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The best kept secret in music



"Music that must be lived in to be understood, not merely listened to and forgotten. Musically influenced by the Western soundtracks of Ennio Morricone and lyrically influenced by the frontier-gothic of Cormac McCarthy, Myssouri create vast and desolate soundscapes pocked with the sprawling ghost towns of the heart." - Chad Driscoll


"As I listen to this CD for the hundredth time; I am thinking how grateful I am just to know of this band -- just to hear this awe-inspiring music. By far it's the most masterful, musically talented and skilled CDs I've heard this year - easily. Why this band has not been snatched away from us into the realms of big labels and international tours is a mystery to me. The rest of the world has no clue what it's missing. There's so few bands that I can think of on this level - and they're all legends by now. Myssouri will be there one day too. Just wait and see."
~Reviewed by BLU 07/05/02

- Blu, Editor

"Creative Loafing, Atlanta"

~Wallowing in Myssouri~ BY HAL HOROWITZ.(Creative Loafing, Atlanta, 12/00) With languid songs focusing on loss, loneliness, despair, broken dreams and other less-than-optimistic topics, it's no surprise Myssouri leader Michael Bradley ponders death daily. Cloaked in a thick sonic wash of layered guitars, lumbering bass and a bleak view of America's expansive landscape, Bradley's remarkably melodic tunes ebb and flow with pensive echoes of Gun Club, Nick Cave, the Doors and Sisters of Mercy -- artists who found inspiration and solace in life's somber moments. With his head full of jarring images -- crooked shadows, glistening blood, demons and hell in general -- Bradley isn't the guy most likely to be the life of the party. "That's the person I've always been," he explains. "I was the one in first grade drawing monsters. I don't understand how anyone can not be obsessed with death; not to be depressed, but as a natural facet of life. I'm interested in the transient nature of our lives and how they seem like such small flashes." On Myssouri's new five song EP, Furnacesongs, songs like "Devil on My Shoulder" and "One Holy Thing" find religion Bradley's dark muse, sometimes explicitly, other times metaphorically. "I set out trying not to write something addressing the notion of God, or the absence of God," Bradley says, "but frustratingly I keep coming back to that. Perhaps it's something I'm working out within myself." The edgy but graceful music, led by Bradley's rumbling voice, can be mesmerizing. But the nightmare imagery -- "the silver rain lays like razor blades into the wounded miles of wheat" -- doesn't emanate out of Bradley's dreams, but rather, a more mundane source. "It's not born out of any phantasmagoria, but a combination of an active imagination, along with the grim realities of the day-to-day grind." Myssouri play the Echo Lounge during their CD release party, Sat., Dec.16,2000.

- Hal Horowitz

"Review of War/Love Blues"

nidus (n) a nest or breeding-place: a place where anything is originated, harboured, developed or fostered: a place of lodgement or deposit: a point of infection: a nerve-centre

So, greatness then. Here it is. Cast in the form of a Dark Country hybrid, of which I know little, but the tainted resonance of other bands come swimming back into my mind. In fact during the late 80’s/early 90’s one of my all time favourite bands, The Galley Slaves merged country with Irish folk and created something similar to the glories here, as did someone else we’ll mention later. The Galleys took the ironic love song route, but Myssouri have death on their palette, and paint with intricacy over a disquieting wash.

I am truly indebted to Blu for her interview with them in Starvox which alerted me to this mighty band and during a year when I have already lost count of the number of great albums which have arrowed in through my ears and given my brain a fearful kicking, this one stands prouder than the rest, for here is a band - and don’t laugh – who make the kind of music, rich in lyrical power and cool in downplayed musical expertise, that U2 fool themselves into believing they’re either capable of, or actually producing. This is modern rock which spreads like spilled ink over a template of traditions. No-one need be put off by the term Dark Country, as it isn’t a constant theme, and what is country at its best but the most supreme form of music for story-telling? And if those stories just happen to be dark, then all the better. And I don’t see anyone doing it better than this.

