With bands like Arctic Monkeys, HAIM and Mumford & Sons rocking the airwaves, it’s easy to miss some of the great bands that are floating around in the atmosphere of indie rock. One such band is Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s.
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s hail from Indianapolis, Ind. They’ve been making music together since 2005, and have gone from making what could be called “cinematic chamber pop” with their first three albums to distorted noise rock with their two most recent works.
The band is fronted by Richard Edwards, who plays guitar and sings lead vocals. Tyler Watkins is on the bass guitar, followed by Heidi Gluck on backup vocals and piano, Kenny Childers on guitar and backup vocals, Chris Fry on drums, Ronnie Kwasman on guitar, and Cameron McGill on keyboards, harmonica and additional backup vocals.
The band has had four (technically five) full-length releases: The Dust of Retreat, Not Animal / Animal!, Buzzard, and Rot Gut, Domestic. Their upcoming album, Sling Shot to Heaven, drops on April 22.
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s style has gone through many changes throughout their time together. With their first release, The Dust of Retreat, their label as a cinematic indie band comes out in full force. Tracks “Skeleton Key” and “On a Freezing Chicago Street” are overwhelming overtures of romance and dialogue.
Their sophomore works, Not Animal and Animal!, are similar in sound to Dust, but the backstory is quite different. When Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s were signed to a major label, Epic Records, they recorded so much material for their second album that neither the band nor the label could reach an agreement on what tracks would make it to the final release.
Thus, Animal! and Not Animal were born, with Animal! being Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s preferred tracks compiled for release. Highlight tracks from both releases are “Broadripple Is Burning,” “German Motor Car,” “As Tall As Cliffs,” and “A Children’s Crusade on Acid.”
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s third release, Buzzard, deviates heavily from their established genre, reaching instead for filthy distortion and fuzzy noise rock. Songs like “Claws Off” and “Will You Love Me Forever” are dripping with bluesy deliciousness and Edwards’ trademark snarling serenade shines brightly here. However, the band’s penchant for soft, silly songs like “Tiny Vampire Robot” and “My Baby (Cares for the Animals)” holds the record back in their gentler past.
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s most recent release is entitled Rot Gut, Domestic, and it continues in the path set before it by Buzzard. The only different between Rot Gut and Buzzard is that the band’s newest genre feels more polished and refined. The entire album is loaded with standout tracks, such as “Books About Trains,” “Shannon,” and “Prozac Rock.” The band’s improvement as an ensemble is clearly displayed here, and this dark, wailing garage sound seems to be their true niche.
As Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s head into 2014, they have already hit the ground running. Their widely anticipated fifth release, Sling Shot to Heaven, is slated for an April 22 release, and they’ve already announced a 12-city tour through April and May, which you can check out on their website. Their lead single, “Hello, San Francisco,” is available as a teaser for the fantastic music to come from the new album.
If there’s any band you shouldn’t miss out on, it’s Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s. Their widened genre horizon gives the band a greater audience, as well as proves for some great jams to be heard. Do yourself a favor, and pick up any one of their albums. You will definitely become addicted to the cinematic sounds of Edwards and his ensemble.