Sunday, June 8, 2014
MASS FM: THEIR OWN ELEPHANT (AND TOTAL FEST'S, TOO)
One of the worst things about being human is that other humans sometimes have the tendency to see you as the human who used to do that one thing a few years back, rather than seeing you as the human that is doing this thing now. Time does funny things to our perception, and there's an apt analogy somewhere about how a mosquito trapped in amber has allowed scientists to clone a behemoth from the past, Greg Ginn circa 1983, but instead of being Greg Ginn circa 1983 it's just Greg Ginn in 2014 and the Black Flag reunion shows are hella disappointing. Basically, whenever you write about a band whose members were in other beloved bands, the risk is run of their old bands becoming elephants in the room. You can try write around these pedigreed pachyderms, accidentally drawing even more attention to what you're specifically not mentioning--or, you place an undue amount of emphasis on past projects, thereby trivializing the new exciting thing that these folks are doing currently. Decisions, decisions.
Mass FM is a new band, but their members have all played in beloved Missoula bands off and on since the Clinton administration. Isn't that cool that some folks that used to do awesome stuff are still doing awesome stuff? Yes, some members were in Volumen, one was in Victory Smokes--but do you wanna know what I think is really interesting? They have two members named Chris and are a great band (despite the fact that I was once in a band that had two members named Chris and we imploded due to all of the internal confusion). It's not that their old bands--or other current bands--aren't great, but this blog is about Mass FM, so let's talk about Mass FM (now that I have every possibly non-sequitur out of the way).
Tricky is kind of a weird word, but Mass FM is a band with some tricky qualities. Jamming somewhere between The Cars at their most angular and--I don't know--Fugazi at their most Cars-like (?), the songwriting is slippery and clever without drawing attention to itself by winking at the listener. There are twists and turns in the tunes that aren't so much unexpected as these twists and turns don't distract the listener from the groove or melody. Good, hook-heavy, head-bobbing music, hence the appropriate "FM" in the band name (if the average FM station was populated by bands like Brainiac, 12 Rods and Servotron). Bad comparison, but if you've ever had a stoner musician buddy chew your ear off about how Pink Floyd's "Money" is in 7/8--like it's some illuminati conspiracy that no one knows about--I could similarly chew your eyes out by over explaining all of the really cool little rhythmic hiccups in Mass FM's "Pull Some Strings." I'm not going to do this, but I will suggest you listen to the song posted below and get ready to see them at Total Fest XIII.