mason proper

Mason Proper

In spite what many people believe, Oz and I do not share the same brain. Every once in awhile one of us is more enamored with a particular act than the other. Mason Proper was one such band. From the onset, Oz was head over heels for Mason Proper and, while I dug a couple of tunes, Olly Oxen Free didn’t resonate with me. That all changed after seeing them in the studio.

Mason Proper is a band blessed with a top-notch front man in Jonathan Visger. He has a fabulous voice, both powerful and dynamic, and it fills a room on its own. Too many times bands make waste of great vocals by trying to cram too much instrumentation into the songs. That’s not the case with this Michigan band.‚  They do a tremendous job working as one to create space and opportunities for Visger to shine.

Mason Proper

And that’s why I love live music so much. It’s really a joy to watch bands work together, sans personal agenda, and create music that’s greater than the sum of its parts.‚  I was only with them for a small period of time, but the band gives every impression that they are in this for the common cause and that there are no ego trips allowed. It is just five guys doing what is necessary to create some damned good tunes.

Oz mentioned in his review of Olly Oxen Free that the album opens with an amazing trifecta of tunes.‚  Mason Proper delivered all three in the session: Point A to Point B, Lock and Key, and Fog.‚  This is one of those bands that deserves a much wider audience.‚  Here’s to hoping they find it.

Exclusive: Mason Proper – Point A To Point B

Exclusive: Mason Proper – Out Dragging The River

Exclusive: Mason Proper – Shiney

Exclusive: Mason Proper – Lock and Key

Exclusive: Mason Proper – Fog

Download these tracks as a zip file.

Lead singer, Jonathon Visger also released a sole EP under the Bug Lung Baby moniker. Trilobit Trash is available to download for free over here.


Top 50 Albums of 2008 [Picks 41-50]

by oz on December 15, 2008

Choosing 50 albums from a single year should not be excruciatingly painful, but it is.‚  I know I’ll have regrets as soon as this list goes live.‚  Thanks to Woody for providing commentary and some healthy debate as we’ve waded our way through the music of 2008. Let’s get started, shall we?

41. The Steeldrivers – Self Titled

The SteelDrivers

I already know I’ll regret not posting this higher on the list. The Steeldrivers inject soul and blues into their bluegrass sound and the album continues to grow on me.

The Steeldrivers – If It Hadn’t Been For Love

42. The Tallest Man On Earth – Shallow Grave

Tallest Man On Earth

The Tallest Man on Earth was the most recent addition to our list. I picked Shallow Grave up on eMusic two weeks ago and the finger-picking and incredible songwriting won me over with ease. A great folk album.

The Tallest Man On Earth – I Won’t Be Found

The Tallest Man On Earth – Into The Stream

The Tallest Man On Earth – Pistol Dreams

43. Two Cow Garage – Speaking In Cursive (our review)

Two Cow Garage

The one constant rumbling of rock and roll hope in Columbus, Ohio’s underbelly is the whiskey soaked sound of Two Cow Garage.

Two Cow Garage – Your Humble Narrator

Two Cow Garage – Brass Ring

44. She and Him – Volume One

She and Him

Volume One greatly exceeded our expectations after hearing that actress, Zooey Deschanel, and musician, M. Ward, were collaborating. Hopefully Volume Two features M. Ward more prominently on vocals. No track for this one, so here’s a video…

She and Him – “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” Video

45. Buffalo Killers – Let It Ride (our review)

Buffalo Killers

The time Cinci’s Buffalo Killers spent touring with the Crowes did them good. Let It Ride is a big step forward from their debut without sacrificing their stoner rock sound.

Buffalo Killers – If I get Myself Anywhere

46. Vampire Weekend


Overhyped – yes, Overexposed – yes. An enjoyable listen nonetheless and one of the catchiest pop albums of the year.

Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma

47.‚  Marah – Angels of Destruction (our review)


Another solid effort for one of America’s most under-appreciated rock and roll bands, straight out of Philly.

Marah – Angels of Destruction

48. Mason Proper – Olly Oxen Free (our review)

Mason Proper - Olly Oxen Free

Olly Oxen Free opens with an amazing trifecta of songs. They just brought their indie pop sound into our studio for a live session that we’ll have up soon.

Mason Proper – Lock and Key

Mason Proper – Fog

49. Catfish Haven – Devastator (our review)

Catfish Haven

Otis Redding inspired; this bluesy, soulful album was a pleasant surprise this year.

Catfish Haven – Set In Stone

Catfish Haven – Devastator

50. Old Crow Medicine Show – Tennessee Pusher

Old Crow Medicine Show

Lots of people worried about rock producer, Don Was, producing a bluegrass album. It’s not as good as OCMS’s Big Iron World, but still good enough to make the list.

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Mason Proper – Fog [new mp3]

by oz on November 5, 2008

Mason Proper released the second single, “Fog” off their latest release, Olly Oxen Free. It’s the first of three great songs that start off their fine album.

Mason Proper – Fog

Here’s the track we posted previously:

Mason Proper – Lock and Key

See the “Lock and Key” video premier here.


Mason Proper – Olly Oxen Free

by oz on August 27, 2008

For the past week and a half, my days have started off the same way. Wake up early, eat a high fiber breakfast, go to the office, pour a big cup of coffee, and then hit play on Mason Proper’s sophomore album Olly Oxen Free. I won’t tell you what happens around 10am.

I admit that I completely overlooked their 2007 debut album, There Is a Moth In Your Chest. As I listen to Olly Oxen Free, it’s as if this band from Michigan is working hard to make me regret it. And I am. The album opens with the best trifecta of songs I’ve heard on any album in 2008. “Fog” is a song that lingers in the shadows as it opens with the lines “My horoscope said pack your bags” then you hear what sounds like a gunshot, followed by the lines “Made a hole in my head and forgot why I did.”

Not exactly what I was expecting from a pop album.

After that, “Point A To Point B” lightens the mood with some jangly guitars before “Lock and Key” closes out the hat trick and will have you singing “caught every lightning bug out in the yard” in your sleep. You’ll understand when you hear the verse. I’m just thankful the band and the label decided to allow us to offer up “Lock and Key” as a free download so we can all be infected together.

To be honest, I’ve kind of been stuck at the front end of the album and am still digging through the second half, but I know “Downpour” will be another highlight. Olly Oxen Free will be released on Dovecote Records on September 23rd.

Website | MySpace

Mason Proper – Lock and Key

You can also hear “Only For A Moment” and “Safe for the Time Being” at Daytrotter.