The Chicago-based band, My Gold Mask, are veterans of experimenting with new sounds and broadening their tangible artist skill sets. Jack Armondo (Guitar, Vocals) and Gretta Rochelle (Vocals, Percussion) formed the band in 2008, alongside drummer James Andrew who joined later that year to help with their Leave Me Midnight LP. Recorded over a two year span, at over five different studios, their latest album, Anxious Utopia, serves as a conduit for the band to explore the depths of their creative versatility as true songwriters with their fans.
MGM's creative process is similar to that of some nostalgic rock documentary - musicians jam out in a house together with the hopes of stumbling into a catchy new song. Although many of MGM's tracks include fast paced electric guitar hooks and various digital sounds, most of them are first written by Rochelle and Armondo on acoustic guitars while at their home. Anxious Utopia was recorded, produced and mixed by longtime producer and engineer Balthazar de Ley and Sanford Parker.
Sonically speaking, MGM hopscotches across the musical spectrum. Their past works dance between ambitious alt rock, fizzy pop hooks, arena rock percussions, subtle choruses and massive vocal progressions. Anxious Utopia is the culmination of a stubborn desire to discover different sounding melodies and the refusal to remain type casted into one particular sound. This time around, the main exploration was fusing electronic synths with their trademark goth rock sound.
"We have these ideas in our head and have kept wanting to go to an electronic sound. So we finally synced up with Stanford Parker, who's a synth player and laid down some new sounds on the tracks." (Armando)
The track "Battles" was originally released back in 2014 and it's elongated vocals, 80's alt-rock synths and heavy-hitting percussions was a representation of the band's shifting lighter sound. Part of MGM’s longevity is that they are constantly building upon their music. Their previous albums and EPs are a catalogue of their forward moving direction as evolving musicians. Although Anxious Utopia is a representation of this new type of electric synth exploration, the gothic sounds and dark themes of personal demons shared by the songwriter remain a constant.
"I suffer from bad anxiety and panic disorder (and) a lot of this record sprawned from that. Over the years, we were forced to release a lot of singles because I was truly suffering. It was the easiest way to keep momentum without coming to a halt." (Rochelle)
Many fans have been able to connect with the difficult, and at times disabling, anxiety and panic attacks that Rochelle suffers from. One couldn't imagine having to be on stage to perform for hundreds to thousands of people every night while battling such a thing. But Rochelle's passion for music burns brighter than the dark struggles of anxiety. She finds musical remedy in catchy, yet haunting tracks like "Connect" and "Insomnia." These themes of struggle are found throughout her lyrics, echoing vocals and subtle changes of various melodies. Many fans have found a deeper connection with MGM's music because of this.
“I've been dealing with my panic disorder since I was a little girl and have only recently really felt like I've gotten a handle on it. Making music has always been a cathartic way for me to work things out." (Rochelle)
Anxious Utopia is filled with flourishes of catchy synth rock tracks and beautifully laid out percussion builds to dance along to on "Forgive Again," "Explode," and "Gone Gone Gone." From start to finish, the album guides listeners through a journey of down tempo, gothic rock sounds before unknowingly leading you into a progression of explosive choruses and catchy synth hooks. The music of the tracks reveal themselves to be a true story when the album is played all the way through.
Anxious Utopia will be out on March 4th, 2016 via Moon Sounds Records.
- Forgive Again
- Gone Gone Gone
- Cautionary Lives
- Lipstick Bruises
- In Diamond White
03.04 - The Hi-Fi - Indianapolis, IN
03.05 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
03.11 - Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, IA
03.12 - Replay Lounge - Lawrence, KS
03.15 - Double Wide - Dallas, TX
03.18 - Iron Bear SXSW - Austin, TX
03.20 - Maxine's - Hot Springs, AR
03.21 - miniBar - Kansas City, MO
03.23 - The 806 - Amarillo, TX
03.24 - Low Spirits Bar & Stage - Albuquerque, NM
03.25 - Club Congress - Tucson, AZ
03.26 - Complex - Glendale, CA
04.23 - Pianos - New York, NY, US