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PLUS MINUS, band, James Baluyut, Patrick Ramos, Chris Deaner

+/- {Plus/Minus}.

MEMBERS

James Baluyut,

Chris Deaner, (2002-)

Margaret McCartney, (2001-2003)

Pat Ramos, (2002-)


HOMETOWN

New York, New York


MOST POPULAR

Holding Patterns
Jumping the Tracks
You Are Here


GREATEST HITS

Crestfallen
I've Been Lost
She's Got Your Eyes
Steal the Blueprints
Trapped Under Ice Floes
Ventriloquist


ALSO

+/- site

+/- on Facebook

+/- on Twitter

+/- on Wikipedia

DESCRIPTION

+/- {Plus/Minus} is an American "indie-tronic" band formed in 2001. The band makes use of both electronic and traditional instruments, and has sought to use electronics to recreate traditional indie rock song forms and instrumental structures.

The group has a devoted following in the U.S.A., Japan, and Taiwan, and has toured frequently.


RELATED ARTISTS

KELLY CLARKSON (Chris)

LOUDEST BOOM BAH YEA (Chris)

TUSCADERO (Margaret)

VERSUS (James and Pat)


PLUS MINUS Self Titled Long Playing Debut Album
PLUS MINUS Holding Patterns album
PLUS MINUS You Are Here album
PLUS MINUS versus BLOODYTHIRSTY BUTCHERS album
PLUS MINUS Self Titled Digital Video Disc
PLUS MINUS Pulled Punches album
PLUS MINUS Jumping the Tracks album
PLUS MINUS You Are Here postcard
PLUS MINUS You Are Here promotional edition album
PLUS MINUS Pocket Catalog Postcard
PLUS MINUS, band, James Baluyut, Patrick Ramos, Chris Deaner

James, Pat, Chris [L to R]
Photo by [unknown]


PLUS MINUS, band, James Baluyut, Patrick Ramos, Chris Deaner

Chris, James, Pat [L to R]
Photo by [unknown]



PLUS MINUS, band, James Baluyut, Patrick Ramos, Chris Deaner

Chris, James, Pat [L to R]
Photo by [unknown]
[download high resolution file]



PLUS MINUS, band, James Baluyut, Patrick Ramos, Chris Deaner

James, Pat, Chris [L to R]
Photo by Gabriel Guzman
2013

PLUS MINUS, band, James Baluyut, Patrick Ramos, Chris Deaner, Margaret McCartney

Pat, Chris, James, Margaret
[L to R]
Photo by Ioana Bontea
[download high resolution file]



SECONDARY MEMBER

Tony Zanella


SUPPLEMENTARY MEMBERS

Wyatt Cusick,

Karl Lundin


FILM


THE SPACE BETWEEN US

Directed by Philip Leaman and Zoie Omega Rizzuto. From Teen-Beat 523.





STEAL THE BLUEPRINTS

Directed by Chris Deaner. From Teen-Beat 403.





THIS IS ALL (I HAVE LEFT)

Directed by Orrin Anderson. From Teen-Beat 403.





BIOGRAPHY 1

"Don?t mind the years passing by/No time to notice," sings James Baluyut on "Rewrite the Story," a track from Jumping the Tracks, the fifth full-length album from NYC's +/- {Plus/Minus}, and first since 2008?s Xs on Your Eyes. Intentionally or not, it illustrates how time seemingly accelerates as one ages?an album every two or three years, once compulsory, is now nearly impossible, as touring and recording duties are superceded by day jobs and family concerns.

The act quickly evolved into a full-fledged band, with the addition of fellow Versus member and longtime friend Patrick Ramos on guitar and vocals, and Austin, TX expatriate Chris Deaner on drums, who'd previously spent time in The Damnations. This new incarnation of +/- joined James on the road in support of the LP, and participated in the recording of the Holding Patterns EP, released this past spring. The trio came together once more at James' NYC apartment for the writing and recording of the new LP. True Love Always member and frequent +/- touring bassist Tony Zanella also stepped into the fold with contributions.

Preserving the rhythmic experimentation of the debut while capturing the energy of their live shows, 'You Are Here' is the sound of a band hitting its stride. While maintaining their trademark blending of electronic and live drumbeats ("Cutting Out," "No One Sees You Like I Do"), the record also delves into more traditional rock dynamics. The ebullient live favorite "Trapped Under Ice Floes" reappears, altered from the original Holding Patterns version, but no less exhilarating in this slightly more concise form, with the crashing guitar interplay between James and Patrick still intact. Pat also takes over on lead vocals for two vastly different tracks, the pulsating electro opener "Ventriloquist" and the riff heavy "Megalomaniac."

