Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mood Swing - How to Win Big at the Races ep (1989, C&P)

I have no pithy back story to extol on this virtually un-browsable four piece who presumably called San Francisco home.  Are you into the scruffy riff-rock of the Junk Monkeys, Snatches of Pink, or even Material Issue?  The Adam Taub-led Mood Swing were sipping from the same watering hole as the aforementioned, possessing an even grittier
bar-rock ethos with a neurotically romantic bent.  They go beyond the typical guitar/bass/drums trifecta to boot, intermittently incorporating saxophone, and violins among other accouterments.  A quartet of decent tunes capably drive Mood Swing's modus operandi home, with "Exile" and "Reflecting Pool" winning me over with ease. 

01. Exile (In Your Arms)
02. The Sound of Sirens
03. Up All Night
04. Reflecting Pool

1 comment:

Bernal Books said...

I was (and still am) the guitarist on this record. Not my best moments but I did like some of the playing on Reflecting Pool. 1972 Les Paul Deluxe through a Fender Bandmaster and 4x10 cabinet. That’s me on the back cover, shirt misbuttoned. Also somewhat responsible for the double string quartet parts on “Up All Night, “ which includes the violin of Jonathan Segel from Camper Van Beethoven. My late friend Jose Tovar, who played in the San Jose Symphony, wrote the charts for the musicians with me showing him the notes I wanted on the guitar. Most of the strings was mixed out The EP was recorded at Dancing Dog studios in Emeryville ca. singer/songwriter was Adam Taub, who I think is an attorney now. I really liked his songwriting. Bass was a guy named John Mark Dunn and drummer was Brendan Murdock. I think Brendan played later in Jawbreaker – not sure though. JM Dunn I think became an English teacher (as have I). C&P records – stood for close and play. They spelled my name wrong (sigh).
The band was formed at Wellesley College in Connecticut. They put out a few eps and one or two 45s, moved to SF; their song “Big Crush on a Friend” appears on the KUSF compilation “Germ’s Choice.” Germ was a well-known dj at KUSF and my roommate for most of the 80s, and I met the band through him, he might have been their manager for a week or a month. Another EP or album was recorded after this with JM Dunn handling bass and guitar duties. Don’t know if it ever was released though.
Never played live with these guys, and only remember seeing them live once, in someone’s attic/house party show in San Francisco. They covered “Maggie May” and “Bennie and the jets.” Taub was often unavailable and recorded his vocals at some Midwestern studio, IIRC.
The “Races” EP came out, I started a band with J Segel and lost touch with the Mood dudes. For most of the past decade I accompanied Powell St. John, known mostly for his association with Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, as well as his membership in the early Mother Earth. I now live and occasionally play in Saigon.
Nice to see your article and be reminded of these long ago times.