As with all stunning bands it only takes one song, ‘Road Boy Blues’ in this case, and will give your first glimpse of the lyrics;

”Your body figures in my future with a boa’s tender tether,
I’ve got a love to shelter us like a flesh and bones umbrella”

The blues motif disintegrates into a country chug around which Goth vocals style entwine, then rasp in explosive ferment, showering dust and rust over a glorious commercial potential. For all their diligence in not shying away from a hugely literate enterprise there is no pomposity here, not when they have such musical power to unload. Strongly delineated, regardless of the surging noise, they nail you time and time again.

‘Terrible Love’ then droops down and patters by with low, mashed steel guitar, then spurts off in a super-fast dash, a scratchy delay and a swift drop into a worrying hole, where lyrical ideas beset your head, like disturbing terrified bats in a cave.

Michael Bradley is the host, and a lugubrious storyteller who has a manner and selfless authority in displaying bruised romanticism in a way Nick Cave will simply never master, and you’re submerged quickly in the musical liquid of ‘March To The Sea’, drowning in its curious depths, often buffeted by the exultant drums of Chris Reeves, and guided by the miraculously invisible bass of Cade Lewis. Honestly, you know he’s there and you can concentrate on it, but the glow he provides inside these songs is quite something, as Mark Rogers wafts the attention this way and that with his guitars.

With ‘The Floorless Jig’ we embark on quite a stirring song of a murderer thrilled, a la Turpin, with his own reputation, and here we have suitable sleaze grind, which scatters the bones of The Cramps to the four winds, and everything feels filthy beneath the scabrous vocals.

By total contrast, ‘Orphan Song’ is beautifully moving, and made captivating by the constantly revolving repetition of words that creates the melody and rhythm, and when we descend into the madness of ‘My Only Love’ the truest comparison I can give is back to The Folk Devils and the Ian Lowery Group, both of which had Ian’s take on an American seamy underbelly. Myssouri naturally do it better, because they’re steeped in it themselves, and this particular song really lets loose with some upright vocal drama into a tormented whirlpool of emotion, from which we are led out by a swampy guitar waltz.

There isn’t a single song here that you don’t welcome on return visits, excited by the prospect once more. In fact the only problem with the record at all is some rather drab artwork, and I have finally initiated a once in a life time star rating for an album in this journal.

‘Down In Flames’ is gorgeous and jaunty. I’m surprised Bradley isn’t whistling over the Kinks-like walking bass opener, or the keyboard trill near the end, as he jiggles around sensational wordplay about a mad couple, in a union which seemed doomed from the start:

”She dressed in red, on the day that we wed”

‘Rictus’ also shows they can strike hard and low, with a brisk rock growl, before opening up, saturated in heavenly sighing, and ‘The Eyes Of Others’ sees the traditional lone guitar weeping which seems fitting for a song seemingly awash in self-pity until the final line surreally spins everything on its head. It’s maybe ‘I Got It All’ that signals the real modern impact this band could have. True, there is more than a whiff of Fleetwood Mac about it (circa 1975), possibly because it’s chirpy, but as the sly, weighted delivery trots out I think you’ll soon be agreeing with me that this is the finest song Cobain never got to include on ‘Nevermind’.

Absorbing and challenging throughout, I love this album. It is quite magnificent.

- Mick

"Polish Review of War/Love Blues"

"War / Love Blues"
There must be something wrong with the musical labels if such a band as
Myssouri has to release its albums by itself. Wonderful music! Heat and
fire in every riff, and that warm voice. Devilish, hot and powerful
post-punk blues, dark rock'n'roll and those touching melodies. I thought
that only Australians (early Nick Cave's recordings, Hugo Race, Kim Salmon)
and maybe, to mention Americans, Jeffrey Lee Pierce and his Gun Club, play
blues that way. Till now. Now I know that Myssouri, originated from Atlanta
in Georgia, is as good as all those listed above. Amazing sounds, fantastic
arrangement, emotional, often narcotic-trans music. You can find here echoes
of The Doors - it's Michael Bradley's natural timbre, here is altcountry/folk
climate (see 16 Horsepower). I can't find words to tell you more. Is it
enough if I say: perfect music, perfect album, delightful band. Absolutely
killer!<<Tomek, Poland--Furia Muisca and Perun - Furia Muisca

"Love and War: Myssouri finds strength in numbers."

