I could do with some fresh alt-rock, couldn’t you? Something with vibrancy and attitude but not sludgy and stodgy. Something urgent and hard and with a tune that I can hum on the way to work. Something with striving, energised guitar lines, but with melody rather than shredding. I think “Ones and Zeros” by Mt. Yonder fits the bill. This is the second song they’ve released, and it changes up a gear from their debut “Domino Day” in every way: a little faster, a little tougher, a little more complex. “Ones and Zeros” has a crisp, snapping snare sound, agile propulsive guitars and strident but vulnerable vocals.
As the song switches out of a start based around a finger-picking guitar figure into a propulsive middle section it has the feeling of a car that’s careering downhill with the clutch pushed down and out of gear: just on the edge of being controlled. The melody responds with the singer opening his voice to let it rise higher and higher. I think this is going to strip my scalp off in a live situation, and I can clearly picture the mosh pit in my mind’s eye. But the heart of this driving song is vulnerability. The initial finger-picking sounds like it might have started life on an acoustic guitar, and the singer clearly sounds emotionally exposed as he sings: “There was love / There was life / there was light so bright it bled right out your eyes”. Emotional vulnerability + scalp-stripping hard guitar, that’s a potent mix. There’s live dates imminent, so go and find Mt. Yonder on the web you want to see them play very soon. If you like exciting alt-rock then this song is for you: it’s so accomplished and assured yet genuine and from the heart. I don’t think I could ask anything more from a piece of music, could you?
By: Eastside Jimmy