Inevitably, as a person falls deeper in love with a certain genre of music, they will become fans of a particular record label that shares their same aesthetic sensibility. As a fan of psychedelic rock, I'll listen to pretty much anything put out by Subliminal Sounds, a Swedish label that's home to Dungen and The Amazing.
Tuesday at Club Cafe is showcase for RidingEasy Records, based out of Hermosa Beach, California. The label churns out great, heavy psych rock and metal, including a recent compilation of vintage stoner psych, Raw Meat, that drew some press from the AV Club. Electric Citizen, Mondo Drag, and Slow Season are all signed to the label, and all three are in the middle of a nationwide tour together.
All three play a variation on early-70s hard rock/heavy metal. We were fortunate to have the guys from Mondo Drag answer some questions before the show:
Pittsburgh Music Report: You're on a great label for fans of hard rock and heavy psych. Did you know labelmates Electric Citizen or Slow Season before this tour?
Mondo Drag: Yes, we did know both bands prior to this tour. They have both played in the bay previously, so we've had the pleasure of seeing them and meeting them prior to touring together.
PMR: Out of all three bands, who is the heaviest?
MD: Well, that is a hard question to answer. Although we all three share some common musical threads throughout our music, we are very different from each other - this tour package is very well-rounded. In regards to our heaviness/lightness, we like to display a broad spectrum of aural ideas and dynamics in our songs and live performances. Variety is the spice of life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel.
PMR: Your new album was 5 years in the making. Why such a long gap between albums? I know that there was a cross-country move, at one point.
MD: Yes, there was a significant amount of time between the recording of the album and the eventual release of it. This delay had to do with a number of reasons:
- We could not find a rhythm section to join the band / tour to support a new album
- We ended up moving to California in search of said rhythm section
- We had to seek out a label to release it
Sometimes you have to let things sit and ferment for an extended time to let unseen flavors appear.
PMR: This album feels more muscular than the previous. Did you go into the recording with any particular goal or vision in mind?
MD: Our sound is constantly developing and evolving and at the time of the writing and recording of the self-titled album, there were definitely bands, films, and approaches to songwriting that were really turning us on. We really delved into these areas of art to extrapolate what it was that made them appeal to us.
PMR: How's the Bay Area psych scene now that Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall have packed up and moved to LA?
MD: It's doing just fine! People get too hung up on a couple of familiar names and ignore the fact that the bay area has an ever-present wealth of artistry. There are a handful of bands, mostly based in Oakland, that have really served as sources of inspiration for us and in turn have caused us to push ourselves to write better, play better, and step up our game in general.
PMR: Did you pack the acoustics for this tour? I love some of those tunes like "Black River" off your first album -- they sound like something off of Zeppelin 3.
MD: I wish we could have brought them along, but on this run there was just no room in our van for them. We keep getting more synthesizers and seem to amass more "essential" gear with every passing year, but the acoustics have certainly not been forgotten.
PMR: Lastly, Mondo Drag -- Does that mean what I think it means?
MD: Sure it does.
Tickets to the show cost $10 and are available via ticketweb. Or, try your luck and enter our giveaway. Simply email your name to pghmusicreport [at] gmail.com and put "mondo drag" in the subject line. We'll announce a winner by 10am Tuesday, the day of the show.
Local metal favorites Carousel open. Expect to hear some songs from their soon-to-be-released new album, 2113.
-- Brian Conway