My mom is only my mom until I'm eighteen
Photo by Bob Richards
Well, this is it. The suitcase is out of the closet; the months of crusty dishes are simmering in the sink. A cold wind's already threading through the Montreal nights, confirming the creep of fall. Tomorrow, I'll be back on the Amtrak, taking in the green landscapes before they're shedding their dead leaves. After a three-month high, I've been errantly wandering this city these last few days. I've been getting all contemplative and shit, reflecting on my run here, wishing I could somehow prolong this truant summer a little bit.
It's not quite an extended vacation, but Mas Y Mas's new EP, Sum-mer, might just do the trick. Besides the à propos title and the swimming-pool-blue cover, this Virginia band ably sums up the spirit of the season. Their songs are all about headstrong youth and impetuous antics, with music just as gleefully raucous to match. The EP's pretty ephemeral too--five songs cranked out in just over ten minutes--emphasizing the P far more than the E.
Three of the tracks are live versions from the highly-acclaimed Proud Sponsors of Pepsi, usually a lazy cash-in tactic but one that really works here. The songs document how Mas Y Mas transforms in concert, hypercharging album cuts into faster, meaner, hardcore-inspired terrors. When lead singer Vinny howls, "No talent, no rhythm, no guts, we're the kind of band that America wants!" on "Hi!," it sheds its usual aloofness and irony for a kind of undistilled desperation. It feels young and stupid and brash and alive all at once.
My favorite moment though is their new song, "Summertime Runaway." It renders their attitude of rebellion and escape explicit, while carrying over some of their live energy to the studio. It also sports their signature playfulness, opening with overenthusiastic wails of "Whoa-oh-oh!" and a crude take on realizing when you're all grown up: "Fuck holding a grown man's hand." It's about living for weekends and stretches of freedom, about mixing things up and being mixed up. It's extremely fun and sunny and even kind of sad, and just like the time that inspired it, it's over before you're quite ready.
You can order Sum-mer on vinyl for just $4.50 from the band's website here or download it for free on their label Sound/Friends here.
* MP3: "Summertime Runaway" - Mas Y Mas from Sum-mer EP
* MP3: "Hi" (Live) - Mas Y Mas from Sum-mer EP [Buy it]
* Website: Rock So Tough
* MySpace: Mas Y Mas
In related news, you really need to watch this video, which has media insiders already buzzing about Oscar shortlists and which A.O. Scott recently called "one of the most important short films since 1962's La Jetée." Nerd Litter is proud to present the music-blog premiere of Archie Coates' "Mas Y Mas dancing on my parents' countertops."