Not content with being another bearded Americana band, the Moondoggies did some shape-shifting for its third and latest album, out August 13 on Hardly Art. By adding multi-instrumentalist Jon Pontrello, the band now covers new territory, divining inspiration from Pink Floyd, Blonde Redhead, and the bayou blues of Mississippi John Hurt. “Red Eye” is a hard-rocking debut single; “Midnight Owl” an upbeat “surf strut”; “A Lot to Give” a polished sonic jam. As a result, Adios I’m a Ghost is a record as rich and deep as the Big Muddy. A full album stream of Adios I'm A Ghost is currenlty available over at Paste. The Moondoggies celebrates the new album's release with two nights of shows at Tractor Tavern on August 16 and 17.
For our latest Fiendish Conversation, we chatted with the Moondoggies' singer and guitarist Kevin Murphy about the new album's feel, scrapping songs, and home turf skating.
What’s your favorite aspect about Adios I’m a Ghost?
The main thing is that it’s the most live that we’ve recorded. We had more time and were able to get more of the feel of playing us playing at the same time, rather than tracking the whole record. The whole experience out there (at Bear Creek Studios) was really nice because it was in about ten minutes from where we grew up. It was kind of nice to be feeling like we’re on our turf a little bit.
Part of the delay between the last record, Tidelands, and Adios I’m A Ghost was because you scrapped a lot of material at one point. What was the reasoning behind that?
Our bass player left and came back, and when he came back we wanted to approach it in a fresh way. I think we kept two songs. I feel like a lot of the stuff we scrapped had become kind of cannibalized. There’s some good stuff in there, but I just didn’t feel like we could go forward with it and actually feel like we put our best foot forward.
What’s you’re favorite show that you’ve seen in the past year or so?
I saw Roger Waters and that was one of the greatest things ever. I’ve seen a lot. I don’t want to say some of the local ones were better than any, so I’ll just go for the big guns.
What local up-and-coming bands do you think people should check out?
I like Case Studies a lot. That’s Jesse from Duchess and the Duke’s new project, they have a new album (This Is Another Life) that’s really good. Le Sang Song is one that I like gets kind of (looked) past. That’s Craig, who was the singer for the Lights, it’s him and wife’s project. And one that’s probably just a matter of time is Rose Windows.
What are your opinions about music critics?
I’m actually really opinionated. I think a lot of them are filling a quota and they don’t really sit down with music. With me, if there’s something I don’t necessarily like right away, I’ll just say, “I don’t like it yet.” A good example is when I first heard Tom Waits. It sounded really bizarre to me. And then at the right time and the right place, it hits ya. I think originally I felt more affected by any kind of negativity, but I started meeting music critics and I realized that they don’t hold any kind of secrets to the universe. If anything, they know less than a lot of musicians do as far as what goes into stuff. There’s not a lot of people in the trenches, going on tour with bands nowadays. It’s just kind of click and play. I think there’s not a lot of depth to it. It’s just kind of vomiting out opinions.
What are you looking forward to as far as the release shows go?
All the openers are really great (Country Lips, the Quiet Ones, Gold Leaves, Widower). It’ll be a good couple nights of celebrating. I don’t know if anybody’s going to show up for this, but on the August 10 we’re having this funny Skate Deck listening party up in Everett.
A skating listening party?
It’s at the Everett Skate Deck. It’s kind of like a funny thing; rather than going to a bar and listening to it, people can rent skates. We’re going to be DJing a bunch of stuff, and then putting the record on. It’ll be a bunch of eight year olds. Eight year olds and fifty year olds.
Aug 16 & 17 at 10:30, Tractor Tavern, $15
The Moondoggies' Skate Rink Listening Party
Aug 10 at 5, Everret Skate Deck, $5