Photos courtesy withinadream.comJust when you've finally earned your post-punk stripes by memorizing the back catalogs of A Certain Ratio and Gang of Four along comes a band like Madman Moon, whose dusty blend of backcountry bass lines and vaudeville-lite piano melodies injects a heavy dose of sonic moonshine into a scene over-saturated with synths and skinny ties.
Lyrically, their songs are not the stuff of smoke-filled poker parlors and old-timey traveling apothecaries—electing instead for vague songs about secrets and lies and a paranoid meditation on alien life forms on "Little Green Men"—but that doesn't mean you won't picture them. Listening to tracks such as "Round the Crowd," a mental playlist develops: the very best of the Steve Miller Band, some Atlanta Rhythm Section (okay, maybe just "So Into You") and, for good measure, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils' "Jackie Blue"—perhaps even a little Honky Chateau-era Elton John somewhere in there too.
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If you're not a smoker, you'll intuitively want to take up chain-smoking—and not any sissy-pants brand like Parliament, either; if you're not a drinker, you'll instinctively grab the nearest tumbler of whiskey or long for a can of Billy Beer. And whether you're listening to them live or in your bedroom, it won't matter—the setting will still be all sorts of wrong, because a band like Madman Moon deserves a twilight set in the middle of some remote clearing, the prairie winds blowing a chorus of oohs, ahs and la-las—and also every brilliant '70s-style guitar solo—past one ear, and then the other, and then into the night sky.
It might feel a little funny at first, sure, but there's no shame in enjoying Madman Moon—even if it means trading your P.i.L. badge and flat-iron for a shabby vest and a handlebar mustache. In fact, it's about time we all did.
MADMAN MOON PLAY WITH BELLEVUE AT LA CAVE, 1695 IRVINE AVE., COSTA MESA, (949) 646-7944. SAT., 10 P.M. FREE. 21+.