Mustardmind is a NYC-based indie rock band who just released their first couple tracks, “Wiggle Room” and “Bizarro Versions of You.” The band was formed in February of 2015 by bassist Nick Newhouse and guitarist/vocalist Bobby Lewis, and they recently changed their name from “toast,” proving that they have some sort of fascination with food-related musical objects. They should probably do a song where they slather pieces of toast with mustard and then throw it at drums and record the sounds in ludicrously high fidelity. Stream their non-toasted tracks below:
I’m feeling pretty conflicted about this double/single release. On one hand, I hear a pretty solid variety in feels, dynamics, and textural production – for a new band, Mustardmind is well on the way to mastering the loud/quiet/loud which is so dominant in pop music today. On the other hand, the vocal melody in “Wiggle Room” reminds me far too strongly of some song I heard on the radio in the 90s, but I can’t place which one specifically. It’s not that Bobby’s singing is off – it’s pretty strong/confident and musical, I just somehow find the descending vocal and picked-guitar melody to be derivative. I do love the crunch in later choruses and the drippy synth which has been drizzled over everything, and the rhythmic variation at the end of the track is particularly welcome. I guess my recommendation is that these dudes start blasting more Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Kurt Vile and maybe even Fleet Foxes to find some dank new vocal melody ideas.
The second track is similarly hook-centric, cementing Mustardmind’s approach as one similar to that of many indie bands who toe the line between alternative, rock, and pop music. Again, the production and instrumentals are what convince me in this track – every part is tight and mixed in the correct context, and again I’m loving the synth melodies. The bridge is also pretty delicate and provides a welcome change-up to the chunky guitar verses, and there’s a bunch of cool solos spread throughout the track. I will say that the last vocal fade-out reminds me perhaps a little too strongly of U2 – I guess I would be wary in the future about over-enthusiastic recorded vocal parts?
All in all, I’d say that this release shows a talent for recorded guitar music and potential to become a staple of NYC pop music; in the future, I’ll be looking for cooler album art, some more swanky press photos, and perhaps some different approaches to vocals. You can keep up with Mustardmind on social media and stream their music on bandcamp.