Saturday, September 6, 2008

Molly McGuire - Lime (Epic, 1996)

For many years Kansas City, Missouri was home to some of the best mathy, dissonant, heavy indie rock out there. Bands like Season to Risk, Giant's Chair, Shiner, Boys Life, and Rocket Fuel is the Key came to define the "Kansas City Sound" of the early to mid nineties. Kansas City's Molly McGuire were no exception to this, despite being one of the only bands from that scene to sign with a major label. Its no surprise that the majors came after Molly McGuire, as they did sound considerably more straight ahead rock than some of their more indie-purist peers. The band's discography is not devoid of indie cred though, as they put out their early singles through the indies Hit It! Records (Shiner, Triplefastaction) and Caulfield Records (Christie Front Drive, Mineral) before signing to Epic Records for the full length, "Lime", released in 1996.

"Lime" was produced by Failure mastermind Ken Andrews, as only his second venture into producing records outside of his work with Failure (the first being Blinker The Star's A Bourgeois Kitten - a fantastic album that very well may turn up here at some point). You can especially hear Andrews' influence in the album's opening track, "Coin Toss", which bares a strong resemblance to Failure and other like-minded space rockers such as Hum or fellow Kansas City band Shiner (whom drummer Jason Gerken would later briefly join). Much of the album, however, has almost just as much in common with mainstream grunge-metal bands ala Alice In Chains as it does with Failure or their discordant Kansas City neighbors (sonically speaking, that is). For whatever reason though, "Lime" didn't catch on with mainstream audiences, despite its mainstream rock leanings and a much coveted spot on the Lollapalooza tour. It didn't help that Molly McGuire had serious label issues (a fired A&R guy, a conflict choosing a producer for their second record). When asked in an interview what had happened to Molly McGuire, frontman Jason Blackmore simply responded: "Epic Records happened to Molly McGuire!".  

Eventually the band's members retired the Molly McGuire name to focus on their more traditional rock oriented side project, Gunfighter.  Molly McGuire alumni Jason Blackmore and Jason Gerken played briefly with members of Nothingface (TVT Records) in a project called Kingdom of Snakes, who released one EP in 2004 before disbanding. Jason Gerken is currently playing with the band Open Hand, who have interestingly undergone a radical transformation from Trustkill Records-signed emo/post-hardcore band to quasi 90s rock supergroup featuring Hum frontman Matt Talbott and Season To Risk/Shiner bassist Paul Malinowski. 

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Molly McGuire playing "Coin Toss" circa 1996:


Jonathan said...

Great band and a hometown favorite for me definitely.

Blackmore is doing a noise-rock/post-punk type of band now in San Diego called Sirhan Sirhan. They just released an album on the KC based label Anodyne called Blood.

e said...

classic record, no doubt.

glad you brought up open hand too, really excellent band.