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Mo' Mooney 

N.Y.C. garage rockers return with a little less attitude.

Sammy James Jr., frontman for New York City garage rockers the Mooney Suzuki, says the sunglasses are off -- figuratively speaking, of course. On his band’s new CD, Have Mercy, the singer -- rarely seen without his shades -- moves out of his comfort zone of anonymous three-chord rave-ups and makes a record that’s, gulp, introspective. “I don’t like to say it’s more personal,” he says. “But I guess it is.”

And it almost didn’t happen. Have Mercy was originally due last fall. Then it was pushed back to the beginning of the year. Then Mooney’s label closed shop. Then the guitar player quit . . . again. “He’s in and out all the time,” sighs James. “The band has always had a high turnover rate. We’ve never had to do this without a lineup evolution. To me, it’s business as usual.” The album was finally released last month, and it’s a stripped-down set of guitar-fueled tunes that tarnishes the gloss of 2004’s Alive & Amplified. “That record was obviously recorded in Hollywood, where we embraced the absurdity of that opulence,” says James. “There wasn’t much further to go than that. I liked the idea of returning to a more minimal palette of elements this time.”
Thu., July 5, 9 p.m.

Speaking of Highlights

More by Michael Gallucci


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