Todd May
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Todd May

Columbus, Ohio, United States | INDIE

Columbus, Ohio, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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An absolutely stunning record that transcends any single style, 33 1/3 conjures up everyone from Big Star to the Jayhawks to the Long Ryders or even the Rolling Stones (with Gram Parsons steering the ship, of course). Tracks like “Fire In The Hole” recall more obscure y’alternative bands like Walk The West. “Past Few Days”, available as an MP3 file, might be the single most beautiful song I’ve heard this year, with achingly sweet vocals and fragile, haunting refrain. Tracks like “Hangin’” combine strong pop sensibilities with enough roadhouse flavor that both camps should gobble this up.

“Beautiful” is countrified blues with a guitar solo that recalls Ronnie Wood’s heartbreaker on The Faces‘ live version of “I’d Rather Go Blind” (if you’re gonna pay homage, it’s good to reference the gods!). “Long Time If I Don’t See You” is a great morning-after song, and in “Easily Broken Heart”, well…how about Rudy Vallee goes country? Chock full of winning tracks like “Vertigo” and “Top” that will resonate in your head after one listen. Make them one of your favorites, too. - Raising the Bar


Todd May, frontman for notable alt-country projects The Lilybandits and Mooncussers and the guitarist who took Lydia Loveless’ band to another level.

May’s guitar playing was just as revelatory with Fort Shame, a free-flowing dim neon mangle that appropriately tattered the seams of the duo’s otherwise tight songwriting. Employing the standard John-and-Paul twin songwriters model, Harshe and May traded gravelly lead vocals and frequently lent each other roughshod harmonies.

Style-wise, they bridged Harshe’s jangly, R.E.M.-inspired college rock with May’s post-Uncle Tupelo roots rock, finding a common denominator in Paul Westerberg’s uncouth big-hearted pop. Like Westerberg’s Replacements, they veered from straight pop sounds (Harshe played a very ’80s-sounding electric keyboard) to cacophonous finales without regard. - Columbus Alive dot com


Somewhat fitting that we have Columbus newcomers The Mooncussers following Damn The Torpedoes today, as The Mooncussers might have used that record as a boilerplate. Nothing revolutionary or earth shattering here, just top notch American roots rock and a hook big enough to snag Jaws. Lead single Lowlight is a great single that reminds me a little of Jackson Browne back when he mattered, and should appeal to who fans who dwell anywhere on the strip that runs from Springsteen to Gaslight Anthem, with all the Mellencamps, Marahs and Mekons in between. If Lowlight floats your boat as it does mine, your next stop should be The Mooncusser’s Bandcamp page, where you can score their Demo EP for nothin’.
- My Old Kentucky Blog


The Mooncussers

DEMO

Peloton Records

***1/2

Crisp, fresh and very real music, performed by great talent and sung in a cowboy-esque manner

Looking at the inside sleeve from DEMO, it is interesting to learn (and somewhat confusing) that there are six members in the Mooncussers who switch instruments throughout this mini-album. With five members (two of which are guests) listed as drummers, it seems the only member who sticks at what he does is front man Todd May. With a voice which would fit perfectly to the image of a nomadic cowboy, May leads his band of gentleman effortlessly with his wicked and gritty vocals. Four of the six songs were recorded at Greg Thurman’s (keys and drums) house, while Chicksaw Road and Carolina II were recorded at the Chillicother Recording Worshop. There does not seem to be a difference, usually, you’d able to tell between live recordings from a back bedroom to a more polished and clean recording in a studio, but here there is little to hint that the songs were recorded at home. Without the cheap crackling and fuzzy muffles bands usually capture from home, the four tracks sound crisp, fresh and very real. With great music, take Hard To Love You for example, May understands how to put across a wonderful performance by giving the listener the right amount of emotion. Although DEMO is a mere six songs, this is a wonderful album from the Mooncussers, and we hope to feature them some time soon in Maverick, for they are a wonderful union of musicians performing great country crossover music. CB


- Maverick Magazine November 2010 Issue


"an alt-country all-star team of sorts . . . stirred by the "No Depression" school of rock, there's something satisfying for you in these twangy barroom ballads. They go down a lot easier than the whiskey that undoubtedly inspired them." - Alive


"What they maintain is an appealing, highly listenable roots-rock sound influenced by decades-old artists and the grit of AM radio." - Columbus Dispatch


A brag-worthy lineup, May digs deep into his Kentucky roots, cranking out twangy tunes . . . like Counting Crows if Adam Duritz had balls"

"some Replacements-style grit, and like the Drive-By Truckers, he’s as much at home with a wailing electric guitar as he is with acoustic picking."

