Thomas Mudrick - Ten Dollar Recording Co.

Ten Dollar Soup Collection
Released September 7, 2019

CD/Digital Out Now From Ten Dollar Recording Co.

Thomas Mudrick
October 16, 2014

1. Over The Hills
2. Strange
3. Particles of Gold
4. Two Strings
5. Take it Cheesy
6. Shania
7. Earth Nipple Ripple
8. Keep On Keepin On
9. Bipolar Bear
10. Winds of Change
11. Ballad of Richie

Download/CD/Stream: i-Tunes, Amazon, Music Millennium, Spotify

Just in time to cap up your 2014 all in style-like, Silverton, Oregon’s own Thomas Mudrick is back once again with Abiqua, his fourth record since 2013, and another fantastic full-length release out now on Portland’s Ten Dollar Recording Company. Forget any of that claptrap about tradeoffs between quality and quantity - Abiqua is yet another example demonstrating that when you got it, you just got it, and so you might as well pull it out and trot it around a bit. And there’s a good bit to trot around, for sure, with Mudrick’s flirtation with different styles, moods, and tones, strong overall song craft, and zany tongue in cheek lyrics interspersed with more introspective moments that strike a zen balance of goofiness and world-weary wisdom. To suggest that Mudrick refuses to be boxed in to any rote and well-trod genres or categories should be pretty well established at this point for anyone paying attention, but new listener be warned: the musical temperature can change pretty quick ‘round these here parts, so keep yer listening ears on and enjoy the ride.

Mudrick’s penchant for tonal doppelgangery is once again all over Abiqua, an approach that is a lynchpin of his musical warp and woof and one of the most endearing qualities of his songwriting. However, unlike earlier efforts, such as the space-psych throw-back of 2013’s Mongoose Thompson and the Kalapuya Spirit or the chain-smoke kansas flashdance ass-pants party jams of (((boing))), Abiqua arguably has a shade more cohesiveness coursing through it than previous outings, or perhaps a more streamlined final product, along with a more mature and aged sound from Mudrick. Maybe this new level of subtlety is due to Mudrick’s recent induction into the fatherhood club, or rather his near-constant musical output honing in on the philosopher’s stone groove and riding it through to the point break, or maybe both. Still, luckily for us out here in listener-land, the familiar tropes of pirouetting randomly from acid-washed country to hip-hop laced rave-ups to swelling folk strummers are all here as well, so fear not.

As with previous albums, Abiqua’s strongest features may just reside in this underlying thread of the (somewhat) serious nestled squarely amongst the silly and the sardonic. But where the goof aesthetic was often in a state of hyper-overdrive on (((boing))) (which should have been on any self-respecting critic’s “Best of 2013” list), on Abiqua we find Mudrick laying the same foundation but with a slight refrain, or maybe restraint? Sure, there are still party-on tracks such as the blues-soaked "Take It Cheesy", the surf-funk house party of "Shania", the strutting pop steps of "Bipolar Bear" (“It’s never maybe with my bipolar baby” - classic stuff), the hippie throw-down of "Keep on Keepin On", and the jiggly-giggly tandoori buzz of the aptly named "Earth Nipple Ripple". Humor and a distinct unpretentiousness are never very far away on any of Mudrick’s varied releases, both solo and in his group projects, and Abiqua is thankfully no exception here.

But there are also a number of numbers that reign in the antics in favor of settling things in a bit, such as the dusty, trail-worn strum of "Over the Hills", the beautiful sea swell anthem "Winds of Change", and the Mercury Rev parlor piano of "Ballad of Richie", all of which help to cement Abiqua as not simply an album of non-sequitur pop-cultural debris; rather it’s as evident as ever that Mudrick is also a seasoned and maturing artist with some pretty substantial ideas to impart and the musical ability to make it all interesting. Moving into two of its most memorable tracks just inside the door, Abiqua delivers early with the freak-folk jingle-jangle of "Strange" which, boosted by Mudrick’s falsetto moans and harmonies, the straight ahead pacing, space cowboy slide guitar, and rock solid bass, clocks in on the short list of songs herein that are going to be stuck in your head for days, if not weeks. Next up, the neo-Americana laced "Particles of Gold" rings in like a new day, with its opening organ line and finger-picked guitar and banjo line sneaking in like the sun overtaking the last star winking out of the morning sky. Featuring haunting backing vocals by Katie Doyle, "Particles of Gold" is one of the truly standout moments on the whole record, an ethereal concoction of vocal harmony, guitar sheen, warm synth, and forlorn/ecstatic lyrical imagery endemic to the more spiritual side of American folk.