Love And War
Myssouri finds strength in numbers


"War is a constant and reoccurring state of man, as is love. And both are inseparable," says Myssouri vocalist/guitarist Michael Bradley, referring to the group's third full-length CD, War/Love Blues.

At first glance, the title may be a bit misleading, considering the United States' invasion of Iraq, which simultaneously unfolded while the group put the album together. But much like the Civil War history of the Midwestern state from which the group takes its name, Myssouri keeps its politics essentially neutral. War/Love Blues instead addresses the group's struggle to overcome harsh criticism and a myriad of interpersonal obstacles in order to release its most compelling and confrontational recording to date.

Since 1997 Bradley has guided the group through a revolving cast of players, forging a thunderous, punk-injected Spaghetti Western dirge style that draws comparisons to everyone from Nick Cave to 16 Horsepower to Leonard Cohen. So much so that critics and naysayers alike often dismiss Myssouri as a highly derivative act. Regardless of slights, the group has progressed, taking on an increasingly more eclectic rock sound every step of the way.

Myssouri started out with Bradley serving as its principal songwriter. After writing the lyrics and arrangements, he would bring in the other members to play the parts during live performances and the band's studio releases, Malamerica and the Furnace Songs EP. But with its members playing such a passive role, their other projects took priority. Compounding the problem, Bradley went through a divorce and took on the responsibilities of raising two daughters.

"People saw that and thought, 'There isn't a future with this group because this guy has a family,' so no one was ever devoted to the project," says Bradley.

After cycling through a handful of members, the group's line-up solidified with Mark Rogers (guitar and lap steel), Chris Reeves (drums) and Cade Lewis (drums) filling the empty chairs. Rejuvenated, the band also begin writing material as a group.

As a result, War/Love Blues takes on a depth and intensity that eclipses Myssouri's past recordings. Songs like "Terrible Lie" and "The Floorless Jig" lash out with flare and confidence previously unseen by the band. Others, like "March to the Sea" and "The Eyes of Others," are trademark Myssouri songs with a new swagger.

"I don't think Myssouri has ever been a one-trick pony, but people have a tendency to put you in a box and label you," says Bradley. "When putting this record together we considered changing the name of the group."

"Myssouri is now four guys operating at 100 percent and each of us is as important as the other," says Rogers. "There are bass lines that are totally Cade, and, if anyone else were to play them, they would sound totally different."

While Bradley is quick to point out that War/Love Blues is not the peak of Myssouri's output, it is the pinnacle thus far. Recorded over the course of a full year, he cites scheduling difficulties as the most difficult element of the recording process.

"We could put a better album together in a month if we didn't have to work around each others' day jobs and such," Bradley says. "It's not so much that it was a monumental undertaking, but it was spread out over a long period of time."

Reeves explains that creating an album that pushed their collective abilities to the limit was a necessity: "Everyone in the group has at least 15 years invested in being a musician, and we can't keep making $5 a night to play in front of two people. We have no choice but to make the best record we can possibly make and hope that people recognize it and respond to it."
- Creative Loafing

"Riding A Dark Horse"

Riding A Dark Horse:
A Conversation with Myssouri About War/Love Blues.
~by Blu
(photos from the Myssouri website)
My original intention was just to do a review of Myssouri’s long awaited new CD: War/Love Blues. It was released in December 2003 and marked their second full length in roughly four years. Rabid fans like myself had been fed sparsely on EP’s, mp3’s and promos of new songs as they worked their way through new material. I was eager to write this up and then the realization hit as I sat listening to it for the first time in a darkened room through headphones – Myssouri is never easy to digest and thusly, never easy to write about. The band has consistently defied categorization and has been the subject of many different interpretations. They’ve been called everything from gothic rock to “punk-injected Spaghetti Western dirge” to American Blacksong. They’ve drawn comparisons to legendary performers and yet they are more than that. They’re more brutal and descriptively graphic then Nick Cave ever was, more in tune with the darker elements of fire and brimstone than Sixteen Horsepower, more surreal and nightmarish than Pink Floyd and at times, more mysterious and shrouded then the man in black himself.

