Stateside has been on a bit of a psych kick lately, having featured Ponytail and Meat Puppets in this column and scoring a rare copy of The Monkees' "Head" soundtrack on vinyl. Earlier this month, a colleague turned me on to the New Haven, Connecticut band M.T. Bearington. His timing could not have been better.
In 2006, Matt Thomas (aka M.T.) was between projects, when he started using the Mac software application Garage Band. He began recording songs, and shared a few tracks with Jason Hammel of Mates of State, the celebrated San Francisco-based indie pop duo. Hammel encouraged Thomas to enlist some musicians for live shows and introduced him to Carlos Wells, who released a collection of Thomas's home recordings on his label, Safety Meeting Records, in 2008.
Since then, M.T. Bearington has performed all over the U.S. and Canada, sharing bills with Of Montreal, Lupe Fiasco and Deerhoof, amongst others. On Valentine's Day of this year, the band released its first proper album, "Love Buttons", on Safety Meeting to great acclaim.
"Love Buttons" combines elements of folk, pop and baroque music and features the standout tracks "Here's Your Mood Ring, Honey" and “Pictures" alongside the vaguely vaudevillian "Car Crash". Fans of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart take note, this is supremely twisted and extremely musical stuff, indeed.
M.T. Bearington is currently working on a follow-up record, tentatively entitled “Silent Immortals”, which promises to be about a gang of vampire mimes. Stateside is stocking up on garlic in advance.