tuesday, April 15th at 11AM PST.

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Friday Music News

  • Last night Nirvana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with enthusiasm and fanfare fit for one of the most influential bands of our time. With the 20th anniversary of frontman Kurt Cobain‘s death barely behind us, there was the question of who would fill in for him at the induction ceremony. No one person could fill his shoes so the ‘s surviving members - Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear - invited Joan Jett, Lorde, and St. Vincent to lend their voices to some of Nirvana’s most famous songs. Watch their performances below. [Pitchfork]

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Live Video: Solids

photo by Morgen Schuler (view set)

For a two piece group, Solids never ceases to thrash around. The Montréal based band, comprised of Xavier Germain Poitras on guitar and Louis Guillemette on drums, already has quite a following. In 2010, Solids released an EP, Generic Dogs, and would later disseminate two 7″s, one titled Fog Friends b/w Blown Out and a split with Toronto band Animal Faces. On February 18th, 2014, Solids debuted their full-length album, Blame Confusion on Fat Possum Records. Their sound, complete with filtered vocals and punk-powered melodies, nearly brought down the KEXP studio. Solid!

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Friday on My Mind: Big Upcoming Seattle Shows!

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

We here in Seattle are very lucky in that we always have the opportunity to see amazingly talented musicians, both national and local, on a very regular basis. With Spring upon us, and Summer around the corner, music festival season is approaching, but we’ve noticed the roster of touring artists that will be hitting the Seattle area within the next few months are particularly exceptional. In fact, some are outright seminal, which is why this week we’re looking at videos from a few of those artists.

And now here are a few selections from the groundbreaking artists heading this way...
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Live Review: Factory Floor with DVA Damas and Stres at Barboza 4/8/14

all photos by Brittany Brassell

It’s been a long time coming, but British post-industrial trio Factory Floor have finally made it out to the US west coast. The band dropped their self-titled debut LP last year on DFA after releasing one-off singles and remixes in the current lineup for the better part of four years. Over the years, their unique, minimalist dance music has caught the eye of Chris Carter, members of New Order, and Trent Reznor, to name a few. And finally, in preparation for their first appearance at Coachella, the band is heading down the coast, melting one set of speakers after another. After playing an excellent in-studio set at KEXP, the band headed up the Hill along with West Coast opener DVA Damas and Seattle’s own Stres to light Barboza on fire. The show was brilliant, and we wish this excellent new band the best of luck with their well-deserved festival spot down south.
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Song of the Day: Vibragun - Dirty Thing

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Dirty Thing” by Seattle’s Vibragun from their self-titled 2014 album on No-Count Records.

Vibragun - Dirty Thing (MP3)

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Video Roundup: National Sibling Day

Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National
photo by Dominick Mastrangelo

Happy Sibling Day, everyone! In today’s Video Roundup, KEXP is bringing you a slough of bands comprised of brothers and sisters. Our list includes: HAIM, The Jackson Five, The National, Kings of Leon, The Bee-Gees, Radiohead, CocoRosie, and First Aid Kit. It’s a wonderful demonstration of the potential power of familial collaboration — no matter how many nooggies, wedgies, and wet willies they had to endure first.

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Thursday Music News

  • Okay, not “exactly” music news, but it’s just been announced that none other than Stephen Colbert will take over for David Letterman as the host of CBS’ The Late Show in 2015! Letterman announced his retirement earlier this month with a performance from Joseph Arthur, accompanied by R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and Peter Buck, and has recently been at the top of his game as far as musical guests are concerned. (I mean, who hasn’t seen that Future Islands performance yet?) Colbert has had a strong run of great musical guests on his own, and has even released a single on Jack White’s Third Man Records. So, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with future musical guests... (And you can keep an eye on the late-night TV musical landscape with KEXP’s TV Eye column!) [ABC News]

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Review Revue: Mudhoney - s/t

Did somebody say Jack Endino? Here’s one of those Endino-produced classics I was talking about last week. If Mudhoney needed no introduction by the time they released their self-titled debut LP in 1989, at this point they should be, I don’t know, playing on top of the Space Needle or something? Oh, that’s right, they did that. And it turns out Sub Pop is going to release a limited edition LP of that jaw-dropping performance on the forthcoming Record Store Day. I hope KEXP gets a copy; it would be fun to see it nestled next to this weathered beauty on the vinyl shelves.
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