Mountain Con comes home to Missoula, but only to blow it up

Did I love Beck’s Stereopathic Soulmanure? Baby, I was the kid with the album who showed it to his high school peers and recounted a meaningless story of sort of meeting a legit recording artist. Did I like One Foot In The Grave, featuring four-track recordings with Calvin Johnson? Still like it.

Mellow Gold was the first Beck I heard on the radio before I bought it. KROQ, the LA “alternative” radio station that now prides itself on being an MTV talent farm, pulled itself up to big money by trashing “alternative” pop tracks and trashed “Loser” like everyone else in the industry. And you know, as far as pop tunes go, “Loser” ain’t bad. But there’s a big difference between the slick sounds of country/hip-hop and the authenticity of his early four-track work. That difference is Tom Rothrock, who produced the breakthrough record only to be subsequently dumped.

Now to the ’Zoola connection: Mountain Con—also known as Mountain Consolidated, formerly known as Missoula’s own Elementals—another in the distended list of Montana expatriates studying abroad. Mountain Con’s new album, The MC Stands For Revolution, features Rothrock productions. Like Mellow Gold, it features the “hick-hop,” “strum-and-bass,” (strictly following the promo materials here, folks) of slide guitars and turntables.

References have been made to R.L. Burnside, comparisons to De La Soul and the Rolling Stones, and of course the mighty Beck connection; but I don’t think it sounds like what Rothrock is famous for. In fact, my brilliant friend Mark pegs them squarely when he says they sound like Bran Van 2000 and Sublime—Sublime guitar (minus Brad’s legendary “California guitar” solos), snare drum loops, adequate scratching. Thanks, Mark.

I don’t get the revolution theme, nor the album’s pre-Gorbachev propaganda-styled cover. There’s a crescent and a star between the Mountain and Con that only reminds me of an incredible Louis Farrakhan speech I saw once on public access. The obvious tip to their rap influence (“The MC Stands For,” et al) belies the fact that there is little if no legible rapping on the album; James Nugent is a singer. But they’re all about their boombasticness, and I expect a live show to be completely boogie-woogieable. Mountain Con played at the North By Northwest fest this year, and before they play the prestigious CMJ fest in New York City next month, they bring it all back home with a show at the Ritz on Sept. 30.

Boombasticness! Guaranteed to put you on the dance floor in various states of rotation and gyration! I may even invoke the spirit of Bradley and bring my old Sublime tee. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is hype.
Mountain Con play the Ritz this Saturday, Sept. 30 at 9:30 p.m. Cover TBA.

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