Muck and the Mires
Daddy Long Legs
Dusk 12/13/14 Providence RI
Review and photos by John Keegan
Dusk is a low light joint just off the highway in Providence.
It’s buried among old mill buildings, railroad tracks and overpasses.
Wasn’t the Living Room around here somewhere? Where’s
the GPS. Inside, to the left, a rectangular bar takes up 2/3 of the
room. The stage is wide, low and uncluttered. It looks like the kind
of place that will throw the rockers out at 10 to be replaced by leggy
women in Jimmy Choo’s and dudes in athletic cut designer suits and Italian
leather shoes. Doesn’t happen. Don’t judge the book by looking at the
Instead, Providence’s Thee Itchies walk on. Two guitars fill
the sound stage. The bass is rounded and busy in a good way. The bass
player likes to hit the front of the stage for big bombs and a photo
op on the kicks. The crowd starts small but grows as the night goes
on. Something is funny - off. The kindling is damp. It’s going to be
hard to light a fire tonight. Thee Itchies do their
best and the crowd appreciate the effort. They do the 60’s retro garage
rock thing including a revved up cover of Bill Haley’s dream ode to
the wonders of a post H bomb world - Thirteen Women.
Muck and the Mires are up next. They had their record release
bash in Boston the prior night. I reviewed Muck and crew in BGN's
05/26/14 issue. Tonight they’re a blast. But, rather than say
it all again, let’s talk about their new disk, Dial ‘M’ for Muck!
In some parallel multi-verse it’s always summer and Dial ‘M” for
Muck blasts out of transistor radios across the land. People hang
on street corners and make up moves called the Three Step and
the Kara Lee. That heavy, bloodshot red vinyl looks good and
feels right. The old Thorens turntable likes the idea. The needle drops
and Dial ‘M’ jumps on the stick with Three Steps Closer a ripping
overture of the disks strengths – in the room sound, big vocals, hot
wire fuzz guitars, popping ohh oooohh’s, crack drum fills, tight bass,
jangly, whacked tambourine and voxy keys.
Muck main man, Evan Shore, rummages through the moldy hope chest
in the attic and manages to rejuvenate the faded love letters, the scars
of romance and the sweet taste of infatuation. The lyrics are straight-forward
and better for it. The pairing of words and arrangements is familiar,
driving and infectious. Whether it’s the strutting throaty burr of Someday
I’ll Get My Way, the sizzle on the cymbals on You Can’t Run Away
From Love, or the double tracked vocals on Double White Line
the craft is on display - but always in the service of the rock.
Flip the disk and Muck drop Candy Apple Red an unabashedly perfect
pop confection. It hits a sweet spot and manages to avoid cloy. A low
strung guitar solo adds contrasting color. In the multi-verse it’s an
AM staple. Kara Lee kicks. I’m thinking her uncle Jerry Lee may jump
up for the next piano solo. Let’s go live to the Star Club. Love
Is Gonna Let You Down will sound great at the Beachcomber come July.
Bad Omen and Pocket Change just up the ante.
Dial ‘M’ for Muck is late entry front runner in the race for
local best of accolades. These tunes open up, pick up grit and light
up even more live. Dial ‘M’ is a blue-eyed garage rocker through
and through. Hope you find one under your Christmas tree. Open, add
electricity and do the Kara Lee.
Meanwhile, back at Dusk, Daddy Long Legs strip things down to
the essentials. Vocals, harmonica, a minimalist drum kit played with
a flaming orange maraca and one stick, an electric guitar and the blues.
Muck has primed the siphon and the crowd flows to the
front. Daddy Long Legs knows what to do. That harmonica
is dirty. It talks dirty to the old school mic. The mic talks trash
to the vocals. Somewhere Lux is tapping his patent leather pumps. All
this dirty is getting to the guitar. Marat Akturk slips on a
slide and starts pumpin’ them strings. They start to twitch and howl.
The audience is barking like dogs. Eyes a bulgin’ and hips a humpin’.
John Styles pummels the tom and snare with that maraca. He’s
the coxswain calling out the rhythm to the skull. DLL chews
on the Horner and hollers out another tune. He’s down on his knees,
rolling his eyes and speaking in blue tongues. Take us to the one night
juke joint, underneath the highway, out by the mills down by the railroad
BGN caught up with Evan Shore to talk about Muck and the Mires new disk, Dial 'M' for Muck!
BGN: Tell us about making the album.
ES: We recorded 11 of the 12 songs in Detroit with Jim Diamond
using an all analog studio. Jim is well known in the garage rock world
having done the first few White Stripes records, The
Mooney Suzuki and most recently, The Sonics. We played
all together in one small room with no headphones, which was really
quite liberating. Most producers are concerned with instrument tracks
bleeding into each other and usually separate each band member into
their own separate rooms or booths. Our goal with Dial M for Muck
was to capture the live energy of the band, and it is really hard to
do that when we are not all together feeding and playing off of each
other. We prepared for weeks, so there were very few mistakes that needed
to get "punched in" as they say. We worked really quickly and completed
the record over a weekend. But we were still thorough; we've added lots
of rich harmonies, organ and layers of guitar to really fill out our
raw live sound.
BGN: How did you guys end up working with Kim Fowley to produce Double White Line?
ES: Kim produced our 2009 full-length LP "Hypnotic". We
were in California for some shows, so we contacted Kim
to see if he wanted to do some more recording and he said he had about
6 hours free. We quickly banged out "Double White Line" and an
early version of "Three Steps Closer". In typical Kim
Fowley fashion, we had been rehearsing another song, but when
he arrived at the studio, he said he didn't like it and asked if we
had anything new. The result is a recording of us playing the song for
the first time. Kim joined us on stage later that night for a bunch
of songs. That was pretty memorable. Anyway, the Jim Diamond
version of "Three Steps Closer" opens our album and the Kim
Fowley version is the B-side of the "Double White Line"
45 on Rum Bar Records.
BGN: Did you have any specific things you wanted to accomplish with this album?
ES: Well, you always want to try and make a record better, that is as good if not better than your last one, and perhaps show a little growth, but our goal has always been to get our music out there, build our audience and make great music.
BGN: Anything else you want to talk about?
ES:We are touring Italy for the second year in a row this March, so things seem to be going well there, but we do have some great shows coming up locally in Boston, so keep an eye out on our website, www.muckandthemires.com