mssv is releasing their second studio album Human Reaction in their typical style: with a 58-show tour in the U.S. and parts of Canada (dates below). The band, composed of guitarist Mike Baggetta, Stephen Hodges (Tom Waits, David Lynch) on drums and avant-punk icon mike watt on bass, creates music that is a heretofore unimagined hybrid of a punk power-trio and a dreamy experimental rock band, though they prefer the term “post-genre.” Human Reaction is being released by BIG EGO Records as a digital download, 12” LP vinyl, and via streaming platforms on September 1.
Their latest 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 and watt, who also share in the vocal duties throughout the album.
While working out the new music on the previous mssv tour in 2022 (48 shows in 48 days to celebrate their self-titled debut), Baggetta felt it important to take the step of singing his own words every night, rather than assigning them to anyone else, with a lot of support and encouragement from Stephen and mike.
Recorded mostly on May Day immediately following that last tour, Human Reaction traverses a deeply broad sonic landscape, as expected from this nearly unclassifiable group, though with even deeper twists and turns. With inventively churning drum textures from Hodges (an instantly identifiable sound honed in his days with Tom Waits and David Lynch) and the full-steam-ahead all-in attitude from watt, (as he’s displayed throughout his storied career with MINUTEMEN, fIREHOSE, and Iggy & The Stooges), there is still the impression of “pressure, combustion, power, and hissing clouds of sonic poetry,” as Premier Guitar said. 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.
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, Nels Cline, Psychic Temple, Jeff Coffin, Henry Kaiser, Petra Haden, Rev. Fred Lane, Donny McCaslin, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Joseph C. Philips’ Numinous, Imani Uzuri, Viktor Krauss, David Wax Museum, Julian Lage, Jon Irabagon, Jerome Harris, Tom Harrell, Eivind Opsvik, Jeremy Udden, and Ruth Brown among many others.
Even though 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 anarchy.