I had to consult the dictionary five times in the first song alone just to decipher the lyrics completely and a few of the songs were enough of a surprise that I had to listen to them several times over to get at what the band was presenting. These are not songs that you can take casually into possession. These are songs with barbs and spikes that grind and stick and stab on their way down. Even with the most benign sounding song, seemingly harmless, there are layers upon layers to sink into once you scratch the itch. Chad Driscoll from said once that Myssouri is “music that must be lived in to be understood, not merely listened to and forgotten.” Soon I had more questions and more discoveries than I could fit into one CD review so by necessity it turned into a feature story and gave me an opportunity to pick the brains of one of my favorite bands, yet again. I knew I ran the risk of over-analyzing it and turning it, as Michael would later say, into “meaningless pink-grey ooze” but I won’t make any apologies. These are things I wanted to know.

Upon first listen the easy thing to say is that this is a very different CD from their original release, Malamerica. It’s still dark and moody with the edges framed in ghostly American Westerns but there’s some additional elements thrown in that were hinted at on the EP’s and promos - a bit of pop, rock and as the title would suggest, most definitely blues. It might be a good guess that this change was partly the maturation that comes with a sophomore release and partly the gelling of band members. The band line-up – which had seemed to plague them in the past – had firmed up and allowed them to finally grow, experiment and move forward from a solid base.

Mark Rogers, Myssouri’s guitarist, filled me in on the band’s interior status: “Myself and drummer Chris Reeves were on the demo as well as the new record. Cade Lewis (bass) is back from the old days. Chris and I have been in the band for 3.5 years and 4 years, respectively, and have been with Myssouri longer than all old members put together. Myssouri, of course, is more of a band now with coalescence of songwriting, technique, vision, arrangement, and personality. The heart, voice, and soul of this band are timeless and unchanging and Michael Bradley [vocalist] is the anchor of this band. A big difference from the old days is that Michael and I write songs together now, he brings material to the band on his own, and the raw ideas are digested and interpreted by a talented and musical rhythm section.”


And with that difference the band seems to be taking bold stops forward with renewed confidence. In short, they’ve come out of the corner swinging with all they’ve got. Take the very first song. “Rood Boy Blues” will absolutely knock you for a loop the first time you hear it. If it doesn’t, well, I’d say you’re already dead. It starts off with the crackle of scratchy vinyl and a ghostly, lonely guitar riff before thundering to life with an electric guitar jangle and a full on freight-train rhythm section punctuated by climatic vocals and a wailing guitar solo that snakes itself into a tornado.

I asked Michael about the odd intro and he replied, “It was supposed to 'bookend' the song--but in the interest of time, we put it at the beginning only. But it was just a slide 'sister' part that Mark would sometimes play as a sort of prologue/epilogue, and I just put some brainless words to it. Wanted to start the album out with 'ear candy'--intriguing the listener to say, ‘what the hell?’”

Michael’s vocals are the best I’ve ever heard here and by the end of the song he’s worked himself up into such a fury that it’s almost scary. There’s a dangerous free-spiritedness about it. When asked if it was a conscious decision or just a side effect of their development as a band, Michael related that it was “a conscious decision born of the loosened atmosphere created by having an actual BAND. These guys can play their asses off, and I’ve been freed.”

And if the music itself sounds big and threatening (it literally reminds me of a tornado winding itself up as it gets ready to flatten everything you own…) the lyrics add a whole other layer of bleakness. Starting with the title I had to look up "rood" just to get my bearings.

Michael shed some light on it: “I can't quite remember how, but probably upon hearing the term ‘rude boys’ used for Ska, it made me think of a bunch of crucified boys, as I've been using the word ROOD (as an exact simile for crucifix) for years now. My guitarist and co-writer, Mark Rogers, came up with the riff in his earliest days upon joining Myssouri, and for some reason I just titled it ‘Rood Boy Blues’. As you can probably tell, I enjoy using the word 'blues' in a title, whether or not the song is stereotypical 'blues'. Because that to me goes back to mythical Americana: the blues. Exclusively, originally American. Of or concerning the low-down state of the soul. So if it's 1-4-5 or not, who gives a rat's ass. Labeling, terminology, deconstruction. Analyze ANYTHING for too long and you boil it down to it's primal essence: meaningless pink-grey ooze.”

