(By Leanne Ridgeway, Owner/Chief Editor, RiffRelevant.com)
Last month, we shared news that Mos Generator is direct support for Fu Manchu’s tour in May, and we also premiered their new video. We now have updated ‘Road Rats Tour’ dates, plus details about the new ‘Shadowlands’ album.
After a few months of teasing, we finally have all the dirt on the new full-length release from the Port Orchard, Washington’s heavy rock steady ruling trio of Tony Reed, Sean Booth, and Jono Garrett.
‘Shadowlands’ is due out on May 11th, via Listenable Records in Europe, with U.S. street date tapped for May 18th. In January, Mos Generator finished the last of three recording sessions, with the first two sessions in June and November of 2017. Mr. Reed completed the mix and master last month; and all recording, mixing, and mastering were done at his HeavyHead Recording Company.
Online pre-ordering details will be coming soon from Listenable, and the band also hopes to have physical copies available for their ‘Road Rats Tour‘ dates. Keep tuned in here for confirmation over the next few weeks.
Tony comments on the album:
“Right from the opening song, Shadowlands is a record that, to me, feels more honest than our previous releases. On this record, I introduce many other styles that I enjoy but they are intertwined so subtly that it doesn’t interrupt the classic MOS GENERATOR sound.
That is a balance I’ve been looking for over the last few albums and I think the presence of Jon Garrett and Sean Booth have a lot to do with achieving that balance. It’s a heavy rock record that breaths and if I had to describe it further I would say it mixes ’70s style heavy rock, progressive rock, and also has some weird ’80s and ’90s underground rock nuances.”
The eight-track studio offering is swathed in the cover art of Adam Burke / Nightjar Illustration [Pilgrim, Satan’s Satyrs, Hooded Menace, Artificial Brain, and more]. As a long time appreciator (and mini-collector) of Mr. Burke’s beautifully surreal illustrations and paintings, this artwork nearly knocked me over at first view. It is absolutely stunning, both the album cover art version and the original painting. (Yes, I had to have the original for myself.)
Shadowlands – Track List:
2. The Destroyer
3. Drowning In Your Loving Cup
4. Stolen Ages
5. Gamma Hydra
6. The Blasting Concept
7. Woman Song
8. The Wild & Gentle Dogs
At this time, no public digital stream is available, but believe me when I say that this Shadowlands has zero filler. Listening to it for the third time as I’m typing this, from the start of the title track throughout song after song, it’s heavily thick with riffs and rumbling rampage, and it relentlessly rocks. While I’ve enjoyed most every Mos Generator release thus far, there is something slightly different in this album’s overall sound.
Yes, it’s heavy rock, it incorporates some progressive elements, it has that bit of MosGen spicy weirdness flavor that I love, but there’s something distinctive about Shadowlands. If there is such a thing as ‘hearing’ a feeling of comfort, then you can hear how their continuous live touring over the past few years has enhanced the trio’s comfortability with each other. The album ebbs and flows and floats and glides, all in roaring rhythmic unison.
Each song allows their respective instruments to shine through – at perfect points right where you didn’t even realize your ears needed to hear it, yet the trio amazingly complements each other with their individual styles. I’m sure much of the final mix and mastering added to this sonic balance, but keen ears can tell the difference between ‘fixing’ and ‘enhancing’ it. Mr. Reed brought out the best from their already great songs, then weaved gold into that solid fabric. You can’t generate (pun intended) that feeling into music if it wasn’t already there in the original playing to begin with.
I’ll stop myself here, before I end up giving a full review just because I can’t shut up. 🙂 I’ll wait until I’ve had more time to absorb the whole album and can also share a digital stream with you. Suffice to say, if you’ve liked any Mos Generator song or album, you’re in for a mighty tasty treat with Shadowlands. Seeing and hearing these songs performed live will soon be a personal joy. If you haven’t gotten a ticket for one of their shows yet, each date’s event links are below.
In the meantime, we have much insight from Tony Reed about each track:
“I would say this was the first song written for the album. The file timestamp says July 3rd, 2016, is when we did the 1st demo in Henry Vasquez’s garage on a day off during a U.S. tour. Like Gamma / Hydra, we wrote the song in only a few hours and it hasn’t changed much since. The only real difference between the demo and how we play it now is that it has a shuffle feel to it and the dynamics are more controlled. That comes from touring the song. It’s the only new song we’ve been playing regularly in our set.”
2. THE DESTROYER
“This song came from a recorded jam session in August 2016. It’s gone through a few changes over three different demos until now it possesses an “Immigrant Song” feel. There were two studio attempts at the song with the second one being the keeper during session #2. It’s the only MG song with double bass. Another strange note about this song is that the verse vocals are taken from the demo and inserted into this final version. They were performed at two different tempos, so I had to do a bit of moving around. I figured I couldn’t improve on the demo vocals so I tried this process and it worked.”
