Mason Proper
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Mason Proper

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Alternative Rock

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"I knew something like this would happen when their parents started listening to Devo." This was my companion's comment at a recent performance by Ann Arbor's Mason Proper. Only some of the music of these young men from northern Michigan is reminiscent of the 1980s geek-punk they might have heard in the crib. But they carry on a Devoesque tradition of refusing to play by the rules while making highly structured pop-rock music. The result is something decidedly twenty-first century and way cool.

Describing it to you is another matter. No

two songs on their thirteen-track debut CD, There Is a Moth in Your Chest, sound similar. You get dreamy singing and quiet guitar, followed by a space-age pointillistic chant, then an upbeat dance tune, then head-banging kraut rock that ends in a fury of blown fuses. Even within each song, they keep you guessing, with tempo changes, sudden stops, and gradual layering that transforms vocalist Jon Visger's sweet and simple melodies into a dense cacophony in under four minutes." - Arborweb


"Let the music do the talking they say. And for Mason Proper, they are on the mark with the winding and engaging "A Chance Encounter" that sounds far more crafted and powerful than any band should sound with its opening track off its debut album. From there, "Miss Marylou Carreau" is a slow-building pop song that comes off as a cross between Sloan and Guided By Voices with an axe to grind. The album is never dull or boring, with the punchy, old-pop style of "100 Yrs". Meanwhile the short and sweet "Intimidation" has an angular, arty style to it a la Franz Ferdinand. From there Mason Proper do things quite properly on the infectious, punchy and winding "Mr. Charm" that oozes, well, charm. They can crank things up as they do with the edgier "Lights Off" with the same flare and substance as they polish off the melancholic, somber "Life's Cornucopia". And things never come apart at the seams, with the rudimentary but catchy "My My (Bad Fruit)" as alluring as track one. Topping things off is the swaying and lush neo-power ballad "Carousel! Carousel!" that resembles Death Cab For Cutie backed by the Polyphonic Spree." - Popmatters.com


"Mason Proper, a five-piece from somewhere along the Detroit/Ann Arbor Michigan axis, is a tough nut to crack. I've been listening to their new full-length album, There Is A Moth In Your Chest, on and off for a few days now and I still haven't really figured them out.

Anyway, from what I can tell, Mason Proper have got their own thing going, and this is one of the many reasons I appreciate their music. The songs on Moth cut a pretty wide swath, stylistically speaking, from sweet synthesizer-lead pop, to pretty ballads, to scream-y angular rock, and more songs like this one, that sits somewhere inbetween all those things. The band calls what they make "schizophrenic pop" and that seems about right. I have it on good authority (thank you Jeremy) that these guys are close with a bunch of other good local area bands worth checking out, like Canada, Joiya, and Starling Electric." - music for robots


Hailing from Ypsilanti by way of northern Michigan, the quintet Mason Proper plays music that delightfully defies pigeonholing. It's garage and power pop, for sure, but there are some strange electronic touches and odd rhythms that break even unconventional indie conventions and make Mason Proper a band to reckon with.

Vocalist Jonathan Visger has the jittery vocal style of a choirboy in need of Ritalin, and his equally hyperkinetic bandmates Chris Aben (drums), Brian Konicek (guitar), Matt Thomson (vocals, electronics) and Pat Stafford (bass, since replaced by Zac Fineberg) dispense fierce doses of melody and noise that bring to mind early Wire. Thankfully, not everything is played at volume level 11, as Mason Proper's members have a strong sense of dynamics and restraint that's unusual for their youth.

"Lights Off" is a good place to start on the band's full-length debut, all brittle rhythms and guitars crossed with wayward, early Eno-esque squeals. And these guys are a blast to see live, with their angular, off-kilter approach and twitchy, exciting stage moves." - Detroit Free Press


"...it's exactly that kinetic, overturned salad bar mess that makes them so exciting. On stage they're a herky-jerky whirl of skinny limbs and nervous energy, and There is a Moth in Your Chest, the band's March 7 debut, matches that anything-goes sound." - The Metro Times (Detroit)


"Paycheck's wasn't packed for the night's first slot, but that didn't stop Mason Proper from bursting like a chaotic pop happy bomb. There seemed to be hundreds of limbs and beards on stage, and the Ypsilanti band's songs lurched amicably between thick-thumbed power chords and flights of psychedelic or otherwise fuzzy fancy." - The Metro Times (Detroit)


"Ann Arbor's Mason Proper have just released their debut record, and it's one of the only things I've heard this year that's really blown me away. These guys are young, and ideas seem to be falling out of their ears. But they have something to be sure. Get on the MP bus now." - johnny.gloriousnoise.com


Discography

There is a Moth in Your Chest LP, Dovecote Records 2007, #48 CMJ Charts, XM and blog play all over.

Shorthand EP, Dovecote Records, 2008.

Olly Oxen Free LP, Dovecote Records, 2008.

Please see our myspace page for a host of up to date concert listings, videos, photographs, songs, etc.

Photos

Bio

Celebrated black sheep of Michigan's music scene? To be honest, this bio is being written by a band member currently unwilling to pretend it's being written by someone else, so I'll stick to the facts:

We are influenced by Four Tet, Spoon, Radiohead, TV on the Radio, Caribou, J Dilla, DJ Shadow, Blur/Gorillaz, Blonde Redhead, Boards of Canada, etc. Our style is marked these days by a dark sense of humor, a minimalism of arrangement, and tight drum and bass (not drum n' bass) grooves.

We've done all kinds of stuff:
Performed live on Woxy.com 3 times, and also on the Woxy.com stage at the Monolith Festival at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, with Spoon, the Flaming Lips, and the Decemberists headlining.

Performed live on KEXP, and invited to play their listener appreciation party in Chicago, received airplay on the station, and were invited to create the theme song for one of their shows.

Played sold-out showcases at the CMJ festival, three years in a row.

Played SXSW 2008.

Performed live sessions for Daytrotter, My Old Kentucky Blog on Sirius Radio, and Hear Ya.

SPIN.com's "Band of the Day."

A top 10 seller on Insound.com for three weeks in a row with "Olly Oxen Free," in addition to being an Insound Staff Pick.

"Lock and Key" voted MTV2 Subterranean's #3 music video of the year.

Been in rotation on MTVU for four weeks in a row for our music video "Lock and Key."

Performed live on MTV Canada.

Reviewed on Pitchfork Media, given a 6.9 for their second album Olly Oxen Free, and compared to the likes of Radiohead and TV on the Radio.

Produced critically-acclaimed sophomore album alongside Chris Coady (TV on the Radio, Blonde Redhead, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs).

Published through Domino Publishing, the publishing department of Domino Records.

Invited by Coke Machine Glow to do a submission for their yearly "Fantasy Covers Podcast," in which they combined Kanye West's "Love Lockdown" with LCD Soundsystem's "Get Innocuous."

Toured with Ra Ra Riot, Cloud Cult, Mobius Band, and Via Audio.