The lyrics have their trademark imagery and thematically remind me a lot of another Myssouri song "One Holy Thing" where the last line is "I love you like a threat." Michael says the two songs aren’t related in any way and just exactly what this song represents may lie buried behind the eyes of the enigmatic vocalist forever. While we guess and add our own interpretations, in the very least these lyrics are artistic, beautiful poetry in the darkest sense of the word.

Symbols linger in the sutures where I've stitched our lives together.
Your body figures in my future with a boa's tender tether!
I've got a love to shelter us like a flesh and bone umbrella!
A holy home hewn in stone, sanctified and hallowed.
Well, you know that deed will be deemed undue—
when they pry my cold dead hands off you!
Nimble fingers stroll your velvet cheeks, a tear appears and travels.
I've scoped the scape and I will not speak while brittle ties unravel!
I've got a love like a carnal cope! A sanguine shrine! A bony tope!
But I see the ciphers in your eyes like hungry hempen collars.

... My hands have two holes that sing where I clenched the rings,
where I wore the rood of love!
No agency, no measure could lessen love's great torture!
But with my hands upon this treasure, death itself becomes conjecture!

After the initial rush of the first track, the band spares no time in pounding you with another hard hitting song that features a set of seemingly impossible lyrics sung with deceiving ease over a greasy slide guitar. The chorus straight out rocks as Michaels weaves through tongue twisters (“There's a holy black electric bloody calm judicial course that gives the sickness of the sickle slung a smiling remorse!”) and the drums emphasize the cadence of the verse.

Michael commented it was “a late add to the album. I liked it, and was surprised to hear the positive reactions from the other members as it developed. I guess I figured they'd think it was too overtly 'dark' or Bauhaus. I wanted the central voice in it to stir up images of the last ubermensch on earth. Just a'lordin' over stuff and a-pontificatin'...”

Musically things slow down with “March to the Sea.” It’s a dreamy, floating song as the title might suggest in its watery imagery. It’s also one of the saddest songs I’ve heard in a while (“I will march down to the sea, of what use is my soul to me?”). However, the drumming and the change in tone at the chorus (“ shadow breaks into a run”) really result in a feeling of release and peace.

Michael replied, “You're the first person to acknowledge that it IS a sad song. I think songs like March add a great dynamism and diversity to our roster, our LIVE roster in particular, but it's hard to get a crowd into it if they've never heard it before. I'm hoping folks will love the song from the album, then call out for it live. That happened alot with tunes from Malamerica. Familiarity is EVERYTHING.”

Mark added, “[ I ] love that you notice the rise and fall of emotions and the pull of the chorus verses the verse structure. Mission accomplished. Masterpiece.”


You get a double treat with "The Floorless Jig". You get the final version on CD and you get the demo version in the video included on the disk as a Quicktime movie. For those of you who’ve never seen Myssouri live this is a great opportunity to get a hint of the power they have on stage. It’s filmed in stark bright color as the boys sweat under intense lights on a sound stage. The sound is excellent as are the close ups as they’re playing. You get every snarl that floats across their faces. My only complaint about the video is the decision to put Bradley in some kind of illustrated story line – the song itself is about the American cowboy judicial system of hangings (floorless jig) and the crime that got the character there ("A martyr needs a murder to lend creedence to his fable. While I never meant to hurt her, like Cain I am unable to surmount the odds when my cards are so clearly rigged. Yeah, the holy hand of chance deigned I'd dance this floorless jig!"). I think the lyrics really speak for themselves without having to illustrate them and the band’s strength is in the intensity of their performance. I thought the “story board” part of the video was a bit of a distraction – but that’s just me. There are plenty of live shots to make it well worth seeing. Overall it’s quite impressive and I feel terribly fortunate to even have a video to watch.

Michael agreed on the quality of the video: “The video is excellent! How many unsigned bands can put such a handsome video on what amounts to be, for all intents and purposes, a new debut? So thanks to Nick Rosendorf for all his fine work. Regarding the overall THEME of the video, I just want to say that Floorless does not, in any way, advocate violence towards women! I sometimes get concerned when I see the video that people will misinterpret that.”

