Chicago’s Mutts are a keys/bass/drums trio who have been described as “Tom Waits fronting a garage band” by Time Out Magazine, and “what Queens Of The Stone Age would sound like if they ditched the guitars and started playing some dirty sounding organs” by Loud Loop Press.
But wait just one minute. On their 3rd LP – Object Permanence, out April 2nd, 2013 – the gritty trio sheds all amplification and goes clean. This is quite the risky move for a band that wasn’t easily categorized to begin with. Just when it seems that press and promoters are finally getting comfortable with the band’s sound (recently performing for Consequence of Sound, Daytrotter and booked at top-tier venues regionally alongside Murder by Death, Astronautalis and Maps & Atlases among others), Mutts is switching up their sound. This proves that they belong in an echelon with true artists; they are not a band concerned with categorization or making decisions based on career moves. Mutts was formed as a musical catharsis, and they’ve continued to make music for art’s sake over the past four years. And in typical playful Mutts fashion, their sonic switch-up Object Permanence, is a timeless-sounding response to the increasingly turbulent trend-shifts in music, pop culture and a class-divided society.
The album was recorded and mixed by Manny Sanchez at Chicago’s I.V. Lab Studio. It was released April 2nd, 2013 on 180g Gold-Translucent Vinyl, CD and digital download via Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon and select indie shops around the Midwest. Mutts celebrated the release with a nearly sold out hometown show at Hideout Inn on April 4th, and appearances supporting their new LP on Daytrotter, WGN national TV, NPR’s Chicago affiliate WBEZ, Audio Tree Live, WXRT, and a two-month release tour stretching from Missouri to New York.
Object Permanence is also the fulfillment of a $10,000 Double-LP Kickstarter campaign, in which they recorded one acoustic and one amplified album.
Less than a year after releasing it’s debut LP, Mutts released their follow-up LP – Separation Anxiety – on August 2, 2012. The album received immediate praise for the beautiful split-color “Mending Wall” vinyl, available along with CD and name-your-price digital download at http://download.muttsmusic.com. Separation Anxiety made the CMJ Top Adds chart at #15 on August 21, and then became the second Mutts release to chart on the CMJ Top 200 in 2012, peaking at #72 over it’s six week run.
Separation Anxiety finds the band back with engineer Jon Alvin, who recorded the first three Mutts EPs in 2009-2010. Spending four days at The Chrome Attic in Crystal Lake, IL, the band tracked the 7 songs they had prepared and wrote 3 more on the spot.
The band says that “going into this session we challenged ourselves to try something new on each track.” Recording live with minimal overdubs, Mutts sound like veteran artists with a fresh set of tools. And on their fifth release, Maimone still finds new ground to break lyrically, addressing the anxiety involved in coming out to his parents, exclusion in modern Christianity and politics, and finding new angles for social commentary on class warfare, divisive media, and the age of instant gratification.
Mutts released their debut album, Pray for Rain, on December 13th, 2011. It earned a #8 spot on the CMJ Adds Chart, then charted for six consecutive weeks on the Top 200, peaking at #107 twice. It was named one of the top Chicago albums of 2011 by The Huffington Post and received praise in national magazines Alternative Press, The Big Takeover and The Deli. Mutts were also named Chicago’s Emerging Artist of 2011 by The Deli Magazine.
In their first year together Mutts independently put out 3 EPs: Pretty Pictures, We Float and The Tells of Parallels. Developing a unique, genre-bending sound, Mutts were already “poised to become one of Chicago’s top acts,” according to Loud Loop Press.
Outside of the studio, Mutts quickly fulfilled the buzz garnered by their recordings and Chicago music scene pedigree (as members of: Bailiff, Wax on Radio, Hush Sound, Empires, Suns, 8-Bit Tiger, Big Science, This is Cinema and Company of Thieves). By their second year together, the band was headlining at staple Chicago venues including The Empty Bottle, Double Door and Subterranean. Throughout 2011 they also hit the road often, while still holding down part-time jobs, bringing their unique sound throughout the Midwest and to the East Coast.
In 2012 their prolific studio work and constant “weekend warrior” touring culminated in several festival appearances, including Milwaukee’s Summerfest opening for Young the Giant, Chicago’s Do Division opening for Murder By Death, and opening for Maps and Atlases on the UW Terrace in Madison. An action-packed Summer, in turn, has kept the buzz going from Pray for Rain right into their new release on August 2nd. The first single, “Half Mile,” was featured on the CMJ and Chicago Mixtapes, “God, Country, Grave” was featured on the Lollapalooza episode of Local Anesthetic on Chicago’s WXRT 93.1FM, and the album is scheduled for national radio distribution August 21st.
Mutts decided from the outset to give away their music digitally. As such, the band has kept fresh, honest and spontaneous music flowing to their growing fan base for three years. They have sold out of the first pressing of each EP, but all three are available as free downloads on http://download.MuttsMusic.com. Their LPs – Pray for Rain, Separation Anxiety and Object Permanence – are available on CD, vinyl, and also a name-your-price download at http://download.muttsmusic.com (preferred by the band), as well as iTunes, Amazon, and at most Chicago-area record stores.