Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob
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Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob

Huntington Beach, California, United States

Huntington Beach, California, United States
Band Alternative Folk

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Feb
09
Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob @ The Prospector

Long Beach, California, USA

Long Beach, California, USA

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The Hype: Following their cheery, 2008 full-length Farewell Adventure!, Huntington Beach's Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob release their new EP, She Changes Face, on the heels of a very productive year that built them enough buzz to become a featured act on the second OC Music Awards showcase at the District Tustin Legacy shopping center back in January. Praise for their quirky pop aesthetic and old-time-y sounds also charmed the Weekly in our Locals Only column back in 2008. My, how they've grown since then.


??The Judgement: The sound of Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob takes an eclectic twist on the She Changes Face EP (out March 5). It's chock full of accordions, keyboard, guitars, intertwining harmonies and jaunty rhythms. Building on the organic, folk-driven songs and slightly distorted voices of front man/guitarist Kollar and vocalist Elizabeth Messick, the band hits the ground running with an array of down and dirty blues, airy adult pop and hum-a-long melodies.

The EP's opening title-track features stabs of poppy piano and an energetic burst of ragtime-meets-folk pop. Matching Kollar's semi-weathered vocals with swells of accordion and meandering trumpet, it's an infectiously fun start to a record that keeps the happy vibes going on other tracks like "Driftin' Blues."
But even though their slices of layered, rip roaring folk are nice, they don't quite beat the band's slower songs. Ambling tracks like "Gotta Get Blue" and the stripped-down, heart-felt sentiments of "Carry the Light" show off the band's mature versatility, courtesy of drummer Nick Mendoza, bassist Evan Phelan and accordion player Ryan Macleod, even if they're not necessarily playing all over the tracks. It's not every day that a band's calmer tunes manage to outshine the bolder ones. But then again, what else would you expect from a band that call themselves an Angry Mob, right?

- OC Weekly


Unaccustomed as I am to melody…I know that's a strange way to start a music review but it is a valid observation. Many bands seem to forget that having REALLY LOUD guitars doesn't make you memorable in a time when every other band is relying on REALLY LOUD guitars to be different. I sometimes wonder if perhaps it is too much effort for people to write actual songs but then you hear an EP by Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob and you know that out there - in California it would seem - there are people who believe in the old ways.

You get six tracks on the "She Changes Face" EP and none of them disappoint. That's right, none of them! Starting off with the title track, you get a fine example of the songwriter's art. Sure, you'll probably think this is what a Ben Folds and Randy Newman collaboration would sound like but it is that good. Following on and pumping up the pace for a - complete with mains hum - howling, travelling step back down the path to rock 'n' roll's golden age is "409 Blues".

"To The Night" again demonstrates an intelligent way with words as the melody dances delicately in your ears with all the finesse and style of Fred Astaire while "A Driftin' Blues" is a buoyant yet reflective organ led concoction of sound that makes drowning in the sea of life seem like fun. Oh yes, it's even got something that sounds suspiciously like a kazoo in it. There's courage for you as I'm sure the kazoo was made illegal in 1987.

There's got to be a slow one and "Carry The Light" illustrates that slowing the pace doesn't slow your enjoyment down at all. If a song can do such a thing, it makes a man feel really quite sentimental. Rounding things off is one of those melodic, complex big city songs that only seem to come from those resident in big American cities - "Gotta Get Blue" is more than a bit Donald Fagen but none the worse for that.

There you go - six songs and I can honestly say something nice about all of them. Along with the songs, you get a high standard of musicianship and you get imaginative arrangements. The seal of approval is duly granted. - Bluesbunny


If you are not familiar with Orange County band Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob, the title track to the new EP She Changes Face (available today) is a good introduction. This is a song that includes accordion, piano, tromobone, and excellent harmony vocals. I'm not sure how I could classify it genre-wise. I can merely say this: if this song does not get your head moving side-to-side and your toes tapping, you should probably check for vital signs.

The musical gumbo (you know, a whole bunch of ingredients) continues with the next tune "409 Blues" which features a big organ sound, and some garagey guitars and vocals. The best word I can think to describe this song is "romp." Do yourself a favor when you listen to this song, and turn up the volume. And maybe listen to it more than once.

