Studio 52 is a community artist space located in the heart of Allston, and is proud to support the Boston music scene and local artist community.
Here in the greater Boston area, a certain portion of the music scene prides itself on thriving underground in basements. Indie-pop outfit Mini Dresses, however, have us all beat as they release their self-titled album via Joy Void, part of which was recorded underneath Fantasy Nails in Arlington.
Never underestimate where you can find good acoustics.
“We recorded with our friend and recording engineer Ian Doerr over the course of two years at his studio Love Magnet,” the band says. “The studio started out in a basement in Arlington underneath a nail salon (the namesake of one of our singles, ‘Fantasy Nails’), and upgraded later to a bona fide space in Roxbury. We also did some recording at home, as always, and a single track at The Record Co., which is a fantastic and supportive resource for Boston musicians.”
After working closely with Doerr, the band’s 10-song opus — which was officially released last month — features a smorgasbord of unique audio effects and vintage touches, sonically making it well worth the two-year wait.
“At the end of 2015, we felt a need to get someone else involved in our recording process because it had gotten perhaps too esoteric and stressed,” the band adds. “We couldn’t tell what sounded good anymore, and we were having deeper aesthetic questions about what we were doing. Ian helped with that stuff. Ian has amassed lots of analog gear and mics with which we experimented. Some of these devices are rather more boutique than others. Our modest home studio also has some tape delays, spring reverbs, and the like as well — though not because we are analog snobs or necessarily retro nostalgics. Computers can be just as liberating or frustrating as a tape machine when trying to record against the grain. We use digital techniques somewhat indiscriminately alongside analog ones, so the methods of making are multi-faceted, and the end result contains signs unique to either format.”
After five years of releasing material in singles and EPs since relocating from Austin, the band’s desire to up the ante has been steadily rising, and to much lo-fi avail; Mini Dresses is as ornately spaced-out as an album can be.
“A fear while recording our debut was that we felt something of a draw towards optimizing our sound, making it bigger and higher resolution, which felt like a dark impulse!” the band explains. “It could be done — Lira [lead singer] has such a humongous voice, really, and the songs could exist in an aggrandized scale — but we found ourselves constantly overcorrecting by deleting and minimizing our ideas. No regrets! Mini Dresses was designed to be a compact if somewhat pressurized project, and so it will remain.”