Their 2006 self-titled full-length debut sold over 10,000 copies in its first month…without the promotion or distribution of a major label.
w/As Tall as Lions
The Pageant, St. Louis
Has it been a while since you were truly impressed by a band whose sound is unique enough to defy any single form of categorization? If so, you just might want to give MuteMath a listen; their multi-elemental style of music has been described as electro-alt/rock, indie experimental-pop, and even psychedelic gospel. "I blame it on the past 40 years of music" is how MuteMath mastermind Paul Meany has apty summed up his band’s difficult-to-pigeonhole genre.
The New Orleans quartet began in 2001 as a duo collaboration between Meany on keyboards/vocals and drummer Darren King providing the beats. They soon became a quartet, and in 2004, formed their own label, Teleprompt Records, and self-released an EP; selling an impressive 30,000 copies strictly through heavy touring and networking sites like MySpace. Even more impressive was when their 2006 self-titled full-length debut sold over 10,000 copies in its first month…without the promotion or distribution of a major label. (I double-dare you to name another band that’s done that.)
The success of that CD’s first single, the highly infectious, super-catchy "Typical," transformed MuteMath from cult-ish status to mainstream rock stars. The song made it to the # 35 position on the Modern Rock chart, was featured on a Discovery Channel commercial and even, oddly enough, was sung by a contestant on American Idol. Two years later, the band recorded another highly successful song, "Spotlight," for the soundtrack of the wildly-popular film Twilight; this song reached the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Singles chart in February 2009.
Despite all of their well-deserved success and good fortune, MuteMath almost broke up due to the tension that developed during the recording of their second full-length, Armistice, which, after much delay, came out in August. When they couldn’t agree on which 10 of the 16 songs should make the final cut, they sought focus and direction from an outside source. After meeting producer Dennis Herring (Jars of Clay, Modest Mouse), they decided to take his advice to not use any of those songs, and instead start over from scratch. In a remarkably short three months, all of the new material was written, and the band traveled to Herring’s Oxford, Miss., studio to record the album with Herring as the producer. Armistice, unlike its predecessor, features horns, drums and symphonic strings, and has consequently received both praise and punishment from various music magazines and websites.
MuteMath’s October 23 show at The Pageant will be the band’s first time in St. Louis since their awesome yet way-too-early-in-the-day side stage performance at a Pointfest at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in September 2007. What should you expect from their show? I believe the following quote, taken from virb.com, says it best: "The band acts on the idea that their magic is to be found in the mixture of countless thoughts. Their live show thrives on this random energy, and also involves homemade instruments, live sampling, a junked-out keytar, and the kind of freak-outs that keep any given performance worth the price of admission." | Michele Ulsohn
MuteMath appears at The Pageant October 23. Tickets are $20 advance/$23 day of show, with a $2 surcharge for minors. Call 314-726-6161 for more information.