Mod rockers to dowse Toad’s with ‘Electric Sweat’

Mike Schoeck

‘Electrocuted Rhythm and Blues’ is the lay of the land for New York based rock quartet The Mooney Suzuki.
Not only are they the most raw and uncannily discreet band of this day in age, they are also playing several shows in the area in the next few weeks.
Owing dues to live sets of 1970’s groups The Who, MC5 and 90’s fire starters Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Mooney Suzuki are at the helm of recent proto-punk upstarts like The Strokes, Hives and White Stripes.
“Electric Sweat” is the group’s sophomore full length effort, released in April this year on Detroit’s indie label Gammon Records.
The coming together of these downtown Manhattan guys is typical of other New York troupes such as The Strokes and Velvet Underground.
Studying at the Parsons School of Design, guitarist Graham Tyler responded and started sitting in with singer Sammy Davis, Jr., both in their late teens from lower Manhattan.
By April 1997 the Moonies erupted from a 1960’s Mod party at a New York club, and released “People Get Ready” in 1999 after a relentless touring spree. They caught the ear of garage rock savvy producer Dave Crider and released their debut on the West Coast based Estrus Records.
By 1998 the group lapped the U.S. three times touring, performing two shows daily and releasing a score of periodic singles and E.P’s.
After touring nonstop with indie rock giants The Donnas and Bratmobile, the Moonies proved themselves heirs to the throne of blues-punk notables such as the Blues Explosion, the Zombies and even the impeccable live heat of mod influences like The Who, Small Faces and Humble Pie.
The summer of 2001 gave fuel and pushed the Mooney Suzuki’s breakthrough recording onto college rock airplay. Produced by Detroit’s White Stripes father Jim Diamond, “Electric Sweat” is the most sonically succinct rhythm and blues record of the new wave of indie rock.
The title track “Electric Sweat” and “In a Young Man’s Mind” encapsulate the rhythm and blues wake of British mod rock. Back in the early 1960’s, the feedback and chunky garage reverb of The Who’s “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” and “My Generation” became mod anthems for bored youths.
On a recent airing of “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” The Mooney Suzuki flailed a tight Hollywood stage with distorted blues riffs, matching suits, shades and leaps off of vintage guitar amps.
What is truly fascinating and genuine for the Suzuki is how drummer Augie Wilson, 24, can flawlessly replicate multiple snare, rides and cymbals behind the kit much like the often amphetamine-popping percussionist Keith Moon of live “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia” glory. The most versatile a drummer can be, he is able to match guitars equally and precisely, rather than accompany or accentuate.
Among a select cluster of fall dates, the Moonies will be appearing at Toad’s Place on Oct. 29 with Swedish girl-punk band Sahara Hotnights for an 8:30 p.m. show.
They are also one of many top name college rock bands at this year’s CMJ Marathon, playing two gigs with the Hotnights, the first being on Oct. 31 on the Half Moon Boat Cruise, West 23rd Street Pier 63 in New York City. The second Marathon gig is on Nov. 1 at lower Manhattan’s Elbow Room club for a midnight set.