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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Minus the Bear turns focus to future

Minus the Bear performs in Spokane on Sunday. (Shervin Lainez)
Minus the Bear performs in Spokane on Sunday. (Shervin Lainez)

For the past two years, Seattle-based alt-rock quintet Minus the Bear has been focused on the past.

In 2014, the band celebrated the 10th anniversary of its third EP, “They Make Beer Commercials Like This,” with a tour and EP reissue, and toured in support of “Lost Loves,” a collection of songs that didn’t make it onto previous releases.

And last year, Minus the Bear again treated fans to a 10-year anniversary tour and reissue, this time to celebrate the band’s second album, “Menos el Oso,” which features fan-favorite tracks like “The Game Needed Me” and “Pachuca Sunrise.”

With 15 years under its belt, Minus the Bear has plenty to look back on, but there’s only so much reminiscing a band can do before it gets the itch to look forward, which brings Minus the Bear to its forthcoming album.

“We’ll always play the old catalog, but it will be nice to stretch out, spread our wings a little,” said bassist Cory Murchy.

The band is working on its as-yet-untitled sixth album in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood with producer Sam Bell (Snow Patrol, Bloc Party, Silversun Pickups).

Since its debut EP, 2001’s “This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic,” Minus the Bear has done much of its recording in Seattle – a no-brainer for band members, as they have access to numerous top-of-the-line studios, plus it keeps them closer to their families.

This is an album of firsts: the band’s first album with Bell, the first without founding member Erin Tate, who left in 2015, and the first with new drummer Kiefer Matthias.

These changes have affected just about every aspect of the band, but Murchy said the band is rolling with, and embracing, the punches.

“There’s really no way that you can brace for stuff,” he said. “For every peak, there’s a valley, and that’s just life. I think success is measured in not how many peaks you necessarily bag, but how many valleys and storms you can weather, too.

“It’s been a really good process and was healthy for us to carry on.”

Murchy said the band hopes to release the album early next year, followed by a significant amount of touring. Fans can expect to hear a new song or two at this show.

Murchy also hopes that new music will be released faster than it has been in the past, thanks to a productive writing period that resulted in more songs than can fit on one album.

Looking even further into the future, Murchy seems certain that Minus the Bear can endure another 15 years of peaks and valleys.

“The last 15 years seems like it’s gone by in a blink, and I could see it happening again,” he said. “Who knows? We’re stubborn old men, and we don’t really feel like going anywhere.”

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