Does a band with riot grrrl sensibilities, creating mystic, witch-craft loving art rock, with a dash of feminist driven rock-opera pique your interest?
Then meet Maude Gun.
The Brooklyn duo just launched their debut album Claudia, The Word - a folky, post-punk and rock opera concept album.
Conceptually it follows the quest of Roman matron Claudia Quinta to understand her "Maude-given powers in the face of femininity and death." It’s like "Tenacious D” sprinkled with Patti Smith’s fervor and vocal prowess.
It’s unlike anything we’ve listened to but it’s not supposed to be an “easy-listening” car jam, it’s a performative, fiery rock-opera. The tone of the album changes dramatically between songs, so just like any opera it takes you on a journey of wildly different emotions.
The main vocals are strong and nuanced, Patti Smith’s influence evident. They’re imperative in driving the volatile tunes, and they do it so, so well.
Opener "(on call)" preps you with its ethereal melodies and mystical harmonies. “On High” showcases their vocal play with their melodies' jagged shifts from sustained to chopped up, angelically soft to coarse loudness and engrossing, intertwining harmonies. Their voices melting together feels cathartic, especially as they’re panned hard right and left in your ears.
“Bethany’s Lament” encapsulates the varying emotions as it travels from fuzzy, nihilistic punk tone into a slow, 90s indie rock tone (ps: 90s/00s favourites manage to make a mutated appearance throughout).
The “intermission” pieces are like cinematic short films - their storytelling spoken word over dark alt melodies coercing you to keep listening because, what the shit will happen to Claudia?
Sit down and give it a go - chances are you’ll be hoping for an invite to the next Maude Gun experience.
Thoughts on 'On High'
"ON HIGH" came out of an improvisation session between my bandmate Molly and myself; it was that language-less sound phrase "on-a-high-yi-yeheyho-hi" that broke the shyness of writing music together and gave us this picture of a caravan of women--somewhere in the future/past, in the desert, a matriarchy calling on ancient feminine spirits for strength. For the past two years, the song has served as a rallying cry to get us out of our own heads and into the music, our own call to the ancients, with a healthy helping of irreverence. We kept toying with this image of the desert femme caravan and "ON HIGH" became the starting point for the development of our whole backstory: we're the high priestesses of an underground cult, telling women's stories, practicing rites and protecting mysteries.
Personally, the song continues to be important because we have a lot of fear about being "seen," a lot of anxiety and shame about being "allowed" to make work and share it. "ON HIGH" is all about gathering our strength and not taking things so damn seriously--to quote Lady Macbeth, we're "screw[ing] our courage to the sticking-place," and putting ourselves out there. We're very passionate about this idea that as women and women's stories get more visibility, as the woman protagonist grows more dimensional, empathy for equal rights will rise, so we push ourselves to be visible, as Real Life woman protagonists, and we invite a lot of femme guest artists to perform with us. We also host a woman artist variety night every few months, which is creating a Real Life version of the caravan we originally pictured in "ON HIGH."
"a queer/femme/POC space for variety performance and expression helmed by witchy, culty performance-art band Maude Gun." Cassidy Dawn Graves, Bedford + Bowery