“…the six-man band (complete with French horn, stand-up bass, organs and more) creates a lazy, sunny, brassy, funky, Tom-Waits-meets-Bob-Dylan-under-a-circus-tent atmosphere that might find its way into either a Wes Anderson or David Lynch soundtrack with equal ease.” – Slap Magazine
San Jose, CA: With Don’t Throw Me Away, the Mumlers mark the release of their second album on Galaxia Records and their ascension from beloved Northern CA band to national phenomenon. (Galaxia Records is a longtime Bay Area indie that’s released discs by Black Heart Procession, Jason Molina, Will Oldham, David Pajo and others.) The Mumlers, whose name is taken from William Mumler, a mid-19th-century man famous for claiming he could photograph “spirits,” have ingested 20th Century classic American music styles and morphed them into their own eerie, dreamlike sound, creating an aural landscape littered with funeral-style horns (equal parts New Orleans funeral horns and Southwest flair ala Calexico), classic soul and handfuls of sanctified desert dust.
Don’t Throw Me Away is both irresistible and unsettling, an organic barrage of sound that’s spooky, freewheeling and unconventional, made by a young band that views labels as limiting. The album is similar to the band’s debut, Thickets and Stitches, by embracing the soul that a lot of post-‘70s music lacks. But Don’t Throw Me Away finds the indie/folk/soul collective embracing a darker sound: washes of harmony and sharp percussion set the new record apart from their debut. The album’s distinctive sound comes from the Mumlers’ affinity for analog gear. Vintage tape machines, old preamps, organs, tremolo effects, and “as much old stuff as we could use” give the music its distinctive color and mystery, not unlike the otherworldly photographs of their 19th-century namesake.
The songs were all written by lead singer Will Sprott, whose favorite artist isn’t a current popular icon but Bobby Bland, an underappreciated ‘50s and ‘60s soul singer from Tennessee. As such, soul is the closest genre that Don’t Throw Me Away resembles, but even then, the Mumlers are no throwback or revival act. They’re a band that balances on the fringes of modernity, with touches of blues, folk, and country and a mood that evokes dreams, despair and a certain romantic melancholy.
Recorded at San Francisco’s Ruminator Audio Studio, Don’t Throw Me Away displays the Mumlers’ multi-instrumental talent as well as their lyrical inventiveness. (Sample song titles include the blue collar ode “Coffin Factory,” “Golden Arm and Black Hand” and the wistful title track.). Guest percussionist Elias Reitz (Brightblack Morning Light & former sound man for George Clinton) has an Indian percussion background and provided the uncommon patterns on “Coffin Factory.” Other guests on the album include Eric Perney (Tom Waits), Sarah Jo Zaharako (Gojogo) and Laura Coughlin (bass player Paolo Gomez’s sister).
The band has a lot of fans and friends on the West Coast, having played/toured with Vetiver, the Black Heart Procession, Matmos, Kelley Stoltz, the Morning Benders and Clinic, to name a few. They’ll be doing their first national tour this fall with Black Heart Procession – dates to be announced soon. In the meantime, check out live footage of the band performing “Coffin Factory” and “Tangled Up With You” at S.F. club Bottom of the Hill earlier this year (the Mumlers describe “Tangled Up” as “Screamin’ Jay Hawkins meets a mariachi band”).
Check it out here.