On a humorous side-note, there’s some farm animals wandering around the set in the video – some chickens and one ram. While doing research on the web for this article I came acress a note on a Jacob Sheep newsgroup where their owner talked excitedly about her sheep and chickens becoming movie stars in Myssouri’s video.

Michael laughed, “Ha, yes! I've seen that. Glad EWE noticed. Hope we didn't RAM that image down anyone's throat!”

When asked about the differences between the two versions of the song, Michael says the CD version is “longer, more fully realized, confident, brash and sexy. If I listen to this one, then the demo version, the demo sounds stiffer to me.”

Mark continues “Floorless Jig is closer to what I always wanted it to be: an apolcalyptic juke joint boogie. I thickened the guitars, added more dreamy delay effects (the boomerang echo during the mid section after Michael says "I am the Great I Ain't!!!"; the delay appears, then moves from speaker L to R and comes back in like a coyote yelp). Michael is GREAT ON IT. Myssouri HAD to re-record this, I think, because the power of it just was not coming through in the demo version. At the end, for example, the feeling had to be frantic, panicky, and like the entire building was coming down on you in flames.”

"Orphan Song" changed quite a bit between the 4 song demo and this CD. The chorus had been completely restructured and it was now much lighter in tone. It took a while to get used this one as I was so fond of the starker version but after a few listens the melodic hook took hold and I found myself humming along to the chorus.

“This is our preferred version,” Michael said. “The demo was just that. And it was a song we struggled with for a long time. Liked it, but didn't LOVE it. I couldn't figure what the problem was, but we re-worked the chorus, and now, while it IS one of our more 'pop' songs, it is undeniably catchy, and hopefully soulful.”

Mark agreed, “We rewrote the chorus adding a lilting quality to it. The middle section after the first chorus is my favorite place; I love it when we all are strumming and playing together and the slide comes in very simple. I love the organ on it too. It just sounds better to me now.”

"The Other People's Money Stomp" is a slow, sorrowful instrumental which continues the “blues” theme of the recording. It’s whispery Western sound propelled by slide guitar and insistent tempo create the kind of slow tension you get waiting for something bad to happen. It’s a resolved feeling of foreboding that is accented by the frustrated in a voice you hear in the background.

“The voice is Mark's,” Michael says, “I edited together some of the background sounds, and blended it with the raw acoustic performance of his. I think he said 'Aww, Christ, man!' after he was told to play it yet again--like a 6th time. But it was originally intended to be a somber homage to the NYC twin towers. That 's why I liked the footsteps. And the sound like a hurricane coming in. Or an airplane. Lends a whole new meaning. Ultimately, though, it was titled 'The Other People's Money Stomp' because of the blues we had about being unable to do this record without Other People's Money. And the stomp is self-explanatory. Naming it something like Manhattan Requiem would probably have come off as too heavy-handed.”

Mark explains further: “‘Other Peoples' money is me playing an old National Dobro guitar. Michael gave it reverb. That is my voice slowed down and garbled. It originally was written a while back, I originally wanted to call it "Manhattan Requiem" for the victims of 9-11 (especially with the sound effects in the song that MB added that sounded sort of like a plane coming at an innocent person saying "aw Christ Man") but in the end, the song is best called ‘Other People's Money’ because that what Myssouri had to turn to to pay for this record. It is sort of a sad admission.

Besides, didn't Michael say once that a gypsy woman/psychic told him that his fame would come later in life with other people's money? The 'stomp' is in line with the blues context of the record.”

What a surprise! “My Only Love” is the epitome of sexy, slithering, dirty blues! The drumming is particularly outstanding on this one -- it really sparks and climaxes where it needs to and adds dynamics to the song. These are Myssouri-tinged blues with lyrics like: “I know where the answer lies: In the dust of bones and mountains; in the malevolent march of time! From your birthday to your deathbed, don't forget to tell your child: Love is rendered temporary! And forever is a lie!” It’s a strong testament to the diverse and powerful direction this band is headed.

