ALBUM REVIEW: TERRYCLOTH MOTHER – TERRYCLOTH MOTHER

Full disclosure, I’m Facespace friends with Terrycloth Mother’s drummer John Panza. He’s a pretty prolific guy, and Terrycloth Mother is the latest Lottery League band he was involved with to make the leap to steady project from fun experiment. This is the band’s debut album, released a week ago tomorrow. Hey, I’m trying to keep up folks. It’s tough.

The album was self-recorded and mixed, though it was mastered by the guy we did our first ever studio recordings with in 2001 (Chris Keffer, Magnetic North Studio). This is a testament to how far along home recording has come because this album sounds excellent! The drums have a great vibe to them that’s punchy but organic, putting them almost in the room with you. On the harder songs, the bass possesses a hard-driving, gritty tone that sounds fantastic, while the softer moments see a cleaner style that’s equally strong. Simply put, the rhythm section sounds fantastic together. The guitars and pedal steel provide wonderful accompaniment, each providing meaningful sonic details that really make the songs “pop.” The atmosphere that the mournful pedal steel unleashes at times is particularly awesome! The guitar itself journeys through jazzy cleans and garage fuzziness alike, and I’ve got no complaints. The vocals seem to be the focus here, and they are delivered crystal clear and solidly performed throughout; the backing vocals and harmonies are ace in their own right. I really liked the falsetto accents, which aren’t overdone and add a lot of color to the tunes. One track features guest trumpet and it’s rad.

This is a really strong offering of groovy, poppy rock and roll. I’m not sure who I’d compare it to… perhaps some aspects of Radiohead, Dead Meadow, and The Greenhornes? There’s a 60s vibe running through it in my ears, but it doesn’t quite feel like the garage and psych revivals of the past. It’s a unique sound, and that’s cool. The album is never out-right bombastic, but it does paint some interesting scenes in my minds eye with its deceptively brooding grooves. Check it out! – Jason

King Of The Wasteland – This track opens with a lick that makes me recall some random JSBX tune, but it’s a short-lived connection that fades once the vocal comes in. The bass and drum groove is killer and makes me want to dance, a theme that becomes apparent across the album’s eight tracks. This is a wonderfully catchy song with a great message. The guitar/pedal steel interplay is rad, and I’m into it. This is a cool, grooving-while-rockin’ song. Thumbs up.

The Dancing Plague – The bass has a cool top-end going on in this track that makes it sound almost like a synth. Panza’s ride rhythm is relentless and the chorus is awesome, I love the way the lyric “It’s okay to cry when smoke gets in your eyes” flows so effortlessly. Again, it’s a fun, bouncing track with a depressing lyrical vibe. I love that sort of juxtaposition. Catchy. Good. Depressing. I like it.

Sweet Doom (Beautiful World) – This one has a sleepy, lullaby sort of vibe to it… the pedal steel certainly taking it into a gothic Americana, classic country and western kind of territory as well. The sluggish pace lacks the bounce that drives much of the rest of the album and as such I find myself sorta tuning out a bit on this cut. It’s alright. The message is uplifting even if the music suggests otherwise.

Weight Of The World – This track reminds me of something from The Lonely World of The Dudley Corporation album, which is one of my all time fave pop-rock records. The female backing vocals and trumpet sound awesome and make this song really stand out to me. I love it. There’s a weird sort of “freak-out” bridge in this song that takes it into nightmare territory and I really like how they bring the song back together from there. Otherwise, this song has a jazzy vibe to it, it reminds me of a cold rain in an old, worn out city. Cool tune. Thumbs way up!

Big Stick Energy – The fuzzy, driving riff that propels most of this song is groovy and definitely brings up Dead Meadow sort of vibes. The overdriven bass sounds rad throughout this tune, and I enjoyed the rests as the call and response guitar-pedal steel lines play out in turns. This is a surprisingly brawny, stoner rock tune presented as something more respectable thanks to the pedal steel and jazzy aspects. Thumbs up!

The Myth Of Sisyphus – The guitars and layers of harmonies put this one back in the summer of love for me. It’s a dreamy, psych-pop sort of number that grooves along nicely and makes me bob along happily to the groove. The falsetto in this tune is an awesome detail, and the lyrics continue to offer up excellent story-telling. Good stuff.

You Really Stepped In It This Time – Another killer bass and drum groove pushes this song forward and my bobble-head bouncing-along proves it. I really dig the chorus on this song as well, and again have to call out the cool backing vocals and harmonies throughout. This is a dense, brooding catchy tune and that groove is unstoppable. I like it.

Mission From God – Anytime I hear this line in my head, I can’t help but think of Jake and Elwood Blues. This song has nothing to do with The Blues Brothers, though, and that’s ok. The ominous lyrics came as a bit of a surprise for the violence they imply. Coupled with the sluggish tempo, it makes this tune feel a lot darker than the rest of the album, particularly with the lines that make a nod to Travis Bickle and Taxi Driver. The pedal steel adds a ton of atmosphere to this track and actually sounds almost like a horn at times. Neat. I could imagine this one hitting pretty hard and heavy in the live setting. Cool song.

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