I never would've guessed that Saturday night's Estrogen Highs show was gonna leave me with a newly-minted impression of The Mountain Movers as a harshed-out rock outfit, yet that's pretty much what happened. It wasn't that The Mountain Movers' set itself was all that hellacious, although it was definitely more aggressive than I was used to hearing from them. Stripped down as a four piece, with Kryssi Colorguard adding weird skronking noises and stuff on second guitar and with the distortion level on Dan's guitar switched up to halfway at least, the songs had some added kick to them. Still, the pace was still languid enough to where the drummer, John, could play through most of one song with only one hand (I guess he'd dropped his stick) and still not really miss anything.
The surprise came at the end of the night, when I bought two new cassette EPs, "Come In" and "Get Out", to listen to in the car on the drive home. Dan's deceptively simple-but-elaborate way of putting songs together, with some added piano or horns placed here and there, gives a decidedly psychedelic rock/folk feel to The Mountain Movers' stuff-- or at least everything I've heard up until now. These tapes, on the other hand, are nothing like that. Recorded as raw demos to 8-track cassette, the songs are dirt-level garage thump at its most primitive, like Fireworks or Gories with even less of a budget. Guitars drone and shriek, drums fade in and out, Dan's voice sounds menacingly resigned, until eventually the wheels fall off with a couple of songs stopping dead altogether. The songs are still catchy, though, which is amazing. Really great stuff which I hope some people will make an effort to track down, although right now the tapes aren't up for sale on the Mountain Movers merch site (carcrashavoiders.tumblr.com), with "Come In" also being listed as a Jan. 2011 release so I guess it isn't even officially out yet.
Saturday's show was the release party for the new Estrogen Highs LP, "Friends and Relatives", which is out on Stefan's and Kryssi's new label, Gramery (grameryrecords.blogspot.com). I've only been able to give the a-side of the new LP a glancing run-through so far, so I won't even try to sum the whole album up yet, although it's apparent right away that "Friends and Relatives" covers a much wider territory than any Estrogen Highs release so far: pop stuff, rock stuff, even some outright noise. Their set on Saturday was another free-for-all, though it probably wasn't as erratic as I would've liked, or as terrible as they apparently thought it was (Stefan: "No matter what we do, you people keep standing there watching us. What's wrong with you?"). They played more than a few covers, most of which I forgot to remember, save for the Marshall Tucker one (again) and then "Echos Myron", which Stefan introduced by saying "all these other songs we've been butchering we've actually practiced before, but this next song we've never even played together once."
One of the covers they played the other night will be on their upcoming "Cycles" EP on Safety Meeting, which will fill in the answer of why I can't remember it; hopefully the EP will also have "Kings Run Errands For Me", a pretty awesome song which is on the Estrogen Highs' MySpace but isn't on the new LP. The Mountain Movers also have a new record out, a double LP (three-sided, actually) called "Apple Mountain". Of the tracks I've posted below, "Goodbye Human" is from "The Day Calls Out For You", another Mountain Movers LP which came out earlier in 2010, while the other two tracks are from the "Get Out" cassette. "Weed Queen", of course, is a vinyl rip from "Friends and Relatives".
The Mountain Movers -
"I Had To Stay"
"I Watch The Sea"