And if you haven't experienced enough of the unexpected in the first four songs with the great variety of instruments, then maybe the curveball of "Carry the Light" will get your attention. Whereas the previous four songs are well-orchestrated, high-energy musical celebrations, this is an incredibly mellow tune. You know that song at the end of Juno? You know, the incredibly catchy (just try and get that song out of your head) duet sung by Michael Cera and Ellen Page. This song is like that. It is incredibly melodic, sweet and catchy. And I dare you to listen to this song without singing along.

When you see a band with nine members, it's easy to think that it is a band that is only trying to be quirky and stand out from the standard four member lineup. That sure isn't the case with Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob. This is a very good band that is one part Tom Waits, one part 60s garage, and one part gospel. And not the kind of gospel where the singer closes his eyes and the people raise their hands and sway. No, I mean the kind of gospel that makes you get up in the aisles and dance. The biggest drawback of this EP is that it is just too short. Only 17 minutes? That is such a tease. - Examiner.com


There are a lot of indie bands in the Orange County music scene at the moment, and to stand out from the newest, coolest, hippest thing since last weeks show at Avalon is respectable if not down right amazing at this point. One band among the ranks of musicians playing here that I can almost guarantee will impress you, or at the very least get your attention during their live set is Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob. With the energy of a toddler drinking red bull, and the playfulness of… well, a toddler drinking red bull, Kollar and Mob display true showmanship with a dancing line of tambourine ready back up vocalists, floating harmonies, and the sweetest of melodies!

Kollar and Mob have a fiercely entertaining live performance, but now they also have an equally pleasurable 6 song EP called “She Changes Face.” From the bluesy rock n’ roll of “409 Blues,” to softly composed indie efforts like one of my favorites “To The Night” this EP won’t get old anytime soon. It has moments where I feel like I’m listening to Chuck Berry like when it gets wild on “409 Blues” but then relaxes on songs like “Carry The Light” and the listener can hear the vocals of Matt Kollar and Elizabeth Messick dance around each other. The two voices remind me of a couple of my favorite artists, one of which being Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley (”To The Night” sounds like it could have been on the first Rilo record) and Tom Waits…pre swallowing hot coals and drinking broken glass.

All this adds up to a great record, and a band that in my opinion, sticks out when compared to their peers. The next chance you get go see Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob, and get their new CD “She Changes Face.” You’ll be happy you did! - OC Arts and Culture


The Big Takeover "Farewell Adventure!" Review

"The Orange County,CA nine-piece ensembles debut album naturally brings to mind other multi-instrument groups such as The Decemberists,Arcade Fire,and Sharp Things. However The Angry Mobs music also incorporated dollops of Americana and folk, recalling Eels,Bob Dylan,Tom Waits and Woody Guthrie, whom the band cite as influences. Each song is backed by a layered kitchen-sink blend of competing instruments including harmonica,organ,banjo,accordion, glockenspiel and horns, while frontman Kollar's Ben Gibbard-esque vocals are nicely complimented by Tisha Boonyawatana and Liliana Frandsen. Many songs build to a euphoric crescendo,with voices and instruments all joining in unison, suggesting the album might be the perfect soundtrack for a cross-country drive. Their exuberant music just has that kind of an uplifting quality about it."

-Mark Suppanz

The Big Takeover
- The Big Takeover


Penny Black Music Review UK

Farewell Adventure' attempts to capture something of the grass roots of a mythical Americana of hobos, travelling bluesmen and all night diners with a barrage of traditional country and folk songs. It largely succeeds with an ebullience that occasionally threatens to descend into a cacophony, but largely manages to keep an ambitious project under control.

I’m not sure if this is a concept album per se, but the opening instrumental (bar a few spoken passages) 'Bon Voyage', sets the scene for an album which is about that most American of themes; the movement of people, whether across the ocean or from East to West. From here the songs are musically varied though with a thematic unity that makes the album work.

With its title and references to Californian icons like the Pacific Highway, 'Surf Song' is a rarity in songs heavily influenced (ie copying) ny the Beach Boys later, great works in that it is worthwhile and very good. The obvious harmonies are there, but the sheer energy and changes of gear, along with a genuine sense of innocence that few other than Brian Wilson have achieved make this the highlight of a great album.

Elsewhere there appear to be influences of the Eels, particularly in Matt Kollar’s throaty singing voice, especially on 'Beautiful Truth'. The rejection from the standard rock/pop instruments with trumpet, clarinet and accordion brings to mind The Band. While this may not be 'Music From the Big Pink', it does possess some of that album’s wonder in the small stories of everyday American life and it’s majestic landscape. Like The Band there is a dedication to taking traditional country and folk and using it in a way relevant to modern ears.

