with Modern Gold
Three years ago, Major and The Monbacks bought a used van, booked over 150 shows in nine months, and embarked on their first-ever national tour. There were no labels or booking agents or tour managers at the time, just a bunch of twenty-somethings with an independent streak and a shared love of making music. It wasn’t glamorous—it still isn’t—but they all agreed it beat the hell out of working a day job. The Monbacks – whose name is a portmanteau of the common southern farewell “C’mon back” – initially pushed that van to its limits and beyond with their relentless tour schedule, developing a rapport with the tow truck drivers of the greater Norfolk area as they burned through three different engines and blossomed from local favorites into one of the most promising young rock bands working today. They’ve got a new van now, and, more importantly, they’ve got a new album to go with it, one that fully delivers on their promise and then some. Produced by fellow Virginia wunderkind Matthew E. White, ‘Moonlight Anthems’ is a raucous blend of soul, roots, and rock that tips its cap equally to Levon and Lennon. The album is Major and the Monbacks’ first for Yep Roc Records, and it finds them building off the wave of critical success garnered by their eponymous 2015 debut, which they recorded and released themselves. Pop Matters hailed that album’s “propulsive soul energy,” and Richmond, VA’s RVA Magazine raved that it had “not only revived, but given a psychedelic face-lift to the soundtrack of the dancehalls of the ’50s and ’60s.” The record offered but a taste of Major and the Monbacks’ ecstatic live show, which began to draw sell-out crowds across the region and earned the band a slew of high profile festival slots everywhere from Firefly to Floyd Fest in addition to support dates with Charles Bradley, Os Mutantes, Antibalas, and more.