Music We Love: "On A Friday" by Moniker

Jackson Russo is no stranger to experimentation. In 2013, he debuted what was then a solo endeavor called Moniker. The self-titled EP demonstrated his minimalist sensibilities, and features soft, fuzzy layerings, lending to the atmosphere of his sound.

However, Russo didn't allow himself to be complacent. He sought to evolve in 2014 release of Pinnes. For this project Russo eschewed lyrics altogether and opted for straightforward, atmospheric instrumentation with an unshakeable feeling of melancholy. And yet, the process of metamorphosis continued on into 2015 with Closure. The album ventured into what could only be described as ethereal folk utilizing an acoustic guitar and reverb-drenched vocals.

In 2016 Russo seeks to reinvent himself once again on Moniker’s latest EP, On A Friday. This time around Moniker boasts a full-fledged band featuring: Hagen Hauschild on drums, Ryan Gordon on bass, and Russo taking on guitar and vocals. This is by far Moniker’s most ambitious release to date given the mellow inclination of previous releases. The four-track length is succinct, but what it lacks in duration is made up for in stopping power.

For the first time Moniker tries its hand at a louder, more aggressive orientation. The opening track, “Hour By Hour” boasts low tones, and angsty-yet-catchy lyrics propelled to the forefront of the piece by the new instrumental direction. It's a theme that resonates throughout the entire EP. In “Masterpiece,” there plays a self-effacing, almost resentful tune that paves the way for the grime-soaked psychedelia of “Sludge Tub.” Strangely, the existential dread that weighs heavy on the first three tracks is nowhere to be found on the closing song "Repetition." The more upbeat nature of the track becomes infectious with the obligatory choruses of “woah-ohs” that are sure to engage even the most reserved of audience members. This slight shift in tone speaks volumes about the band’s ability to adapt on even a microcosmic scale. Moniker has once again reinvented themselves, if only for a little while.

Moniker's EP On A Friday was released today. Check out their Bandcamp to get your copy when it drops. Don't forget to check out their album release show at The Abbey Underground-- it's appropriately scheduled for a Friday, on September 16th.

Photo by Mateo Granados
Header image design by Jason Lee