In all, Abiqua’s eleven tracks demonstrate once again that Thomas Mudrick is the real deal: talented, unique of vision, and able to go the distance. Mudrick has certainly got a swelling back catalogue to contend with, and Abiqua marks another milestone in a prolific run of albums that have all been heavy on the goods. If this one is any indication of what’s to come, then we’re all in ship shape. Here’s hoping 2015 has more in store. (Reed Burnam)

Thomas Mudrick
"Over The Hills" Single
August 29, 2014

Not content to sit on his proverbial laurels for long, Oregon’s frequently prolific prodigal son Thomas Mudrick is back with his new single "Over the Hills", a meandering rural swirl of a tune that’s one part whimsy and one part sand in your walking shoes. Forerunning another full-length set for October 2014 release (Abiqua, for Portland’s Ten Dollar Recording Co.), "Over the Hills" follows up the three previous full-length releases Mudrick has managed to put to wax over the past year or so, all stellar, as well as releases from group project Nodding Tree Remedies. Ever the musical chameleon, Mudrick is never content to linger too long on any one sound, idea, or aesthetic, instead choosing to effortlessly cull together frayed musical ends and dog-eared stylistics with all the ease and intent of, say, Mellow Gold-era Beck, though with a decidedly Cascadian deep woods freak slant. "Over the Hills" shouldn’t disappoint fans of Mudrick’s previous work, and will surely be part and parcel to another great album from a musical tune-bender sui generis.

Taking it back to the back roads, "Over the Hills" is all easy folk flow and a straight-ahead progression that lets itself unravel as it wants, with nowhere in particular to get to and longer still to hang out, though the track never overstays its welcome. Upbeat and hum-worthy, what "Over the Hills" boasts by the handful is a fluent country-fried cadence crossbred with a languid swagger that walks the line somewhere between road-weary grit and bright-eyed optimism. The juxtaposition is just aided by drawling slide guitar diddles and sweetened call and response vocal sing-along pieces. "Over the Hills" is simple enough to get the point across without needing to say much to the listener at large, and speaking to the lyrical front, the track never opens up outside of a few lines of verse about hills and the West and doing it all again. And again.

More than just easy listening for the hiking and hash-pipe set, "Over the Hills" is, like a lot of Mudrick’s other songs, reflective and deeper than at first listen. Mudrick has the proven talent and ability to musically shape shift at will, though after much listening to his work, tracks like "Over the Hills" seem perhaps closest to some sort of artistic arc - freak-folk at the core, slightly bleary in the eyes, but played with some fire and full of wonder at the scope of it all. Good stuff: check this one out and keep an ear to the ground for the full-length out October 16, 2014. And get your hiking boots on. (Reed Burnam)

Thomas Mudrick
October 22, 2013

Download/CD/Stream: i-Tunes, Amazon, Music Millennium, Spotify

1. Orange Vibes
2. Soul Glow
3. Banana Peel
4. Kamikaze Minivan
5. Do Me Like Jesus
6. Gurngy
7. Boomarangatang
8. Sun Arise
9. Honey Dip
10. Try Again
11. Blackstone Blues
12. She Turns Out of Time

(((boing))) is the latest release from Silverton, Oregon’s Thomas Mudrick, out October 22, 2013 on Portland’s Ten Dollar Recording Company. 2013 has been a busy year indeed for Mudrick, with a full-length release from his side project Nodding Tree Remedies (The 45th Parallel), as well as a second full length solo effort Mongoose Thompson and the Kalapuya Spirit. Not one to be content with staying too long in the same place, all three records are all over the stylistic map, and (((boing))) stands to be perhaps Mudrick’s strongest effort to date.

Through his varied work with the TDRCO crew, Mudrick has proven himself to be a true musical chameleon, multi-talented and as versatile as a Swiss Army Knife. Furthering and emboldening this stylistic doppelganglery, (((boing)))’s twelve lush and verdant tracks see Mudrick laying bare the variegated depths of his metronomic heart, hewn of one part acid-folk manifesto, one part comedic interlude, and one large dollop of rock solid, root down groove. And make no doubt about it, this album brings it in a way that would likely make Beyoncé or Kanye sit up and take notice if they weren’t so busy admiring their bling or whatever it is they do with their time. To put it in the parlance of the people, (((boing))) jams in the truest sense, with every track its own insular ecosystem replete with the appropriate flora and fauna, at times surprisingly different from the track before it. Still, at the end of the day all the scattershot pieces manage to fall perfectly into aesthetic lockstep, a type of traveling musical circus humming on down the road to the next township.

