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Moon Hooch
July 10, 2014 5:30 PM   Subscribe

NPR's Bob Boilen (host of All Songs Considered): "People ask me all the time to name my favorite Tiny Desk Concert. It's my desk and I've seen almost all of the nearly 400 concerts up close. So you'd think this would be easy. Moon Hooch have made it a lot easier." (video)
Moon Hooch blew me away with just two saxes and a drummer. Their music is a mix of the best jazz, EDM and rock have to offer. It's out there, it's danceable and you may find yourself feeling a sense of reckless abandon!

The band is saxophonists Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen, and drummer James Muschler. They all studied in New York at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and every single moment of every song I've ever seen them perform has been full throttle. They call their music "cave music," taking the best elements of electronica — the brutal stops, starts and shifts — and performing those unnaturally precise hairpin turns organically by blowing on horns and banging on drums. This for the boldness in all of us. Embrace Moon Hooch.
Village Voice: Moon Hooch Offer More Sax Than You Can Handle - "A DJ has recorded music and does live effects, we have recorded effects--we play to a computer--but the music is all live, so it gives us the musical freedom of jazz, but the precision of a DJ. We bring the two worlds together." The result is a live, jagged, infectious, danceable and acoustic sound they've dubbed "Cave music." ..."We all are music nerds and developed this language of Cave Music influenced by minimal techno, house music, dance music, dubstep."

New York Post: From busking to Broadway - "The trio... have earned a strong following from playing on the MTA’s platforms over the past 2 1/2 years. They’ve also begun to attract the attentions of the wider music world... Some New Yorkers go underground just to watch them play... there ain’t no platform party like a Moon Hooch platform party."

*Moon Hooch on Bandcamp (first album - free streaming audio)
*Moon Hooch official website
*Moon Hooch official YouTube channel
*press release for their new album + summer tour dates

YouTube videos:
*Cattle Dance Party (at Polyface Farms)
*Number 9, live (New York Downtown Jazz Festival)
*Number 4
*Smiling Sun
*Milk and Waffles
*Alarm Clock
*Moon Hooch in Union Square Subway Station, live (Artrunk)
*Take the L Train (BalconyTV)
*Contra (Wreckroom)
*Contrabass Dubstep (Signal Kitchen)
*Megatubes (official video)

previously (included in larger post): musical notes from the underground
posted by flex (41 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes! I saw Moon Hooch open for TMBG last year and they were really great. Absolutely hypnotic and just a ton of fun.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:56 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


C.F. TOO MANY ZOOZ
posted by stbalbach at 5:56 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


THIS IS AMAZING HOLY CATS
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:06 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


Awesome!

They are playing at a street fest in Chicago on Sunday
posted by srboisvert at 6:11 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


This is the new band I'm into.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:24 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Cattle Dance Party is the greatest thing ever.
posted by Flunkie at 6:29 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


1. You have completely made baniak's night. I showed him this (he plays saxophone) and he said "HOLY SHIT THAT BAND."

2. YAY WE ARE GOING TO GO SEE THEM SUNDAY.

3. This is the best. Thank you for posting it!!
posted by bibliogrrl at 6:30 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Jesus these guys kick ass.

Great post.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 6:46 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


When I saw these guys my brain was just like "Yup". And then my body was like "OKAY". And we were all friends for once.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:47 PM on July 10 [11 favorites]


I'll take fries with this.
posted by iamabot at 6:51 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


If you want to know all my secrets put me in a room and play this.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:55 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I first heard them while listening to a recent episode of ASC on the train and, truth be told, I was not super into the song when it began. Fast forward to three minutes later when I emerged from my deep musical trance to feel the judgment of the stranger sitting next to me as I realized that I was train-jamming like I had never train-jammed before.
posted by that silly white dress at 7:03 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


On the surface they look like they are all over the map but they are actually very, very tight and precise. Sort of like Vachel Lindsay on a sax...
posted by jim in austin at 7:12 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


This make me miss Mark Sandman.
posted by foggy out there now at 7:13 PM on July 10 [9 favorites]


I have seen maybe 10 percent of all the Tiny Desk concerts, but, from even that sampling, this, in my humble, is far from the "best." Yes, YFTDCS. Here's NPR's Tiny Desk page. Throw an imaginary dart at the screen. K'naan? Kronos? Buika? Simone Dinnerstein? Chuck Brown?? That's just to start.
posted by the sobsister at 7:43 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I love how the cows run away....then come back....then run away again....then come back....
posted by rtha at 7:46 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I first heard them while listening to a recent episode of ASC on the train and, truth be told, I was not super into the song when it began. Fast forward to three minutes later when I emerged from my deep musical trance to feel the judgment of the stranger sitting next to me as I realized that I was train-jamming like I had never train-jammed before.

I know! When the Tiny Desk Concert started, I was like "oh god, white boys noodling. So over that." Two minutes later, it was like I could not physically contain myself and living room dance party.
posted by lunasol at 7:46 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


I think I will try this out as running music.
posted by srboisvert at 7:48 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


I have a slightly irrational love for anyone who can play a baritone sax well.