"when May sings, “It’s hard to love you when you don’t come home,” and those country-style leads echo the sentiment, you realize there’s no reason for the Mooncussers to break new ground when the soil’s still fertile."
- The Other Paper



. . . "with writing that seeks to impact the listener at a deeper level than just entertainment . . . It is obvious on the first listen that the members of this band are students of good music. Dynamic, soulful and pure is the way one could label the spirit of this band. The Mooncussers are cool because they are just good at what they do."
- The Independent Music Scene


Discography

The Mooncussers - Demo (2010)
1. Woodpile:
2. Chickasaw Road*:
3. Egee:
4. Lowlight:
5. Hard To Love You:
6. Carolina II*:

Mooncussers Aperitif (2011)

1. Lullaby
2. Worcester Boy
3. Jessimine and I
4. Foolish
5. Tanglefoot

Todd May in Calamities: EP (2009)

Todd May in Lilybandits: 33 1/3 (2000)

Todd May in Lilybandits: Shifty's Tavern (1998)

Full length of Todd May "Rickenbacker Girls" Release date February 19, 2013 Peloton Records (Yep Roc/Red Eye)

Photos

Bio

Todd May plays with Lydia Loveless (Bloodshot Records) Mooncussers as well as several other projects.  Todd releases solo records, plays guitar for Lydia Loveless, and writes with Sue Harshe of Fort Shame.  

Todd's roots are from the coal mining towns of Kentucky. He grew up around the City of Columbus (south side of town) and took often to visiting his grandmother back in Kentucky.  

Todd has toured the country since the 1990s in various groups. Todd fronted the band The Lilybandits.  Todd and the Lilybandits toured extensively through the 1990s and into the early 00s.  Their mainstay was the south, where their cross of 80-style punk infused americana soul was appreciated.  It was not uncommon to see Todd (Lilybandits) on a bill with the Drive By Truckers or other at the time emerging stars of the emerging scene.  After two releases and years on the road, The Lilybandits slowed down just when things were picking up.

Todd May has always preferred performing with a band and exchanging musical ideas over the role of band leader, and starting in 2007 Todd began to mesh once again with players.  Todd formed the group Ft. Shame with long time friend and  and former Lilybandits member Jamey Ball (bass gtr) and seasoned player/songwriter Sue Harshe (Sue is a member of Scrawl, and indy rock band formed in the late 1980s).  Ft. Shame permits Todd to expand on his guitar playing prowless (Think James Honey Man Scott and Ron Wood) as well as provide a channel for his songwriting.  Ft. Shame released an EP in 2010 and will release a Full length Double Wide in Peloton Records (RedEye distribution) on November 27, 2012.
 
Todd really stretched out as a songwriter fronting the Mooncussers.  Formed almost by accident, Todd recruited Jamey Ball to play guitar and joined forced with other respected players to put forth to the world a three guitar attack of southern style soul.  The Mooncussers have released 2 EPs since 2010 and have received praise for the excellent songwriting and vocals of Todd May.  See below for review quotes.

Todd also hones his unique style for the guitar with Bloodshot Records Recording Aritst Lydia Loveless.  Todd began collaboarting with Lydia in late 2009.  By march of 2010, Lydia was invited to perform at SXSW and she took Todd with her.  Soon after Lydia signed with Bloodshot and recorded her Bloodshot debut record, Indestructible Machine.  Todd's sparse, melodic guitar style is all overIndestructible and compliments Lydia's  songs very well.
Since 2009 Todd has slowly picked up his touring schedule. He travels with Lydia Loveless,  and tours as a solo acoustic artist in addition to his duties with Ft. Shame and Mooncussers.

Over the last year Todd has been in the studio recording a full length record.  What originally started off as a Mooncussers full length organically morphed into something all its own.  This is truly a solo record that highlights the strengths of this great songwriter.  The record Rickenbacker Girls emphasizes Todd's soulful, robust and gritty vocals and melodies.  It meshes all that has come before:  The early alt-country vibe of the Lilybandits, The tinge of indie/punk from his early days and ft. Shame, and the rock and soothing rhythm from the Mooncussers experiment.  All this from a mature songwriter who has spent his life pouring out songs and "filling up the well"  (as Todd puts it) with more stories, influences, and life's hard lessons to craft into more songs.