Scott Lucas & the Married Men
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Scott Lucas & the Married Men

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Americana

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"Blood Half Moon"

“The collective’s third release, Blood Half Moon, is their best yet, a haunting eight-track gathering of tunes that perfectly melds the intensity of Local H with the gentle twang of the Married Men... The opening salvo of ‘Lover the Lullaby’ and ‘Blood Half Moons’ are pretty close to perfect...” - The Daily News - Jeffrey Zisk


"All Music Guide - Blood Half Moon"

Blood Half Moon might just be the rock record of 2012 - All Music Guide


"Music Via Chicago"

"Blood Half Moon," this six-piece band's second outing, showcases songcraft that's often superb, ranging from the cheerful country-pop skip of "Steady Gaze" to the world-weariness of "Out of the Boat," concluding with eight minutes of cacophonous, droning defiance in "There Ain't No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down)... Nearly every song is an epic...” Thomas Conner, Chicago Sun-Times - Chicago Sun-Times


"Heart On a Stick review"

I might like the Married Men's Absolute Beginners EP better, though, maybe because here they indulge the things I enjoy most about that band. There are no new songs on this release, either; there are rerecorded versions of two originals from their debut, the Bowie cover, and a ported-over Local H song. The shortest track is almost six and a half minutes long, almost twice the length of its album version; "Hey Rita," a quick four minutes on Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? and a whole five on Local H's live album goes eight-and-a-half, here (slipping for a bit into The Beatles "I've Got a Feeling," as both Lucas' bands have done live).
Which could be a problem under a lot of circumstances. Isn't here because this band gets exciting when Lucas -- who's been half a two-man band most his life -- conveys his giddiness at sharing the stage with a gaggle of folks. Some songs work best when the song part gets over and everyone can join in, pile on. It's not about dazzling, intricate arrangements or exploratory jamminess, it's the simple fulfillment of rich chord progressions by depth and repetition.
Which is why their version of "Absolute Beginners" works so well. If Bowie's version was supposed to be expansive and cinematic, romantic in lyric (mountain-leaping, sea foam laughing) and sound (over-polished street corner doo-wop and percussion, swank sax), this is a pretty song presented as just a pretty song. Replacing that exact croon with Lucas' blunt instrument grounds the thing, it's not what's out there, it's what's already here. The modesty of the enterprise is valuable. The guitars soar as high as the chipped paint on a bar ceiling. As long as they're together, as long as you're smiling. - Heart On A Stick


"CMJ Live Review"

After the show I headed down the street to Local 269 where I caught a blistering performance from Scott Lucas and The Married Men. Lucas, more commonly known as one half of the grunge duo Local H began his "solo" project last year, a stripped down affair more in line with the alt/folk sound of Neil Young. Assembling The Married Men, a collection of Chicago musicians, his "solo" band contains a massive seven people to create their desired sound. While Lucas handles lead vocals and guitar, he is joined by bass, drums, violin, accordion, lead guitar, and keyboards, ultimately creating a massive wall of sound that is relentless live. The band, dressed in formal suits (and a dress for the female member) didn't come close to fitting on the stage, with several members performing from the bar's floor. Having played several tours together in the past year, the band has started to grow, creating new interpretations of their songs and building with intensity during their live show. The sheer noise made by these seven musicians happily consumed the packed venue, as the tightly structured compositions exploded with each musician cranked to 11. Performing their own take on Local H's "Hey, Rita" and David Bowie's "Absolute Beginners" Lucas and The Married Men aren't afraid to leave their indie folk mark on songs from any of rock's genres. The calming restraint of their debut album George Lassos The Moon seems to be drifting away from their live show, but the songs still remain thoughtful, well written, and vastly different from his "day job". - CMJ


"All Music Review by J. Allen"

If we knew this was the sort of thing Local H frontman Scott Lucas was hiding up his sleeve all these years, we would have clamored for a solo project from him long ago. Of course, Lucas is best-known for turning out gritty alt rock under the aforementioned banner, hitting big on rock radio in the '90s, but he reveals a very different side to his musical personality on George Lassos the Moon. Lucas' first solo outing is a rootsy affair that's apparently inspired by his love of artists like the Cowboy Junkies and the Band (the singer/songwriter has admitted to a passion for Canadians making American roots music). Just as the Junkies' famed Trinity Session album was cut live to a single microphone, George Lassos the Moon was put together with an organic, rough-and-ready approach to recording. There's a tangible feel of players gathered together in a room, feeding off each other's energy, and a spontaneity that can't be faked by endless overdubbing. At the same time, the "Wichita Lineman," the with-an-attitude strings sweeping across "Weatherman," and the carefully choreographed, New Orleans-funeral-esque brass coloring in the closing tune (appropriately titled "The Last One") stand to prove that the whole thing wasn't simply thrown together without forethought. But whether the sound swells out expansively or closes up for an intimate feel, the folk and country flavors that predominate here are the perfect underpinning to the romantic ruin that preoccupies Lucas' lyrical muse, as he and his Married Men move through a batch of songs that suggest Mark Eitzel and Morrissey at a low-rent country karaoke bar (that's a good thing). - allmusic