On (((boing))), Mudrick deftly channels the same ear for off-beat melody, approachable esotericism, and irresistibly ass-shaking beats as anything that late 90’s Ween or Midnight Vultures-era Beck ever birthed, with a number of tracks on (((boing))) giving both of the aforementioned heavyweights a dead run for the money. Add to this that Mudrick personally arranged, played, and produced most of the album’s bevy of miscellaneous instrumentation, and what one is left with is a genuine one-man musical cavalry, capable of spitting off ideas with an ease and originality that the great grey masses of mustachioed neo-college rockers can only dream of. Hell, the guy even throat sings. And well, at that.

For (((boing))), Mudrick is joined by a handful of friends and fellow music-maker types, including Ian Hartley on drums and percussion, as well as TDRCO resident tuneage gurus Ryan Michael Block and Mariya May, among others. Already more than well accomplished in the talent and diversity departments, (((boing))) is certain to become another feather in TDRCO’s cap, and is yet another win for the label in 2013, which has already released a spate of quality full-lengths from the likes of Chance Wiesner, Mudrick and the aforementioned Nodding Tree Remedies, and Block and May’s stellar What in Your Heart Can Put You in a Trance. And we’re talking quality AND quantity here, so don’t get any ideas.

Lashed along the hull of (((boing)))’s twelve tracks, styles twist and turn unexpectedly, rolling and rollicking from the East Asian opium den chill-out of "Orange Vibes", to the vacuum-sealed goof-funk of "Banana Peel", the bloodshot island ghetto cruising of "Kamikaze Minivan", and the polyphonic Jesus and Mary Chain revivalism of "Blackstone Blues". And we’re just getting warmed up, here. (((boing))) is surprising not only given its effortless genre bending, but also due to the slowly dawning realization as each track is followed by the next that Thomas Mudrick is one talented motherfucker. And to top it off, he’s got a grounded sense of humor and quirk, and isn’t holding back on what he wants to do for the sake of you or anyone else. To wit, these are hallmark qualities that we should be demanding from more of our artist types, but that’s another dialectic entirely.

To be sure, there isn’t a dull moment on (((boing))), and likely the first response to the final shimmering strains of iridescent album closer "She Turns Out of Time" is to immediately hit repeat on this baby. And why wouldn’t you want to come straight back to the 70’s AM flower-hour make-out session of "Soul Glow", the barnstorming foot-stomp of "Do Me Like Jesus", the acid-drenched county fair folk of "Gurngy" (complete with bongos and hand-claps!), or the out-of-left-field warp groove of "Boomarangatang"? Tether it all to some choice cover selections, such as a falsetto-hinged dub version of Aaliyah’s "Try Again", or the psychedelic aboriginal sun worship of Rolf Harris’ and Harry Butler’s "Sun Arise" (nice one), and you’re almost there. Closing out with the glittering, embryonic ode to Gaia "She Turns Out of Time", (((boing))) aims to lively up yourself, and there’s no reason why this album shouldn’t be on a raft of "Best of 2013” lists. For those with their ears to the ground, that is.

Thomas Mudrick’s latest opus (((boing))) is out October 22, 2013 from the perennially trend-subverting folk at Portland’s Ten Dollar Recording Company, along with a lot of other ear-stretching stuff that you should definitely take a listen to. So mosey on over and give ‘em a look-see, partner. (Reed Burnam)

Thomas Mudrick
Mongoose Thompson and The Kalapuya Spirit
August 9, 2013
Download/CD/Stream: i-Tunes, Amazon, Music Millennium, Spotify

1. Echoes of The Kalapuya
2. Let it Flow
3. Ants Crawl on Them Too
4. Grey Calculator
5. Valley Creek
6. So Low
7. Fast Forward
8. Toadski
9. Moonbeam
10. Cola Vagola
11. Equinox

Mongoose Thompson And The Kalapuya Spirit offers a comprehensive view of Thomas Mudrick’s love for all things psychedelic. Echoes Of The Kalapuya opens the album with a solo Native American flute piece acting as an invocation, its calming tones filling the atmosphere like the scent of incense after it’s just been lit. It prepares the listener for every selection that follows, which makes "Let It Flow" the perfect counterpart. Easing through the speakers on a cushion of gentle guitars, tambourine shakes, and tranquil whispers ('let it flow, let it go'), it is the quintessential soundtrack to centering the spirit, the embodiment of yoga in aural form.

