In October 1999, Monroe Mustang were invited to attend the Crossing Borders Festival in the Netherlands, an annual musical gathering organized by the VPRO (Dutch Public Radio) that tries each year to unearth all the best kept secrets in independent music internationally. For Monroe Mustang, the motley crew of Texan / Oklahomans who reside in Austin and prefer to record at home and rarely travel to perform, this was a special treat for two reasons. Not only did they finally experience the joy of performing in unfamiliar territory, but they were also afforded the opportunity to be recorded live in VPRO's studios -- their first taste of third party production of their music. Engineered/produced by Berry Kamer, Jan Hiddink and Maurice Woestenburg, the result is almost a full-length's worth of largely acoustic, perfectly paced music that culls together the best moments of this youthful outfit's career -- songs from their post-psychedelic masterpiece THE ELEPHANT SOUND and from their glorious debut full-length PLAIN SWEEPING THEMES FOR THE UNPREPARED (Trance Syndicate, 1998). Also, in the mix, are new, previously unreleased songs that are their strongest material yet.
If you are unfamiliar with Monroe Mustang, they are a bit hard to categorize. They may well be the most successful example of a band that is run democratically and yet vigorously creates sublime, brilliant music on a consistent basis. All five members, Taylor Holland, Michael Linnen, Chris Linnen, Brian Barry and Jason Stout, share singing duties and make it a habit of rotating instrumental assignments -- both onstage and in their home studio. (The gist is -- if you were to gun down two to three members of the band, regardless of who was taken down you would still end up with the better half.) Sonically speaking, you can't help but think that the Monroe Mustang contingent may have been around since the early 70's.
(JAG024 released: 09/11/00)