My thanks to Independent Music Promotions for keeping me in the loop. (Check out their link on the side bar under “Other Stuff.”)
As I have said countless of times before, I was raised (dragged!) on an overdose of post-punk and just about everything associated with it – from dream pop to shoegaze, industrial to dark wave. That is the root of the stereotype that I only listen to dark, brooding (often time tragic) music; this could not be farther from the truth. The real problem is that when I hear the bulk of musicians that have been influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and 90s (American) “alternative” rock, it all sounds the same – a smelting pot of sub-mediocrity, with the same five chords, over and over and over again. But every time I think I am done with “alternative” rock, a band surfaces that simply sucks me in. Sydney’s Monks of Mellonwah is the most recent band to draw me back in with their complex web of alluring arrangements and astounding soundscapes. I am not usually drawn into a band simply because they are up for an award, but Monks of Mellonwah are up for two awards (Best Indie Rock Band and Best Rock Band) at the upcoming All Indie Music Awards (held at the Key Club in Los Angeles, California USA on 10 February 2012); if ever a nascent band deserves such accolades, this is the band.
Of course it is impossible for me to keep up with every new band and/or release, as hard as I try, but when I was first told about “Stars Are Out” (18 June 2010), a five-track EP, I sat down and listened and was completely smitten right from the opening track, “Fire in the Hole.” From the simple, syncopated opening, to the infectious guitar arrangements, the song is simply amazing. With out-of-the-box lyrics (“Time is twisting everywhere, falling off the page…”), it becomes obvious that though MoM was influenced by such aforementioned greats and 90s “alternative” rock, they are not reproducing these sounds. From the opening track, there is no feeling that the band is trying to reproduce someone else’s sound or attitude; MoM is more intent on showing off their own chops and they do so beautifully with these five tracks, each demonstrate a different side of the band; from the sensual guitar arrangements of “Swamp Groove” to interplay between passive and aggressive music of “Stampede,” the band keeps offering up something different track-to-track. My favorite track is definitely “The Calling.” The fifth track on the collection, by this point it was already hook line and sinker for me, but I was blown away by this song. Compared to the other tracks, the musical arrangements are simpler, the soundscape thinner, and the lyrics more straightforward, but it is that simplicity that generates this amazingly visceral undertow and you can’t help but to react physically to the chorus.
Their most recent single, “Neurogenesis,” definitely takes the band in a new direction – again, another side, a new dimension, of the band. Darker than any of the tracks on the “Stars Are Out” EP, the lyrics opens with “The salt will clean the exit wounds…” If you have never had salt on your wounds, you have no idea how sadistic this line is, but the song is one of lost love (“so you’re gone, you’re gone…”) in which, at the end of it all, “salt can’t clean this exit wound.” And this is a universal truth: purity after love is impossible.
So here are two reasons (other than I said so) for why you should take the plunge and listen to Monks of Mellonwah. First, if you love good ole rock ‘n’ roll, that does not suffer from the prepackaged angst and cookie-cutter mentality that is prevalent in music right now. MoM is the band for you. Second, with each successive song, MoM is demonstrating songwriting chops that allow them to never come near to reproducing the same song; the luscious diversity track-to-track is a godsend. Check out “Stars Are Out” EP and their newest single, “Neurogenesis”; I am sure you will not be disappointed. Then support Monks of Mellonwah. Head over to the All Indie Music Awards and show your support for the band by casting your vote.
Track Listing of “Stars Are Out”:
1. Fire In The Hole
2. Swamp Groove
3. Stars Are Out
5. The Calling
6. The Neverending Spirit, bonus track
Keep up with Monks of Mellonwah at their homepage, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.
Here is the video for “Swamp Groove” and the audio their latest single, “Neurogenesis,” from the MonksofMellonwah YouTube Channel.