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Mutts / Press

“An entirely unplugged affair, the Chicago trio’s third full-length flips the coin on last year’s amped-up companion, “Separation Anxiety,” stripping down to piano, upright bass and drums for a rowdy, rhythmically rich mix of skid row show-boating highlighting biting blues and hootchie-cootchie boogie. Fleshed-out by contributions from This Is Cinema, Hemmingbirds and Lying Deliah, “Permanence,” lurches from sloppy bullfrog bop to crooning juke-joint stomps, spewing nubile truths beneath ragged bar-room ballads while compiling street-wise asides inside scorching carny bargains. Toddling honky-tonk broncos riding grizzled social missiles over melodic boxer’s logic, Mutts’ gruff constructions creep, leap, and enliven, primed in ivory-tickling testifying dancing to rousing vagabond chronicles. Touring this spring throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, and Illinois, Mutts’ vibrant live shows are not to be missed.”

“Chicago’s rock trio Mutts is known for gritty, grungy guitar distortions and loud in-your-face blues rock. But on their newest album, Object Permanence, you’ll hear none of that. Mike Maimone’s guttural vocals take the center of attention, delivering poignant social commentary over stripped down, unplugged arrangements. The band joined Jesse Menendez on The MusicVox to talk about the new songs and the change of sound.”

“With dark lyrics and vocals that sound like unfiltered Camels soaked in whisky, it’s no wonder Time Out Chicago once described the Chicago band Mutts as “Tom Waits fronting a garage band.” Usually plugged in, Mutts will bust out the acoustics to perform songs from their new album, Object Permanence. We’ll talk to the band about the release, and hear some live music.”

“Kindly Provoking The Flames | Mutts lead singer Mike Maimone seems like a man who can go from resting, from sitting on the couch experiencing little to nothing, to suddenly having his brain and everything connected to it light up like the Las Vegas Strip, like all of the pull machines and marquees hitting jackpots… He goes from zero to a hundred quicker than most… He’ll just throw that barroom piano over into the corner of the room and rowdily bang on it as the flames climb the walls and get into the ceiling, where they can really begin their engulfment. Mutts music embraces the inner turmoil, the things that are striven for, the ways that we fall short, the ways we’re let down, as well as the few things that spark us back onto the right track, even if those are the rare moments, the briefest of comebacks. - Sean Moeller Mutts performed 5 songs including two from the new LP, Object Permanence.”

“Dialed down but certainly as intense as some of their previous harder rocking efforts, the new Mutts release has some of the bands best songwriting and a sweet reworking of “Prizefighter” which you first heard on Local Anesthetic off a Mike Maimone solo disc in 2008. Maimone is the keyboardist, vocalist and principal songwriter in Mutts but bassist Bob Buckstaff and drummer Chris Pagnani make the music swing. And sway. I describe the Mutts sound on Object Permanence as late-night cabaret meets Tom Waits meets Kurt Weill in a Wiemar Republic speakeasy. It’s already perched itself as one of the Anesthetic Best of ’13. Enjoy.”

“Chicago trio Mutts’ nimble, funky rhythm section, with Bob Buckstaff on the low notes and Chris Pagnani behind the kit, would be entertaining to watch on its own, but throw in growling, keyboard-wielding frontman Mike Maimone, and you’ve got a monster on your hands. Their fall 2012 album Separation Anxiety focused on Maimone working through the process of coming out, fueling a stormy blast of garage-revival blues with touches of prog and swampy metal. Scant months later, the group is touring behind a new album that represents a nearly 180-degree shift in style: Object Permanence sees them unplugging their amps and digging into their jazz and blues roots, with Buckstaff scaling back to an upright bass and Maimone focusing on grand piano and organ. Comparisons to Tom Waits are inevitable, but more than just approximating one of Waits’ styles or inhabiting one of his many characters, the band members use their own skills and world-weariness to develop an original take.”

“Mutts cover a broad spectrum of blues, from light Southern shuffles to heavy, dirty rock, and singer Mike Maimone adjusts from a gravelly whisper to distorted screaming.”

“Two Mutts LPs on CMJ Top 200 in 2012! Pray for Rain charted for 6 weeks, peaking at #107. Separation Anxiety debuted at #134 on August 28th, then broke the Top 100 at #91 on September 4th!”