The album’s closing songs, 'The Red Wagon' and 'Farewell Adventure', seem to conclude the theme of travelling and arriving. 'The Red Wagon' is very much a concept album song, a lot of exposition and a simple ensemble chorus and spoken passages. Again this is quite ambitious for a first album, as, on first hearing, it can seem a mess rather than a coherent song. The driving music anchors what could otherwise be a chaotic format.

The marching final title song, again features changes of pace as it mounts towards a final folksy crescendo of harmonica and just about everything else the band have in their arsenal.

The thing I like about 'Farewell Adventure' is Kollar’s energy and willingness to take risks and surprise the listener. He has gathered a talented band around him uses them to transform songs, which could have been rendered listless otherwise, into what is an accomplished and enjoyable first record. - Penny Black Music


Matt Kollar And The Angry Mob - CD - Farewell Adventure! | By Peter J Brown aka toxic pete

'Farewell Adventure!' is the debut album from Californian singer songwriter Matt Kollar; an eclectic coming together of forms that brings folk closer to rock without ever relying on either genre for complete safety.
The honest, up-front vocalisation of Kollar is more than adequately matched by a robust and interestingly diverse instrumental backdrop. Kollar's guitars and keyboards are supported with massive empathetic understanding by The Angry Mob who obviously feel very comfortable in Kollar's poetic and compositional company. The guys and gals of The Mob play with an attack and gusto that just shouldn't work with Kollar's music; they take it deep and bold to create what for many vocalists could prove to be a few decibels too far. But, Kollar has strong vocal chords and easily rides the vibrant waves generated by the band.

Yes, demonstrating superb song writing abilities Kollar fuels his words with pretty hefty accompaniment and, not frightened to go 'large' with the mix, Kollar's approach is definitely weighty but never ham-fisted. Kollar's vocal delivery is gritty and ballsy; think Damien Rice on uppers! Offering a sizeable chunk of singalongability, 'Farewell Adventure!' is liberally scattered with melodic hooks and foot tappin' rhythms and beats. Beautifully grounded but also richly decorated, 'Farewell Adventure!' sneaks up on you and slowly pulls you in!

'Farewell Adventure!' by Matt Kollar And The Angry Mob is a wonderfully bright and well proportioned piece of work that doesn't quite know which modern musical pigeonhole it should be sitting in; all the better for its slightly tangential nu-folk leanings and nicely poised on the edge of musical reason it's genre blurring credentials pretty much ensure a wide catchment of muzos will be enticed by its depth and feel. A crackin' debut album, 'Farewell Adventure!' by Matt Kollar And The Angry Mob is as compelling as it is fresh - quite superb!!

Peter J Brown aka toxic pete (www.toxicpete.co.uk)
- Toxic Pete


Matt Kollar And The Angry Mob proved its anything by angry as it smiled and danced around the small stage of The Prospector Bar in Long Beach Tuesday night.

The band put all its strange little heart into the entertaining show as it played songs from its latest release, “Farewell Adventure.� It delighted fans with originals such as “Suburbia Blues� as well as its own rendition of Outkast’s “The Whole World.� Band members Matt Kollar, Timmy Red and Elizabeth Messick rapped each verse flawlessly and got the audience to cheer.

The band included bizarre things into its set, like viking helmets, a toy animal noisemaker, and fun costumes. Kollar said he had no idea the show was going to be a “viking beach party.� To make them even more unique, Kollar said the band used to have an accordion player. But one night he “spontaneously combusted� while playing a solo. To compensate, the band has hired its own personal belly dancer.

Along with creativity, the band also possessed strong talents. Kollar sang as well as played the piano and harmonica with stage presence similar to Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin.

Backup singers Messick and Red, almost stole the spotlight as they danced together and surprised the audience by stripping off their clothes to reveal ’60s inspired bathing suits. In one song, Red played a ukulele, which gave the song a lighthearted and fun feel.

The Angry Mob has played in several venues around Orange County and Los Angeles, as well as several shows on Main Street in Huntington Beach. The band has a variety of people in its audience, ranging from college kids to adults, and even singer/songwriter Matt Costa.

The band has yet to tour the U.S., but it toured and recorded in Canada over the summer. Kollar said that the response in Canada was very humble and different than L.A. because “there are so many bands and it’s very hard to distinguish yourself… Some guy gave us a $100 tip.�

Its upcoming EP release is due to be out this winter.

