My first reaction to Muck Sticky, a true oddity on the Memphis music scene, involved equal parts revulsion and astonishment. Muck's debut album, The Nifty Mervous Thrifty, was influenced in equal parts by Dirty South hip-hop and Weird Al. It was juvenile beyond imagining and sounded like it had been recorded in somebody's basement using only a Casio, a bong, and a 1979 Panasonic tape deck. But it also occurred to me that anyone who would name himself for sticky wet manure had to be in on the joke, and I found myself strangely attracted to Muck's monotonous cover of the old hobo song "Big Rock Candy Mountain." It sounds like the soundtrack for a movie about 21st-century bums, and it's as irresistible as it is awful. Muck's stage show involves wearing foam hats (of the Mad Hatter variety), oversized sunglasses, and cut-off pajamas. He puts wigs on inanimate objects and calls them his band, and his only human sidekick is a midget wrestler who also wears foolish hats and oversized sunglasses: a mini-Muck, if you will. The layers of awfulness are piled on so high I can only assume that this is not so much a band as a practical joke of Andy Kaufmanesque proportions. Muck's new album, The Sticky Muck -- which will have its official release at the New Daisy Theatre on Friday, February 11th -- offers more of the same: emasculated beats married to dialogue that makes the South Park kids seem boorish by comparison. If this sounds like a warning to beware, it is. If it sounds like a hearty recommendation, it's that too. Like the aforementioned Kaufman, Muck Sticky is a bit of an acquired taste.
As much attention as the Lost Sounds get, I must admit a certain partiality for one of rock-chick Alicja Trout's many side projects: Mouserocket. Here she really gets to show off just what a fine voice she has and the full range of her songwriting skills. It doesn't hurt that Vending Machine's Robbie Grant is on hand to supply idiosyncratic guitar licks that wrap themselves perfectly around Trout's soaring-now-screaming-later vocals. Mouserocket plays the Young Avenue Deli on Friday, February 11th, with Harlan T. Bobo, the celebrated singer-songwriter whose homemade debut, Too Much Love, is now more readily available, and with Jack Yarber's Tearjerkers, whose yet-to-be-released sophomore recording just received a four-star review in Mojo.
-- Chris Davis
After playing an opening slot at the New Daisy a few months ago, "doom metal" band High on Fire return to headline a show at the Young Avenue Deli this week. Joining them Thursday, February 10th, is Savannah, Georgia, four-piece punk-metal band Kylesa, whose melding of Black Flag and Black Sabbath gets them dubbed a "band to watch" for 2005 in the current issue of Spin magazine.
Also at the Deli this week are outlandish Bonnaroo vets Peelander Z, a self-described "Japanese action-comic punk band," whose primary-color costumes and arty stage show reportedly give them the feel of a cartoon or comic come to life. Fittingly, they'll be joined by Memphis' own high-concept art-rock act, Automusik, when they land at the Deli Tuesday, February 15th. Automusik, of course, is riding high off the strength of their IndieMemphis Film Festival winning mock-doc, Automusik Can Do No Wrong. n --Chris Herrington