Monday, February 25, 2008

Releases : Mezzanine Owls

It has got to be tough to come from a neighborhood that is becoming increasingly associated with indie rock – guitar, driven, dramatic, artistic indie rock. Which is what the hipster, East Side of LA seems to be celebrating these days. An awesome group of LA guitar bands – that range from shoe-gaze to pop – have been popping up that all feature aggressive and awesome guitar work. The Happy Hollows, Death to Anders, Silversun Pickups and Radars to the Sky all come to mind.

And while the “indie scene” in the first half of this decade (let’s say 2000 to 2005) seemed (by me) to be dominated by bands from the East Coast of the US (or maybe just Brooklyn?), more and more of the national buzz seems to be shifting west to LA.

We’ll see if any bands break as big as the Silversun Pickups did last year -- but I sure am hopeful/fearful that that’ll soon happen to one of the above mentioned bands. On the other hand, the increased number of bands and the increased attention from national media has made it tough for all the good LA bands to succeed locally, much less succeed on a national level. ‘Cause let’s be honest, there is only so much spotlight to be had. And there are a lot of LA bands.

One of the bands that seems poised for something bigger, and hungry for national attention, are The Mezzanine Owls. A four piece indie rock band based out of LA’s east side scene. I saw them for the first time in ’07 and I wrote a little live review of their show last year at the Make Out Room on Duke’s blog, You Set The Scene.

In case you didn’t read that thing on YSTS, I’ll reiterate the basic sentiment here : I think The Mezzanine Owls are some of the nicest, hardest drinking, flat out coolest people you will ever meet. They are a blur of whiskey and good times and great rock songs.

And … the point of this post is to announce that the group has a new record. They will be releasing a vinyl 7 inch single this week on Ashley Jex’s Jax Art label. While I haven’t been a big fan of many of her past releases, she’s recently put out several good records by local LA acts like the Pity Party, the Henry Clay People and the Mezzanine Owls.

Of the three releases I’ve heard, the Mezzanine Owl's single, Snow Globe is by far my favorite. Soooo good. And like I said before, while I am not a big fan of Ashley’s releases, these last three feature some cool pieces of music wrapped up in great cool, vinyl, limited edition artwork. More info about the release and an MP3 are available after the jump. Go!

These are the stats about the release : the vinyl is a limited release of 500 copies and you get a free digital download card with each purchase. Limited edition vinyl is one of my favorite things, I guess it is something of a fetish, and I am excited that I will be able to add this 7” to my collection LA band vinyl (the only other current LA group that I have on vinyl is the Monolators, I think...).

The vinyl A side is Snow Globe and the B side is a tune called Temporary Health. For those not into the vinyl, there is also a digital ep available for purchase that contains those two songs as well as the songs Ghost Ship and Drift.

The only tune I’ve heard from the record is Snow Globe, but as far as singles go, I think this is one of the better ones I’ve heard in a long time. I don’t mean to draw comparisons toooo much, but it has that same instinctive like-ability that Silversun’s Lazy Eye had – I heard it the first time and already felt attached to it. Like I had heard it a hundred times (in a good way).

One of the things that has always stood out for me with the Mezzanine Owls, and on this track as well, is Pauline Mu’s drumming. Slightly off-kilter and with lots of clever snare fills, Mu does a great job of subtly shifting the dynamics of Snow Globe from “big and tight” to “big and open”, like an expert truck driver shifting gears to make a really steep grade and then shifting back, grinning, as she comes careening down the other side at 100 miles per hour.

Jack Burnside’s lead vocals on Snow Globe are loose and little yelp-y, and the lyrics are often poetic in tone without being academic or dramatic and on the Owls make great use of backup vocals on the track -- at about 1:00 the backup vocals drop in, like some kind of stereo chant taking place in a big room. I imagine that they recorded them with druids (does that even make sense?).

I love this band. And this limited edition is going for $7 right now - no shipping - so I would recommend you drop by and purchase it and that you go see them at their big release party the Echo on February 26th at if you can!

UPDATE : Shit! I just listened to the Henry Clay Single -- Working Part Time -- so good. Listen to this shit on the imeem :

BUY : Mezzanine Owls - Snow Globe 7"
DOWNLOAD : Mezzanine Owls - Snow Globe (MP3 via

LINK : Mezzanine Owls Myspace


Dany said...

death to anders = quality

i'm way into radars to the sky as well.

ashley gets two big thumbs down though. jkjkjk!

JAX said...

dany come on now. I know you dont hate mezzanine owls. :-P

Malcolm Sosa said...

I plan on getting you both drunk in austin and releasing you into a cage together.

JAX said...

oh weve already cage fought. sloan kicks my ass

im officially sending you the valley arena full length. you seriously dont know what your misssing dude

Malcolm Sosa said...

Is dany getting the full length or me? Both?