Thursday, December 13, 2012
WRAPPING UP 2012 with Mowbird
How will you remember 2012? As well as the crooks, liars and continued selling off of our future for profit (see yesterday's Q&A with Adrian Flanagan from The Eccentronic Research Council for an effective summary), I will remember it in part as the year I heard 'We Sell Maternity Swimwear' by Mowbird.
The "surf-punk quartet from Wrexham” (population 42,576) take inspiration from a couple of decades worth of US alt-rock leading lights: Malkmus, Barlow and Lytle and their noisier acolytes including Times New Viking, No Age and The Black Lips . Their somewhere-between-lofi-and-nofi DIY ethic extends to all the band do: self-released EPs (two this year: “We Sell Maternity Swimwear” and “The Quiet Despair of the Starship Enterprise”), hand-screen printed T-shirts, zines and poster design, tour booking and of course the type-written personalised notes that come with releases. They even stuff high quality Welsh air into the packages they send out. You don’t get that from the major labels.
The band’s Ben Sawin offered up these reflections on the past twelve months.
What I/we will remember most about 2012 is...
The apocalpyse/playing at Green Man Festival. In 2047, we will be saying to our android grandchildren and their electric goats, "Your creators prepared for the end of the world with copious amounts of alcohol and dancing in an underground bunker. The world didn't end."
What should be forgotten about 2012...
As little as possible. Especially Mitt Romney.
The best gig we played was...
The Gold Room, Glasgow. It came at the end of a really terrible day (our van broke/we could've died/we spent a LONG time in Glossop). We eventually got to Glasgow, found out the Gold Room was a bedroom occupied by the raddest Scotsman Jackson. We played with three amazing bands (North American War / World Peace / Furrow) in the most DIY venue we've ever been to, and had the best time doing it.
The best gig I saw was...
We all went to see the reformed Grandaddy the week after Green Man Festival and it was surprisingly fresh, d-e-lightful.
A record from 2012 that will be still be played in 10 years time?
John Maus “A Collection Of Rarities”, Islet “Illuminated People”, Cate Le Bon “CYRK”, The Evens “The Odds”
Overlooked in 2012?
Mr Dupret Factory - a London-based post-JPEG/worrycore band.
And what can we look forward to in 2013 from Mowbird?
An album / a split 7” with Sex Hands on Popty Ping / a big, big payout from PRS; one of us going mad with the excitement, killing the rest of the band in a meticulous and well thought out manner, escaping maniacally with the riches only to return weeks later, funds extinguished, to face the music.
A pool of bloggers recently put together a Blog Sound of 2013 list as an alternative (not a challenge) to the BBC list. For my first (and only?) contribution to this, one of my five tipped bands for 2013 was Mowbird, who subsequently didn't even make the long-list. Not sure if this says more about me or about the other contributors? The fact that Polydor-signed LA slushy soft-rockers Haim appear on both Blog Sound and BBC Sound lists is a sad state of affairs... a triumph of marketability over all other kinds of ability in my book.
But for crunching together noise and melody with quality and distinctiveness in North Wales’s largest town, Mowbird still get my vote, this year and next year. The band finish their 2012 with a gig at Central Station in Wrexham on 23 December.