miniaturized | miniaturized (self-released)

Photo of Miniaturized by Becky DiGiglio

The narrative is quite simple: A Tom Petty tribute band, formed for a performance at charity benefit, becomes an actual band who plays originals. Where the hook comes in, is that the band at present includes former members of No KnifePinbackTanner (2)The Jade Shader, Hot Snakes and Rocket From The Crypt.

San Diego’s Timothy Joseph is a recording engineer and owns Phaser Control Recording Studio. His musician credits include Buckfast Superbee and The Palace Ballroom. Plus he used to host a local music show on The Local 949 for eight years. You want indie cred, there you go. He assumed the role of Tom Petty at that benefit and got enough enjoyment out of it that it sent him down a Tom Petty rabbit hole. When he emerged, his songwriting perspective got such a kick that he wrote 30 songs in response. And thus, the band became miniaturized and this time around included San Diego music oldsters Mario Rubalcaba (Hot Snakes, Rocket From The Crypt and Thingy), Chris Prescott (Pinback, No Knife, The Jader Shader), Brian Desjean (No Knife), and Chris Torres (Ron Blair Band). Along the line, those 30 songs were trimmed to fourteen, which comprise this self-titled LP. To record it, Joseph reached outside the bubble of San Diego and the recording sound that he saw himself as a member. Entering stage left was the even more old oldster Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Pavement, Wilco, Helium, Suzanne Vega).


The output is a shambling and earnest piece of rock n’ roll. To be clear, there is no No Knife here. Nor is there Hot Snakes or Rocket From The Crypt. If you want to name-drop, one might say that there is some Three Mile Pilot or Black Heart Procession in there, but this is not a record that screams San Diego.[1] Which, given what Joseph was going for, makes perfect sense. I can’t speak to this record in the context of its inspiration, but I can give my perspective from where I’ve been. This isn’t a record that’s all over the place, but it’s not all that cohesive either. “Riots” has vocals that immediately think Cat Stevens/Yusuf. “It’s Science,” “Life Underground,” and single “Cave In” have a Calexico/Devotchka/Nev Cottee desert vibe. “Blue Glass” feels like The National. “The Suitor” screams ‘80s. The other two singles are a mixed bag, as “miniaturized” hits where “The Most” is a tad corny. The back quarter of this record seems like it’s content to roll to the end with tunes that might have slowed the momentum on the A-side, if not for the penultimate surprise of “Perfect Angles.” One wonders if when laying out this record, this song was held back, so to not front load all of the upbeat high points within the first ten songs. This is brave tracking but also speaks to the quality of this record.

Twenty years ago, when reviewing, I would listen to a record two or three times before BLAH BLAH BLAH words to paper. For this, it was probably closer to 15 or 20. Enough that I sat it down for a spell because some of it was looping in my brain over and over and over. I don’t know where in the context of rock records this record falls, but I like it. Will I also jump down a Tom Petty worm hole? Probably not. But miniaturized has made it possible. This is a record that after repeated listens rolls over you like a warm blanket. We have all gotten old and creased, but you can’t cool forever. | David Lichius


[1] The only context of a “San Diego Sound” comes from the early ‘90s to middle aughts, part of which is covered in the documentary “It’s Gonna Blow!!!” Goes to show you that everyone gets old eventually. By the way, Pall Jenkins of Three Mile Pilot and The Black Heart Procession was among the performers at the aforementioned benefit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *