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JaggerMouth The Band Formerly Known As Retro

JaggerMouth The Band Formerly Known As Retro

“I’ve never really understood that, but everyone hears music in their own way I guess,” stated JaggerMouth guitarist Nic Pugh in response to a question about the bad rap his band often gets from critics for sounding “retro 90s.”  

“90s retro is coming back, isn’t it? Maybe we’re doing something right. But it doesn’t really bother us, people can take the music however they want. We’re still going to do whatever it is we do,” added Joe Boyland, also a guitarist.
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“It’s cute,” summed up drummer Jake Porter. No 90s band themselves could have answered better. Remember, most 90s bands were derogatorily referred to as a retread of 70s stoner rock. JaggerMouth, a band with a name that can be interpreted as a verbal representation of one of the most iconic rock symbols of all time (The Rolling Stones’ logo), is more than just a party band as well travelled in debauchery as Mick Jagger’s lips are. In fact, they are as highly competent, tight, and rhythmically and melodically talented as said lips are. JaggerMouth’s new album, The Album Formerly Known as Record, definitely takes its cues from some of the best of the rock music of the 90s, but like those bands did with their 70s heroes’ sound, JaggerMouth takes their heroes’ sound to interesting new heights and contexts.

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Concerning sounds you might hear on a JaggerMouth album that might remind, at least someone like me, of the good ole’ days of alternative rock, one might hear a little bit of Incubus, Nirvana, and a healthy dose of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. As Nic stated, “Foxy Shazam, T-Rex, and The Kills” are personal favorites that might not, at first, come to mind when one considers the band’s less obvious but just as important influences. Songs like “Time and Time Apart,” have a heavy John Frusciante vibe, if not full on Chili Pepper one, but ride the vibe instead of copying it. Betraying their image as a party band, the lyrics are pretty heavy as well. Like much of the Chili Peppers’ early music (a formidable party band themselves), it’s the type of song that betrays the kind of understated yet powerful sound JaggerMouth is mastering. It’s not their “Under The Bridge,” but it’s definitely a step towards it, much like “Behind The Sun” off The Upfit Mofo Party Plan was for the band that recorded it.  

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Out of all the songs on Album Formerly Known as Record, it’s on “Stillwater” where the band puts it all together. There’s the quiet/loud dynamic that only the best of the 90’s bands were able to master, the slacker blues meets disillusioned youthful decadence themes, mixed with a sprinkle of psychedelica that completely does with 90s alternative what Led Zepplin did with American blues. It’s the kind of song that can carry an album and is a great choice for a single. It sums up the steps that JaggerMouth is currently taking, with grand strides, towards becoming something truly outstanding.

There are plenty of simple balls-to-the-wall rockers on the album as well that are plainly just great tracks to rock out to. “Make Your Face for The Queen” is a prime example. It starts off the album in spectacularly rocking fashion. “You Taste Scandalous” slows the tempo a bit, but keeps the tension high. “No Mas Guest List” brings the punk energy and “Into the Fields” provides the introspective acoustic guitar break that rounds out the album’s, and the band’s, sound.

“Honestly a lot of our influences are from heavier bands than what we sound like. We all grew up listening to more aggressive rock and metal so that comes out in our live show but we tone it down for the ears at home,” said vocalist Matt Wheeler.

With a great mixture of influences that run deeper than the obvious ones, JaggerMouth, as cliched as it might sound, really is a band that adds up to more than a sum of its sounds. My ears can’t wait to hear them in a live setting, and they are already ringing from playing Album Formerly Known as Record in my headphones at top volume. I can’t help it. Great rock needs to be played loud, live, or at home, and JaggerMouth is a band that is anything if not loud: lyrically, musically, and honestly.

JaggerMouth are playing an album release party at The Visulite Theatre on Aug. 11th, For further opportunities to blast your eardrums properly with JaggerMouth, click here.


Carolina's based writer/journalist Andy Frisk love music, and writing, and when he gets to intermingle the two he feels most alive. Covering concerts and albums by both local and national acts, Andy strives to make the world a better place and prove Gen X really can still save the world.

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