Austin Based Band, The Mammoths Drop “Green Eyes”, A New Single
Written By Ashton Mullinax
Photography By Taylor Czerwinski
What the hell has psychedelic rock been up to in the digital age? It seems as though it has lost almost all of its mainstream footing that constituted the 1960s, being supplanted by the likes of rap, electronica, and even lo-fi bedroom pop. Does no one really care about the deep percussion and intense guitar wanderings inherent to psychedelia? I’d venture to say that we don’t just care about the genre, but we yearn for it, with all of it’s sonic mind-bending and lyrical mysticism—evidenced every time you press play and The Beatles or Zeppelin come pouring through your headphones.
The Mammoths have proven that the genre is still pervasive in musical discourse, undergoing continual exploration and development in their discography. Hailing from Austin, TX, the four-piece boasts a tumultuous blend of blues, psychedelic rock, and funk with resounding vocals, much like their trippy forefathers. Yet there is something distinctly different about The Mammoths. Their sound doesn’t work to merely replicate the stylistic tenets of the genre, but rather develops psychedelia into something that is colored by both past and present influences, as well as their own creative footholds.
Each member has his retrospective musical finesse that combines to produce the band’s sublime synergy: David Kapsner lends the group his incisive lead vocals, as well as his share of guitar and piano, Tyler Rush offers deep bass, Michael Jekot provides trenchant lead guitar, and Tim Durand supplies thunderous percussion. Rush, Jekot, and Durand contribute supporting vocals as well, making The Mammoths a multifaceted musical powerhouse by means of their sheer creative complements.
Their early EPs establish this thoroughgoing sound, giving listeners a firm idea of what the group is capable of crafting and leaving us wanting more of that intense instrumentation. “Green Eyes” is the initial single being released off The Mammoth’s first full-length album and it’s a testament to a more focused approach to their music.
Kapsner explains how the album is a departure from their former songwriting, “On our previous songs we’ve just wanted to smash and we wanted the songs to be super loud, and while we still have some of that in this album, it’s much more focused.” Rush adds that they’ve found that the album “overall is a lot more of a distilled version of what we’ve been making. It’s much more intentional in our songwriting.”
“Green Eyes” demonstrates this refined method as the music is not arbitrary, but rather serves the lyricism within the song as well as the overarching subject matter of the album. Kapsner says as the group employed a conscious approach to the album, they’ve found a general thematic trend: “A lot of the songs are based on seriously touring six months out of the year for the past two years, so we’re home half of the year and gone half of the year.
They’re mostly about leaving people at home and struggling yet having fun on the road. It’s a sense of being gone almost all of the time and the pros and cons of that.”
Operating within the psychedelic vein allows The Mammoths to express the difficulty of reconciling two distinct lives at home and on the road, as well as trying to understand the effects of this divided existence. The word “psychedelic” itself elucidates the work done by the genre: broken down into the Latin “psyche,” meaning “the human soul, mind, or spirit,” and the Greek “dēlos,” meaning, “manifest,” the word further nuances the understanding of this type of music as being an exploration of human experience that’s lived through body, pondered in mind, and felt in soul. Thus, the single illustrates this concept of trying to digest experience and its effects on the self and others.
There’s a distinct sense of restlessness in the lyricism when Kapsner sings, “lying in the dead of night / see the dust flying through the light.” Later mentions of “smoke and mirrors” and playing a “dangerous game” are lyrics that contribute to the psychedelic sense of uncertaintythat there might be something beyond the surface, paralleled by the organ that belies the percussion and guitar.
Ultimately, the writing harks back to the album’s subject matter, Kapsner singing, “but never let too much get in between us,” expressing the changing state of relationships that can be spurred by some sort of obtrusion. “Green Eyes” therefore conveys the concise intention that drives the album’s songwriting, and The Mammoths maintain, “It’s a good representation of the album as a whole.”
Produced by Jeff Saenz, the album is set to release sometime this fall. You can stream “Green Eyes” on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Bandcamp, and be on the lookout for the video coming in the following months.