Wednesday, June 18, 2008

MUDLOW! "Whoa! Don't it feel good, got a whole pack of cigarettes, a hideout in the woods!

Brighton UKs MUDLOW play day three of The Deep Blues Festival. Be there!

I have this insane fascination with Brighton's filthy dirrrrty Mudlow. I do. When it was announced that they would in fact be playing this years Deep Blues Festival I started walkin' with a limp. And when it was announced that they'll be staying over in MSP to play a gig monday night after DBF I took a shower. A long shower. Is it the horns that make me go ape? The vaguely menacing lyrics? The fatass grooves? (D) All of the above? Somehow these guy's manage to represent and contain pretty much everything I look for in a band. The boys in Mudlow and I have never met so I thought i'd do a little Q and A via email with them. Mudlow is Tobias- guitar, vocals. Paul Beat- bass. Matt- drums, percusion. Trimble- tenor saxophone, percussion.:

Are you guys excited to play the Deep Blues Festival?

Yeah very much. We have wanted to play in the US for some time and this was just the offer to give us the momentum to do it. So we'd like to thank Chris and yourself for considering us.

Have all of you been to the states before?

PAUL: I’ve only been through Miami airport en route to Mexico – The airport must’ve had some kind of make-over during the 2 weeks we were on holiday cos on the return journey everyone was absolutely lovely! Even found some shops I never saw before and got a great shirt from the Havana Shirt Company – made in China though I noticed once the jetlag cleared!

MATT: I've been to New Orleans and Memphis and did the usual tourist traps, those Peabody Ducks!! Brilliant.

TOBIAS: Vegas Baby!

You are coming to the states and playing a handfull of gigs all in the same area. are y'all nuts or just looking to dip yr toes in the vast backwater swamp that is America?

PAUL: Well, exactly…where do you start? We’re just happy to have an invite for the one show at DBF. I think one of the shows is about 70 miles from Minneapolis, which is local for you guys but in England that could be the other side of the country…or France!

MATT:Yeah we thought that we would see how it went first and perhaps make some friends/contacts for a longer trip in the future. Also the facility that holds Trimble will only let him out for very short periods at a time.

Any artists in particular you are looking frwrd to seeing at the fest?

MATT: Yeah, well we've played or with quite a few of them over here before so it will be good to catch up with familiar faces. Weirdly tho' we've not seen Honkeyfinger (the other UK act) before so that'd be good, I've heard good reviews about The Pack AD and Left Lane Cruiser too.

Hows the recording of the new album coming? will it be finished in time for DBF?

PAUL: Things tend to move a little slowly in Mudlow country! The recording is well underway but I doubt it’ll be ready for DBF. We’re all pretty excited about the new stuff and we’ll certainly bring some kind of taster disc with us to see what you all think of it so far.

Are you using the same engineer/producer as the last album?

PAUL: Yep…ME! My day job is producing and engineering in a recording studio so we use the downtime to record Mudlow as well as my other pet projects.

There were a lot of kind of sound effects on Welcome to Mudlow Country with the use of the sound of matches lighting and glasses clinking and bird noises which all help the album set a certain rather film noir mood. whose idea?

PAUL: That would’ve been my idea. The thing with that album was each song was recorded and mixed one at a time over a period of about a year! It could’ve ended up sounding like a compilation record so I used the sound effects both to create a mood, setting the scene for each track and also for continuity, linking the album together. Each song has a story and a world of it’s own so it works pretty well. If we could book out the studio for 2 weeks and do the whole thing in one hit I’m sure we’d produce something quite different but not necessarily better. Limitations and ground rules are good for Mudlow I think!

I'm interested in Tobias' lyrics. Does he read a lot? if so who does he like? and if not...where does his influence come from? Cuz i'm not so sure if I should be out at night at DBF while Tobias is around!

TOBIAS: I do read a lot. in the bath mainly, i'm very clean. I mainly read american crime fiction especially James Lee Burke. I think that songs should have a story or at least a backstory in them and for me the most interesting themes are the darker side of life. Misfits and fuck ups live in Mudlow Country and to sing about them and their miserable lives suits me. To my mind revenge and regret are more evocative than love and understanding. Compare the lyrics of Howlin' Wolfs 'Evil' and the Carpenters 'Close to You' and you'll see what I mean. Come out at night Rick when i'm around and you just might find a drink bought for your goodself.

Where does the name Mudlow come from? The name fits the sound. I noticed on google a Coochie Mudlow Island off the coast of australia. any relation? sounds as if it's near a former penal colony which would be fitting!

TOBIAS: Well spotted Rick, I grew up out there and holidayed as a kid on Coochie Mudlow Island, the name stuck with me, I wrote a song about it and the band name came from there. I think the penal colony you're referring to is Australia.

How'd the band come together? How long have you been together? I see that the band "rose from the ashes" of a band called Crawl Limbo. Were all of you in that band?

MATT: Me and Tobias were in Crawl Limbo and have played music together for years. We met the other like-minded guys on the gigging scene in Brighton so when Crawl Limbo folded in 2001 Mudlow was a natural progression from that

How do the songs come about? Jamming? is the music a mostly team effort or Tobias bring the songs in mostly formed...or...?

TOBIAS: I write a lot of stuff. Some songs are completely formed in my mind and I have a good idea of what i want from the other guys, but equally some are just a riff that we play around a while in the studio and they form from everyones input. We try various creative approaches to vary the bands sound a bit.

If the band was sponsered by a particular liquer company which would it be?