This is good.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:00 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I saw them open for Mike Doughty at the Fillmore last November. They were amazing.
posted by mike3k at 8:17 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Yeah, like uncleozzy I saw them open for TMBG last year, and I've never seen an opening act get people going like Moon Hooch did. Nobody really knew what to expect when they came out, but all their songs are about imperceptible buildup, and before anybody really knew what was going on, the place was going insane. Fantastic group.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 8:22 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Here I was just a few minutes ago bemoaning the tragic lack of saxophone in present-day music, and here comes a band merrily honking away on two of them.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:30 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


I saw Moon Hooch & Mike Doughty when they came through Portland. Great show, shitty acoustics. (Mike Doughty replied to my email (!) and said the Wonder Ballroom was the only venue they could get on their schedule.) I hope they tour again, and play somewhere with better sound.

The same guy who kicked off my Soul Coughing era (which followed on to Mike Doughty's solo career) also told me about Moon Hooch, whom he'd seen playing in a subway in New York. I owe that guy a lot of beers!
posted by spacewrench at 10:00 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Just listened to their album Moon Hooch. A few like Number 9 are fantastic. Some of the rest are a bit boring.
posted by e2e8 at 11:31 PM on July 10


I saw these guys open for TMBG in Milwaukee a while back and the audience was completely blown away (myself included). After they were finished, the crowd was going nuts, and the band gaped with wide-eyed joy and disbelief at the response. I went to greet one of the members after the show to tell him how much they rocked, and he was absolutely sincere and gregarious. Good people.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 5:00 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


I first heard them the first time All Songs Considered played one of their tracks and was really impressed. It's one of the first things I'll turn to on Spotify if I need to get up and move.

Those trilling and screeching noises the tenor makes always reminds of Sim City for some reason.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:14 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite bands of all time is Antennas Erupt, which is the same lineup, plus cello (and slightly less polished).

I never knew I had a need for tightly composed, but completely bonkers saxophone jamz, until Moon Hooch became my other favorite band
posted by baniak at 5:57 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


Hadn't heard of them until I caught them opening for Mike Doughty in Austin last year - was impressed. Glad to see them doing Tiny Desk Concert & this FPP.
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 7:21 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Oh MetaFilter, you introduce me to a neat band there is absolutely no way I would have discovered otherwise* the same weekend they are performing at a festival less than a mile from my house. You so crazy helpful in a "no rest for the wicked" way.

I have a slightly irrational love for anyone who can play a baritone sax well.

I understand this so much I almost irrationally started arguing there was nothing irrational about that kind of love. Basically so irrational I wanted to start redefining words.

(This is pretty much true for me and most musical talent though.)

* Except following other local MeFites on twitter.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:40 AM on July 11 [5 favorites]


Holy shit these guys are fucking awesome. Great post. Right up my alley.

My only complaint about this is that why would you tie a heavy thing to the neck of your Mark VI!?!?! (or is that the point...)
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:49 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


This make me miss Mark Sandman.

Whoa. I know no higher praise. Off to scrounge up some headphones and watch this right now at work. Deadline be damned.
posted by Naberius at 9:12 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Flagged for gratuitious saxual content.
posted by schmod at 9:18 AM on July 11 [3 favorites]


If you get Amazon Prime their eponymous album is available there, too. (And is now happily playing on my iPad).
posted by yoink at 10:10 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Wowza! It could only better if John Zorn dropped in on a parachute and started beating a sax with a five-pound hammer.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:15 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


My only complaint about this is that why would you tie a heavy thing to the neck of your Mark VI!?!?!

It doesn't look very heavy at all. And Mark VIs are built like tanks.
posted by Camofrog at 11:39 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I like these guys. Good chops, and an interesting, well-thought-out concept, executed with lots of energy.

But - and I know this is largely incompatible with busking - I'm thinking I'd like them even better if they had a bass player, at least.

Some of these things sound like "Music Minus One" grooves to me, and I'm finding that the timbral pallette of just sax and drums, combined with the use of very similar beats on several of the linked selections, is wearing out its welcome in my ear before the song(s) is/are over.

I can definitely see how they'd be very infectious and fun when heard live, but I'm not sure I'd want to sit around at home listening to more than 10 or 15 consecutive minutes of them. (And yeah, I know the difference between made-for-dancing music, and made-for-listening music, I'm just saying these guys probably fall into the former category, at least for me.)

Not trying be all "your favorite band sucks" here, just wondering if anyone else had the same or similar impression. If not, don't mind me and please carry on with your enjoyment.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 3:24 PM on July 11


Having listened to the whole album I have to say it's a bit samey (and, yes, I realize that there are multiple versions of the same numbers on it). It's always enjoyable, but you do start thinking "don't you think it's time to start mixing things up a bit?"
posted by yoink at 6:26 PM on July 11


I also saw them open for TMBG last year. Loved the traffic cone added to the bari.
posted by ericales at 12:48 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this!
posted by safetyfork at 6:06 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Moon Hooch: NPR's Bob Boilen's favorite and now performers at an official MetaFilter meet up.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:00 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Haha, I also made a trip to the Square Roots fest from Milwaukee to see these guys play. Super interesting time. Two saxophones, EDM beats and minimal vocals was probably too fringe for the friends I dragged down the Lincoln Square, but at the same time, the crowd easily ranged from 9 years old to 70 with a pretty even distribution of old fogeys and young adults, and everyone loved it.
posted by midmarch snowman at 4:20 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


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