Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mugwumps- Mutation In The Family

I remember the first time I heard The Mugwumps. It was love at first listen for the stripped down and straight forward 90's pop punk, leaning much more into an earlier simple punk rock sound with a great deal of pop sensibility. All the right influences, no pretension, zero gimmicks, and catchy as hell. Those are the elements needed to make a band memorable and that's what hearing them was like for me. They put out some of the best pop punk I've ever heard outside of the first wave, with "Banana Brain" definitely being one of my all time favorite albums, then everything fell silent for several years... I never lost that instant feeling of infatuation for them and just kept listening to the music that was available, then something happened! Last year a tape was released with demos of favorite songs and some great unreleased material, then the guys made an appearance at the Monster Zero Mash 2013. Sadly I couldn't attend but in seeing the footage a friend had taken, it was clear they had a new song. Next, the February MZ newsletter stated that The Mugwumps had in fact just finished recording and that's when I started to get excited. After far too long, one of my favorite bands is back with a new record called "Mutation In The Family"!

I was able to ask Chris Mug about the making of this record and have some cool behind the scenes info to give you guys! One of the things I really love about it is the production is extremely DIY in all ways possible. The songs were recorded during October of 2013 by a longtime friend of the band, Matthias Mayr  at the Workstation in Innsbruck,AU which is actually no studio, it's their rehearsal space. This was his first attempt at recording too and he did great! Mastering was handled by the always talented capabilities of Justin Perkins at the Mystery Room in Milwaukee, WI. Photos on the insert were done by the band. The awesome cover that definitely makes me think of the 90's/Lookout era was a joint effort between Chris Mug doing all the drawings himself and then the graphics/layout were completed by another longstanding friend, Mario O. Eberharter. Official release happened on March, 1st by Monster Zero and It's Alive Records. It is available on both LP and CD. Another notable detail is that mz#31 happened just a day after the 31 year anniversary of the Ramones "Subterranean Jungle" being released. Pretty neat how that lined up!

Ok, let's talk tracks! These songs were written right around the time when their break began but I think the first thing you'll immediately notice is that there is a change in tempo with the way they are delivered in comparison to "Banana Brain" and it's lightning fast speed throughout most of that record. Make no mistake in jumping to the conclusion that The Mugwumps have lost any steam though! They're just as powerful in presence, if not more by the way they were able to dial down the pace and still sound great this time with an understated coolness that falls along the lines of a Head or early Riverdales feel as example, but stayed true to themselves. It doesn't have to punch you in the gut to catch your interest and I love it! Things kick off with "Just In Case You Wanna Know", a great mid-tempo song that was quick to pull me in with the lovely simplicity The Mugwumps always seem to carry, and some pretty backing vocals. I remain within this feeling for the entire tracklist but I'll call out some of my favorites! "Mutant Love" a slower one with such a great and steady melody. "Hold Onto Your Heart" that I saw in footage taken from MZM, impacted me the most lyrically and has a really catchy beat. Those of you who picked up the tape that came out last year will catch a wind of familiarity with "What To Do"  as it is a remake of the older version but sounds a lot more whole with the key change. Great example of that understated coolness and a great video just got made for it as well!(click here to check it out) Chris, Hank, and Andi also touched within the meaner style they do so well with "Rat Food" and the title track "Mutation In The Family". 

Hearing this record is like seeing an old friend after losing lots of time with them but picking up right where you left off right in the first moment. That's what the Mugwumps did with "Mutation In The Family" and that's what you'll see for yourself when you hear it(stream here). Head over to It's Alive or Monster Zero's webstore and place an order for either format. Just so you know, MZ has a label exclusive bundle that comes with your choice of format, a cool t-shirt, a cotton record bag printed by Hank Hollywood himself, a pin, and some stickers all for just 22 Euro or a touch over 30 USD. In closing and as always, stay tuned cause you never know what will be next in the works from this wonderful band!!

The Mugwumps are...
Chris Mug- Guitar/Vocals
Hank Hollywood- Bass
Andi Hectic- Drums

All songs written by Chris Mug

1. Just In Case You Wanna Know 
2. Your Kids
3. Mutant Love 
4. Mutation In The Family 
5. Hold On To Your Heart
6. What To Do
7. The Cruel Tutelage 
8. In Your Basement
9. Don't Wanna Know
10. Stick With You 
11. At The Beach
12. Rat Food 
13. Do You Wanna Kung-Fu
14. At The Corner

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