"New City review by Tom Lynch"

I guess I never really realized before, but as a fan of Local H, of “Ham-Fisted” all the way through to “Twelve Angry Months,” I’ve attached myself to Scott Lucas’ acoustic ballads as much as I have to his hard-driving alt-rock. “No Problem” has always been a favorite of mine from Local H’s breakthrough “As Good As Dead” record, as well as “O.K.”; and from “Pack Up the Cats,” minute-long transition track “Lead Pipe Cinch” was always a welcomed break from the heavy guitar pounding. Lucas has now “gone solo” with backing band The Married Men, and on his new record, “George Lassos the Moon,” he plants himself in a softer, mid-tempo soil, bouncing between acoustic-guitar-based odes and melancholic pop-rock. Lucas has always had a great rock-music voice, capable of torching his throat over Gibson power chords and tackling more subdued songs, and on this album, seemingly his most personal, he’s taking it easy. “Gone-solo” records are traditionally bogged-down with self-indulgence and over-introspection—with few exceptions—and while Lucas’ new project is indeed as introspective as he’s ever been as a songwriter, he finds a way to make it work by, essentially, laying it all on the line. (If a record’s title is a reference to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” chances are there will be hearts on sleeves.) And you know what? In the best songs, like “Crosshairs,” “I Put a Spell on You” and “Chin Up, Kid,” Lucas even sounds like a wise old man. (Tom Lynch) - New City


"Chicagoist review by Jim Kopeny"

Spoiler Alert: He gets the girl.

Scott Lucas started work on what would become his solo debut with The Married Men, George Lassos the Moon, by sending songs in progress to an ex-girlfriend he was trying to win back. They were pleas for reconciliation and admissions of his own faults. They were heartfelt, honest, direct and, ultimately, convincing. And now Lucas is inviting the whole world to step in and share his experience.

Lucas is no stranger to writing emotionally raw lyrics but he tends to hide them behind walls of guitar and crushing drums. On George Lassos the Moon the volume is dialed back, way back, but it's done so without losing and emotional intensity.

In some way George Lassos the Moon is the post-script to 2008's Twelve Angry Months' distillation and communization of a break-up seen through ragged fury and slow acceptance. What follows that acceptance when your heart just won't let you rest? How do you heal the self-inflicted wounds you don't think deserve to be healed? Lucas tackles these topics and allows his heart's blood to seep into each phrase, many of which are delivered with a wearied longing that seems absolutely perfect.

This isn't a meek or tentative singer / songwriter album though. The songs are tender, but there's a strength behind them, built on Lucas' impeccable ear for melody. For a man so used to volume he shows a remarkable knack for arranging-allowing instruments to fill and complement the emotional space he creates, forming songs that swallow you whole while rarely raising above a whisper. It's the sound of one man's heart beating, hoping to become whole, and it's a powerful sound. - Chicagoist


"Jim Derogatis"

'.........Most exciting, though, is the middle act, Scott Lucas and the Married Men, which will find the moonlighting leader of Local H playing a different but just as powerful sound with his new project.'

- Chicago Sun Times


"David Wolinsky-Onion A.V. Club"

'As Local H's frontman, Scott Lucas has apparently painted himself into an artistic corner: He split his time in the '90s with the two-man alt-rock group that made him a household name and the short-lived Chicago band Fig Dish before it broke up, and this decade he's been moonlighting with electronica outfit The Prairie Cartel. But none of those have been sufficient outlets for coloring outside the lines: This year, Lucas is officially going solo (but not ditching the H) with George Lassos The Moon. The distortion pedal doesn't get flicked on as much as in his main gig, but Lucas' love of unconventional lineups shines through: His backing band, The Married Men, boasts a violinist and an accordion player in addition to the standard bass-guitar-drums roll call.'
- The Onion


"Neph Basedow-Deli magazine Chicago"

'For anyone remotely in-the-know of Chicago’s music scene, Local H is a band name that surely rolls off your tongue. But during the rock duo’s downtime, frontman Scott Lucas doesn’t exactly kick his feet up. For the past few years, the singer/songwriter/guitarist has spread his musical aptitude to Chicago electronica group, the Prairie Cartel. Most recently, Lucas has crafted yet another new project—the Married Men... In his newest musical outfit, Lucas proves himself a rock and roll chameleon, shedding his tough Local H exterior and evoking a tamer sound and stage persona. The sextet, which has just wrapped up work on its forthcoming debut, George Lassos the Moon, set the stage for the Disciplines. Their lineup alone (violin, accordion, guitars, drums) proved not only would they sound nothing like Local H, but chances are they wouldn’t sound much like most contemporary indie bands.
The majority of the band's set consisted of subtle gems, like “What Fools Allow,” a tender and honest reflection of love-lost, complimented by a woeful violin part.......... But Lucas showed he hasn’t quite lost his hard-rock edge, as proven in the full-band breakdown of "Extra Special Bitter," or in “Stolen Umbrellas,” as he croons, “I’ll take this communion ‘til things turn black / A glass of Robitussin with a whiskey back / And still I can't make the world disappear.” The band dedicated its set to nonstop music, offering little between-song banter, as they pumped out 'George' tracks, including "Weatherman", and a pleasantly surprising closing cover of David Bowie's "Absolute Beginners."