3. DROWNING IN YOUR LOVING CUP
“Loving Cup was first recorded by me as a demo to present to the band. I had the riff on my phone for quite some time before I got to it and when I did the rest of the song was written very quickly. I sent the demo to Jono so he could listen to it and be prepared for the recording session and we cut it during session #1. I think this song shows that no matter how far we stretch the boundaries of our sound, we always seem to stay in touch with the original idea. This song could have easily fit on the first album.”
4. STOLEN AGES
“This is another song that was built from a jam and was recorded the day after it was written. We ended up using two different ideas on the same theme. On the demo jam, the song changed over the course of 20 minutes and when we were reviewing the session we thought it would be cool to marry the different styles. Part one has a loose psychedelic jam style and part two has a great pushing metal boogie feel. As I am writing this paragraph, I am taking a break from arranging the vocal melodies and guitar overdubs. This is the second of two songs to be arranged during session #3 in January 2018. There are quite a few ideas that we laid down to the recorder that we’ll get to in the future.”
“This song was originally released as a split 7” with Year of the Cobra in 2016. We wrote and recorded it in three hours on a Tascam Portastudio 464 four track cassette in our jamroom at the end of January 2016. We never re-recorded the song, we just added and replaced some of the instruments while leaving some of the original cassette tracks in the song. Segments of the guitar track, the vocals, and the Mellotron are all from the original session. This song sounds like me when I was 22.”
6. THE BLASTING CONCEPT
“Named after a two-volume series of compilation albums released on SST Records in the early 80s, The Blasting Concept is an 11th hour song written and recorded during session #3. It’s a new sound and feel for the band and I can tell it’s going to be fun to play live. The song was conceived during a two-day writing session in January 2018 and then recorded the next day. It’s about the healing power of loud music.”
7. WOMAN SONG
“Riff II”, “The Lady Vanishes”, “Passion Pure”, this song had quite a few working titles before I settled on “Woman Song”. The vocal melody is a play on “Jungle Love” by Steve Miller and I believe that the music is written around the vocal. There are two versions of the song and this is version 1. Version II has an extended drum/vocal intro and a long slow James Brown / Grand Funk influenced breakdown section after the first chorus. We decided to go with the simple approach on this one.
8. THE WILD & GENTLE DOGS
“This track is built out of a jam that Jono and I had during a writing session in August of 2016. He started playing a beat that he uses as a warm-up exercise and I thought it would be cool to build something around that feel. I thought it had a King Crimson vibe to it so we just jammed on it for 7 minutes and I figured I would work on it and we would re-record it during the next recording session. When I started working on it I thought the take had a great feel and a natural lifting dynamic.
Much to Jono’s dismay, I decided to keep the first run-through and what you hear is the first time we ever played it together. The original drums and “Live” guitar still exist but as you can tell I’ve done a ton of overdubs. The acoustic intro was something I was already working on and it fit well to lead off the song and give it contrast.”
- MOS GENERATOR is (left to right in the above photo):
- SEAN BOOTH – Bass
- TONY REED – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
- JON GARRETT – Drums
Below is a full updated list of all tour dates. I’ll be at the 5/12 show (maybe others), come hang!
Tour Dates: (click each event for details where available)
- 4/20 – Couer d’Alene, ID – Hogfish (w/Sower)
- 4/21 – Kalispell, MT – Rocky Mountain Riff Fest
- 4/25 – Tacoma, WA – The Valley
- 4/26 – Grants Pass, OR – The Haul
- 4/27 – San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside (w/Slow Season, Lowcaster, Kook)
- 4/28 – Las Vegas, NV – Dive Bar (w/Slow Season, Black Pussy, Sonolith)
- 4/29 – Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar (w/Child, Salem’s Bend, The Rare Breed)
- 4/30 – Cardiff, CA – The Kraken
ROAD RATS 2018 – May – **supporting FU MANCHU:
- 5/1 – Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge**
- 5/2 – Albuquerque, NM
- 5/3 – Dallas, TX – Curtain Club**
- 5/2 – Austin, TX – Barracuda**
- 5/5 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall**
- 5/7 – Atlanta, GA – Vinyl**
- 5/8 – Raleigh, NC – Kings**
- 5/9 – Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel**
- 5/10 – Pittsburgh, PA -Brillobox (w/Limousine Beach, Horehound)
- 5/11 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts**
- 5/12 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom**
- 5/13 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall**
- 5/14 – Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place (w/Fox 45, 9LD)
- 5/15 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop**
- 5/16 – Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups**
- 5/17 – Detroit, MI – El Club**
- 5/18 – Toronto, ONT, CAN – The Baby G (w/Low Orbit, Ol’ Time Moonshine)
- 5/19 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge**
- 5/20 – Sioux Falls, SD – Total Drag Records
- 5/22 – Denver, CO – Streets of London Pub**
- 5/23 – Denver, CO – Streets of London Pub**
- 5/25 – Seattle, WA – Substation (Record Release Show w/Hex Rays)
- 5/26 – Bremerton, WA – The Manette (w/Hex Rays)