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Lindon, Utah, United States | SELF

Lindon, Utah, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"MUSIC: Review: Mudbison, “A”"

For fans and devotees of the local music scene, the debut album of indie-eclectic band and Provo mainstays Mudbison has been a long time coming — and, thankfully, it’s finally here with staggering results.

Largely the brainchild of frontman and producer Spencer Russell, A is one of the most inspired and unique discs to drop from a Utah band in quite some time. While the Utah Valley scene has produced some great artists in recent years who’ve found widespread success, it seems fairly safe to say that we always know what they’re going to give us. Joshua James creates brilliantly soulful folk music that transports you to a different time. Neon Trees make you want to dance your face off while singing along at the top of your lungs to their synth-driven dance-rock jams. We love these excellent homegrown artists for what they do — but they are known entities. They just are who they are.

Mudbison is a whole different breed. When the band officially formed in early 2009, their early tunes were generally acoustic guitar-driven folk ditties penned by Russell and then sparsely augmented with keys, bass and drums. More than a year later, the sounds of A could not be more different. Now gleaming with a studio-quality sheen proffered by Russell’s burgeoning production genius, each song brings its own unique flavor while still fitting into a larger, cohesive, and distinctly “Mudbison” feel.

Some tracks, including the simple acoustic opener “The Mailman Song” and the tender piano ballad “Wait for Me,” wouldn’t have felt out of place in the band’s early catalog, while pulsing synths and sampled beats provide a glimpse into a completely different creative vision on album standouts like “Color T.V.” and “Mama Nix.” Similarly, old Russell standbys like “Little Indian” and the ever-popular “Suburbia” get electronica-tinged upgrades that retain the soul of the original recordings while taking the songs to new, more expansive heights. Indeed, to listen to A’s “Suburbia” (included below) in comparison to the original version off Russell’s self-released 2009 solo disc is to glimpse the possibilities of a band truly reinventing themselves and their sound, while pushing the sonic limits of their creativity.

That’s not to say A is all fun and games. The somber yet expansive “Joy!” shows Russell confronting the untimely passing of his mother through song more directly and powerfully than ever before. By layering his delicate piano melody and guitar picking with profoundly affecting backing harmonies provided by Caitlin Duncan and field recordings of his mother discussing her difficult struggle with cancer, Russell simultaneously creates one of the most devastating and most uplifting pieces of music I’ve ever heard. I challenge any individual with a heart to closely listen to “Joy!” alone in a room and try not to cry your eyes out. (I’m almost certain it can’t be done.)

But, in short, that’s what A and, by extension, the new Mudbison is — a brilliant amalgamation of musical styles and thematic tones that create an even greater whole. Russell and Duncan’s voices blend together effortlessly in any scenario, whether it be an up-tempo dance number or a sparse acoustic ballad, giving the album a shape-shifting versatility that’s sure to please listeners of all kinds. If you like music and have yet to hop on the Mudbison train, now is as good a time as any to walk — no, run — toward the light and receive your tuneful reward.

- Rhombus Online Magazine

"MUSIC: Concert Review: Mudbison, The Devil Whale"

Friday night’s show at Velour showcased the full musical spectrum of the local scene — from the great to the, um, not-so-great, all in one evening on one stage.

...It’s no secret that Mudbison, the night’s headliners, are one of our favorite bands here at Rhombus. No one writes songs that sound quite like Spencer Russell’s experimentally charged brand of eclectic indie-rock. It’s unfortunate the band has been forced to take so much time off as of late, due primarily to Russell’s work on his younger brother Isaac’s major-label debut album. However, if there was any rust building up over the band’s long layoff, it didn’t show on Friday.

Mudbison came out like a band possessed and tore through an excellent set composed of many old favorites and an ample selection of new material. New songs like the gorgeous piano ballad “Joy!” and the haunting rocker “Vampires” (which I am personally submitting for the next Twilight movie soundtrack) showed Russell’s growth and maturation as a songwriter, broadening his musical horizons even further. His acrobatic vocal range and endearing showmanship were on display in older cuts that still felt shiny and new, like the delicate “Time Machine” (which has never sounded better) and up-tempo stomper “Mama Nix.”

Little unexpected twists and instrumental flourishes kept the discerning listener on the edge of his seat for the entire set — a tribute to not only the band’s effortless collective talent, but also Russell’s unique musical vision. It’s these kind of subtleties (the kind also employed to great effect by Brinton Jones and The Devil Whale) that lend greater nuance to a performance and really take it to a higher level. Should Russell ever decide to let his brother go his own way and focus on Mudbison alone for any serious period of time, there’s no telling what this prodigiously talented band could come up with next. Until then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

Steve Pierce is editor and co-founder of Rhombus. - Rhombus Online Magazine

"MUSIC: The Next Best Thing (Part 1)"

Thanks to the recent stammering success of Provo-based Neon Trees, our town has gotten a bit more attention. Not much, but a bit.

The Trees have exploded on the national music scene well enough to have scored appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel Live, toured with The Killers, 30 Seconds to Mars and Mutemath, and had their single “Animal” placed on Billboard’s Hot 100… and much more. I’m sure there are plenty of fans of theirs that are reading this and are mentally listing all their major accomplishments I’ve missed.

But this article isn’t about Neon Trees. It’s about what we have coming next.

Because of them, Provo may be getting a different eye from the music industry — and we just so happen to have a couple good things in the mix to surprise them with. As some of you know, several bands based (or at least at one time based) out of Utah County made it into this years SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, one of the biggest annual festivals in the nation. Music from other local bands has been heard on MTV and other network television shows — and if you think we’ve exhausted our resources, you’re simply out of your mind.

At one time I was convinced that our town was one of the weaker music scenes in the States, but compared percentage-wise to other larger cities, we’ve got a pretty good track record so far. So, for your information, I’ve compiled a couple interviews with bands that have dug their feet into the rocky ground of the music industry and are ready to show the world what they’ve got.

More than a couple of these bands have already been featured by Rhombus, of course, but before you complain and post your disdainful commentary below, know that this is not another album or concert review — this is a compendium of some noteworthy acts whose names you’re most likely to see around soon in more magazines than this one.

Their name bound to be bigger than the animal it refers to, Mudbison has made some pretty big leaps recently. Spencer Russell –brother of Columbia-signed folk artist Isaac Russell — has been working his arse off on getting things in line, such as recording/mixing/mastering, pumping out music videos, and trying to get a tour off the ground. All the hard work is paying off though, as is evident by conducting a simple YouTube search and finding that the band’s very newly added videos have already garnered over 5,000 views collectively. It’d be my guess that not all of those are just from Provo either.

Upon being asked what drives him to keep working at his music career, Russell replies, “Maybe it’s teaching people morals I’ve learned through the stories I write. Maybe it’s my love for writing a tune that gives people chills. It’s probably both. Aesthetic pleasure is something I love to give, and this is the best way, I guess.”

Style: Indie pop, singer/songwriter
Sounds like: Badly Drawn Boy meets Sufjan Stevens meets Beck
Likely labels to see them on: Asthmatic Kitty, XL Recordings, Sub Pop Records
Strongest weapon: A killer album, Russell’s ingenious songwriting ability
Biggest accomplishment: Their unique sound
Network/Connections: With a brother signed to Columbia Records and a father deeply ingrained in the film industry, Russell is likely to get his band’s music into good hands.

...Stay tuned for some more bands to be featured in this 3-part series. - Rhombus Online Magazine

"SONG OF THE DAY: September 2nd"

Mudbison, “Suburbia”

We’ve been on a bit of a local kick here at Rhombus the past couple days and there’s no Provo artist we love more than Mudbison. Boasting some of the most innovative songwriting you’ll find here or anywhere, the band’s sound is profoundly eclectic and unlike pretty much anything else. Principle songwriter-vocalist Spencer Russell has a voice that’s alternately soothing and wounded, giving him the unique ability to move effortlessly from a peaceful whisper to a howling scream and end in a wistful falsetto, all in a matter of seconds. Combine one of the local scene’s most dynamic frontmen with a truly exceptional group of musicians and you get the glory that is Mudbison.

Despite a recent month-long hiatus when Russell traveled to Oxford, Miss., to help his brother Isaac (formerly known as RuRu) record his major label debut, the band are now pressing forward with the process of recording their extensive and ever-expanding catalog for an upcoming release. Until that felicitous day, we will just have to make due with the band’s frequent and phenomenal live performances and some rougher, older recordings. We can offer both. The band will play a headlining show at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo on September 25th and it promises to be a enlightening affair, to say the least. Russell has recently dropped hints about a new, more synth-driven Mudbison sound, which will presumably be debuted at this show. If you like creative, original music (i.e. not the Black-Eyed Peas), you should probably be at Velour on the 25th.

To get you stoked for the performance, please take a listen to the band’s truly addictive “Suburbia,” included below. While this recording is an early recording done primarily by Russell and does not feature live drums or the ethereal backing vocals of keyboardist Caitlin Duncan, you’ll still get the idea. The song is awesome and just think — it will be even better live at Velour on the 25th. Rhombus will certainly be there; We hope to see you too. - Rhombus Online Magazine

"Local Releases: Lindsay Heath, Mudbison, Riverhead & More"

Halfway into the month and a slew of releases come out this week. So many it’s going to take TWO posts to cover. So let’s start with the normal releases, first headed over to The Urban Lounge who is hosting this month’s Localized show from SLUG Magazine.

...Then tomorrow night sees the debut release from Mudbison. Disliking the idea of being a band behind a single name, Spencer Russell switched to the new group title and pressed forward with making the impressive sixteen track album, A. And I say that because it’s been too damn long since I’ve seen an album with more than ten. The near acoustical eclectic experience seems more pre-tracked and mixed than what you’d expect, but surprisingly works live as a six-piece machine. If the two tracks I’ve had a chance to hear are any indication, this could be the “secret joy” album of the year. Catch the release show Saturday night at Velour, playing along with Isaac Russell and Emily Brown. Just $7 at 8PM.
mud.jpg - City Weekly Magazine


Time Machine [2009, as Spencer Russell]
A - mudbison [2010]



In 2010, the group's writer and front man Spencer Russell completed backup vocals on his younger brother Isaac Russell's debut Columbia release (scheduled for release mid-2010). The band's sound is marked by Russell's remarkable, pure vocals and progressive, electro-acoustic tunes that often defy classification. Russell is backed by keyboardist and vocalist, Caitlin Duncan whose pitch-pure, crystal clear sound provides the perfect compliment. The band's live set includes drummer, Zac Sloat, and bassists Russ Alphin and Jarred Kearnes - who also plays the baritone horn and trumpet on several tracks. Strong hooks and complex rhythms weave their way through their entire repertoire. Their songs are sequenced to breathe -- ranging from the band's quiet and restrained ballads to its raging, beat-based offerings. But above all, these songs are about the tunes -- wildly inventive, intelligently crafted. Soon after Russell began performing, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer -- an illness that would eventually take her life. Her voice is featured on the song "Joy!" The CD's title [A] references Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter -- reflecting Russell's observations regarding both judgment and redemption.