Two bands that I have enjoyed muchly in the live setting recently are MMOSS and CreaturoS--both of whom happen to have newish records of notable quality from late 2012. Granite-staters MMOSS peddle pensively-gentle, yet krauty/expansive-psych interspersed with bursts of pop, while locals CreaturoS (former members of Doomstar!) flip the switch with an alkaline blues explosion of fun-n-stun rock & roll.
While my initial impression of MMOSS was that they were on more of a discordant, meandering proto-Grateful Dead sort of trip, their latest record Only Children reveals other sides....OK, despite the sneaky sped-up sample of Jerry Garcia's "Sugaree"...but we can move on.
Only Children is a patchwork fly-over of the '60s and '70s, cleverly staggering the more sing-able (and contemporary) "song songs" such as "Another Day" and "Hands" against lazy drones, motorik montages and in the case of "Marty Hills," playful world rhythms. Blasé vocals (ala Rain Parade), organs, mellotron-esque flutes, guitars, pianos, and possibly even brass collide in a hazy swirl of classic effects and pointillist vistas. It all sounds (and looks--if you use your imagination) convincing in the able hands of MMOSS who keep the vintage furnishings free from overtly musty upholstry with clear fidelity values and attention to their own songcraft. Period treatments like leslie-vocals (“Spoiled Sun”) and late '60s Keith West-esque pedal tones ("Another Dream") get their own spin here with boss production and sincerity. The world is here and you’re spinning on it.
The Detroit garage-flavored CreaturoS give you one of those records in Swampp Thingg where you feel like a band is giving you less to give you more. When you hear the advanced levels to which they build up the end of their infectious "Charlie Brown" (bested only by the sunny/crummy "I Don't Want To Go To the Beach") you can appreciate the ultra-minimal rock pitter-patter that they give you when they cruise in downshift mode. And anyone who has seen these guys play can testify to their shred/pounding abilities, so to hear them sculpt their so-called swampy-perfection out of a handful of bent riffs and a mercilessly whumped floor tom is pretty inspiring.
The trio goes psych in their own right too, as in the hurdy-gurdy desert-fry of "Three Times," where singer Spenser Gralla's transistor-radio voice takes on a distinct Roky-ish bent. They also veer into some MMOSS-esque bubble-psych territory on a tune like "Leave Your Face Behind," which is full of the tasty drumming that makes Noah Bond one of the best in town.
Like Only Children mentioned above, Swampp Thingg gets some virtue points out of keeping it short, bright, and to the point. Nine songs baby. So fear not, spin that wheel, buy that vowel, and take a little ear vacation.
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About the authorJonathan Donaldson is a Boston-based musician, writer, and second-generation music junkie. An Ohio native who moved to Boston in 1998, Jonathan's musical loves include R&B, psych, punk, bubblegum, country, electronic, More »
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