The Mole People – ‘power pop beamed in from outer space’


The Mole People’s new LP Lost Age, released this September, resurrects the sounds of their classic 60s garage rock and 70s power pop influences with nods to The Stooges, 13th Floor Elevators, and Big Star. Former college radio djs and genre-fanatics to the bone, lead vocalist Joshua Gamma, bassist Daren Carter III, and guitarists Art Levy and Ben Seligson formed in 2009, covering live favorites like “I Live In The Springtime” by The Lemon Drops. Since the summer of 2011 with the addition of Art Silva, the band’s longest-running drummer to date, The Mole People have captured the attention of Austinites and have been described as “soulful and absolutely insane” by KUT’s Laurie Gallardo and as “hardcore energy on stage with a generous dose of sweat” by Austin Music Weekly.

Lost Age comes at a time when after two EPs, the band’s priorities have progressed to the recording process. An album absent of the digital digs of its contemporary era, Lost Age’s crown jewel is tape and vintage recording equipment, which is largely attributed to producer Paul Millar’s influence and expertise with 70s analogue recording techniques. As a result, we have been gifted with a record that references the 1977 album Black Vinyl Shoes (from the band Shoes), and as the boys describe it, sounds like “Power pop beamed from outer space.”

Some of my thoughts on each song:

“Why Don’t You Call My Name?”
Bites the punk-meets-pop of “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones, but the manic intensity of Gamma’s vocals helps it sound fresh.

“Just You Wait”
Retro/pop/punk with the melancholy of a Cure song. Back-up vocals reiterate the torment of a vying heart or a “Heart Full of Soul” (The Yardbirds, 1968).

“Next Summer”
With the addition of synthesizers, “Next Summer” exploses more of Paul Millar’s genius.

“Don’t Mean So Much To Me”
Gets mean like Iggy Pop’s face.

“I’m Running Dry”
“Always on the B Side, never on the A”– a lamentation and reference to the second-handed rags of garage rock, just missing the first place prize of stardom

An ethereal nicety led by Ben Seligson, lending a vocal break to Gamma’s James Brown soul bursts.

A collaboration between Silva and Gamma.

“What Am I Going To Do?”
The Dovers cover.

“Someday Is Gonna Be Mine”
The driving force of “Someday Is Gonna Be Mine” mirrors Gamma’s pulsating cover art.

“Coming Back To Life”
At a little over five minutes “Coming Back To Life” is the ballad of the album, significantly drawn out in early 90s grunge fashion and somewhat misplaced in The Mole People’s recurring power pop/garage rock loyalties yet retaining a psychedelic slant.

“Searching The Streets”
Closes the album with the influence of the British second invasion e.g.,The Stone Roses, Pulp, Oasis etc.

Album artwork and design by Joshua Gamma.

You can listen to and purchase The Mole People’s entire Lost Age album on their bandcamp website. Also check out their EPs, No Time For Love and Young Bummers (I own this one on cassette tape). The Mole People are currently gearing up for a big Halloween show with friends Tele Novella, Gender Infiinity, and Shivery Shakes at The Owl!

Remaining loyal to past cult classics, The Mole People, whether on stage or on vinyl, will always sing the praises of their predecessors. “It’s the old records we always go back to, the ones we all love”– Joshua Gamma of The Mole People

– Audrey Rodriguez