Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Murder City Devils Rise Every Day

It has been ten long years since the The Murder City Devils put out a new single. And when the new single hit iTunes on Tuesday, it only confirmed what everybody knew. Ten years was too long.

It's good to have Spencer Moody back, and most of the Seattle-based punk garage rock sextet with him. (And Gabe, making seven.) Yes, the band has been back and playing live shows here and there since 2006, with increasing frequency. But this is different.

The release of the new two-song 7" single marks a much more serious reunion, especially since nothing new has even been locked down since two unreleased songs appeared on the 2002 Halloween concert track in 2003 (R.I.P.). It also seems fitting for the band to restart with something close to how they first started. They debuted with a 3-song 7" in 1997.

Every Day I Rise feels like someone pushed paused on the Murder City Devils. 

What always worked for the Murder City Devils ten years ago is working today. Every Day I Rise takes everything they learned as a punk band and shifts it into the garage rock slot. Their music was even described as the kissing cousin of punk back then, which is why they were able to open for X.

Nowadays, the genre-bending sound still applies. They sometimes play with bands we like on both sides of the spectrum (Obits and JEFF The Brotherhood among them). Every Day I Rise is partly why.

But since the video exists, let's start with the B-side. Ball Busters In The Peanut Gallery first appeared on the scene as their first new song played in front of a live audience. At the time, it didn't have a title.

When Moody first played it in 2010, it was still unpolished with the singer speak-belting the vocals even more than he does on the track. Not so on the new studio cut. There is more melody and bigger instrumental breakouts, creating a crisp sound more indicative of where they are as band.

And although more subdued than the front side, Ball Busters captures the essence the band. Moody hollers poetry vocals. The music bed is thick. The instruments are gritty. And when you add up all the elements, everything plays dark, bleak, but woozily party ready.

Every Day I Rise plays even closer to In Name And Blood, their last full length, with a little bit of the band buster direction of Thelema tossed in. What does sound different is the mix. The instruments are more pronounced. Moody's maturity makes it possible for him not to shout as loud to command attention as his voice growls and cracks under the emphasis.

In fact, while his vocal style has been likened to dozens of artists (including Jim Morrison), it's obvious Moody's real influences are one off from music. He screams his words as fiery as any preacher. The effect is as menacing as it is captivating.

"Every day I rise and nobody cares, I've got no disciple to scare." — Moody

The song is wrong, of course. The response to the 7" pressing overwhelmed the band, selling out almost immediately after it was posted. The second pressing is expected to be ready in March. It will sell out again, and not just because some people are are feeling the tug of nostalgia. It's great music.

A quick catch up on the band.  

Mostly, everything has come together for the Murder City Devils as sort of a slow creep, which is a complete contrast to how it all ended. Moody drove the band in a different direction to produce Thelema in 2001. While fans revered the directional change, it also broke the band apart.

They ended like they played. It was fierce and unforgettable, much like their presence on the punk and garage rock scene. Of course, that was only on stage. Most of the band, especially Moody, always appeared easygoing, contemplative, and even joyful off stage. They all went on to do other stuff.

Notably, Moody has focused on his store, art, poetry, and other bands. Dann Gallucci (guitar) played on and off with Modest Mouse. Derek Fudesco (bass) played with Pretty Girls Make Graves before The Cave Singers. Nate Manny (bass) is a commercial art director and artist. Coady Willis (drums) plays with Big Business. Leslie Hardy (keys) did real estate. And Gabe has been keeping things live on the website for awhile. Even better, they all get along now.

Every Day I Rise By The Murder City Devils Raises 9.7 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

What else can be said? They're back. And if some of the interviews they've held over the last few months are any indication, they might have created more than two new songs since they started working on new material in 2009. We can hope.

Every Day I Rise by the Murder City Devils is on iTunes. If you want to dig up some other material, start with In Name and Blood, which is on Amazon. You can also find the album on iTunes. Barnes & Noble still has the vinyl edition put out by SubPop. The new material, however, is all self-produced.

blog comments powered by Disqus