What happens when a group of monstrously talented musicians get together and throw a bunch of seemingly random musical styles into one pot? In the case of The Young Mothers, a juggernaut of a collective formed in 2012 and featuring a super group of heavy-hitters who have helped steer the direction of creative music in New York, Chicago, Texas, and Scandinavia, very good things. The Austin-based group has garnered a small following locally and in Europe, but it seems only a matter of time before the rest of the world gets hip to their freshly creative melange of hip-hop, jazz, punk, spoken word and punk rock.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the group’s new album Morose, which is out June 22 on Self Sabotage Records. Within seconds of the album’s first song “Attica Black” it’s clear The Young Mothers are here to give you something you’ve never heard before. The song smoothly fuses jazz, biting hip-hop lyricism, and Afro-beat. “Black Tar Caviar” takes things in a completely different direction with its instrumental almost freeform saxophone solo backed by a cacophony of percussion before thrusting the listener into a bass-driven explosion of sound. There are more moody and atmospheric instrumentals that find the group in an almost meditative state as they craft trippy soundscapes. Throughout the album, the band reels back and forth from moments of complete musical chaos to sonic beauty. They cut through both with tracks that are intense and abrasive punk rock, rounding out an album that is truly one of a kind.
Bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten sums up the album in his own words: “a lot has changed since I initiated this band in 2012, it has grown into its own thing with a truly collective spirit. I created a monster and its time to let go.”
Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (The Thing; Free Fall; Atomic) moved to Austin, Texas in 2009. He’d experimented with stateside living for a few years in Chicago before that, but the city of barbecue, food trucks, and outlaw country music has become his home base. Texas has a deep creative music history, but most Texas improvisers found their notoriety elsewhere, seeking to escape segregation and poverty for a chance to ‘starve a little better’ on the coasts. However, the Texas of 2018 is not the Texas of 1958 and the groundwork for this potent convergence was laid around a decade ago in Houston when Ingebrigt met and linked up with trumpeter/rapper Jawwaad Taylor(Shape Of Broad Minds, MF Doom), and what became a transliteration of his Chicago Sextet into a scrappy Lone Star variant called The Young Mothers has formed a group identity all its own and now has a second album under the belt (their first, A Mothers’ Work Is Never Done was self-released in 2014). Instrumentally The Young Mothers has some similarity with its Windy City relative – in addition to sharing drummer Frank Rosaly and Flaten, the vibraphone chair is held down by percussionist & diabolical vocalist Stefan González (Yells At Eels, Akkolyte), and Jason Jackson (Alvin Fielder, Pauline Oliveros, William Parker) on tenor and barry is their saxophone firebrand. Furthermore, the group features guitarist Jonathan Horne (Plutonium Farmers, ex-White Denim) and prolific wordsmith and improviser JAWWAAD on trumpet, electronics, and rhymes, and it is here that structural similarities between the Young Mothers and Flaten’s other folksy-modal projects end.
The Young Mothers was named after a Houston community project for teen mothers (Project Row HousesP) that Flaten’s then-partner had been a part of, and while it may strike one as an odd moniker for a group that melds free improvisation, Tejano-inspired horn lines, the long unfurling electricity of surf rock, tough word-science and crust metal vocals, but relocating to a then-unfamiliar locale and birthing/raising a melange of sonic approaches into a working ensemble is not insignificant, if not quite actual motherhood. (On a side note; another strong connection to the Project Row Houses is the Houstonian artist and legendary sculptor Jesse Lott who made the beautiful album art!) Anyways, while they may have exhibited a homespun ricketiness in the beginning, through touring nationwide and after several festival performances and tours in Europe they’ve honed their sound into something truly their own, and one that’s not insignificantly comparable to historical melds in Scandinavian-American-World Music – the work of Don Cherry, Maffy Falay’s Sevda, and more recent efforts from Two Bands and a Legend and The Cherry Thing successfully merge varied strains of contemporary music with creative improvisation. Flaten’s round, deep tone and precise attack certainly act as an anchor, a fulcrum for sculpted vibraphone resonance, the dry breaks and shimmering floes of Rosaly’s kit, all of which stoke Horne’s flinty guitar and the throaty exhortations of brass and verbal declaration.
Morose will be available on LP, CD and download on June 22, 2018 out via Self Sabotage Records (Pre-order at Big Cartel-Self Sabotage).