mssv is releasing their second studio album ‘Human Reaction’ in their typical style: with a 58-show tour in the U.S. & parts of Canada. The band, composed of guitarist Mike Baggetta, Stephen Hodges on drums & mike watt on bass, creates music that is a hybrid of a punk power-trio and a dreamy experimental rock band, though they prefer the term “post-genre.” ‘Human Reaction’ was released on BIG EGO Records as a digital download, 12” LP vinyl, and via streaming platforms on September 1st. This brand new full length album finds the oddly memorable hooks of their noir-tinged adventure music with a lot more vocals from the Main Steam Stop Valve leader Baggetta, adding more personality than ever before, alongside his bandmates, Hodges & watt, who also share in the vocal duties throughout the album. Recorded mostly on May Day immediately following that last tour, ‘Human Reaction’ passes through a deeply broad sonic landscape, as expected from this nearly unclassifiable group, though with some even deeper twists & turns. With inventively churning drum textures from Hodges (an instantly identifiable sound honed in his days with Tom Waits & David Lynch) and the full-steam-ahead all-in attitude from watt, (as he’s displayed throughout his storied career with MINUTEMEN, fIREHOSE, & The Stooges), you can feel the steam being converted into an electrical energy. It’s real! Also evident is the more fearless exploring that comes from a band that has spent a lot of time together crafting their vision, as well as making room for guests like J Mascis, Petra Haden and Nels Cline on some of their previous releases. Mike Baggetta has had the pleasure to work all over the world with a wide range of visionary musicians across many generations including David Torn, Jim Keltner, Psychic Temple, Jeff Coffin, Henry Kaiser, Rev. Fred Lane, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Joseph C. Philips’ Numinous with Imani Uzuri, Viktor Krauss, Jerome Harris, David Wax Museum, Jon Irabagon, Eivind Opsvik and Ruth Brown among many others. Even though Mr. Baggetta wrote all the songs specifically for these bandmates to play, there’s no telling which way the band will turn at any given moment, a proposition that becomes a promise when they break down and reassemble these songs live, with an instinct for restraint and an openness to a little anarchy.
I had the complete pleasure of catching up with Mike before the road warrior type monster stretch of a 58 day/58 show tour (Aki Tour), and when mssv makes their way to Madison on October 1st at the High Noon Saloon. Mike introduces the band to us to get any folks unfamiliar into the scen and we get into about how they go about their business of playing the new tunes and then recording an album, giving them time to form and shape into themselves and he evens shares the expectations for those in attendance to prepare for a taste of the past, future and present of a live show musically. This lead right into a deep dive into the seed to flower of this brilliantly unique sounding new release ‘Human Reaction’, including the how/why/when he started taking on a little more of that singer aspect of the instrumentation (including a tale from little Mike days). This leads us down into a conversation about different layers added to make that trio feel like more people, like more beings being and doing. It is alwsays fun to talk about visions people may have when inviting others to collaboration with other people. We get into that a bit to see how Mike tries to keep his way of approaching music and taking on that conversation by being himself. The facts is that this group is a young, ever-evolving, take your chances kid type of situation, wrapped in some dynamic layers within that/this moment improvisation preparing themselves and listeners alike on a unique journey toGether. That’s what it’s all about and mssv, the people, the artists, the sonic sculptors of then and now take the influences of everything and here’s our adventure. It just so happened that Mike was right there with his turntable and we learned exactly what he is/was listening to recently. It would make a great greenarrowradio set.