MS MR is somewhat of a mysterious new band. They seem to have just emerged from the Internet, using the most random web images they could find in their media, and labeling themselves as “Tumblr Glitch Pop, Soul Fuzz, Electroshock” on their Facebook. Their live performance at Glasslands Friday night shed light on their faces, dynamic, and stirring set, while still leaving much of who they are and their band history to the imagination.
Their name suggests that the core of the band is the MS vocalist and MR keyboardist, and live they are joined by a synth/guitarist and drummer. Their own description would also suggest that they are an internet-inspired, fuzzy, lo-fi project, but in both their recorded material and live show, the MS half sings with crystal clear vocals. Their best offering yet is their latest single “Hurricane,” which they recently released a video for, and was the obvious choice to close their set with. In this song, the clear vocals turn unabashedly frank, kind of like stating the kind of things that no one is really asking to hear about when they ask “how are you,” but is much more truthful than simply answering with the standard, “fine, and you?” Instead MS MR go ahead and call your bluff, and go ahead and put it out there anyway with lyrics like “welcome to the inner workings of my mind/so dark and foul I can't disguise.” No small talk here.
Aside from any bold, universal truths in their music, MS MR is good at being clever with word pairings and phrasings, which emerge as the focal points of their songs over the haunting and unflinching music.
Brooklyn-based Xylos were up next, and in many ways were the antithesis of MS MR. Xylos seem to have gone through some different incarnations, or maybe evolutions; with some of their songs featuring male vocals, acoustic instrumentation, and more straightforward pop hooks. Their current live show features Monika Heidemann almost exclusively on vocals, and the synth and beats taking the lead over everything else. Heidemann’s vocal melody lines blended in as another layer with Nikki Lancy’s synth work. And instead of going for mysterious and a bit dark, or at all acoustic, they went for dance.
MS MR has a couple dates in the UK before coming back to the states for a summer tour with Marina & The Diamonds in July and August. You can expect their “Hurricane” 7” to come out in July via IAMSOUND Records. Xylos have a handful of dates remaining this month and July, and also have a handful of songs available to stream.