MC Rut’s got gusto and this sophomore effort solidifies them as one of the most exciting true-to-form alternative rock bands in recent memory

Middle Class Rut
Pick Up Your Head
Bright Antenna

"Aunt Betty" by Middle Class Rut

For those bored with the cutesy indie schtick or ambient-prog redux du jour and on the lookout for a band making original, in-your-face tunes with transposing energy, Middle Class Rut might satiate. Nonsensically and metaphorically speaking, if bands were people and someone with the rock character and musicianship of Deftones or Rage Against the Machine made an honest woman out of Jane’s Addiction and her groove, the hypothetical sounds they’d make together are on this album.

MC Rut borrows a little here and there, yet they aren’t afraid to go off on brave, experimental tangents filled with guitarist/vocalist Zack Lopez’s ghostly background arpeggios, screaming delay jolts, and Morello-esque alien transmissions via his highly depended-on Whammy pedal—all shot down to earth by drummer/vocalist Sean Stockham’s veritable rhythm machine gun. It makes one wonder: How are two dudes doing all of this? They’ve captured a whopping live energy, and yet every percussive clank is heard, and the haunting, guttural bass lines are as melodic and memorable as the intensity in the layered, reverb-bursting outro teetering on the edge of feedback in “Sing While You Slave.”

These guys show multifaceted skill as they pivot from balls-to-walls jams to seriously inspired softer harmonies, sometimes in the same song. For example, on “Police Man,” Lopez begins a guitar solo slow and sweet, with a Whammy-processed harmony, and then devolves into deliciously frenetic, octave-doubled mayhem. The carefully arranged stories vary in execution, tempo, and emotion, no matter if form follows function or vice versa. Perhaps the most captivating thing is how they never lose that thrashing, raw abandon that lasting bands have and is hard to quantify. Simply, this is a band with a signature vibe and sophisticated, killer tone.

What they’re doing is even more exciting now than it was on 2010’s No Name No Color. MC Rut’s got gusto and this sophomore effort solidifies them as one of the most exciting true-to-form alternative rock bands in recent memory—the kind that’ll hopefully make hipsters everywhere unbutton their ironic cardigans, remove hands from pockets, and get moving.

Must-hear tracks: “Weather Vein,” “Sing While You Slave”

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We’re almost finished with the aging process on our project guitar. Let’s work on the fretboard, nut, and truss rod cover, and prepare the headstock for the last hurrah.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. This month we’ll continue with our relic’ing project, taking a closer look at the front side of the neck and treating the fretboard and the headstock. We’ll work on the front side of the headstock in the next part, but first we must prepare it.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.

Advanced

Beginner

• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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