Monsters of Folk

One of our favorite albums of 2009 was the supergroup known as Monsters Of Folk, featuring Jim Yames, M. Ward, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis. The band has recently released a video for “Dear God.”

Monsters Of Folk – Dear God

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teen wolf costume

I had a friend named Prick Lachey who used to leave me voicemail messages from late night bars where he’d scream into the phone, “MmmmmmBEST DAY OF MY LIFE!” Those words pretty much sum up my Monsters of Folk experience.

Pretty strong words considering Ticketmaster took a metaphoric dump on my head with close to $30 in meaningless charges for 2 tickets. Still trying to figure out how they enhance my concert experience. Despite that, I can’t say enough good things about the show. It was held at the beautiful Auditorium Theatre in the heart of downtown Chicago. Jim James was even taken aback by the beauty of the venue, quipping that the rainbow-shaped lights overhead were “what it looks like when you die and go to heaven” before easing into a gorgeous rendition of Bermuda Highway with Will Johnson (of Centro-matic, who handled drums for the evening). The guys evenly dispersed solo efforts with full-band efforts as well as songs from the Monsters of Folk album with songs from previously released albums. They even kept things interesting by trading off verses on songs from their better-known bands.

The setlist was pretty varied, keeping fans of the individuals engaged throughout the 2.5+ hour set. My biggest complaint here was the amount of time Oberst spent on stage – I’m just not a fan. He had the most solo songs, perhaps because Mike Mogis accompanied him on stage for most and they wanted to make sure he got some well-deserved props.

Highlights of the night were a soulful version of Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.), a rocking Whole Lotta Losin’, plus Golden, Smokin’ From Shootin’, Chinese Translation, and Vincent O’Brien. M. Ward’s guitar-playing prowess was ever-evident – even prompting someone to comically yell “Why you so good!?” during a quiet moment between Ward’s solos. But Jim James was the standout for me – each song he played was incredible, his energy was phenomenal, and his singing was other-worldly.

And what about Teen Wolf in the title of this post? Well, my buddy joined me and dressed up as Teen Wolf for the show. Here’s a picture of him doing the spider dribble outside of the Auditorium Theater. I’ve never seen someone so popular in my life. No less than 15 people asked to have their picture taken with him after the show. We went to a bar post-show where he received a standing ovation. And I’m pretty sure he made out with Boof at the end of the night. “MmmmmmBEST DAY OF HIS LIFE!”

Monsters of Folk – Say Please

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Monsters of Folk – Self-Titled [Album Review]

by That Guy on September 14, 2009

Monsters of Folk

For all the hype surrounding indie supergroup Monsters of Folk (Yim Yames, M. Ward, Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis), their new self-titled album does more than deliver. It exceeds my expectations and that says a lot considering how much I love Ward and Yames and that I’ve been anticipating this album for well over a year.

What Monsters of Folk are doing to the indie music scene reminds me of what LeBron James and Kobe Bryant did to high school basketball – they’re just operating on a completely different level. While everyone else was slapping the backboard on layups, LeBron was dunking from the free throw line and using his 36 year old looking face to buy everyone beer after the game. And while Kobe was taking R&B star Brandy to his high school prom, everyone else was worried about the hickey Jenny from earth science class gave them. Monsters of Folk are doing the music version of whatever that is.

Monsters of Folk is an emblem of four exceptional artists in their prime, each churning out some of the best music of their careers and converging at just the right time to deliver an album for the ages. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle.

Fans of the individuals that make up Monsters of Folk will be pleased to hear an equal dose of Yames, Ward, and Oberst throughout, each taking on an even amount of lead singing duties. And there are magical moments for each. Oberst delivers an absolute gem with “Ahead of the Curve” (surprisingly Oz’s early favorite), M. Ward particularly shines on “Sandman, the Brakeman and Me” and Yames delivers his finest on “Losin Yo Head” (and a heckuva spiritual on “His Master’s Voice”). They also tickle the eardrums by passing the microphone around on numbers like “Say Please” and “Baby Boomer.” But Monsters of Folk are at their best when they share the microphone at once. On songs like “The Right Place” and “Magic Marker,” the three voices blend together at times to form a sort of bionic voice with superhuman powers (like Lee Majors in The Six Million Dollar Man).

If you can find a better album, I’d like to hear it. Please let me know. Monsters of Folk will be released on September 22nd and the guys will be touring beginning in October.

Monsters of Folk – Say Please

Tour Dates:

October
13 Vancouver , BC- Orpheum
14 Portland , OR- Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
15 Seattle , WA- Paramount Theatre
17 Oakland , CA- Fox Theater
18 Los Angeles , CA- The Greek Theater
20 San Diego , CA- Spreckels Theatre
21 Phoenix , AZ- Orpheum Theater
22 Santa Barbara , CA- Santa Barbara Bowl
28 Omaha , NE- Holland Center
29 Minneapolis , MN- Orpheum Theatre
30 Chicago , IL- Auditorium Theatre
31 Louisville , KY- Louisville Palace Theatre

November
02 Toronto , ON- Massey Hall
03 Boston , MA- The Orpheum
06 New York , NY- United Palace
08 New York , NY- Beacon Theater
09 Philadelphia , PA- Academy of Music

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monsters

Monsters of Folk, the collaboration between Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and singer/songwriter M.Ward will be releasing their first album, self-titled, on September 22nd. I’ve been anxiously waiting for another supergroup since the Traveling Wilburys…and of course, Damn Yankees.

The band has made a track called “Say Please” available for free at their website. All you have to do is type “please” into the little form. It is the magic word, after all.

Monsters of Folk – Say Please

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