The sonic cacophony of instruments that fades in on "Ants Crawl On Them Too" quickly subsides, giving away to a steady stream of acoustic guitar strums and sitar twangs. A drum kit can be heard off in the distance as electric guitar riffs work their way through fuzz effects and occasional sub-bass frequencies that shake the song’s foundation. "Grey Calculator" is a sun-drenched stew of rhythm box pulses and vocals that drown in a sea of shimmering guitar chords. It’s probably the closest that Mudrick comes to mirroring the shoegazer goodness of Slowdive or even My Bloody Valentine.

"Valley Creek" returns to the solo woodwind meditative qualities of the opening cut, realigning our focus before Mudrick experiments with other methods of auditory hypnosis. New levels of consciousness are achieved via the cavernous drums and soul-caressing chords found on "Toadski" or the forlorn organ riffs that rise above the dense harmonies of "So Low". In contrast, "Fast Forward" is surprisingly light, a synth-pop distraction amidst heady out-of-body selections. Despite its bubbly bass tones and paper thin locked groove, it retains the airy nature of the other selections, particularly as it comes in for a landing towards the end and hovers slightly above the ground in a cloud of heavenly ambience and improvised guitar motifs.

"Moonbeam" and "Cola Vagola" are undoubtedly the standout selections of this album, taking the listener on an interstellar trip that lingers long after the songs fade out. The former cut is anchored by synthesized bass rumbles as the main melody oscillates back and forth between chords, occasionally interrupted by the whimsical whirs and bleeps of a computer mainframe. If "Moonbeam" represents the preparation before takeoff, then "Cola Vagola" is the view from outer space while orbiting the moon. Expansive in execution and as epic as Pink Floyd’s most lauded material, it borrows the musical elements from "Moonbeam" and stretches them out for maximum eardrum appeal. A chugging rhythm takes over during the song’s second movement and gradually picks up speed until it is a blinding supernova, engulfing everything that came before it in unconditional love and eternal light.

As "Equinox" concludes the album with dreamy waves of sound and disembodied voices, it becomes clear that Mongoose Thompson And The Kalapuya Spirit is a crowning achievement for the Ten Dollar label. Although the imprint has visited these transcendental spaces before, Thomas Mudrick’s latest speaks with the mind and heart of a lifelong resident. It may not achieve world peace, but it can bring peace of mind for all who are willing to give this album the attention that it so rightly deserves. (Jason Randall Smith)

Thomas Mudrick
"Moonbeam" Single

Download/Stream: Music Millennium, i-Tunes, Amazon, Spotify

Coming on like the bubbly tidal shifts of some slow celestial ocean, Thomas Mudrick’s new single "Moonbeam" might be favorably compared to the lingering strains of one of those dreamy, swirling, melodic earworms that one has in the seconds and moments after waking from a haze-ridden dreamstate. And like that slow ascent from the subconscious to the conscious plane, as the arcs and angles and shafts of morning sunlight come further and clearer into view, "Moonbeam" spends its three and a half minutes of runtime bleeding slowly more and more coherent. Blending one part psych neo-romanticism (think the cool, continental landscapes of Air), one part wistful ambience courtesy of late-era Robin Guthrie and the like, and one part bleary-eyed West Coast seafoam hues and palates, Mudrick’s skyfall sojourn is both intermittent soundtrack fodder as well as totally encapsulated inner voyage replete with its own array of compasses and sextants. An accomplished musician of the most eclectic of orders, Mudrick’s work is nothing if not all across the psych map, and his ear for all things space is reiterated here, presaging a 2013 solo full-length on Portland-based Ten Dollar Recording Company – all right!

From the opening 16-bit computer lead-in, Mudrick’s guitar slowly oscillates through the chorus and delay overtones as the other pieces fall slowly into place. Synth hum, deep bass, and a bevy of effects-laden tracks and tracers coalesce slowly into a feeling of being ferried along by rushing water, face-up and floating, as the sunbeams flit down the boughs and branches of green above. "Moonbeam" is aptly extraterrestrial, just as much the soundtrack to the Mars rover as it is a nicely concocted slice of space-age neo-psychedelia, and though the track could very well continue on for a spell longer, its shorter run-time keeps it all the more tantalizing, a momentary segue way on the path to other universal nodes. With "Moonbeam", Mudrick again demonstrates an ear for melody and feel that is always ahead of the curve while remaining pleasantly nostalgic for musical epochs passed, all while he tosses out more solid tunes in a stint than many a band could hope for across a raft of albums. Pop this in your earbuds and get yer head on straight. (Reed Burnam)

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