M.U.T.T. - Bad to the Bone
“the band embrace the sugary and direct hooks of the Ramones and dirty it up with some glammy rock stomp in the guitar department” – No Echo
“explosive vocal delivery and driving guitar tones” – IDIOTEQ
From the genre-defining power pop of The Flaming Groovies in the 70s to the breakthrough success of Jawbreaker’s gruff but saccharine melodic punk in the 90s, San Francisco’s longstanding legacy as an invaluable piece of the American underground musical landscape is hard to overstate. Emerging as worthy torchbearers of that legacy are M.U.T.T.
After the premature and fraught implosion of his previous band Culture Abuse, John Jr. was left unsure of how to proceed. Between a fizzling long- distance collaboration and an aborted hardcore project, nothing was quite falling into place. But after sending some home recordings to fellow Culture Abuse alum Matt Walker, the ghost of an idea began to take shape. At Walker’s behest, Junior booked time at Jack Shirley’s Atomic Garden Studios. In need of extra hands to fill out the lineup of a quickly emerging full-fledged band, Junior reached out to two more former Culture Abuse bandmates, Isa Anderson and Shane Plitt. In short order, a lo-fi bedroom project had morphed into a fully realized group, eager to move on from the shared trauma of their previous band’s dissolution. Thus emerged M.U.T.T.
On their raucous and pleasantly succinct debut LP, Bad To The Bone (Quiet Panic Records), Junior imagines M.U.T.T. as everything he wishes Culture Abuse could have been but wasn’t. In place of radio-ready choruses and ever-slowing tempos are unrelenting, frenetic, four-chord punk anthems. As much a love letter to the sleazy glam rock that was once California’s chief export as it is to the bare bones punk of The Ramones, M.U.T.T. is the musical equivalent of four friends out late on a warm summer night, looking for an empty parking lot to party in. Bad To The Bone is a masterclass in punk’s signature utilitarianism, offering up only the essentials and leaving little to the imagination. Evoking the charming trashiness of Amyl and the Sniffers and the hook-laded simplicity of early Joyce Manor, M.U.T.T. has hit the ground running and with each piston pumping in perfect rhythm.
At its core, punk has always served as kind of therapy for its devotees, and M.U.T.T. is that principle in action. Acting as a cleansing fresh start for its members, Bad To The Bone is a document of a band picking up the pieces and moving forward the only way they know how. They don’t want to reinvent the wheel. They don’t want to change the world. They just want to play good old fashioned rock and roll. And man, do they ever excel at it.