In college, my escapades on the newspaper staff and my interest in music (understatement) brought me to Suavity’s Mouthpiece, the musical project of Justin Trafford. What’s the genre, you say? I’m still trying to figure that out. When I try to describe the sound of Suavity’s Mouthpiece, I end up staring at a blank screen and a blinking cursor.
The latest release is “Mixed Media.” Since I’ve covered SM before, Justin kindly sent me the single and asked if I could write about, which I would’ve done anyway. The new single just gives me a reason to do it sooner! Now, thanks to two music websites, I’ll probably do a proper review for at least one of them. So rather than be all official, I have decided I’m going to talk about “Mixed Media” in a bulleted list because
- Lists are fun.
- They’re easy to read (and write).
- I’m almost more likely to stick to the point. Almost.
So, “Mixed Media,” plus “Pavarotti” and “Kill Mellencamp,” all three of which are available from Broke Whore Records for free. Which leads me to
- Broke Whore Records is my new favorite label by virtue of name alone. It’s also Pittsburgh-based. Bonus!
- Pittsburgh music right now is lots of pop punk bands, which I’m cool with because they actually do a great job, and Wiz Khalifa. Suavity’s Mouthpiece isn’t like either.
- Justin’s voice is among my favorites in music right now because it stands out so much. And I like his style–crooning, warbly at times, smooth at others and therefore just as varied as the music itself.
- Suavity’s Mouthpiece is hard to peg to a genre because of the variation of sounds. In “Mixed Media” alone, you have piano, electronics, and horns, so multiple genres are easy to pick out. Electronic (or one of its many variations) is obvious, but “Mixed Media” presents some Latin flair, a little jazz, hints of big band, and even some ballad qualities.
- The electronics remind me of space lasers.
- “Mixed Media” might be my favorite Suavity’s Mouthpiece song. I say “might” because I hate picking a favorite anything.
- Musical variations can get too busy, but Justin knows what he’s doing. Some would argue, but Suavity’s Mouthpiece does not sound like a bunch of random sounds thrown together or the musical equivalent of throwing Scrabble tiles against a wall, which is why I don’t call it “experimental.” To me, that implies a lack of direction or making art for weirdness’ sake. Or lazy music reviewers. This is also why any rock that’s not Nickelback is emo. Anyway, each sound has a place and a role.
- SM is kind of like anti-pop. Is that a thing? Can I make it one, even though I’m not positive of what I mean? I guess mainly that it’s lush, well-planned, enjoyable, and can be upbeat but not saccharine. It’s also music for the sake of music/art and not money or attention. Any idiot can write a pop hit.
- The lyrics are good and smart, which adds to my anti-pop business. My brain hones in on bad lyrics. It’s a curse. Cases in point from the past few days alone when I was on Spotify: “What Makes You Beautiful,” Katy Perry’s “Hummingbird Heartbeat” (no matter how catchy it is), and for that matter, every Katy Perry song ever. In fact, maybe my next post will be all about why “Teenage Dream” is the worst song ever. Just three hours ago, the boyfriend of one of my housemates mentioned the line “You’re on my heart just like a tattoo” and I yelled, “That’s stupid.” Are you chuckling and nodding in agreement? Then Suavity’s Mouthpiece will save your brain.
- SM has a kind of Morrissey mood going on. The music is more upbeat than the lyrics. Except Morrissey is the angriest man in the universe and if I accidentally listen to Suavity’s Mouthpiece when I’m sad, I won’t feel worse or panic.
- If you’re bored with most modern music, Suavity’s Mouthpiece will also save your ears. And therefore your heart. And every song is different.
- “Kill Mellencamp” has excellent beats. Remixed by DropStacks. It also has this haunting quality. Like you could totally get down to it but it’s also kind of dangerous.
- “Pavarotti” is one the crazier side of things. If robots could sing, this is how they’d do it.
Bonus Suavity’s Mouthpiece talk!
- “I Get Abstract” has more of a rock feel. Mostly.
- “The Rape of Laura Ingalls” is kind of funky. The beginning reminds me of something from Hair for some reason.
- Wait, maybe “The Rape of Laura Ingalls” is my favorite. The line “You’re 16/You’re homely/And you’re mine” is certainly wonderful. Look at that sly reference.
- Wait, maybe it’s “Know Your Place.” I told you I can’t do this.
- Wait. “I’m Sick of Your Tedious Girlfriend.”
- Writing and listening to SM at the same time is hard. The music is distracting but in a good way. I can’t think of things to say because I’m too busy listening.
So, what have we learned? You should go download all the songs and I should not write at 2:00 in the morning.