Mason Proper announces dates with Cloud Cult

Music News | Sep 16th, 2008

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New Album Olly Oxen Free (Dovecote Records) Out September 23rd

Michigan s Mason Proper is a band that can move mountains by breathing softly. The group s sophomore album, Olly Oxen Free, bristles with a ghostly ambience that the members acquired after a streak of misfortune on their 2007 tour. Marching onward despite a slew of destroyed equipment and several wrecked vans has infused the band with the charmingly weathered, well-defiined, and insistent quality that they proudly wear today.

When a band s sound is described as haunting, the term is all too often a mere shorthand for gloom and depression. However Mason Proper avoid this trap by crafting a far more multi-dimensional and sophisticated palette than what the term implies. Olly Oxen Free is a work that beams with otherwordliness and reaches towards transcendence. Co-produced by Mason Proper and Chris Coady (TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blonde Redhead) the quintet s sophomore full-length is wrapped in warm vocal melodies that mingle with spooky guitars, spacey keyboards, pensive bass lines, and propulsive percussion. Each song unfolds into unexpected directions but is stitched together seamlessly.

Beginning in the hum-like mist of the aptly named first track, Fog, Olly Oxen Free opens with an eerie backdrop to frontman Jonathan Visger s gentle and naked vocals. Lock and Key includes some of the album s most recallable melodies: Visger ominously heads warning with the line, shake shake ’cause we put that chill in your bones tonight. Many of the songs are built around head-nodding and even danceable grooves. But in lie of the straight-forward beats of the dance rock masses, Mason Proper opts for more idiosyncratic rhythms. Case in point is Downpour, which arrives with an infectious bass line paired with scattershot drums that repeatedly pause and anxiously jerk back and forth.

Olly Oxen Free is an album that is as ambitious as it is sincere filled with both intricate song structures and earnest, immediately appealing melodies. Mason Proper manage to challenge listeners but by inviting them into their living room. Having groomed themselves by performing with the likes of Tokyo Police Club, Joanna Newsome, and Cloud Cult, they guys are ready to burst into the public eye in their own right.

The band is also excited to announce a video remix competition in conjunction with MTV2 s Subterranean blog.

Fall Tour Dates

* = w/Cloud Cult

09/25: Ann Arbor, MI @ The Blind Pig (CD Release Party)

10/21: New York, NY @ Rehab (Dovecote Records CMJ Showcase)

10/31: Mt. Pleasant, MI @ Rubbles Bar

11/01: East Lansing, MI @ Small Planet

11/10: Washington, DC @ Black Cat*

11/11: New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom*

11/12: Danbury, CT @ Herloom Arts Theater*

11/13: Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Downstairs*

11/15: Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar