The Mission Orange
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The Mission Orange

Mount Vernon, Washington, United States | INDIE

Mount Vernon, Washington, United States | INDIE
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"KEXP - Sound Off! Show Review"

“Mount Vernon’s garage-indie duo The Mission Orange finished the night with a set full of shred. Both members’ impressive technical skill and high energy drove their live performance, creating a unique mixture of the best parts of 90’s Midwest indie-emo (think American Football, Cap’n Jazz, Mineral, The Promise Ring, etc.), garage rock, punk, and progressive rock. The set was largely instrumental, showcasing the frontman’s beefy guitar chops and ability to dance and shred simultaneously while still looking reasonably rad. “Hammer Fever” rocked; with aggressive guitar parts, a beautiful mid-song breakdown, and sparse vocals, the song highlighted the impressive skills of the young duo. Although the songs were diverse, the instrumentals were well written, and the set was enjoyable throughout.” -- RJ Cubarrubia, 90.3 KEXP Show Review, Feb. 26th 2009 - KEXP 90.3 Blog


"The Stranger - Underage Mention"

“Mount Vernon garage-rock duo the Mission Orange enter the ring stripped down to nothing but a nasty guitar sound, tight drumming, and a heavyweight aural display reminiscent of Seattle's glory days of grunge.” -- Casey Catherwood, The Stranger, Jan. 14th 2009 - The Stranger


"Sound Off! Contestants Schoolboy Gutbuster and The Mission Orange"

Mount Vernon garage-rock duo the Mission Orange enter the ring stripped down to nothing but a nasty guitar sound, tight drumming, and a heavyweight aural display reminiscent of Seattle's glory days of grunge. The band will tear a sonic chasm in the ceiling of the Greenhouse's tiny basement this Friday, January 16, providing a sneak preview of a young band primed to wreck some ears in February and potentially take home the big prize come March. - The Stranger


"The Mission Orange: Orange Pop"

When Sam Hutchens found a Mission brand orange soda bottle on the banks of the Skagit River, he said he thought it would make an interesting name for a band.

Now, with a new album and a west coast tour, Hutchens' band, The Mission Orange, is aiming to make a name for itself in the Northwest indie-rock scene.

The Mount Vernon-based rock duo has teamed up with Bellingham independent record label Murder Mountain Records to release its first full-length album, “Seasick.”

The album was released nationwide Jan. 22 to the Internet music stores iTunes, Napster, and CD Baby, and also on the Murder Mountain online store and at Everyday Music in Bellingham.

The duo — singer/guitarist Marcus Nevitt and drummer Sam Hutchens — describe their sound as minimalist rock. Formed a year and a half ago, they have played most of their live shows in Bellingham. The band has played on campus at the Viking Union Multi-Purpose room and Nevitt has played a solo show at The Underground Coffee House, Hutchens said.

Three months after the band was formed, The Mission Orange’s energy and progressive sound caught the eye of Murder Mountain founder Evan Jerome, who approached the band after seeing them live, Hutchens said.

Singer/guitarist Marcus Nevitt plays at the band's final show in Bellingham Jan. 18 before embarking on a west coast tour. Photo by Graig Hill.
The band had no trouble translating the energy of their live show into a full-length album, most of which they wrote in the studio, Hutchens said.
“We’re writing all the time,” Hutchens said. “We just fucking go at it.”

The band recorded and produced the album almost entirely by themselves, Hutchens said.

“We didn’t want to have to convey our ideas to [a sound] engineer,” Hutchens said.

The do-it-yourself attitude the band brought to the studio was fine by Murder Mountain co-owner Ian Imhof, who said the label looks for artists with a clear vision and a take-charge attitude about their music.

Imhof began managing and promoting bands with his own company, LFM Productions, five years ago.

Jerome said he decided to stop attending Western and create the record label when he realized his passion was recording and promoting music. Jerome and Imhof decided to join forces in early 2007.

Together, Imhof and Jerome have released records for several local bands, but “Seasick” marks the first time the label has worked with a distributor to release an album on major national outlets such as iTunes, Imhof said.

Imhof said the Internet helps small bands reach a much larger audience than they normally would be able to reach, but it also contributes to a flooding of the market.

