Four handsome lads, reared in church choirs, based in Nashville, channeling the sounds of the American South through modern rock'n'roll, but initially appreciated more in the U.K. than at home. Yes, we could be talking about recent SPIN cover stars Kings of Leon. But the same attributes apply to Mona, a hot new band that's quickly turning into a phenomenon abroad -- and is poised to do the same back home, too. Download their new song, "Brick Shoes," here:
LISTEN: Mona, "Brick Shoes"
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Nick Brown (vocal/guitar) and Vince Gard (drums) were childhood pals in Dayton, Ohio, growing up and playing music in a Pentecostal congregation. They moved to Nashville to chase their rock'n'roll dream, and hooked up with two lads from Kentucky, bassist Zach Lindsey and guitarist Jordan Young.
"We want to be the most human band on the planet," Brown tells SPIN of the group's earnest, straightforward sound, which he says draws inspiration from everyone from Elvis and Dylan to Pixies and the Clash. "If there's an emotion, no matter what it is or what it has to do with -- love, hate, fighting, sex, God, etc. -- we want to touch it."
"Brick Shoes" is emblematic of the band's aesthetic, with reverb-laced guitar jangles underpinning Brown's urgent, occasionally raspy vocals, which were recorded in an intentionally low-fi manner to recall the Sun Records vibe of the '50s and '60s. Lyrically, it's a lament about women who can't seem to find happiness: "She's a party girl tonight but with sad and lonely eyes, I don't know why," Brown sings.
"I'm always blown away by the decisions girls make," Brown explains. "Why choose to be stuck in a situation that you're miserable in? Why be with someone you don't really love? Why settle? And then why choose to lie to yourself instead of go for something better?"
The girls (and guys, too) in England aren't at all miserable when it comes to Mona (named after Brown's grandmother): Brown thinks the Brits' appetite for new music has helped them break through. "The U.K., and especially London, are more openminded and respond to music more quickly, from Dylan & Hendrix to the Killers or Kings of Leon," he says.
Mona's debut album is due in June, and while their touring schedule is focused on England and Europe,they've got three American dates on the calendar: Feb. 9 in Los Angeles, Feb. 10 in San Francisco, and April 21 in Brooklyn. Get more info here.