MR. AND THE MRS.
Garage Punk in the Heartland
By Danny R. Phillips
It's time to lose the 80's influenced dance pop fetish bullshit that passes for "alternative" music of late. We live in a country with wider divides than ever, a country that elected a reality TV star famous for bankruptcies, the largest ego in the history of all time and saying "You're Fired!" to the highest office in the land; we've fucked up enough, it's time to lose the castrated rock and bring back the fuzz.
Mr. and the Mrs., a one-two punch based in Lawrence, Kansas could be just the ticket. The husband and wife duo of Ben Hughes and Michele Choate (comparing them to The White Stripes would be a grievous error and utterly wrong) are screaming out from the land of corn and Jayhawks. Influenced by Sonic Youth, Screamin' Lord Sutch, the Black Angels, surf, gangsta rap, psych and anything else, they create a punk tsunami, a wall of sound breaking over the listener like a rogue wave, pulling you under, showing you depths of what can be done with a guitar, drums and no fucks left to give.
There is no pretentiousness here, no posing, no gimmicks, they clearly do not care to be the coolest band in the land, they only want to do things on their own terms, bringing to life what's rattling around in their heads, taking music to the molecular level, bringing punk back.
"We were driven to form this band out of a passionate love of music and one another. That's where you get the real Mr. and the Mrs. from our deep seated love of it all." Hughes said. This love for each other and all forms of music is what drives them to pull punk from the darkened corners of basements and house shows. A need to put it back into the world, to show that punk is not dead, it is a monster kicking and screaming at the gates, ever changing, ready to punch out your teeth and tell you the truth.
When Perfect Sound Forever asked Choate asked about her drumming "style," she offered, "my approach comes from many different angles because my vast love of different genres and my first love: gangsta rap. I used to play with a full kit but now I take a minimal approach, taking it down to its rawest form and serving it with a side of screaming torture."
Hughes and Choate are more than a band. They also run Woody Records, a label that, in just four years, has released over 50 albums from band based in the US, Canada, Brazil and Mexico. "We have had the pleasure of working with so many great artists because of this outlet (Woody Records) and will be in the future. Our band is the main focus right now. The main reason we started the label was to release our music in the physical form." Since its inception, Woody Records has released several singles on vinyl, cut individually on a 1940's record lithe all with hand-drawn sleeves.
Mr. and the Mrs latest release Bumble Buzz Bee Fuzz (Released on Austin, Texas based Spiderchild Records) is loaded with rock steady yet primal drums provided by Choate, guitars that sound like J. Mascis, Wayne Kramer, Kurt Cobain, Jon Spencer and a garbage disposal having a guitar orgy, meddled with mind expanding, far away vocals. Tracks such as "Fuck Your Clique," "Graveyard Surf" and "Room 237" are an action packed, testament to the ever changing, shifting being that is the reality of psych, and to a larger degree, punk rock.
"I listen to so many guitarists that it's hard to find my favorite," Hughes told Perfect Sound Forever. "With such a broad history of American Rock 'n' Roll and garage rock from all around the world, there's no lack of inspiration." He continued, "I like the minimalist approach for a driving rhythm and a soulful scream straight from the metal guitar strings into the dirt."
What is the ultimate goal here? I think The Mr. and the Mrs. are achieving it; they are doing what any and every artist has strove to do: to release the art that they want into the world, untouched and unaltered by outside hands and forces. What you hear in the songs and what you see as they burn up the stage are two people happy with what they are doing, and turn, making some truly interesting, thought provoking music to share with the world. It is about time that someone spoke the truth.
Check out Mr. and the Mrs. on Facebook.
See them live Sat. October 21 with Hurt Russell at The Rendezvous in St. Joseph, MO
|MAIN PAGE||ARTICLES||STAFF/FAVORITE MUSIC||LINKS|