When Gia Trotter, Robert Reeves and Brian Anglin from 2x2 talked with Boise Weekly, they hadn't yet figured out what to call their debut album.
"I asked [Trotter] the same thing today," Anglin said, laughing.
"It may just be self-titled at this point," Trotter added. "I'm having a hard time with it. ... I told Brian it was hard enough to come up with the name [2x2] a couple years ago. So coming up with a title for an album, I'm like, 'Please don't make me. Please don't make me do it.'"
Trotter joked about using the lack of a title as a hook for the band's upcoming album release show.
"We'll keep it illusive, that's what we'll do," she said. "Keep everyone guessing. ... You'll get the title when you walk through the door. Actually, that may be true."
Eventually, the indie-rock band did come up with a title, 60-90 BPH (self-released, 2017), and Boiseans will want to see 2x2 celebrate its release at Neurolux on Saturday, Dec. 16. Local post-punk trio The French Tips and local alt-rock group Love-Lace will open.
The grungy guitar drones, steady tempos and plaintive tunes on 60-90 BPH call to mind 90s rock bands like Veruca Salt, My Bloody Valentine and Sleater-Kinney. According to the band, that's not accidental.
"We are products of the '90s," Trotter said. "I mean, that's my jam. ... I still like some of the classic, old '90s grunge stuff. Robert hates that I call it that."
"Well, it's a manufactured term," Reeves said. "It's what some journalist [called it]. For lack of a better term, to me, it's just Pacific Northwest bands."
The idea for 2x2 arose when Trotter and Reeves began dating a couple of years ago.
"He was like, 'Oh, I'm a musician; I used to play with these bands and such and such,'" Trotter remembered. "And we were like, 'Well, let's just see what happens when we play in the garage.' And I say it every time, but it was like magic. We instantly wrote songs."
For lead singer and lyricist Trotter, 2x2 is the latest in a long line of musical projects. She has performed with a wide range of local acts over the years, including indie-pop bands Spondee and The Very Most, roots-rock group a.k.a. Belle and the all-covers supergroup Mostly Muff, whose lineup includes Lisa Simpson from Finn Riggins and Ivy Meissner from Dark Swallows.
The title of 2x2's new album comes from the normal resting heart rate for human beings. It's a fitting name, considering how close the band is to Trotter's heart.
"If there was any that was a baby—that was really special—this is the special project," Trotter said. "I mean, Mostly Muff will always be [special] because it's my ladies, but ... this is completely cheesy, but this project came out of falling in love with someone."
Babies figure into 2x2 in more ways than one. Trotter was pregnant with her and Reeves' daughter Zelda while the band recorded 60-90 BPH.
"Getting this album out was this huge feat for us," Trotter said. "There's no time. There's no time to do anything. ... I was eight months pregnant when we recorded that. I was put on bed rest the next weekend—I was really sick. We just had to get it down. We had to do it."
Raising a child has changed Trotter's approach to music as a whole, but her friends and bandmates have helped her adjust.
"I feel like I'm lucky that [with] Lisa and Ivy from Mostly Muff, I was able to watch them kind of navigate what happens when you have a baby. Because I think I had it in my brain [that] 'I'm gonna play no matter what, and I'm always gonna do blah blah.'"
Another connection aided in the recording process. Trotter's old Very Most bandmate ZV House produced 60-90 BPH at his Rabbitbrush Audio studio.
"It was all live," Trotter said. "It felt really organic. I hate to use that word, but it really did feel fluid. ... I've played with him before, so I think he knew. He had already had some ideas about what he wanted to do vocally. So that helped too—that he's known me for so many years."
2x2 hopes to keep its momentum going. The band is already working on new material and wants to tour the Northwest periodically.
"2x2's played in Portland more than anywhere else," Trotter observed. "People seem to really like us there."
Touring beyond Portland won't be easy, though.
"We at least have family there," Trotter said, "but if you're touring anywhere else, how do you set up time? Who's going to watch the baby?"
At the very least, she and her bandmates won't stop making music.
"I want the next album to be even better," she said. "That sounds dorky, but I just want it to keep getting better."