The Mystery Lights story begins in 2004 in the small town of Salinas California when friends Michael Brandon and Luis Alfonso – whose shared fondness for groups like The Mc5, Velvet Underground, Dead Moon, and The Fall (just to name a few) – decided to join forces and craft their own brand of unhinged rock and roll. From there they spent the better part of 10 years touring relentlessly before migrating to Queens New York in 2014.
With a live show known for its raw, visceral energy and relentless assault – leaving little to no stoppage between songs – they barreled through countless NYC haunts and DIY venues, quickly amassing a fervent local following. The buzz soon caught the attention of Daptone Records execs who were in the beginning stages of launching a new rock-centric imprint, Wick Records.
Impressed by the groups’ musicianship, groove, endless supply of energy, and understanding of musical history the Mystery Lights were quickly signed to Wick. Though a rock band at heart, the parallels to what Daptone Records had traditionally looked for in their Soul artists was undeniable. Soon sessions were booked with Producer/Engineer Wayne Gordon, and the release of their debut single “Too Many Girls” b/w “Too Tough to Bear” launched to mass critical fanfare.
Upon the release of their self-titled full-length on June 24th 2016 The Mystery Lights were quickly crowned “one of New York’s finest garage rock bands” by NME. Extensive touring, including multiple stops in Europe, Asia and Australia followed which found the group graduating from support slots at hole-in-the-wall clubs to headlining stages at major festivals worldwide.
After two years of break-neck, non-stop touring, the group settled back into Queens to prepare for their second full- length record, “ Too Much Tension” (out May 2019). With Wayne Gordon in the producer’s chair and several intense writing sessions under their belt the group were back at Daptone’s House of Soul and ready to track. While keeping the hard-hitting approach of the first LP, “TMT” finds the group digging deeper into their well of eclectic influences, enriching their sound while echoing the past. Mixing the eerie, insistent synth sounds of groups like The Normal and Suicide, the energy and swagger of punk’s golden age, the pop sensibility of The Kinks, and the stark, deliberate execution of Television – The Mystery Lights are taking their idiosyncratic brand of rock and roll to dizzying new heights.
Things change: relationships, musical tastes, the ways we create. Max Bloom knows that. After eight years as part of Yuck, touring with the likes of Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Alvvays, and playing festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury – things changed. Bloom’s own taste was moving away from the ‘90s indie rock that had informed his songwriting with Yuck, and the breakdown of an eight-year-long relationship was the catalyst for him to start making his own music in 2017. Facing severe depression, the end of a long-term relationship and a migration back to his family home, Bloom started crafting solo material as a way to process those changes. Writing without the pressure of an established audience or a predefined sound allowed him to explore different ways of creating. Taking cues from classic songwriters like George Harrison, Elliot Smith and Harry Nilsson, Bloom began experimenting with more expansive instrumentation, rather than focusing on the distorted guitar sounds that characterised his work with Yuck. Writing with the kind of new perspective that only emotional upheaval can bring, Bloom’s lyrics are open, honest and conversational, resulting in a new sound that’s full of intimacy and truth. Sometimes change can be good.