The delicate side of 'Self-Titled...' thankfully hasn't been neglected. "Summer Dress 1 (All Her Winter Clothes)" is a lithe, Nick Drake inspired ballad. The gorgeous jangle pop of "Here We Are (Again)" (a duet with Margaret McCartney of Tuscadero/Hot Pursuit) and the forlorn ballad "Everything I See Makes It Feel Wrong," close out You Are Here on a pensive, compelling note.

+/- will tour extensively behind the LP. They've played shows in the past with Jason Lowenstein, Yo La Tengo, The Mercury Program and many others. Check www.plusmin.us for the latest details on when they'll be coming to your city and who they'll be sharing the stage with. Expect harder and louder interpretations of tracks from the record along with some old favorites. Make sure to bring your earplugs.


BIOGRAPHY 2

This New York City act +/- was originally conceived in 2001 as a vehicle for the songs of Versus guitarist James Baluyut. When Teenbeat head Mark Robinson heard "She's So Lost," James' contribution to the Versus EP Drawn and Quartered, he suggested that he'd be interested in putting out an LP. The first LP (Self-Titled Long Playing Debut Album), on which James essentially played and recorded everything under the +/- moniker, was released on Teen-Beat in early 2002. A cut and pasted take on orchestrated pop, the record was a study in off-kilter percussion, utilizing unorthodox time signatures while melding electronic loops and natural drums. It was a remarkable achievement, sounding unlike anything released in recent memory.

The act quickly evolved into a full-fledged band, with the addition of fellow Versus member and longtime friend Patrick Ramos on guitar and vocals, and Austin, TX expatriate Chris Deaner on drums, who'd previously spent time in The Damnations. This new incarnation of +/- joined James on the road in support of the LP, and participated in the recording of the Holding Patterns EP, released this past spring. The trio came together once more at James' NYC apartment for the writing and recording of the new LP. True Love Always member and frequent +/- touring bassist Tony Zanella also stepped into the fold with contributions.

Preserving the rhythmic experimentation of the debut while capturing the energy of their live shows, 'You Are Here' is the sound of a band hitting its stride. While maintaining their trademark blending of electronic and live drumbeats ("Cutting Out," "No One Sees You Like I Do"), the record also delves into more traditional rock dynamics. The ebullient live favorite "Trapped Under Ice Floes" reappears, altered from the original Holding Patterns version, but no less exhilarating in this slightly more concise form, with the crashing guitar interplay between James and Patrick still intact. Pat also takes over on lead vocals for two vastly different tracks, the pulsating electro opener "Ventriloquist" and the riff heavy "Megalomaniac."

The delicate side of 'Self-Titled...' thankfully hasn't been neglected. "Summer Dress 1 (All Her Winter Clothes)" is a lithe, Nick Drake inspired ballad. The gorgeous jangle pop of "Here We Are (Again)" (a duet with Margaret McCartney of Tuscadero/Hot Pursuit) and the forlorn ballad "Everything I See Makes It Feel Wrong," close out You Are Here on a pensive, compelling note.

+/- will tour extensively behind the LP. They've played shows in the past with Jason Lowenstein, Yo La Tengo, The Mercury Program and many others. Check www.plusmin.us for the latest details on when they'll be coming to your city and who they'll be sharing the stage with. Expect harder and louder interpretations of tracks from the record along with some old favorites. Make sure to bring your earplugs.


BIOGRAPHY 3

There's always been a conciseness to +/- {Plus/Minus}. This isn't an adjective used to describe most bands and certainly not any outside of more exact genres where such an attribute is celebrated like prog or math rock (which, in spite of their name, this band is not). But the New York trio is dizzyingly proficient, decisive in their arrangements and, yes, concise. It's strange that commercial hip-hop producers like Timbaland aren't described in such terms, but then, the fusion of those skills is used to produce songs that seem effortless and simple in their exuberance and charm. Over the course of the last seven years, three albums and two EPs, +/- {Plus/Minus} have made records that sound equally effortless, but so much more complex in their approach, like celebrity magicians or acrobats from Cirque Du Soleil. You're dazzled, you're entertained, but your brain is working overtime; "How do they do that?" The density, allure and rhythmic propulsion in the bands music share a lot with a producer like Timbaland, but the band's virtuosic leaps and rapid movements make them a Tesla to his Edison, a gourmet burger to his ad-ready Big Mac. Their last album, 2006's Let's Build A Fire, was the pinnacle of this approach, a pop record so intricately constructed and executed at breakneck speeds, you might call it hyper-pop. Utterly wonderful and somehow, not totally accessible.

