New Music 3/2/18: Mt. Joy

Hot off the presses: new music! Better said, new music that is worth your time.

Mt. Joy – Mt. Joy – 13 songs / 44 minutes

This new indie-rock/folk band out of L.A. (via Philadelphia) starts out with a soulful debut album that is big on hooks although a little short on consistency. Also, what an album cover – I don’t even know where to begin with that thing.

 

Longtime friends Matt Quinn and Sam Cooper played music together in Philly before they relocated to L.A. and formed the band we hear today. Now a quintet, these guys (and gal) play a soulful and melodic brand of folk that rocks a bit, and at times this record reminds me of a beefed up version of the Lumineers.  This is an impressive debut effort, although the stronger songs are front-loaded and the album has some weak points on side two.  Full of drug references and stories of being stoned, this album has a theme of personal freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

Leadoff song “I’m Your Wreck” settles into a funky groove about two-thirds of the way through, and leads nicely into standout track “Dirty Love”, which starts simply with ukulele and a minimal drum beat before transitioning to near-screamed vocals and a pounding drum beat. This song clocks in at just less than three minutes, ends abruptly, and I admit that more times than not I have played it a second time after hearing it.

After “Silver Lining” preaches the importance of living life to the fullest and gives a shout out to wine and weed, we get to one of the most interesting songs I have heard this year: “Bigfoot”. Seemingly sincere, this ode to Bigfoot’s loneliness and his sadness over mankind’s indifference to it may be a metaphor or the most dead-panned tongue in cheek song ever.  Regardless of the goofy subject matter, this song is catchy as hell and a great listen.  Sasquatch rock, my friends.

Things get a bit political on hit single “Sheep”, with references police shootings in Baltimore and a young generation ready to go to war with an unjust establishment. Speaking of the unrest and injustice around us: “Oh, it haunts me now, tell me it haunts you too… If you cut it up, you cut it up, its still the red white and the blue”.

While the second half of the album is not as strong as the first, the piano-led love song “Jenny Jenkins” is particularly reminiscent of an alternate universe Lumineers recording and the passion and directness of “St. George” will grab you, with the following shouted and pained chorus: “Who would you die for, write their names in the stars. Who would you lie for, is she lying in your arms; sweet summer sweat, like you can never forget.”  Check these guys out at The Olympic on April 10th; I plan to be there myself.

 

Key Tracks : “Dirty Love”, “St. George”, “Bigfoot”

 

Also heard (but not recommending):

Andrew W.K. – You’re Not Alone­ – More of Andrew’s unique blend of rock piano, hooky guitar riffs, and motivational speeches re: the joys of life and partying.  Not necessarily up my alley, but “Ever Again” is tolerable.  His Treefort Main Stage set will be entertaining, I can promise you that.

 

Titus Andronicus – A Productive Cough – Yet another band featured in this year’s Treefort lineup.  The original songs on this release didn’t do much for me.  Having said that, his aggressive and growly first person take of an old Dylan classic, “(I’m) Like A Rolling Stone”, sure is a fun listen.

 

The Breeders – All Nerve – I was never a big fan of this band, and this album is not going to change my mind.  “Wait in the Car” is probably the best song here, but it still sounds like a bad Pixies attempt.