Monta At Odds
Having known Monta At Odds for a month, it is my pleasure to write a recommendation on their behalf, a letter to University of Post-Indietronica. Member bios reveal “a Kansas City combo led by the brothers Dedric and Delaney Moore. The two have played music together all their lives and have been exploring the Monta At Odds sound since the band’s debut in the year 2000. Dedric’s pulsing, melodic bass and Delaney’s artfully unhinged synthesizers frame the band’s central character, which is fleshed out by a talented cast of musicians and collaborators.” Vocals and guitar are handled by area native Taryn Blake Miller, AKA Domino Record Co. artist Your Friend.
The Monta mantra, unshakeable despite adjectival dust storms to follow, is delineated in opener “Grasping Infinity”. Blake’s understated delivery that “We’ve been living parallel with the gods/nimbly venturing to touch the stars” suggests a fascination with, well, Blake (William), sci-fi, tumbleweeds, and the Moroder-y keys further emulate astral preoccupations, encouraging one to center and objectively (or not if they’re Christians, er, Scientist) look to the past and future. Didn’t David Byrne sing “first impressions/are often correct”? This record wins a silver.
I caught occasional whiffs of Roxy circa “Manifesto”, the sonics replete with after parties, the closely mic’d melting cubes in a glass of Heaven Hill whiskey. Had this played on repeat through the overnight hours I drove to Denver from Tulsa, through stretches of only night sky and shadowed fields, perhaps we’d have stalled in Kansas. As it was, Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You” was the-then singular soundtrack. What Monta and Chakha share is undeniably drivable music. Monta At Odds are a Chevy El Camino version of Stereolab, crop circles within and among human hearts explained or explained away. The plains states weather, ever at the whim of wind, factors mightily. “You Draw Me Near” is dubbed-out, danceable, King Tubby Takes Wichita!
The title track, separating wheat from chaff, makes clear Monta’s sonic signposts are neon, not ad nauseam. Closest this plains-states coding has in common with Wizard of Oz is a penchant for juggling the colorized/black and white, the air-pushed microbes of “Travelogue”-era Human League and recent floor-fillers The Phenomenal Handclap Band. These Kansans know how an Italian suit holds up in a twister.
Monta At Odds speaks to label curator Michael Donaldson’s own scopious, expansile tastes and personal music-making register. As Q-Burns Abstract Message he merged old/new, chill/jive, head/heart. Monta At Odds is in keeping with Donaldson’s 8D model.