It was refreshing to witness a Chicago rock staple take the bold step out of the alt-rock confines and into an artistically progressive musical genre, free of the distortion pedal. It’s always interesting when artists reach into another realm in their side-projects—but balancing alt-rock, electronica, and art-rock—that’s just plain intriguing. Look for Scott Lucas & the Married Men’s official debut, George Lassos the Moon.' - www.thedelimagazine.com


Discography

George Lassos the Moon (G&P) - February 2010
The Absolute Beginners EP (G&P) - October 2010
Who Listens to Radio Anymore?: Live Sessions (G&P) - October 2010
Blood Half Moon (The End Records) - June 2012

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Bio


Scott Lucas is best known as the singer/guitarist for the two-man, Chicago rock band Local H. But recently, he has broadened his musical scope and greatly expanded his lineup, pulling together a collective of musicians -- the Married Men -- that currently numbers seven and includes violin, accordion and organ. The result is quite different than Local H and a perfect fit for Lucas’ more personal, introspective songs. Reviewers have compared the band to Wilco, the Waterboys and Nick Cave. Lucas calls the group’s evolving sound “country-ish, alt-rock for people who like metal.”

"The more we played live, the louder the amps got. The louder the amps got....you get the idea. After a certain point, we quit fighting it and decided to get chocolate all over our peanut butter,” Lucas explains, describing how he merged the force and volume of Local H with the sensitive twang of the Married Men for the band’s second album. “It's not like we've turned into Slayer or anything - we've just decided to embrace our dark side. And that goes for the lyrics, as well."

Blood Half Moon (the End Records - June 2012), is distinctively darker, yet ultimately more optimistic than Scott Lucas & the Married Men’s previous records, which were often described as quiet and sad. From the searing violin and haunting organ on the opening track “Lover the Lullaby,” which Lucas cites as the song that marked the band’s turn toward a more commanding sound; to “Heavy Lidded Love,” an upbeat song about cancer and ODing; to the closing, scorching eight-minute rendition of the traditional “There Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down),” this album is HEAVY -- figuratively and sonically. Its songs touch on endings, disappointment, betrayal, confusion, love, uncertainty and death.

"Even on, what you might call, the prettier songs - we let that darkness creep into the lyrics,” Lucas says. “‘There You Are’ has these delicate three-part harmonies, singing about graves and maggots. It's like ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ meets the Grim Reaper. For ‘Blood Half Moons’ - which is the closest I've ever gotten to a beautiful piece of music - I drove around in the desert for a couple of days and came back with lyrics full of blood, crows, and whiskey. And that dichotomy - the light of the music vs. the darkness of the lyrics - only serves to reinforce each other. It makes the songs seem MORE hopeful than if it was all flowers and babies. At least, to me."

As they did with their first two releases, the Married Men engaged Andy Gerber (Smoking Popes, the Tossers, the Effigies) to produce Blood Half Moon and recorded it in their native Chicago. But instead of working exclusively in Gerber’s Million Yen Studios, they laid down the bulk of the record at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio, bringing in engineer Greg Norman (Neurosis, Pinebender, Russian Circles) to assist. And, to infuse just the right amount of heaviness, they turned to metal guru Sanford Parker (Yakuza, Pelican, Bloodiest) to mix it.

Scott Lucas formed the Married Men in early 2009 out of a desire to record a batch of intensely personal songs he had written that didn’t feel like they belonged on a Local H album. Shortly after culling his backing band from a host of local indie acts -- most notably the Tossers, Caviar and the Joy Poppers -- Lucas and the Married Men recorded their first album, with fewer than a dozen live shows to their name. Their debut, George Lassos the Moon, was released in February 2010 and was followed by several tours. To showcase the band’s evolution after more time spent together playing live, they hit the studio again that summer, releasing The Absolute Beginners EP in October 2010. Though he has no intention of abandoning Local H, Lucas has also never considered the Married Men a one-off, side project. He plans to keep them both going simultaneously.

Scott Lucas & the Married Men are:
Scott Lucas -- vocals and guitar
Jason Batchko -- organ and piano
Aaron Duggins – accordion
Rebecca Brooke M. -- violin
Peter Muschong – guitar and vocals
Randy Payne – drums and percussion
Tom Szidon – bass and vocals