Us and Us Only - "My Mouth (Alternate)"


It's funny. Years ago I remember discovering Us and Us Only through the strange workings of the internet as I was not old enough to go to certain shows in Baltimore. The iconic paper bag that would front their EP Bored Crusader would go on to be one of my favorite pieces of artwork that I'd seen in music. I'd eventually catch the group at Metro Gallery when I was home from college. Theatrical and professional, I found Us and Us Only to be a rather remarkable force through the carefully plotted ambiance they create. Thinking about that time now makes me laugh as I never would have thought that I would cross paths with the group, but here we are sharing a new track for you to spin.

Us and Us Only is getting ready to release Two Songs this Friday, a chilled-out piece that revisits their past record, and looks onward to future works. Today we are sharing one of those songs. Included below is an exclusive stream of an alternate version "My Mouth" from Full Flower. Whispering vocals and soft strumming complemented by lush synths and a mechanical clap/tick combo of sorts came together nicely on this track.

I almost feel like this is what would play in a dream... An introspective dream where I would find a miniature version of myself sitting within something like a bookshelf clock. Just seems right. I'd find myself watching time physically pass by as I sort through my past... A numbing experience for sure.

Anyway... I never would have imagined this song this way, but I sincerely enjoyed it nonetheless. While listening to this rendition of "My Mouth" I had the opportunity to throw some Q's at Kinsey of UAUO.




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CS: Are you still based in Baltimore? Growing up around there I have had my fair share of favorites (Future Islands, Goblin Mold, Wildhoney)... what are some bands you either used to look up to or currently admire?
  
UAUO: We're a Baltimore band through and through. Kinsey (hi, that's me) lives in Brooklyn at the moment, but lived in Baltimore for about 10 years before moving. As far as favorites around the city, there are so many artists that we love. Goblin Mold (RIP), who you mentioned, are a classic right up there with our pals in Sun Club. Nina Gala is one of the best songwriters in the world. Lefty Bey is a legend in the making. Joy Postell, Surf Harp, JPEG, June Pastel, Abdu Ali, these folks are putting unique, immensely important and wonderful art out into the world.    

CS: You characterize your recent record Full Flower (2017) as "the band’s best impression of waking up to (and running out of) a house on fire, grabbing what means the most to them on the way out." As you revisit this piece, what memories stand out from the time of that release? 

UAUO: That's a tough one. It's probably obvious that joy is not a big factor in any of those songs, so the record was my way of processing those experiences and trying to come out of it softer, hopefully a little more wise, having learned how to treat other people and myself with more love and care. Putting it out felt like a breath of fresh air, closing a chapter, and that's my most valued memory (or feeling) from that time.

CS: Speaking on things of importance and prioritizing, what do you enjoy doing outside of music? Are there things you when do you when you step away from a song that may not be coming along as you'd like?

UAUO: I used to drop songs or sit on them for years when they weren't coming along, but I'm much better at finishing things these days. Beyond music though, I try to make time to read books or comics every day. Also, playing Dungeons & Dragons, watching Star Trek, nerd shit. Generally though, music occupies all of my time - writing, recording, talking about it, trying to stay current with the endless stream of wonderful albums coming out. Sean and Nick are workaholics, they're always on some new recording or video project. Mike is a D&D nerd these days, too. Everything comes back to music though.

Photo by Kiersten Ladzinski

CS: Now how does Two Songs extend the message of Full Flower (outside of remixing songs on the record)? No record is perfect, but were there some ideas that you definitely held onto for a future release?  

UAUO: When I had originally written and demoed "My Mouth", it sounded more like a Grouper song - very sparse, ghostly. After we released Full Flower, we had a few opportunities to play some low key shows - not acoustic necessarily, but stripped down. We ended up really enjoying working with those limitations, so we decided to take a second run at "My Mouth". We all sat in a room with a few Casio keyboards and just kinda went at it. Thus ends the "chill" era of UAUO, the next record will be full of feedback, sass, and Pile-worship.

CS: How did the of "Veiled/Forming" by White Wreath (Han Offman of High Bloom) come together? Do you see Us and Us Only ever exploring a sound with more electronic assistance in the future? (This song will be available on Friday via streaming services!) 

UAUO: We've known Han for a while now and knew that he had been working on music for a few years. I played a show with him and was just humbled at how talented he was. Whenever I make music, it's so ingrained in my being that I have to share it with everyone whereas Han just kinda chills on it and is like, oh I made this dope song. So I think I asked him if he was interested in remixing a song, we sent him a few to work with and he ended up on "Veiled / Forming" and turned it into something that feels brand new. I keep calling it "gentle-industrial".

There is lore of a House remix of a song from our first record, maybe "Dark House", according to our old guitarist, Dan Windsor. I don't know if it truly exists, but I'd love to hear it if it is a thing. Otherwise, we're always interested in expanding our sound to include more electronic or programmed elements. This project started a long time ago with me just playing acoustic guitar and now there are four immeasurably talented folks that all work together to make these songs into more than I ever could've imagined, so the short answer is that any new direction is a possibility if it feels good to us.


Two Songs is out everywhere on Friday, April 19 | Cover Art by Nick Hughes

CS: Why release this now? What is next?

UAUO: We tend to hibernate between albums, so when we realized that we had these two songs we were really proud of and excited about, we figured that they would be a nice tonal bridge between Full Flower and the new album. Plus, most of our releases have been uptempo, rock songs. It felt natural to step back and view things from a different angle without the risk of doing it for an entire album and risk missing the mark.

CS: What is one record you have been spinning a lot lately? What is one release you are really excited about?

UAUO: It is so hard to pick just one! I think I've listened to Nilüfer Yanya's Miss Universe every day since it came out a few weeks ago. I can't wait for Lolo Zouaï's album to come out. That's going to be a lovely soundtrack to the summer.

CS: Where is one place you’d love to play one day? 

UAUO: I would love to play in the middle of the woods somewhere. Doesn't matter where. Or one of those festivals in Iceland where they have hot springs and everyone is dressed like an extra in a Sigur Ros video. Have you ever seen that island that Bjork lives on? I want to play there. That's my final answer. Bjork's island.

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Alright... so there you have it. A little deep dive into the mind of Kinsey from Us and Us Only to  complement your early listen to the alternate version of "My Mouth" before it hits streaming with the remix of "Veiled/Forming" this Friday (April 19). Be sure to follow them online for updates, and until next time, keep listening to, sharing, and supporting music you care about. Have a nice day. 


Here is the original track from Full Flower if you want to experience both versions!





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Written by Connor Murray (@craftedsounds)

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