With their fourth album, X's On Your Eyes, James Baluyut, Patrick Ramos & Chris Deaner haven't dumbed down their approach, but they've slowed it just a wink (or slowed it long enough for a wink and a smile). Handclaps, warm vocal harmonies and rhythms you can tap your toe to without hurting yourself. The results are sublime, an engaging and catchy pop record better than anything the band has ever done. Maybe it's the rash of marriages and children that came since the last record was finished. Maybe it's James Baluyut's many late nights belting out the ballads of the 1970's at his local karaoke bar. Maybe it's drummer Deaner's increased role in the album's composition following his touring as Kelly Clarkson's drummer. Maybe it's hearing Ramos' soaring vocal from Let's Build A Fire's "For You" in a placement over David Caruso's histrionics on CSI: Miami last year. Maybe it's just a matter of maturity and the changing nature of things. In any case, this is a band still bristling with excitement, but a more inclusive, kinder sort. There's still plenty, like Baluyut's lead single "Snowblind" and Ramos' companion "Subdued," to captivate their core fanbase and a whole lot more for new fans to put their arms around. +/- {Plus/Minus} will be touring the world in support of the album.


BIOGRAPHY 4

"Don't mind the years passing by/No time to notice," sings James Baluyut on "Rewrite the Story," a track from Jumping the Tracks, the fifth full-length album from NYC's +/- {Plus/Minus}, and first since 2008's Xs on Your Eyes. Intentionally or not, it illustrates how time seemingly accelerates as one ages--an album every two or three years, once compulsory, is now nearly impossible, as touring and recording duties are superceded by day jobs and family concerns.

Incredibly, +/- was conceived way back in 1999 as a solo vehicle for Baluyut while playing with Versus. Shortly thereafter +/- bloomed into a full-fledged band, flanked by Versus bandmate Patrick Ramos and drummer Chris Deaner. They released their debut LP, Self-Titled Long Playing Debut Album, essentially a solo Baluyut effort, back in 2002 on Teen-Beat. You Are Here followed in 2003, expanding upon the debut?s sonic palette with a full-band dynamic highlighted by Deaner's explosive drumming. 2006 found the band jumping to Absolutely Kosher, releasing Let?s Build a Fire, which was followed up quickly with 2008's Xs on Your Eyes.

Jumping the Tracks, scheduled for release in early 2014, more than 5 years since their last LP, easily the longest gap between albums for the band, finds them back on Teen-Beat. It?s also easily one of the band?s best albums, a stunning collection of pop songs with the +/- trademark emblazoned on them?polyrhythmic percussion, glorious harmonies, and their innate knack for writing a killer hook.

But the album reveals a stunning maturity in songcraft, as the band found themselves writing collectively in a manner quite different from their past experiments with egalitarian songwriting. According to Baluyut, "Essentially, we've entirely dropped the model where one person demos songs and brings them to the band. All of these were pretty much written together as a unit. We don't play live much anymore. We're much more of a writing unit these days."

This is revealed on the anthemic, smoldering opener, "Young Once," the genesis of which Deaner recalls with a laugh: "I came in to the studio once by myself to decompress and feel like a human shortly after having my second child. I recorded a bunch of ideas and one Pat liked and immediately wrote a guitar line to. We looped the part and 'Young Once' was born!"

Ramos proffers, ?Young Once was written as a sort of reminder for cold-hearted bastards like myself not to get so caught up in the adult shit that closes people down, despite how real that may be."

And the track captures the imagination of youth in a manner akin to Ramos' early favorites U2 and The Smiths, its martial drums and minimalist yet powerful guitar figures conjuring the former, and his lyrics evoking the latter, as he waxes downcast with subtle hints of perfidy, "You're coming on denouement/Nothing but deceit in your heart."

Second track, "The Bitterest Pill," is a Baluyut sung number, "A barn burner in the +/- style. A picture of regret set to a crazy beat," according to the singer. It also nods slyly to the band's opening track off their first record, "All I Do," as he croons wistfully over the cacophony, ?Footprints we left in the sand/They just faded away too soon/Don?t know if you ever think about it/But it's all I do."

"The Space Between Us" is a jangle pop number that, according to Baluyut, "is an homage to Johnny Marr really. But also my favorite of all the songs. About as concise a statement as I'm capable of." Its incantatory harmonies, which feature his and Ramos' voices bleeding together effortlessly, exhibit +/- at their most gloriously resplendent, equal part Felt as The Smiths.

The coruscating "There Goes My Love" is perhaps Ramos' crown jewel on the album, encapsulating an ongoing "fight against cynicism," according to the singer. It finds him lamenting at its denouement, "Yeah it's a light/A light inside the walls surrounding you," before an air organ's abruptly shut down, sputtering to silence like a dying car engine.

