It’s strange listening to the latest rip from Mos Generator, Songs for Future Gods, because its whole aesthetic seems to pull the mind in two different directions. Add a bit of “Acapulco Gold” (incidentally track eight on the disc) to the sounds of a band set to play a massive stoner rock festival in the Netherlands this April, and it starts to get heavy.
The thing is, Mos really can’t be cornered into any specific genre, or, as this album exhibits, even a specific era. They are self-professed “seventies rock preservationists” with the sound of a Black Sabbath Rush crossed with a Deep Zeppelin Floyd, yet sometimes they sing of a prophetic time period, seemingly light years away. The mind is in a constant state of flux between the sonic old-schooledness and these futuristic mental pictures. Then it bounces you back to the present day.
It’s fuckin’ strange, but excitedly intriguing.
When I first picked it up, I didn’t imagine that it would be one of those discs that you could listen to for six-days-straight, but here I am, ten days later, writing with my headphones on, still trying to pick the brain of the Mos Generator.
The journey begins with a walk through “Silver Olympus” – a straight-ahead motor-city starting line for the sci-fi trip through the atmosphere. The trip goes all the way “Into the Long Sleep,” an epic floating through space.
From there, it lets your mind carry on. Where each listener will carry it, is up to their own interpretation.
Port Orchard, Washington, is where it began.
Songs for Future Gods was recorded intimately at Mos frontman Tony Reed’s Temple Sound studio in South Kitsap, which has hosted Northwest notables like Schoolyard Heroes and Kane Hodder. With the producer in the band and basically unlimited time at their fingertips, Mos went to work stripping its sound down to the essence of hard rock.
“It was an intensive process,” Reed said in a stream-of-thought about the album posted at Roadburn Records’ site. They recorded it once in a friend’s band room, and then months later, they recorded it again at Temple Sound, looking for raw energy.
And that seems to be what they’ve found with the rock-steady metal/grunge groove of drummer Shawn Johnson (formerly of Mindfunk) matching a thick stack o’ bass from Scooter Haslip (formerly with Voodoo Gearshift) and power-chorded wailings from the iconic six-string of Tony Reed (T. Dallas Reed of Treepeople fame.)
“We get what we want out of our music, because we are in control of it,” Reed said.
Another Bremerton-based recording engineer and Northwest music buff once told me that anyone who plays (or attempts to play) rock guitar must, he repeats, must see Mos Generator, if only to see Reed’s chops. So I checked out a session at Bremerton’s Winterland. The guitar work was quick and clean, soulful and screaming, massive and old school.
But what’s more, the opening act was the first Planet of the Apes.
Reed notes that quite a few of these songs for future gods are science-fiction-inspired, but for this CD he also wrote his first political song. It’s a track called “Son of Atom Smasher,” and though it was provoked by anti-Bush sentiments and the consequent quasi-longing for a “dick-less” president, Reed added, “It’s hidden behind so many double meanings, that’s the way I always write … I don’t even know what (“Son of Atom Smasher”) means, it was just a cool title.”
All of Songs for Future Gods is kind of like that. It can wrap your mind around itself and have you thinking for days without fully grasping its true meaning.