by Miles Raymer
Polyvinyl, which released a bunch of Braid records the first time around, will put out the four-song EP Closer to Closed on CD, MP3, and—in keeping with the fetishism of the holiday that inspired the band to make it—180-gram white vinyl. It consists of three new songs and one written by woefully underappreciated Minneapolis singer-songwriter Jeff Hanson, who toured with Braid in his former band M.I.J. and with Nanna as a solo artist before dying unexpectedly in 2009. It was recorded by Jawbox front man J. Robbins, who also worked on some of the group's earlier sessions. "He just understands what we're trying to do and he understands us," Nanna says. "He recorded Frame and Canvas for us in five days. So he's able to handle this weekend 'we've gotta get it done' thing."
"There was no pressure," Nanna says of returning to the studio with his former bandmates; these days he's a social-networking coordinator for Threadless (and can frequently be found modeling the company's shirts on its website). When Braid broke up in 1999, he says, "We were fighting because we didn't want the same things, but now we all want the same thing, which is these new songs. It felt really good to get together without that over our heads."
Braid will play Metro on August 27, and on September 24 they'll headline the Pygmalion Music Festival in Champaign-Urbana, which this year will help Polyvinyl celebrate its 15th anniversary. After that there aren't any plans to tour or record, Nanna says. When asked if playing shows and recording records means Braid might officially be re-forming, he's firm: "The band's not really back together."
Here's a stream of the lead single from Closer to Closed, "The Right Time," sung by guitarist Chris Broach:
You can download it for the cost of sharing your e-mail address here.