Labor Day weekend. Seattle's First Avenue is filled to capacity with cars, many driven by individuals whose driver's training is token at best. I am trapped in the gridlock of hulking metal cocoons, windows open, trying to pretend I'm elsewhere. The radio's on — Seattle's own KEXP of course — but I'm focusing most of my attention on surviving my drive unscathed. Looking out at the gleaming hot car hoods, I am slowly lured out of my traffic-loathing stupor by a grooving track about California — Mountain Con's North to California. Sunny bright guitars, organ, harmonica, and a steady drum beat brought me an instant reprieve from the claustrophobia of motionless cars.
Dusty Zeros Dirty Ones, Mountain Con's latest LP, fuses lo-fi with digital to fashion bluesy anthemic grooves that reinvent Americana for the modern age. Mountain Con juxtaposes artifacts of modernity like siren wails and CB radios against traditional banjos and slide guitars to underscore the unique sounds of each. Samples and break beats live happily with harmonicas and Leslie-cabineted organs, creating multilayered tracks that defy classification.
James Nugent's distinctive vocals merge cultural critique, folk lyricism, and pop sensibilities: the ideal complement to Mountain Con's instrumental eclecticism. The record evokes an American July — warm, vibrant, full of activity. With autumn sneaking closer and the grey setting in, this is a great record to help you remember just how the summer months feel.