Some of the most inventive new music is coming from "unknown" bands in the greater San Francisco region. Through my connections with Fractal I have been a fan of Headshear for many years and now MirthKon have released their first full CD, "Vehicle". Fractal and Headshear have played many gigs together, and MirthKon founder Wally Scharold played in Headshear for a while a few years ago.
I have seen MirthKon play a few times, and they are currently on a west coast tour, having recently played SF and Berkeley, they are in Hollywood on June 5th and San Diego on June 6th, then Chico on June 18th, and Eugene and Portland on June 19th and 20th. They have a conceptual video extravaganza to enhance the musical experience at live shows.
So, what do they sound like? Well, lets start by saying that if you like Frank Zappa, and wished he was still putting out new music, then you will be very happy to take this Vehicle for a ride to Joe's Garage. Its impossible to really say what Zappa sounds like, since the mix of styles and influences is so diverse, but MirthKon have some of the same elements, along with their own unique character. There is a strong dose of humor, very complex rhythms and time signatures, some jazzy vocals on a few tracks, but a largely instrumental mix that combines clarinet and saxophone with guitar, bass and drums
They dub it "The first full-length CD from the Bay Area's most hyphenated thrash-jazz-prog-chamber-core ensemble", which probably doesn't help much. I have been happily playing it over and over again in my car for the last week, expand your musical horizons and support local music by getting your own copy....
Wally Scharold - guitars, vocals, composition, sound design, conceptual design, text, video, producer
Rob Pumpelly - guitars, composition
Nat Hawkes - bass guitar, vocals
Carolyn Walter - piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
Jamison Smeltz - alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, vocals
Matt Guggemos - drums and percussion
Jarred McAdams - video, text, conceptual collaborator