Mittenfields, The Fresh Sum EP

Mittenfields, The Fresh Sum EP

There’s a great, great looseness to The Fresh Sum, the debut EP from Washington, DC band Mittenfields; it’s the kind of laidback, everybody-does-their-thing kind of feel that I hear far, far too infrequently these days. Hell, since the late ’90s, in fact.

It’s the sound epitomized by indie-rock bands like Superchunk or Archers of Loaf, where the rhythm section rumbles along, holding things down, while the guitars — three of ’em, in this case — all squall and wrestle over the top, exploding in bursts of feedback and static and just flat-out noise but still somehow holds tight to a melody line (or lines) as things roll along.

And to their credit, Mittenfields pull it off, and well. I love those overfuzzed, hazy guitars, which slide between shoegazery dreampop and amps-on-fire Hüsker Dü roar with nonchalant ease; I love the staggering, stuttering drums that sound like they’re almost about to fall apart but never quite do; I love bassist/singer Dave Mann’s droney, melodic basslines; and I love Mann’s rough-edged, half-howled vocals.

There’s a fair resemblance to Superchunk here, definitely, but there’s also some Pacific Northwestern post-grunge rawness (think Treepeople), a heavy dose of head-nodding shoegaze, and a cool, cool hint of Harvey Danger or the wholly-underappreciated Possum Dixon in that strained, frenzied voice of Mann’s.

I’m having a hard time picking a high point out of the five tracks here, although the “thick”-sounding intro bit and skypunching chorus very nearly puts “Goliath FTW” on a level up above the rest. But hey, that almost feels like unfair favoritism; I’d much rather just put The Fresh Sum on and let it run the whole through, then do it again, and again. Hell, yes.

[Mittenfields is playing 3/12/12 at Cactus Music (5:30PM), then at Super Happy Fun Land as part of the SXSW Overflow Fest, along with a bunch of other bands.]
(self-released; Mittenfields -- http://mittenfields.com/; Mittenfields (Facebook) -- http://www.facebook.com/mittenfields)
BUY ME: Bandcamp

Review by . Review posted Monday, March 12th, 2012. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “Mittenfields, The Fresh Sum EP”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » SXSW Overflow: Day Four (Dope Body, Dustin Wong, Mittenfields, Backwords, & More) on March 12th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    […] of Loaf, Treepeople, or Smart Went Crazy, with the added edginess of, say, Harvey Danger. Look over here for the full review I wrote about […]

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