Sound Advice: Tiny Moving Parts (Dec. 14)

Minnesota Math Rock/Emo trio Tiny Moving Parts plays Bogart’s.

click to enlarge Tiny Moving Parts - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Tiny Moving Parts
It’s hard to find a review of Minnesota trio Tiny Moving Part’s music that doesn’t mention two genres — the earnest and passionate Punk offshoot “Emo” and the circuitous and progressive Indie Rock subgenre “Math Rock,” a style that (along with Post Rock) became popular with bored Indie music nerds in the ’90s in much the same way restless and curious Aerosmith and KISS fans turned to Rush and Frank Zappa all those decades ago. Though the group itself has fed into the Math/Emo hook somewhat, the fact that Tiny Moving Parts’ music is a combination of the two genres is nearly impossible not to notice when listening to one of the band’s three albums. 

Not that it’s a bad thing. In fact, over the past several years it has grown into its own genre (which, sadly, is not referred to as “EmathO”). Like EmathO (maybe it’ll catch on) favorites American Football and This Town Needs Guns, the three musicians of Tiny Moving Parts took what has become a fairly predictable Emo Punk/Pop blueprint, ripped it up and put it back together in a way that was more interesting to them, infusing it with the more complex and interesting riffs and rhythms that are hallmarks of so-called Math Rock. 

The three musicians of Tiny Moving Parts are related (two brothers and a cousin) and grew up together in tiny Benson, Minn., which is about two and a half hours west of Minneapolis. The musicians decided to eschew college after developing Tiny Moving Parts throughout junior high and high school, hitting the touring circuit to build a fanbase. Thanks to the members’ jubilantly energetic live show, it worked. The band also released an album and a few EPs and singles on its own to further increase its grassroots following. 

Tiny Moving Parts’ hard work helped the band get the attention of the popular and respected independent imprint Triple Crown Records. The label released the trio’s second album, Pleasant Living, in 2014; the LP earned the group highly favorable reviews from outlets like Alternative Press and Kerrang! and helped keep the momentum going. Earlier this year, Triple Crown issued Tiny Moving Parts’ latest, Celebrate, which finds the threesome more subtly integrating its progressive, “Math-ier” tendencies and showing their growth as songwriters/arrangers, with the melodic-to-heavy Punk presence in the melodies and vocals more vigorous and formidable than ever. 

The new album upped the ante again for the group, earning even wider critical praise from larger outlets (NPR, Alternative PressNoisey). The band is still having a blast and still allowing that fun and excitement to radiate and infect during its performances. That’s another way Tiny Moving Parts bucks the Emo system; given the stereotype of an artist with a dour, introspective image to protect, you’d have a hard time finding an “Emo” act that smiles half as much as these guys do. Considering there’s also “Math” involved, that’s doubly impressive. 

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