If Urban Outfitters' newest offerings -- plaid flannel shirts and dresses that might've been pilfered from Bridget Fonda's closet in Singles -- are any indication, grunge is on the way back in. This is good news for The Motherhive Syndicate, a local band rocking out to the tune of Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and other purveyors of the Seattle Sound.
While the band's fashion sense tends more toward gangster-chic (suits, ties and sunglasses), their single "Grand Panjandrum," a track off of a new album called Negative Spaces, is more of a corduroys-and-greasy-hair affair.
The track starts off with a sludgy guitar riff reminiscent of Pearl Jam's "Even Flow," then morphs into a melody that would fit right in on a Collective Soul album or a '90s mix tape, right between Alice in Chains' "Would?" and "Star Dog Champion" by Mother Love Bone.
Even the lyrics, such as "I can't take this very much longer / Because I'm falling apart, just don't know how it started / I really thought I had it all made," echo many grunge bands' sentiments about personal failure and disillusionment.
These words are based on personal experiences, much like a lot of '90s anthems, but there's something else at play as well, says singer Michael Kerwin. That secret ingredient is the 2006 Will Ferrell movie Stranger Than Fiction.
"The gist of the film for me was who controls who. Do we really have control over other people's lives. Even more important, do we really control our own?" he asks.
It's a pretty deep question to spring from a comedy flick, and one the band -- which is composed of familiar faces from other Madison-area groups such as Rapscallion, Flat Atom and Chemical Smile -- likes to use for kicking off their live shows.
"We like to open with 'Grand Panjandrum' because we feel it has the right balance of energy, mood and melody that will grab the listener right away," Kerwin says. "Plus, the concept is something I think people can easily identify with."
An MP3 of "Grand Panjandrum" is available in the related downloads section at right. More music by The Motherhive Syndicate is available on its MySpace page. Catch a live performance when the band opens for All The Pretty Horses at the High Noon Saloon on Saturday, August 15, or during a benefit show at the Frequency on Saturday, October 24.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.