Appraising the finished product, Baluyut says, "The album does suggest a battle against cynicism and darkness in one's life. It's easy to get overwhelmed by these things post-idealistic twenties and thirties." Yet the band persist, creating some of their most memorable and best music this late into their career.

It brings to mind a statement made in the early '80s by R.E.M.?s Peter Buck, that "making music isn't a career choice, it's a calling." The three men of +/- would certainly agree, laboring over an album for years in an attention-span challenged and oversaturated musical climate that favors the flavor of the month and easily digestible MP3 singles over a challenging, finely crafted album that requires multiple listens to properly sink in. So why even bother? What do the band hope to accomplish in 2014?

"It's interesting," says Baluyut. "I've always thought of making a record as permanently altering the world in a small way. You put it out there and it?s there forever and it has a chance to affect people. It's a statement. It's forever. So just completing it and releasing it is a victory. Which is all a long-winded way of saying, listen to this record. We know it's probably not going to sell a ton. It's out there. And we're proud of it."



DISCOGRAPHY


SINGLES

split single with Whysall Lane


ALBUMS

Self-Titled Long-Playing Debut Album
Holding Patterns
You Are Here
As Seen on Television
+/- {Plus/Minus} vs. Bloodthirsty Butchers
Let's Build a Fire
You Are Here (Extended)
Xs on Your Eyes
Thrown into the Fire
Pulled Punches
Jumping the Tracks


SHORT FILM COLLECTIONS

Self-Titled Debut Digital Video Disc


COMPILATIONS

2002 Teenbeat Sampler
2003 Teenbeat Sampler
Teen-Beat Subscribers' CD, 2003
Teen-Beat Subscribers' CD, 2004
2004 Teenbeat Sampler
Teen-Beat 20th Commemorative
Teen-Beat Subscribers' CD, 2005
Teen-Beat No.1 Record Label
2010 Teen-Beat / Other Music Sampler
Teen-Beat Holiday Card 2010/2011


SOUNTRACKS

Wicker Park


ALSO

Teen-Beat 18th Anniversary Celebrations
+/- {Plus/Minus} tee-shirt
"All I Do" appears in the film "Wicker Park"
You Are Here [Promotional Edition]
Teen-Beat 20th Anniversary Celebrations
+/- {Plus/Minus} Pocket Catalog Postcard
Pocket Catalog Set of Four
Teen-Beat Graphica Exhibition


RELATED

Versus


SONGS

A Million Pieces on the Ground
All Dead, All Dead
All I Do
All I Ever Knew
All I Have to Do is Make You
All the Things She Does
Back and Forth
Banging the Drum
Beverley Road
The Bitterest Pill
Camouflage Fades Into Trust
Catch The Wind
Chromatic
Crestfallen
Cutting Out
The Declaration of Independence
Everything I See Makes It Feel Wrong
Exorcising Your Ghost
Fadeout
Far Into the Fields
Flight Data Recorder
For You
For You (Alternate)
Gokigen Ikaga
Halos
Hellkite
Here We Are (Again)
The Hours You Keep
I Sleep Forever
I'm a Little Teapot
I've Been Lost
If I Am Charming
Ignoring All the Detours
Ill Advised
The Important Thing is to Love
The Industrial Revolution
Iru Iranai
It's Not What You Think
Jack Nicolson
Jumping the Tracks
Knead (2010)
Leap Year
Let's Build a Fire
Making the Horse Drink
Manifest Destiny (in General)
Marina
Megalomaniac
No One Can Touch You Now
No One Sees You Like I Do
One Day You'll Be There
Pencil Me In
Profession
The Queen of Detroit
The Queen of Nothing
Reeling in the Years
Rewrite the Story
Running the Distance
Scarecrow
The Separation of Church and State
Setting Your Head on Fire
She's Got Your Eyes
She's So Lost
Snowblind
The Space Between Us
Steal the Blueprints
Subdued
Summer Dress 1 (All Her Winter Clothes)
Summer Dress 2 (Iodine)
Summerlong
Summerlong (Boy Version)
Surprise!
There Goes My Love
This is All (I Have Left)
Thrown into the Fire
Time and Space
Tired Eyes
Toe the Line
Trapped Under Ice Floes
Trapped Under Ice Floes (Redux)
Underfoot
Unsung
Ventriloquist
Walk in a Straight Line
Waking Up Is Hard To Do
What Lies Ahead
Xs on Your Eyes
Yamaha-1
Yo Yo Yo (Please Don't Fall in Love)
You Are Here
You'll Catch Your Death
Young Once
You've Just Got it All