Thursday, July 09, 2009

open your ears: new music from Kid Mud - Now They Shut Us Down

Comfort will come in the movies.

The opening lyrics of Guidelines For Style, one of the thirteen diverse but somehow unified tracks on Now They Shut Us Down, pretty much sum up the slightly mournful but ultimately hopeful yearning for release that you are left with after listening to the new release from San Francisco's Kid Mud. This first full-length album from the multi-instrumentalist is a bit of a surprising affair. At first listen, it is an appealing blend of clear-voiced singer/songwriter and nicely fuzzed guitar, but it takes a few listens to really start to appreciate the subtleties of the music.

Now They Shut Us Down is a
somewhat introspective album that manages to retain an accessibility which draws you in and sets you up for the almost imperceptible chord progressions from breezy electro-pop to ethereal layers of lush shoegazer goodness. The rich and lush sound evokes a dreaminess without losing the clarity of radio friendly pop. It's a dreaminess that alternates effortlessly between a breezy summer evening and a gloriously building fuzzy guitar anthem.

There are moments of acoustic folk offerings that evolve into bittersweet but satisfying campfire singalongs. There are lush choruses of aaaaahhh-aaahhh alternating with the matter-of-factness of
"it all seems so simple to leave the gun lying around". There are dark periods of loneliness in a basement apartment that culminate in a building refrain of "sticking the knife in my own back".

Now They Shut Us Down is the sort of album
that makes you take a step back and realize that there are a more than a few layers here, waiting to be uncovered. And although it's almost scary to contemplate what you are going to reveal as you peel those layers back, you know you want to anyway.

Kid Mud is the latest artist to join Will Benham's feisty upstart San Francisco-based record label, New and Used Records.
N&UR has built up an impressive posse of talent over a relatively short period of time, signing musicians such as the Passionistas, Tigers Can Bite You, Shiloe, and now Kid Mud.

Do yourself a favour and check out Kid Mud's new album at New and Used Records. I have a feeling you'll want to keep going back for more listens, to see what the next layer reveals.


Jefferson Beavers said...

Great review, Barbara. Sean is a terrific musician and you captured his new record well. For fans of Kid Mud, the band played an acoustic set recently on 90.7 KFSR, the college station in Fresno, Calif. Click here to hear the song excerpts.

Jacc said...

We are having so many great shows in the TC this year. Are you sure you can't make it down for Bat for Lashes?

I'll be checking out the Kid Mud while I travel the deep woods next week.

Wordv: Beatinse

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks, Jefferson! Kid Mud's new record just keeps getting better with subsequent listens and I now realise that I will need to look into his back catalogue.
Many thanks for the link as well. Kid Mud's music comes across really well acoustically and I may just need to spend a bit of time checking into the station's other sessions. Great resource!

Oooh Bat for Lashes is tempting, JustA. Will Radiohead be opening for her, you know, to return the favour?
I think Kid Mud will sound pretty fine in the deep woods. Trees and fuzzy guitars, doesn't get much better.

mister anchovy said...

he has a very good name.when he grows up he can me mister mud.

Charlie said...

Loved Kid Mud's new album, especially "909 Garden." I think you should be my new music manager.

Sean Wraight said...

I have to tell you Barb this one has slowly been burning a hole in my musical heart. It took a while but this really is a fine release. I think if anything the diversity of the record forced me to listen to it frequently just so I could get my head around it.

I can see how this appeals to you in the sense that it has a certain organic, dare I say "Van Gaaleny" feel. A very good thing indeed for us Canuckian folk.

I shall definitely be looking for more Kid Mud stuff. Great job on the review!


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Good point, Mr Anchovy, and if he continues on with his higher education, some day he may be Dr Mud. Which has a certain authority to it.

I'm pleased that you liked it, Charlie, and you know I would be even more pleased to be your music manager. I can alphabetize and everything. You will not regret this.

It took me a while to wrap my head around this album too, Sean, partly because of simple procrastination and partly, as you say, because of the complexity of it. It truly does keep growing on you, doesn't it?
I never made the connection to the inherent VanGaalenesque of Kid Mud's music, but I think you could be onto something. There are definitely similar elements.