Explosive horn-and-percussion trio Moon Hooch—Mike Wilbur (horns), Wenzl McGowen (horns), and James Muschler (drums)—will release their third album, 'Red Sky,' on June 10. Mixing elements of indie rock, virtuosic jazz and pulse-pounding electronic dance music with a DIY spirit, the album captures the spontaneous, entrancing energy of the band's live shows, while at the same time demonstrating the marked evolution from their early days busking in the New York City subway system with just two saxophones and a drum kit. "Psychotubes," the first track to be released from 'Red Sky,' is available now as a free download at Moon Hooch's website: http://www.moonhooch.com/psychotubes/
"What we discovered playing in the subway is that the more focus and the more energy you put into the music, and the more you listen to everything around you and integrate everything around you into your expression, the more the music becomes this captivating force for people," McGowen explains.
Recorded at The Bunker studio in Brooklyn, 'Red Sky' is nothing if not captivating. The album opens with the tribal urgency of the title track and proceeds, over the next 45 minutes, to utterly demolish any and every possible barrier that could stand between the music and the dance floor. On "Shot," Wilbur sings a stream of consciousness vocal line over an airtight groove, while "Psychotubes" channels apocalyptic fire. The staccato intro of "That's What They Say" gives way to a gritty, late-night come-on of a saxophone line that's far more suggestive than any whispered words ever could be. Wilbur’s expanding role as a vocalist is once again felt on the haunting "Sunken Ship," which points to an evolving depth and maturity in Moon Hooch's sound.
Though the band is heavily inspired by electronic music, they made a conscious effort to use as little in the way of "studio tricks" as possible on 'Red Sky,' aiming instead to capture the sound of their live show, which has developed significantly over the past few years. Onstage, the band now plays through a "Reverse DJ" setup, in which the live sound from their horns runs through laptops to process recorded effects. In addition, they utilize Moog synthesizers, as well as an EWI (an electronic wind instrument that responds to breath in and to touch) and other more traditional instruments like clarinets. Wilbur added vocals to his repertoire, and Muschler, meanwhile, immersed himself in tabla studies in India, which has subtly been making its sonic presence felt.
'Red Sky' follows 'This Is Cave Music,' the band's 2014 sophomore release, which earned rave reviews from critics and fans alike. NPR hailed it as "unhinged" and "irresistible," praising each musician's "remarkable abilities" and naming their Tiny Desk Concert one of the best in the prestigious series' history. The band has also taken to activism on issues like environmental sustainability, while becoming outspoken proponents of the benefits of meditation and a vegetarian lifestyle, which helped secure an invitation to speak and perform at TED Talks last year. The trio initially turned heads in the music industry with their self-titled 2013 debut, which introduced their charismatic, unconventional sound to the world, but by then they were already well-known to straphangers in New York, who would react with such joy and fervor to their impromptu subway platform sets that the NYPD had to ban them from locations that couldn't handle the crowds.
Moon Hooch is currently on the road and will continue to tour throughout 2016, including upcoming shows in Europe this May.
April 20 - Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair (Sold Out)
April 21 - Fairfield, CT - Warehouse
April 22 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
April 23 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of the Living Arts
April 24 - Morgantown, WV - Mainstage
April 26 - Richmond, VA - The Broadberry
April 27 - Greensboro, NC - The Blind Tiger
April 28 - Atlanta, GA - Terminal West
April 29 - New Orleans, LA - The Howlin Wolf
April 30 - New Orleans, LA - The Orpheum
May 5 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
May 6 - Columbus, OH - Park Street Saloon
May 7 - Nashville, TN - Exit/In
May 15 - Moers, Germany - Moers Festival
May 16 - London, UK - Rich Mix
May 21 - Berea, KY - Moonshiner’s Ball
May 27 - Norwich, UK - Norwich Arts Festival
May 30 - Bristol, UK - The Lantern
May 31 - Liverpool, UK - Arts Club
June 1 - Glasgow, Scotland - O2 ABC
June 2 - Bergen, Norway - Nattjazz Festival
June 12 - Newport, UK - Isle of Wight Festival
June 16 - Hammonton, NJ - Bearfest
June 18 - Wurtsboro, NY - Destination Moon
June 24 - Londonderry, VT - Frendly Gathering
June 28 - Vancouver, Canada - Coastal Vancouver Jazz Festival
June 29 - Victoria, Canada - TD Victoria International JazzFest
July 2 - Lewes, UK - Love Supreme Festival
August 11 - Darrington, WA - Summer Meltdown Festival
August 13 - Tamarack, ID - Huckleberry Jam