Posted by: Ryan Allen on September 23, 2008 at 10:00 am

Mason Proper, Olly Oxen Free (Dovecote Records, 2008)

MP3: “Lock and Key”

If there was ever a tactful way to tell someone to “shove it,” Mason Proper has figured it out: with smarmy lyrics over a crisp guitar and dissonant piano. Said shoving all happens three songs in, on the killer “Lock and Key” — just one of the many standouts on Olly Oxen Free, the Ann Arbor quartet’s second full-length effort. Elsewhere, singer/contortionist Jonathan Visger’s morbid fascination with disassembling body parts is as rabid as ever, and tracks like “Out Dragging the River” (re: “Friendship” from the Shorthand EP) show his freaky lyrics continuing to leave a lot to the imagination. Throughout Olly Oxen Free, Visger and the rest of the Mason Proper boys get their freak on — going from a light sprinkle to a downpour to a monsoon and back again within the same song. But instead of going off the deep end, they get the weird out in more subtle ways, choosing not to let their inherent creepiness overshadow their knack for writing catchy tunes — other key tracks “Point A to Point B” and “Only a Moment” amongst them. Indeed, just as “when all else fails, get crazy” seemed an occasional go-to move on 2007’s There Is a Moth In Your Chest, the arrangements are scaled-back this time around, revealing a finely chiseled sculpture that is sure to become a permanent fixture on the Mitten’s indie-rock mantle. So compare all you like — yeah, you’ll hear some Radiohead, some Pixies, hell, maybe a little Grandaddy or even a less wacky version of the Dismemberment Plan. Regardless, Olly Oxen Free is a big, meaty, and, at times, tactfully restrained effort from one of Michigan’s most underrated, and perhaps best, bands.  — Elle Sawa

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Posted by: Ryan Allen on August 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Mason Proper, “Rest Up” (Dovecote Records, 2008)

Well now we know how the dudes in Mason Proper stay so thin: They eat their greens, and drink, er, rather, eat their milk, too! — Ryan Allen

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Posted by: Ryan Allen on July 17, 2008 at 12:00 pm

From the press release:

Mason Proper and Hott Garbage Music Videos are shooting a video near Detroit for a song off the band’s upcoming second album, Olly Oxen Free, and they are looking for people age 18 or above who are comfortable free-form dancing on camera. People under 18 can apply if they REALLY want to be a part. Everyone’s face will be concealed by a mask. If you’re an actual dancer, especially a popper/locker/jazz dancer/freaky contortionist/double-jointed, they especially want you. The best dancers will be Read more

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Posted by: Ryan Allen on June 24, 2008 at 10:00 am

They wowed just about everybody at Rock City a few weeks ago, and now the “on disc” version of Mason Proper is set to produce poo in the pants of just about every blogger, rocker, and blocker in town, with the release of Olly Oxen Free. Cool dudes that they are, two Oxen Free tracks — “Safe For the Time Being” and Read more

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Posted by: Ryan Allen on June 20, 2008 at 9:00 am

Rock City Mega Picture Post @ the Majestic Complex, Detroit, MI – 6/14/08 Read more

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Posted by: Ryan Allen on June 16, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Pic By: Trever Long

Rock City Recap: Day 3

On a day that featured 25 acts, and the largest Rock City crowds yet, Day 3 will go down in infamy as one of the most glorious closing nights we could have ever asked for. Keep reading as we try and remember it all, Read more

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