Michael, “Thanks. My favorite. The ending is a ‘Comfortably Numb’ -style ride into the infernal recesses of the quivering brain. And the chorus is completely unorthodox for the more standard blues progression of the verse. This one came together quickly in rehearsals and we knew we had something.”

Sometimes the best things come easiest.

"Down in Flames" is a very different song for Myssouri and one that took me a while to get used to. I was perplexed by it’s musical tone. On the surface it’s the most light hearted song they’ve done. It almost takes on a Beatle-esque pop sound but after reading the lyrics it’s easy to see what they’re up to and that this song is not so innocent. As the bass plods along happily and the guitar spins a sing-songy melody, Michael sings over a cheerful group chorus, “Purified or destroyed by fire. You decide on the evidence. A child bride, some Freudian ire. Summarized in a burning bed. Blazing sheets, all our glowing springs beneath. And cinders flying up the wall. It's no surprise that our histrionic rise became my meteoric fall. Down in flames, down in flames”

When asked how the song developed Michael commented, “The guitar riff is Mark's--given to me on a low-fi cassette. Cade Lewis added the very Beatle esque bass riff that became a defining feature. No lofty intentions here. It just became what it became when I added my voice and lyrics to a composition that didn't seem to warrant any severe changes. We actually have lots of songs that are like this--'uncharacteristic', yet totally Myssouri.

But look--go back to The Doors first album--you'll hear hard driving numbers like ‘Break on Through’ and dark, somber ones like ‘End of the Night’ and mystical epics like ‘The End.’ But interspersed are songs like ‘Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)’ and ‘Soul Kitchen’ that show a lighter heart and re-freshened attitude. They say: ‘We're not a one-course meal’. Neither is Myssouri.”

Mark agrees: “Down in Flames represents that Myssouri can do a lighter song and surprise you with songcraft, touch, and restraint. Same with [the song] ‘I Got It All’. I love the juxtaposition of a catchy melody with lyrics that are heavy.”

"Rictus" is a classic Myssouri song in every sense of the word with complex lyrics supported by dark overtones. It’s another great example of Michael’s mastery of words weaved with skill into a powerful combination of melody and tempo: “Come down, cleave the things of night from this loathsome man! Come carve away my wounds, tattoos, birthmarks, barcodes, scars and brands! Come flay me 'til I truly naked stand!”

"The Eyes of Others" is haunting and bluesy and seems to convey feelings of isolation and non-acceptance from the mainstream. Simply, Michael adds, “[It’s] an OLD lyric of mine that finally found a home. A haunted slide home.”

"I Got It All" is another seemingly uncharacteristic song for them which deviates greatly from what they’ve done in the past. The bass line in the beginning is very Nirvana-like, almost grunge-punk. Very simplistic and straight forward rock. The mid-section guitar tones ("you couldn't save me") almost reminds me of Fleetwood Mac and then at the end they flawlessly incorporate the melody from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Similarly, the lyrics are simplified into small phrases: “Night train. South wind. Cold rain. Cold kin. I got it all. The gory data. Digital stigmata. The ruptured rapture. The sutured scriptures. You couldn't save me.”

Michael explains, “The lyrics are nonsense that has come true! Musically, this one started out like ‘Down In Flames’--with a cassette and repeated listens with headphones and a notebook. Once we decided to include it on our recording sessions, it took newer, more confident form, mostly via Chris Reeves and Cade, who definitely lent it that 'Nirvana' vibe--of kind of a 'slacker ennui' you might say. It fit the lyric though. Dejected, resigned. But not totally hopeless. It's Zen, really, in it's willingness to let go. That's why it ended up as the last track.
Hopefully it says: To Be Continued...”

Mark, “Peter Greens' Fleetwood Mac (‘Man of the World’, ‘Albatross’, ‘Oh Well’, etc.) are a major influence on me. I think that they are underrated for being a songwriting band, not just a blues band. The later Fleetwood Mac were an unavoidable part of my listening to rock radio as a kid but, when it comes down to it, the reverb loneliness that came from P. Greens' Mac haunts me to this day. He is the greatest of the guitarists to come out of the UK until Johnny Greenwood.”

