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Boston_Hassle on 05/09/2014 at 03:00PM

THE MULES - s/t 7" - Mid-00s Boston freakaaay, nasty spazzoid post-punk dance party

This band was probably the most fun thing happening in the Boston underground music scene circa 2003-2004. Beyond this 7" (released by BODIES OF WATER arts and crafts (full disclosure: my label) there was also a demo tape with their original drummer (which was recorded in a strange wooden room in the far corner of the basement @ my old house/ venue in Brighton, THE HOSS). So fun. THE MULES sound was a truly rambunctious thing, a hyper, spastic art punk with nods to garage rock, noise rock, and the overarching cool underground music of that moment in whcih they existed, post-punk. If there was one band who defined what THE HOSS was to me, it was this bunch. Doug on guitar, Marin on keys, and Jose on guitar/ bass. Jose and Marin taking most of the singing duties. The drummer situation was a revolving one (as it so often seems to be). Here on this recording Elliott, their final drummer, plays the role. They played with OLD TIME RELIJUN at that show house in Brighton, and the match was perfect, and should give you an idea of where THE MULES were at in their time. The band broke up several times, and thus had several reunion shows. And with each show, as happens, the number of people aware of their music grew and grew. The final final final show was, if my memory serves me, @ another house show space called CASTLE GREY SKULL, in Allston. And it was mayhem. A final happy FUCK YOU from a band who lived on the fringes, wanted nothing more, but certainly deserved more. 

I went on tour with THE MULES and our friends, and another band on my label, WILDLIFE (they later became WILDILDLIFE) in probably 2005. One of the better shows on the tour was @ a Chicago warehouse called MISTER CITY, home to the awesome noise rock squelchers COUGHS, who hooked up the show. It was the first time I ever saw DAN DEACON, and beyond that the performers must have been pretty noisy. I remember this because a comment that an audience member made to one of THE MULES after their set has been fused to my memory of the band itself. I don't know who said it, or to whom it was said, but someone came up to the band after their set that night as I stood nearby and said something like, "The noise sections in your songs shouldn't make any sense, and certainly have no right being there. But it does make sense, and it works. Good set." That interaction sums up this band for me: straddling multiple, at times disparate genres, but making it all work, and making it all fun as hell. The mincing of the genres that THE MULES smashed together has become more common place in the decade since they rocked basements, but that ability to make it all fun remains elusive still.

This 7" was recorded somewhere @ Emerson College, for free by someone (thank you unknown engineer). Perhaps it doesn't capture the true raucous nature of this unwieldy group in teh live setting, but at least something exists that can be pointed to, to prove that this band existed. I will try to dredge up that demo tape @ some point, if any still exist. I will also try to find the original cover to this 7" (the image included on this 7"'s album page is the color version of what appeared in faded black and white on the 7"s back cover), as that too has perhaps been lost to time...

Members of THE MULES went on to form great bands such as: MMOSS, SPF ALOT, DOUG TUTTLE, BAROQUE PUNKS, EGGPLONT, WORLD MAP, DRUNK DAD, and PROTOKOLL. In particular DOUG TUTTLE has gained a good deal of notoriety and acclaim for his contemporary take on psychedelic pop, and other strains of psychedelia.

- Dan Shea (bostonhassle@gmail.com)

 




Copies of this 7" still exist!!!!

If you would like to get your hands on one please email: thehossboston@gmail.com

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User Comments

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