Mawrcrest has had a rather prolific 2012 by some standards. Since about January the band has quietly uploaded tracks on its Soundcloud for Crestheads like me to listen to. Seventeen tracks at last count — minus a few off their debut, which was released under a former name.
For now the creative sprint has been pared to six and bundled in a collection called Demos and Rarities. The album is, I think, as much an album as The 1900s‘ Medium High (2009). In Medium High’s liner notes on Bandcamp, The 1900s describe their album as “a collection of outtakes, b-sides and radical re-imaginings.” And: “Darker, less poppy and looser than previous releases, the mix of songs was recorded at various times, places and with various people, and manages to form a surprisingly cohesive and unique addition to the 1900s catalog.”
Mawrcrest’s Demos and Rarities is kinda like that. It’s a slice of the new stuff arranged purposefully, I think. The package seems to me like a fine successor to that excellent Whisker Music EP whether or not Mawcrest expected it to be one.
Now, Mawrcrest cut a slimming figure with the EP. They tackled a kind of vintage Americana, and set up tight parameters for their content to nestle in.
Those limits have all but dissolved in Demos and Rarities. Albeit flirty with their former selves in “Mystery Shaker” and “Are You Holding” — both tunes dip in the familiar vintage Americana well that made me like these guys — Mawrcrest runs for new terrain in the tracks that precede them.
“Holy Son” is Mawrcrest at their most severe. It’s rigid and kind of unforgiving. I know this because I’ve never described them this way. And then “He’s On His Way” is eccentric punk rock that seems to, somehow, make sense in the Mawrcrest universe.
- The Chicago-based Mawrcrest is still the bomb. | Facebook
- Demos and Rarities is selling for one dollar (or more). | Bandcamp
- Mawrcrest plays at Township (2200 N. California) Friday with The Treasure Fleet, Lenguas Largas, The Resonars and Purple 7. Eight bucks. | Tickets
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