TOBIAS: Wild Turkey
PAUL: Bombay Sapphire Gin (And Tonic)
MATT: The first cold San Miguel of the day
TRIMBLE: Yeah all of those!

Any influences you all share via movies/music/books/art/food/firearms/etc?

TRIMBLE: We all share a liking for Rock'n'Roll culture wether that be movies, books or music but i think i'm right in saying that i'm the only one who likes firearms?
THE OTHERS: Yeah Trim, only you.
TRIMBLE: Not allowed them anymore though

Like 99.3% of the rest of the poor bastards in america i've never seen you live. While I prefer to be surprised maybe others don't so what might one expect from a live Mudlow show? Covers? New songs? Flaming babies?

TOBIAS: Well there is a bunch of new stuff now so I guess we'll be playing some of that. On record it's a mixed bag but live we tend to cut the brake cables and play pretty hard. We've never really done covers or standards so not so much of that and we stopped with the flaming babies ages ago, really Rick that is soooo last year!!
Oh and the ladies will be pleased to hear Trimble is bringing his hips, don't get to close though cause he can impregnate at 40 paces!

What keeps Mudlow together and carrying on? A hoped-for world domination...or?

MATT: We've put the world domination on hold for a while and have decided to concentrate on the tunes and its that which keeps us carrying on safe in the knowledge that we are making damn fine music.

Let's play What If...You are the biggest band in the universe. Even Bono is unfit to tie Tobias' sandals (which is actually true). I've just filled the Camden Roundhouse with cash and you , like the surgeon of the night sky, have the ability to revive the dead with the power of sound. What three bands, alive or kicked, will open for you?

MATT: Jeez! thats a tough question.
ok, maybe Tom Waits, just him and his piano, I love that stuff.
Then its a toss up between Screaming Jay Hawkins or Link Wray, i've seen both live and they were amazing.

The following are reviews i've written for Mudlow's Ep as well as their brilliant full length release Welcome To Mudlow Country.

MUDLOW---1st ep
Gawdamn I love a band with a horn section! That said it's the 1st track Catherine Wheel that I think sets the tone on this 6 slice ep. Spare and TENSE as hell if the UK has some sorta CrossRoads equivilant like a road just over the hill from the Westbury Horse on a black cold wet night at 3am...that's where i'd like to hear this song sung. Chilly. I kept waitin' for the whole thing to explode with horns but no Mudlow is smarter than that. The guitar rings and and calls Mudlow out to the 2nd track which is the rompin' stompin' arse whoopin' of Down In The Snow. That's when they drop the other boot. Tobias pulls out Tom Waits' vocal cords to flog a horn section that eye gouges and pulls hair while his swangin'mud covered gitar cuts throats like Nugent. Bass and drums are right where they oughta be bobbin' and weavin' and drivin' Mudlow to the next bar on the way home.

MUDLOW: Welcome to MUDLOW Country
With a voice like a rarely (although occasionally liberally) greased pawnshop trombone Mudlow's Tobias wails croons growls and squalls across the lushly criminal sultry seaport landscape that is Welcome To Mudlow Country. It's their first album.
With a swagger and swing so long and thick they gotta wear it for a belt, Brighton's Mudlow have become my new Afghan Whigs, my new Nick Cave, my new Marah, impossible to play loud enough. I want to crawl inside their sound and drink deep till hammered and slaked then dance. spin,buck,bark and rail along with it before the next song picks me up on it's gangster lean and shoulders me to the next basement bar. Bass and drums swingin' beats fatback crisp and cold hot greasy. Drummerman Matt Black layin' so far back into that drop down it's a G.D. Memphis miracle the whole thing don't totter and tip backwards on it's big sexy ass. But that Bass! Damn. Paul Beat keeps it all pulled down sublow sonic like a big fine woman's behind the wheel backin' it up. Brass horns careen and plead and sob and harmonica call the lonely and lonesome home. For all the raw refined glorifying groove power it's no stoop to roll it back and lay out in rich cinematic black and white and noir. Tobias's guitar crawls from under it's own rock and slithers and slinks and solos sideways and frontwards. He chops chunks scratches and lines out colours in deep blues and orange red, chocolate dark brown and bright white heat. His lyric work intrigues with Waits-ian leanness and heft rifely populated by characters, misfits, fuckups, frauds, sociopaths and common charmers. My people. Despite the deceptively dour imagery there is simply an undeniable joy shimmering throughout. You can tell Brighton's finest love playing these songs. Live I ain't seen 'em and Lord knows if I will on the otherside of the world but i've been told and I surely reckon they must put out on of the heaviest shows out. This is frayed sharp black suit Outlaw Music. Midnight sometime Harvest Moon Chinook Wind Sunless winter cannery dockside. It's all the same and something bad comin' and goin'. Each song stands upright alone alright but the soundscape is beautifully frosted with subtle sounds of running machinery, creaking ships and crying seabirds, down stairs doors (un)locking and matchlight building burning. Nothing to distract but to add some stones and brambles along the river road to catch on the cuffs of your ears and set you to watch where you're walkin' and maybe LiSTEN where you're goin' for a change. Even to my beat ears it's one of the best sounding recordings i've had the pleasure to hear. Sonically raw and
gorgeous and mapped out with care. If given three quarters the chance these damned kings of the south deserve for recording an album this down, this grimy,this menacing, this star spankin' grand and glorious my world will sleep in safety and spite. Thank You Mudlow.

MUDLOW @ MySpace
The MUDLOW website features live downloads etc



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