While I was flying from one album to another on Bandcamp, I came across a unique sounding album by Moon Hooch and decided to dig them more. This time my journey backwards took me to New York and its subway platforms. It is known to many people that New York’s subway performers are great in quantity but not many of them are that great when it comes to quality. However, if I heard Moon Hooch performing live there, I would be very likely to stay and listen to them at the expense of missing some of the trains.
Moon Hooch is not a standard trio comprised of Wenzl McGowen on saxophone/contrabass clarinet, Mike Wilbur on saxophone and James Muschler on drums. They all graduated from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Greenwich Village, where they met and started playing around the city. According to the interview on NY Post, they first started playing in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a much more jazz approach followed by the decision of inserting dance music into it as the audience responded more when they did so. They have now begun to attract the attention of the music business for they were invited to open for Mike Daughty on his national tour in 2012 and given the chance to go on a national tour by John Flansburgh and John Linnell of They Might Be Giants, which indicates that they will have a bigger audience in the coming days. However, although they have a residency at Williamsburg’s Knitting Factory now, they still play at stations, which is good as you still have the chance to see their performance in their original starting-point.
Moon Hooch’s genre could be well described as a blend of jazz and dance music sounding very positive. They are irresistibly groovy with catchy melodies from the roaring two saxes and jumpy rhythms while leaving a space for jazz improvisations. Throughout their self-produced album, the energy is never lost and their feel-good sound makes it clear why they can create such excitement on the subway platforms. I believe that they have the same effect on stage as well since it is impossible to stand still while listening to them. Although at some point the songs seem to feel the same, I think it is fine when the wholeness of the album is considered. The last song “Mega Tubes” indicates that they can do also well with a vocal and almost electronica/drum and bass/dub step sound. In addition, they are definitely a band to watch perform live as the energy of the album is high and can be experienced better while dancing to the music. In my opinion, Moon Hooch have done a good job for a first album and seem to be in search of the experimental path in their musical journey, which can lead to even more diverse work with the added instruments and styles. Therefore, rather than talking about the album, let’s enjoy it! C’mon! Dance!