As with most talented bands, even the greatest CD pales in comparison to their live show when that intense energy comes careening out of their souls directly to the audience standing on the floor. And yet Myssouri has had trouble playing much outside of their home city of Atlanta and the frustration seems to build year after year. Among a sea of overwhelmingly good reviews praising them for their unique sound and artistic vision, Myssouri has yet to break into the limelight. With this new release under their belt, Michael and Mark look to the future.

Mark: “I feel so good about this record. I have no complaints and I look forward to supporting it and continuing to play and record with this band. It just seems to capture exactly what we wanted; maybe it was not everything that everyone in the band conceptualized it to be in the beginning but when it was all said and done I think that we all knew that it was something special.”

Michael: “Live shows have been consistently uneven. Our playing is usually fine and strong, and my voice has only strained once or twice. We're formulating a 12-city tour. Hopefully we'll hit the west for the first time later this year. But audience response is so hard to measure with an objective eye when you play the same damn venues in the same damn city over and over. Sometimes it's great, but other times it seems people just don't get us. I hear Myssouri on the radio, and it sounds so much stronger than anything I hear before OR after it. And yet we haven't really broken through to a LARGE audience yet.

I sometimes feel that people want to be TOLD what is cool and hip and worth seeing/buying. We'll just have to see what happens when War/Love Blues and Myssouri are heard beyond the southeast states. We're ready to record another album now. But we'll have to bite our tongues and be patient. These songs deserve to be fleshed out.

Our collective goal was to burst triumphantly out of obscurity! And we WILL succeed!”


Myssouri is:
Michael Bradley: vocals, guitars, sounds
Mark Rogers: lead guitars, lap steel, vocals
Cade Lewis: bass guitars, vocals
Chris Reeves: drums, percussion, vibes, vocals
Official Myssouri Website:



"MYSSOURI: War/Love Blues"

London (James) - It seems that what makes Myssouri such an exceptional band in the first place is being simply a rock group but to them no longer appears to be enough, they now had to prove they are serious experimentalists as well. War/Love Blues is a serious album and Myssouri show a pared-down emotional rawness, are more dark and gothic than other rock bands, however they can be both commercially and critically successful.
- James/


2004: War/Love Blues (new full-length CD)
2000: FurnaceSongs EP (still available through
1999: Malamerica (full-length CD, limited edition pressing, sold out).


Feeling a bit camera shy


MYSSOURI is a four-piece band from Atlanta, Georgia, with a heady, haunting evocative sound woven with a dark rock/western-soul sensibility that pays homage to the band's numerous influences, delivered with a strong and cinematic sense of place--namely mythic Western America; all solidly built around the vocal and songwriting talent of group leader Michael Bradley.

MYSSOURI gives you sweet collapse. Under an indifferent night sky, reeling from life, love, hatred and loss, questions of God and The Devil, you're clutching the earth for some sense of order, spent from the effort. They'll lift you up, then floor you; beguile you, then overwhelm you.

Guitars and lap steels scream and howl, wail then mourn; furious, then gorgeous. The bass and drums merge like precariously bottled thunder. Your pulse follows.

And that voice. MB's hugely emotive delivery shares the same stretch of lost highway with the familiar timbre of Jim Morrison, Nick Cave, Ian Curtis (Joy Division), Stuart Staples (Tindersticks), the plaintive wail of Roger Waters and
the cynical baritone narrative of Leonard Cohen. Seductive, then sullen, then wrathful.

MYSSOURI have taken a rusted blade to the fallen tree of genre-pigeonholing and carved an ever- evolving dark-indie-rock/country/blues/goth hybrid.

MYSSOURI has played live with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Concrete Blonde, 16 Horsepower, The Damned, The Reverend Horton Heat, The Angels of Light, The Dismemberment Plan, Twinemen (ex-Morphine), The Waco Brothers,
The Willard Grant Conspiracy, and more.
MYSSOURI has just completed the second full-length album, "War/Love Blues."
It was released in stores December 2003.

MYSSOURI have also played numerous festivals, such as CMJ's Music Marathon 2002, CMJ Changemusic Festival 2000, Atlantis Music Conference 2000, 2002, 2004, IG Independent Georgia Festival 2002, and Music Midtown Atlanta 2000.