Moose Memories, Song of the Day: “Back When We Were Kings”

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Local Indiana band Moose Memories blend a variety of styles into one unique sound in “Back When We Were Kings”.

This week, we’re continuing to broaden our scope of local Indiana bands and musicians. While the Indy music scene has plenty to offer in terms of talent and diversity, some of its surrounding cities have some gems as well.

One thing that bands have often done, is to use a hook to grab potential audiences’ attention. It’s a strategy that doesn’t just work for click bait articles. The way this usually manifests for bands is through their name. And the band we’ll be talking about today definitely has it.

What do you think of when you hear the name Moose Memories? No one knows, but everyone wants to find out. So, before we get into our song of the day, here’s a little more information about the band.

Moose Memories

Moose Memories is a strange and unique rock band based in Bloomington, IN. Their genre is unclear, with their Facebook profile describing them as “diet math rock”, and their genre tags on Bandcamp including “alternative, acid jazz, indie rock, math rock, lovemaking, and yodeling”. Upon first impression, Moose Memories seem like a band that resists being lumped into a single genre or style. And after listening to them and getting a second impression, their music shares the same quality.

Moose Memories is a five piece act that includes several multi-instrumentalist, as well as some rather strange roles. Members include Nathan Roseboom (guitar), Jozef Caldwell (guitar, bass), Grant Mitchell (bass, vocals, drums), Sam Ramirez (drums, vocals, keys), and Ben Woolgar (“sauce”, “spiritual support”). I’m not sure what “sauce” or “spiritual support” are, but they sound as if they could be alternative terms to describe a hype man (or moose).

Moose Memories came out with their first single, “Shoulder” in 2017, but it was another two years before they came out with their second, “Back When We Were Kings”, the leading single for their 2019 debut EP, “Here Comes the Moose”.

Additionally, the Moose Memories’ bio consists of a fictional tale in which the members have a chance encounter with a mystical “Moose Queen”, and become dubbed as “Guardians of the Moose Legacy”. The extra level of commitment here is nice. While most bands would just stop at a good name, Moose Memories takes it one step further by constructing their own lore.

Back When We Were Kings

“Back When We Were Kings” is the opening track to Moose Memories’ debut EP, “Here Comes the Moose”, which came out last April.

The track starts off with the slow strumming of reverb-soaked guitar before launching into the much more energetic verse. The verse section is largely characterized by a repeating, bouncy guitar riff, before the much more bombastic chorus, which features a sweeping string section. While it seems to come out of nowhere, the orchestral elements do a good job of blending into the rest of the song.

One element of “Back When We Were Kings” that could go unnoticed (but shouldn’t) is vocalist Grant Mitchell. While listening to him sing, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Ben Folds. It may be due to his somewhat breathy tone, or maybe in his inflection, or the subject matter itself. That happy kind of music that still manages to be a little sad at the same time.

At its core, “Back When We Were Kings” is a kind of nostalgic song about a lost relationship. The lyrics hit like words that should have been said before it ended.

“And I know, and I know, and I know
You loved me back when we were kings
And I know, and I know, and I know
Those days were happy but it feels like the memories have all been erased”

Final Thoughts

Initially, I wasn’t a big fan of Moose Memories’ “Back When We Were Kings”. I thought it seemed a bit too bombastic, nostalgic, and saccharine for my tastes. But on giving it a few more listens, I found the unique sound of Moose Memories growing on me. It might have been when I made the Ben Folds connection. Because I love Ben Folds. But the point is, it just took that little second of making a connection to an artist I already knew. It’s made me wonder how many artists I’ve passed up for the same reason.

If you enjoyed listening to Moose Memories’ “Back When We Were Kings”, be sure to listen to the rest of their debut EP, “Here Comes the Moose” on Bandcamp. To find out more about Moose Memories, you can find them on Facebook.

Finally, for more coverage on the Indy music scene, be sure to check out the LemonWire Music Corner, where we’re showcasing local Indianapolis artists from the community.

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