Mordecai, are putting things together to play Total Fest. Since the first time that I saw the Bodish brothers and "friend" play (2009, I think), I was completely blown away.
At this point, it seems silly to bring up their humble beginnings, but the fact that these dudes from Butte seemingly popped up from nowhere has always impressed me (more on this below). So a brief trip down my personal memory lane: Mordecai played the side room in the now defunct BSMT (not sure if this is the first time, but it's the one that sticks as the first time). From the first note, it was obvious that we were in for something special. The cramped room provided the perfect acoustics for their lo-fi, psych fuzz, Velvet Underground/Stooges style that weaves in and out of stability and coherence. Approving nods, winks, smiles, and "holy shits" were exchanged between me and virtually everyone I encountered. Throw in a Sister Ray cover that somehow seemed longer, more tangential, and more stoney than the orginal, and it was the perfect recipe for a mid-summer show, tucked away in the dark confines of a basement.
Now, in 2013, I think we're realizing just how good we had it. Here, in Montana, three young dudes played well beyond their years and, if you listen to all the chatter, well beyond their geographic boundaries. Thing is, that's all terribly wrong.
This is a tired discussion, but the internet has collapsed most of our traditional trajectories of time and space. For some reason, it's "odd" that a band like Mordecai sprouted from Butte, but it's not odd that, throughout the years, excellent music has erupted from small towns in Texas, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, etc. etc. etc. Before the internet, in spite of what some people may lead you to think, people made excellent music that didn't simply mimic what was spewing from big cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Yes, there was a world before the internet. Fanzines, skate mags, radio stations, friends, random dudes and dudettes helped small town kids create some seriously crazy, unique, experimental, genre bending shit that killed it.
So, with that, there is no reason to say that Mordecai came out of nowhere. They came from somewhere: a rich personal history, inquisitive journeys, mathematics, and some damn fine musicianship. It's a shame that they cannot play as often as we want them to. But, what isn't a shame is that they'll bring their psychedelic mutations back to Total Fest. Following last year's 7" on Wantage, they've released College Rock, which is as dirty and full of mutations as anything else that's out there. Solid jams that find a way to morph our collective memories into a newly formed and welcome reinterpretations of a mash-upped personal take on what came before them. Fresh atonal guitar with sneering vocals, solid bass and drum lines that grate at everything your parents loved, while celebrating it at the same time. It's as punk as it gets.
Here is an old-ish jam:
Mordecai -- Composition 07082011 from Ed Shaw on Vimeo.