“Digital sales are really starting to make an impact, but they don’t mean a thing when you’re out on tour and need that CD money to get from San Francisco to Tempe,” Imhof said.

The band is currently experiencing the world of touring for the first time, Hutchens said. The band, along with Imhof, set off Monday on a two-week tour down the West Coast.

The band is playing shows in Oregon and California before ending the tour with an all-ages show at The Fusion Café in Seattle on Feb. 2.
The band said they're excited about the future of the Northwest rock scene.

“The Northwest is a great place for music,” Hutchens said. “It seems like more of a community than a scene.” - The Western Front


"A Visit To Our Musical Cousins In The North: Show Review Nov 2009"

Written By Don Project-

A clear drumset and a couple small Fender amps powered the energizing set by the young Mount Vernon duo known as The Mission Orange. Their eclectic and technical songs warmed the hearts of a small group of locals. Heads were nodding under black longshoreman caps and many a music nerd marveled at the precision guitar work. Sporting a huge sound for a duo, the gentlemen of The Mission Orange wove wonderful melodies around powerful rhythms. Though under 21, they bring a swagger and a complexity to the stage that rivals their legally adult compatriots. I'm a big fan of their mix of garagey and technical sounds, particularly on "Hammer Fever" and I hope it's included on the record they mentioned they were recording. On Friday, they brought that just-right mix of excitement and rest for the end of a long drive and some hanging out in an unfamiliar town. - The SunBreak


"The Mission Orange: Sonic Bomb Fuse"

By Kaleb Gubernick

It's summer. School's out. It's time to relax, right? Wrong. The boys from The Mission Orange have just started putting in some major work around town to make sure their dynamic duo's name rings bells. You may remember them from their blurb in the What's Up! High School Band Showcase from a couple months ago. Then again, how could you forget?

During a lazy, overcast Saturday I was able to bear witness to a rare stretch of down time for the Orange. I sat down with Sam Hutchens and Marcus Nevitt for a hearty meal of Mexican food before heading to a studio session at Murder Mountain Records.

They were in somewhat of a haze, fresh off of playing two shows the previous night at both WhAAM and Chiribin's.The boys talked with subdued excitement about their doubleheader, asking whether or not they had sounded good and if it was alright that they had played in a bar despite being under the legal drinking age. Not that it mattered, though; apparently the management had been blown away by the performance. The audiences at Mission Orange shows tend to have that reaction, if not because of the music or the fact the duo is a couple of high school-aged kids, than because of the sheer passion that comes through in their live show.

It's easy to see why the Mission Orange's live performances are often jaw-droppers. Marcus and Sam are like a lit bomb fuse when they play, they just keep getting closer and closer to exploding. Not unlike the crescendo that is their entire live show: Sam, steadily and nonchalantly providing the backbeat for insanity as Marcus twists and gyrates during the set, winding his guitar chord tightly around his legs.

Off the stage, their roles become reversed. Sam becomes the first to get noticed; an affable, approachable jokester in a knit beanie hat with rings of red hair sticking out like his head had an orbital path. On the other hand you have Marcus, the reserved and soft-spoken soul, his right shoe worn down from stomping the stage during his sets.

Bug Jerome from Murder Mountain Records had his jaw dropped during one such set at a Fantasia Tea and Espresso show that ended up with Bug welcoming The Mission Orange onto the roster.

"Bug was freaking out," Marcus chuckled. "He was in the crowd with a huge grin. After the show he introduced himself and I immediately grabbed Sam like, 'This is the guy from Murder Mountain!' That was a good day."

Sam just nodded along, a grin creeping across his face, "That was a good day indeed."

And it's a good thing summer is here. It will allow the dutiful duo to redirect some of their energy on stage into their music. In addition to recording their new full-length album at Murder Mountain's studios, they're keeping busy with shows in the meantime. Among other shows, The Lonely Forest will join the pair for a show July 7 at The Old Foundry. This combination of talent is especially fitting since John Van Deusen of The Lonely Forest has been designated as co-producer for The Mission Orange's new album in progress.

I tried to sit down with Sam and Marcus for an interview during a lull in their first studio session for the new record, but they're too dedicated for their own good. All they could think about was playing. Marcus showed off bruises on his waist received from his guitar. Sam tapped out drum patterns on his knees while he responded to questions. Marcus did the same, except on the tabletop. After only two questions, from which I learned that their moniker comes from an old brand of soda, Marcus got the itch.

"I kind of feel like jamming" Marcus said, his tabletop drumming turning into restless tapping. Sam agreed; they headed back into the studio. These kids love their music.
- Whats Up! Magazine


"CD Review: The Mission Orange EP"

By Andrew Lawrence

Though tasty by themselves, orange juice, vodka and malt liquor don't mix well. In The Mission Orange's case, they got rid of the malt liquor (representing the bass) and kept the orange juice (drums) and vodka (guitar), thereby making a screwdriver, which is good. Drums and guitar are all that these Mount Vernon rockers need to kick out the jams, as their five-song EP shows.

Their debut is at times punky, funky, indie and metal...y—often in the space of a single song. When compared with similar rock duos, drummer Sam Hutchens and singer/guitarist Marcus Nevitt come off as a slightly less in-your-face Death From Above 1979 or a White Stripes in which the drummer can do more than just keep a beat. Also, before I forget, the vocals are like putting a cherry in the aforementioned screwdriver: at times they add greatly to the flavor of the songs (like in "It's Clearly Him"), while in other cases they can be too much (see "Gone Away").

Tracks like the rocked-out, Zeppelin-esque "Gone Away" and "Top Heavy," a dark metal dirge that ends as a balls-to-the-wall rocker paint The Mission Orange in a decidedly different light than the funky, fIREHOSE-like "The Answer" or the indie-influenced "Live Long and Prosper." This is both an advantage and a weakness, as the band's refusal to be settle on one style keeps them from being typecast or predictable, but also keeps the listener a bit too off-balance, leaving them unsure at times just where the band is trying to go. Overall a great first effort, and definitely a drink to look forward to. - Whats Up! Magazine


"Performer Magazine: Seasick Album Review"

The Mission Orange - Seasick
Written, recorded, mixed and mastered by The Mission Orange | Recorded at Murder Mountain Studios in Bellingham, WA

Grunge may be dead in the Pacific Northwest but it sounds like teen angst is still kicking. On The Mission Orange’s debut full length, Seasick, for burgeoning Bellingham label Murder Mountain, the Mount Vernon teenage garage duo declares that the best way to battle confusion, loneliness and indecision is with explosive distortion, cathartic shouts and the volume knob cranked to 20.

It’s easy to see how vocalist/guitarist Marcus Nevitt and drummer Sam Hutchens could draw devout legions of early-Nirvana fans. They construct ear-catching towers of melodious noise coated in pop hooks but cemented on a punk base. The fade-in opening title track serves up the duo’s best representative: as distant and unrelenting guitar crunches loom closer, Hutchens striking a fury of cymbals behind, Nevitt coos reassuringly, “I feel fine,” before unleashing a corrosive Cobain wail and deciding, “I can’t make up my mind.” Combining sweet melodies with sour rock dissonance yields a delectably hypnotic dichotomy.

Feedback and fuzz steer much of Seasick, and though loud-fast does rule, it isn’t The Mission Orange’s only M.O. The twisted folk ballad “Sister” adopts lingering acoustic strums and Jeff Mangum harmonies, while sheer joy saturates the playground romance on “I’m a Germ, You’re a Germ” (“I saw you swinging on the swingset / swinging with your feet all covered in mud”) until its inexplicably disastrous end where Nevitt exclaims, “I’m losing my desire!” This shows a few lyrical loose ends need tying, along with occasionally repetitive riffs craving more evolution.

They have the right components — ample melodic sensibility, compelling energy and an album as cohesive as it is endearing. On the closer, “Homesick,” which plays like a continuation of the opener, Nevitt bellows, “I am alone!” With records like Seasick, The Mission Orange should find plenty of friends to keep them company. (Murder Mountain)
www.myspace.com/themissionorange
-Julia Cooper
- West Coast Performer Magazine


"Mission Orange Feature: Skagit Valley Herald"

BURLINGTON — Time and circumstances seem to creep along when you’re 17 and 18 years old.

But for the teenage duo The Mission Orange, success has roared at an unusually fast pace.

Lounging on a couch in the loft of the Common Ground Coffee House in Burlington where they often perform, Marcus Nevitt and Sam Hutchens passed their first CD back and forth between them, quietly basking in their good fortune. After all, it took just three gigs before they signed with a record label, Murder Mountain Records of Bellingham, less than a year ago.

They’ve been playing full-tilt ever since.

“We never really say no to shows,” Hutchens, 18, said as he adjusted the knit cap he made himself while the two were on tour last month to promote their first full-length CD, “Seasick.”

The Mount Vernon duo embarked on the tour in late January to play in music venues and bars in Oregon, California and Arizona. Along the way they met other energetic, up-and-coming musicians and discovered a whole new set of restrictions for teens playing in bars catering to the 21-and-older crowd.

“They were some weird shows,” Nevitt, 17, said, shaking his head in his quiet, humble manner. “We got to witness bar rules in different states. They’re strict. Sometimes we just had to stay in a green room, sometimes we had to just go onstage and play and then leave. They wouldn’t even let us play a show in Eugene.”

But the tour was energizing for the teens who have both set their sights on long careers playing music. Hutchens already has graduated from high school, and Nevitt is a Running Start student at Skagit Valley College.

The Mission Orange is just one of the new crop of young bands to come out of Skagit County in the past five years. It joins the ranks of The Lonely Forest, an Anacortes band that won First Place in the prestigious Sound Off! Battle of the Underage Bands at EMP in 2006; The Oregon Donor of Anacortes, a band that’s made the circuits locally and in Seattle; and Ameretta, another Mount Vernon band.

“We definitely see a trend in a lot of really good talent in both Skagit and Whatcom counties,” said Ian Imhof, manager of The Mission Orange and co-owner of Murder Mountain Records.

Much of the local bands’ success can likely be attributed to the popularity of the county’s three all-ages music venues: the Department of Safety in Anacortes, Common Ground in Burlington and The Retrodoxy in Mount Vernon, Imhof said. The 21-and-older crowd at many of the local bars and taverns are more interested in other kinds of music. A teen audience enjoys rocking out to the music of other teens or young adults who play music they can relate to.

The younger bands also have the benefit of knowing how to use online sites, including MySpace.com and others, to help publicize their music, book gigs and network, Imhof said.

“They can send venues and promoters around the country samples of their music in a split second, instead of sending press packets and waiting for weeks at a time for a response,” Imhof said.

Mission Orange has grabbed plenty of fans locally with their music — a mix of ambient, indie and rock with plenty of drums, heavy strumming guitar and lyrics that aren’t too complicated or poetic.

Glancing back and forth at one another, Hutchens and Nevitt struggled to find an adequate description for their music.

For Nevitt, “It’s just, you know, rock music.” For Hutchens, it’s about making music he would like to listen to.

Whatever it is, they’re a favorite at Common Ground and The Retroxody.

Nevitt and Hutchens have been making music together since they met while attending Conway School. Nevitt has been an avid guitar player since he was in the third grade. Hutchens also had been playing guitar, but switched to the drums a few years back.

Their musical collaboration began when Hutchens decided to enter a school talent show. He needed a guitar player, and, well, Nevitt was a guitar nut. They began practicing for the show, but never actually entered.

But they continued to play music together. They found they had plenty in common and enjoyed much of the same music — Seattle grunge and basic rock and roll classics.

Hutchens and Nevitt both played in different bands before finally deciding to create their own in June 2007.

Just one thing: They needed a catchy name.

Hutchens said the name came to him while he was walking along a sandbar of the Skagit River and found a Mission brand orange soda bottle. He was inspired by the sound of Mission Orange.

“I thought it sounded cool, so I told Marcus and he liked it, too,” Hutchens said.

Through a family contact of Nevitt’s, they scored their first show as The Mission Orange at the Fantasia Coffeehouse in Bellingham. Then came another show at another venue, and a third show in Seattle.

The third time really was the charm for the duo, when Murder Mountain Records founder Evan Williamson heard them perform in Seattle and approached them about signing with his company. The band had been playing together just three months.

Imhof said he was introduced to Nevitt and Hutchens just a short time after they signed with Murder Mountain at one of their shows at the Department of Safety. He was dazzled by both the energy of their music and their onstage performance.

“I was blown away,” Imhof said. “The energy they had and the musicianship they had while rocking and going crazy on stage was wild. They had something that I could see being able to market really well and thought they could go really far with.”

It took no time to record a few songs and then just a year to record a full-length CD. They wrote some of their songs for “Seasick” while in the Bellingham recording studio.

Many of the songs they came up with for “Seasick” center around a theme of indecision, Hutchens said, although he noted he’s not sure why.

With the band’s first full-length CD has come several major accomplishments: They’ve scored a live performance on 107.7 The End FM Seattle’s “Young and the Restless” local program at about 9 p.m. Sunday, and they’ll be performing May 25 at the EMP Sky Church during the annual FolkLife Festival in Seattle.

Both shows should give the band more exposure to a much larger audience, Imhof said.

“These guys’ main priority right now is the band and trying to be as big as they can be,” Imhof said. “I think they have it in them.” - Skagit Valley Herald


"The Mission Orange: All Grown Up Feature"

Let me be perfectly honest here, I want the Mission Orange to move to Bellingham, immediately. Sure, it might be in their future plans and sure, at times it seems there are more than enough local musicians to screw in the lightbulbs around here, but I’m already a touch impatient.

For the time being however, I’ll forgive them if only for their busy schedules. The Mt. Vernon duo recently finished Seasick, their self-directed blitzkrieg of a debut and are busy finalizing the details on an upcoming tour down the West Coast. While many of us will spend our Januarys with damp socks lamenting unattainable New Year’s resolutions, Marcus Nevitt and Sam Hutchens are set to make a name for themselves.

Everything there is to love about the group’s live show lingers in the air around them when talking over holiday coffees at the Horseshoe. Their personal traits come across easily in conversation. I found drummer Hutchens instantly endearing with a fantastic sense of humor and firmly rooted sense of self. Guitarist Nevitt, on the other hand, holds onto a quiet intensity that is simultaneously earnest and engaging. Both musicians are more serious than you might expect.

Both longtime guitarists, the two met in grade school and connected over similarly progressing music tastes: from Failure to Simon and Garfunkel.

Initially playing a self-described “sloppy” brand of garage ala early White Stripes and the Black Keys, they quickly caught attention with their explosive live show. After sharing an Old Foundry bill with Karate Kitchen, their third show, Murder Mountain’s Evan Williamson invited them to join the label.

Out on Murder Mountain this month, Seasick offers a fast-paced, tightly woven glimpse at a band that’s already putting older acts to shame and clearly displaying some staying power. If anything, the Mission Orange are announcing their removal from all “ones to watch” lists and conversations and swiftly coming into their own.

Now with some time playing together, a slew of live shows, and an EP under their belts, the band has learned what they want for themselves and their sound. Structure and self-determination rank top on their list.

“We knew that we wanted to do it ourselves. We didn’t want to get our ideas across to an engineer” explained Hutchens, who set out to record, engineer and master the group’s full length and accomplished precisely that.

Through their connections at Murder Mountain, the Mission Orange were lucky to have had the studio time and the space to make the new album something entirely their own.

“Sometimes it takes us a while to get a song because we try it so many different ways,” explains Nevitt, who handled the songwriting and arrangements on the album, “We had so much free time in the studio that it was pretty tempting to add more…but the general rule we try to keep to is if we can’t do it live as a two-piece, we won’t record it.”

That’s not to say that Seasick is a sparse album - if anything the band is showcasing an intimacy with their influences that has grown increasingly more coherent and direct in recent months.

The Mission Orange are displaying a carefully attuned knowledge of the raw, garage fervor that has drawn them so much attention, now coupled with some newly evident pop hooks to firmly structure the music. Often their sound is reminiscent of the best blending of these genres, heard in bands like the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age. Much like their enthralling live show, it catches you off guard and it keeps your attention. Take the title track, “Seasick,” for example, aptly named for a guitar riff that throws the listener off balance like a rowing boat, only to center itself in the gorgeous subtly of its vocal harmonies before descending once again, only with harder intensity. Strangely enough, both band members have jobs that are boat-related. Nevitt works with his dad building cabinets for yachts while Hutchens comes from a long line of commercial fishermen.