In the words of Ben Folds, Kollar said he hopes to “make a stadium feel like a living room and a living room feel like a stadium.� - Long Beach State Newspaper


A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange


by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Wasn't sure what to expect, but this is cool, a hybrid of several brands of rock with hi-tone pop and mid-period Beatles—their expansive, exploratory, semi-symphonic era—as well as other 60s bands. Matt Kollar is the big kahuna on a lush outing appearing to root in a quintet but with a roster of nine contributors altogether. The eye-grabbing, loopy, painted cartoon cover was done by Kollar's multi-instrumentalist cohort, Tisha Boonyawatana, and intones the concept theme of leaving and returning, via a Robots (cool Disney animated flick) theme.

To pigeonhole this, though, isn't easy. It's driven by Kollar's keyboard playing and the group's multi-vocals, with bluegrass and folk leaking through in a high-spirited concoction that's simultaneously wistful and joyous. The vocals can be tight or jug-loose while the instrumentation is usually right on the point, with side special glockenspiel glass tones decorating or clarinets tootling. In fact, one of the secrets of the wide sound of this recording is the insertion of subtle effects and recessed backlines.

The CD's cuts cycle through various travails, rewards, and contemplations before coming to the decision to bid "Farewell Adventure!" to the entire idea and settle back into home. Along the way, Kollar's vocals slip here and there, as in "Daydreaming", and he's never really a trained vocalist at any point, but that fits the format in its own informal way. More than once, the disc reminds the listener of a soundtrack for a play chronicling the Everyman during his roaming period before finding quiet paradise on the back steps of the house he'd first exited from, occasionally Shipwrecked with the Suburbia Blues, Daydreaming all the while until stumbling on the Beautiful Truth that the heart never really leaves the hearth. - Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange


Discography

"Farewell Adventure!"-2008
"She Changes Face"-2010

Photos

Bio

Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob is an ongoing musical experiment led by frontman/songwriter Matt Kollar and other permanent members such as vocalist Elizabeth Messick,drummer Nick Mendoza,Bassist Evan Phelan and accordion player Ryan Macleod. Matt Kollar and Ryan Macleod were both born in Paris, France, where they lived together in an orphanage by the seine, playing music together and writing songs at a tender early age. When they were older, the two moved to Orange County, California, and in 2008, the bands first record, Farewell Adventure!, was self-released and recorded in Matt Kollar’s home studio. The songs on the album are a mix of different styles, but generally, all of them have roots in acoustic folk music. The album was received quite well both nationally and internationally. The auto-biographical sea faring love song Shipwrecked, one of the singles for the group, has received airplay all around the states as well as in the UK and Germany. In Farewell Adventure!, Kollar shows his ability to recreate styles of some of his musical idols, such as the Brian Wilson inspired ballad, Surf Song :

Surf Song is a rarity in songs heavily influenced (ie copying) the Beach Boys later, great works in that it is worthwhile and very good. The obvious harmonies are there, but the sheer energy and changes of gear, along with a genuine sense of innocence that few other than Brian Wilson have achieved make this the highlight of a great album.-Penny Black Music UK

The final track on the album shifts from the surf inspired sound to the Irish/Pogues inspired title track Farewell Adventure!:

The closing title song gathers folk influences before freaking out with the band throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. Bluesbunny-UK

And actually, the kitchen sink was used on that track.

Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob live show can change quite often, and is usually unique. The band name is a resemblance of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: if the group isnt always angry, dont be upset, theyre just having a good time. Sometimes, the shows are soft and acoustic, with friends and musicians from other bands coming in to play Mandolin, Accordion, and Banjo. Other times, the group has been known to bring in a Belly Dancer, and other theatrics, to put on an uplifting rock ‘n’ roll show; or they can be loud and thrashy, with Matt Kollar beating his piano like a percussion instrument and the band screeching behind him.

On March 5, 2010, Matt Kollar and the Angry Mob will be releasing their new EP, She Changes Face. She Changes Face is a mix of blues songs, jaunty piano songs, and a slopping of both put together. The six songs on the album showcase the same versatility the band has to offer in their live shows, from the New Orleans jazz sounding grit of “She Changes Face, to the whimsy and Paris-style accordion of To The Night. The album closes with the stripped down longing of Carry The Light and the opera/trombone infused noise of Gotta Get Blue.

This is just the beginning for the band. There are plenty of albums and sounds in the works to be released in the very near future, so stay tuned.