"Half Mile" featured on August CMJ Mixtape


“Everyone compares Chicago’s Mutts’ leader Mike Maimone to Tom Waits, and since the singer cops to loving the California cackler, there’s no condemning it. That conceded, though Mutts play hometown indie haunts such as Double Door and Empty Bottle, their ancestral lair lies south of The Loop, from days when New Orleans R&B stars plied black blues joints. When I think Waits, I think Screaming Jay Hawkins, and Maimone howls a lot like the “frenzied” late Jalacy. But his rollicking piano ‘n’ organ-smackin’ funky bayou romps, like the dirty 6/8 totter of “Done it Again,” ooze, crawfish-like, like a garage rock clatter inversion of the filé gumbo-brown swamp stomp of Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Huey Piano Smith, Eddie Bo, Jessie Hill, and later Ernie K. Doe. Wolfman Jack would have loved Mutts; he and Maimone could howl at the full moon together.”

“Rocks like Tom Waits, The Horrible Crowes and Afghan Whigs”

“The raspy vocals and relentlessly hard blues rock of this Chicago three piece makes a whiskey on the rocks sound better than ever before. It’s the kind of edge and dirty soul that just can’t be faked, so filthy they make The Black Keys seem sterile. Critics and consumers alike often argue about what can be categorized as “real” or “genuine,” but there is no argument here, just emotion and energy boiled down to it’s purest form”

“Chicago's Top Emerging Artist of 2011”

“Serendipitous music: that’s what I say I want, as if you can put a microphone within fifteen feet of a speaker and suddenly have the magic of CD level crisp, distinct and distinguishing sound. But that’s how I want it to feel. I think the actual goal is resonance. Resonance is what happens when you play the string of one guitar and the similar string of another guitar in the room hums sympathetically without being touched. So, what happens when people hear organic sounds, human sounds, sounds let’s call raw? We resonate. These sounds ring a similar bell somewhere inside us and we hummm. Ragged and raw is a great way to start to describe the Mutts’s warm and atonal form of badass bluesy rock and roll with rollicking dirty piano rolls, fat stand-up bass, fuzzy-filthy guitars, and heavy, jubilant drums... but with so many angles... so many tones and sounds... all these words are just a taste, a first-bite, start to describing something so human. Give it a listen... stand in the ro”

“Top Chicago Albums of 2011 #26”

“Chicago’s Mutts released their full-length debut, Pray for Rain, late in 2011, but the album still managed to get the attention of college radio and select blogs before the holidays. We are happy to weigh in on this amazing, if divisive, collection of songs as the year races to a close. Pray for Rain, like the Mutts stage show, is not for everyone. The album is too thick and greasy for most pop fans. That said, if you like music with some grit and noise, the album flails and lurches with enough gonzo abandon to make one punch-drunk after listening.”

“They’ve released consistently great music for a while now, blending the most deranged sensibilities of Tom Waits and Man Man into some sort of nightmarish bluesy post-punk – and it’s never sounded better than it does on their upcoming release, Pray for Rain. Pray for Rain opens as explosively as it possibly can with “Fool” and from that moment onwards, it becomes clear Mutts aren’t holding anything back on this one. The first time I heard “Fool” it absolutely tore my head off; the fact it still does is indicative of a surprising staying power which is something that often proves to be the downfall of bands that could be (incorrectly) scraped into the “novelty act” tag. However, here the songwriting, musicianship, and arrangements are transcendent enough to avoid that. Every member is a powerhouse at commanding and finessing their individual talent and it shows in abundance at the immediate outset of this album as well as its closing moments, and everywhere in betwee”

“In all my years of working with independent artists, I have never been as impressed with a band as I am with Mutts… As a whole they’re incredibly talented, passionate, and business savvy. With a lead singer who also acts as manager, and years of collective experience as hired guns, Mutts is ready to make waves in the world of rock music. Since their conception in 2009, Mutts has self-released 3 EP’s, played a countless number of shows in and around the Chicago area, and received glowing reviews from dozens of publications. Known for their intensity, these brothers-in-music have created a recording and performance style that’s just as polished as it is off-the-cuff.”