The Murder City Devils plan to kill it at The Blank Club on Aug. 20.
When the Murder City Devils disbanded in 2001, the Seattle group were drawing more fans to shows, were no longer struggling to make ends meet, and were scheduled to produce another LP for their label, the storied Sub Pop Records. But none of that really mattered, according to MCD lead singer, Spencer Moody.
“If you’ve been in a van and sleeping in hotels with six people for several months and realize it’s been like three weeks since you’ve said a single word to each other, then you’re like, ‘Oh maybe we don’t get along,’” Moody recalls.
After taking several years off, the group began playing casually again in 2006. Earlier this month, MCD released their first new record in more than a decade, The White Ghost Has Blood on Its Hands Again—a looser, wilder and more furious set than anything they put out in the ’90s. And yet, while the new songs are in many ways darker and more venomous than anything the band has ever done, the members of Murder City Devils have never been happier or gotten along better.
“I think of the new record as a really angry record, but in a more healthy way,” Moody says of White Ghost, which the band will draw from when they play The Blank Club next week, Aug. 20.
On their earlier albums Murder City Devils mixed the rough-around-the-edges sensibilities of garage rock, with a hardcore punk attitude and blues-metal riffage, and Moody sang about blood, guts and macabre scenes ripped straight out of a B-horror movie. While the singer’s obsession with violence made for some explosive music, it ended up bleeding into the group’s stage show, where a hostile “us vs. the audience” vibe began to develop. To the crowd it may have seemed like it was just part of the act, but for the band it was mostly real.
“I didn’t look forward to going on stage,” Moody says.
These days, the singer “actually” enjoys playing shows and sayshe thinks the band is ready to move forward and work together in a more serious way.
The band recorded the album with no producer, no label and total control—with the aim of making a free-flowing record that wasn’t overly slick. The new album leans more into spastic, psych-garage territory.
White Ghost features plenty of the warbling organ used to great effect on songs like “Press Gang,” from 2000’s In Name and Blood, and Moody howls with as much rage as ever—channelling his inner Tom Waits on tracks like “Pale Disguise,” which sounds like a drunker version of Six Demon Bag-era Man Man. However, Moody has dropped the gory, campy lyrics in favor of just speaking his mind.
“On the previous records, I was probably trying to be smart,” he says. “That’s always a mistake. I just want to be in the moment. Actually, for the first time these last couple years, I enjoy playing shows.”
The Murder City Devils play The Blank Club on Aug. 20. More info.