Pleased with the way the album has turned out, the band practices an ethic that Nevitt summarizes as “ Not indie but independent.” Aside from the cover design by Sam Winston, Seasick was entirely written, mixed, recorded, and mastered by Nevitt and Hutchens by choice. Not too shabby for a first attempt.

After taking a break in recent months, the Mission Orange are eager to draw in new fans with their increasingly well-known live performances. “We love to play live shows,” says Nevitt, “We would rather you see us live and then buy the album, then the other way around.”

Touring has been a long-term goal for the group and with the help of their booker Christy at Plus Minus Promotions it should be a reality by the end of January. With manager Ian Imhof in tow, the band is heading down the West Coast for two and a half weeks, following some much-anticipated CD release shows in this area, including a January 18 show at WhAAM. The album is also set for release on iTunes this January 23.

In discussing their tour plans you can sense a tone of excited apprehension from the duo. “I think it’s going to be a fucking cool adventure,” asserts Hutchens.

Nevitt remains more openly cautious about the all too common money/car/health trouble scenarios, adding one more wish, “I hope I don’t fail all my classes this quarter.” Just a reminder that it’s easy to forget how young these guys are. Marcus, a running start student, is still trying to graduate from high school in the spring.

And, what the hell were you doing at 17?

-Jessica Tracry - What's Up! Magazine


Discography

Albums:

"The Mission Orange" EP (Murder Mountain) - April 7th, 2007

"Seasick" LP (Murder Mountain) - January 23, 2008

"Music From The Center Of The Universe" Compilation Album (Clickpop/Murder Mountain/What's Up!) - January 2008

"Live at Sound Off!" Compilation Album (Experience Music Project) - June 2009

"Untitled" LP (Clickpop Records) - 2011

Singles:

"The Answer" from The Mission Orange EP, 2007
"Live Long And Prosper" from The Mission Orange EP 2007
"Quick Little Girl" from Seasick LP, 2008
"Postcard" from Seasick LP, 2008
"Hammer Fever" Unreleased Streaming Single 2008
"Madrone" Unreleased Streaming Single 2008
“Path Of The Avalanche” from Live at Sound Off! 2009

Film/DVD:

"Microscope Experiment" Concert Documentary (Murder Mountain) - December 2007

Photos

Bio

From the fertile musical landscape of the Pacific Northwest comes The Mission Orange. The Mount Vernon, WA based duo play their own carefully crafted style of Melodic Indie Garage Rock, drawing influences from Dungen to Simon and Garfunkel and everything in between. Over the past four years they have evolved a signature sound, being compared to bands like The Black Keys, Failure, Built To Spill and Nirvana. KEXP’s RJ Cubarrubia may have summed them and their live show up the best when he said, “Both members’ impressive technical skill and high energy drove their live performance, creating a unique mixture of the best parts of 90’s Midwest indie-emo garage rock, punk, and progressive rock.”

Lead singer and guitarist Marcus Nevitt and Drummer Sam Hutchens form a high energy, full sound that rarely comes from a two-piece and are known for their surprisingly loud and engaging live shows. Casey Catherwood of The Stranger described The Mission Orange as “stripped down to nothing but a nasty guitar sound, tight drumming, and a heavyweight aural display reminiscent of Seattle's glory days of grunge.”

They have quickly become a recognizable figure in Northwest music, garnering articles and reviews from local music magazines and newspapers as well as landing live in-studio performances, podcast spots and radio play on college stations like 89.3 KUGS and 90.3 KEXP and top Commercial stations like 107.7 The End KNDD. This has also landed them in the EMP Sound Off! Competition as well as a spot for two consecutive years on the Northwest Folklife Festival’s “All Ages Alternative” Showcase. They have recently opened for such acts as Tokyo Police Club, Idiot Pilot, Menomena, The Lonely Forest and The Globes.

Currently they're working on their full length follow up to 2008’s “Seasick” album, this time at Bayside Recordings, with producer Paul Turpin (Idiot Pilot/Rooftops/The Trucks/Kasey Anderson). The yet-to-be-titled album will be their debut on Clickpop Records and is slated for an early 2011 release.