Swedish duo Molosser hit the scene in spring 2021 with their debut album Appear, where they created a unique, atmospheric sound with their downtuned acoustic guitars, vocals and drums. In January 2022 they followed this up with the “Barebones Sessions” where they presented some of those songs in a stripped down live format.
Now Molosser is back with two different lines: a purely acoustic guitar and vocals duo that keeps the name Molosser, and a power duo with electric guitar and drums that’s called Molosser CRUDE.
The addition of a resonator guitar steers the acoustic duo even more towards a rootsy soundscape of dark Americana with strong elements of blues and jazz. Compared to the subtly complex compositions from Appear, in their new material Molosser play around with somewhat a simpler soundscape, both in the guitar duo and the electric power duo format. There’s still plenty going on, but the roles have gotten a bit more defined and there’s a bit more of a rhythm/lead or rhythm/bass dynamic in the playing.
An album with this new material has been recorded, but then scrapped when Molosser decided that the songs were still growing, influenced in part by new energy and ideas from playing the same tunes with the power duo. Now new recording sessions are planned, but pending that, we hope to be able to release some simple live recordings to give you a taste of what Molosser sounds like today.
Molosser play their very own brand of dark americana/alternative rock with two downtuned guitars and vocals. The band consists of Tess and Jahn, who share a life outside as well as inside the music and currently live at a (very) small farm in Uråsa, in the province of Småland. They met in the city of Gothenburg, where they both played in various bands and constellations ranging from noisecore and riff-heavy rock to improvised jazz. Molosser’s music is the fruit of these and other influences, combined with an inspiration from nature and the countryside, where the action is mostly on a more subtle level than in the city (but plain to see for anyone who’s looking closely).
The result is a kind of music where seemingly simple components – riffs, basslines, melodies – weave together to form a dynamic, vibrant texture with an abundance of detail for anyone who cares to listen a bit closer, and still make a strong, emotional whole that grabs the listener by the neck and won’t let go. Tess performs her lyrics about loss and being lost, about searching for the promised gold at the end of the rainbow and trying to make sense of the way there – all with a voice as naked as it is strong when it whirls and dances across the flowing guitar music.
Reviewers and listeners have mentioned artists as diverse as PJ Harvey, Kyuss, R L Burnside, Radiohead, The Doors and Soundgarden in connection with Molosser’s music, which goes to show that they really sound like nothing else at all.
Molosser’s debut album, Appear, was released in May 2021 and met with acclaim all over the globe (as can be witnessed on the Reviews page). On the album, the two acoustic guitars were supplemented with Tess’ drumming and a sparse helping of guitar overdubs, to create an atmospheric yet minimalistic soundscape. In September the same year, Molosser turned into a more direct, rougher path with their thoroughly molosserized cover of AC/DC:s Back in Black, and the duo continued in this new direction on the “Barebones Sessions” series of singles and videos, released one each week In January 2022. These feature new arrangements of some of the most popular tracks from Appear, live and with just the two acoustic guitars and vocals – a more straightforward energy that points towards the new material that Molosser is currently demoing and pre-producing in anticipation of a new album.
While Molosser's music is moving towards an even more stripped-down and acoustic format, Tess and Jahn has also formed offshoot power duo Molosser Crude that goes in the opposite direction - loud, noisy, electric hardcore stoner blues performed with vocals, drums and guitar.
The APPEAR story
- more about the album -
When Molosser started with their concept of two downtuned acoustic guitars, it was originally as a convenient way to make songs for what was supposed to be an electrical project. It soon turned out, though, that the tonal and dynamic spectrum offered by the acoustic instruments made way for a new way to use the riffs and licks. It also became obvious that there really wasn’t any need for a bass guitar, since the two guitars could share that role between them. Instead of using the acoustic guitars in the traditional way, by strumming or fingerpicking chords, Molosser build their music by weaving together riffs, basslines and melodies, at times in a way similar to how piano players use their left and right hands.
As this new way of making music started to find its feet, Tess went on with crafting lyrics and vocal melodies to fit the emerging songs, adding a third voice to the sound. An important aspect of Molosser’s music is that each of these voices – the two guitars and the vocals – tell their own story in an ongoing conversation with each other. You can enjoy the songs just like any other music, but to get the full experience you might want to pay attention to what’s going on behind and around the vocals.
When Tess and Jahn realized they had an interesting thing going with the acoustic guitars, they started recording the songs on a Zoom 16-track portastudio. It turned out that, using multiple microphones on each guitar, playing around with the panning for the different tracks and adding drums to the mix – Tess is an experienced drummer – it was possible to create a full, vivid tonal landscape without adding any more instruments. In the final production, there are a few overdubbed (acoustic) guitars, but mostly it is the minimalistic, dynamic interplay of the two original guitar takes that build the base of the music.
Molosser made extensive pre-production using the portastudio, so when they finally went into the studio to record the album, they had a pretty clear picture of what they were trying to achieve. It goes without saying that it’s a challenging prospect to make two acoustic guitars – that often don’t play more than one or two notes each – sound like a full band, but considering, we must say that it went pretty well in the end. The result is a unique sound that might take a little while to get used to, but when you do, you want to come back for more.
For those who are curious about how much of Appear that is pure playing power and how much is studio magic, it will be enlightening to listen to the Barebones series, where we seated Molosser in a cozy corner of Evil Ear Studio to record raw, gritty versions of the songs straight into the microphones, live without overdubs. These takes are certainly enjoyable in their own right and gives a hint of in which direction Molosser are moving now.
One thing that might set Molosser apart from many other examples of acoustic guitar music is that the vocals often have a nerve and intensity that you associate more with electric rock and a freedom of phrasing that’s inspired by jazz and soul. This is no wonder, since Tess and Jahn have a background more in these worlds than in folk, Americana or similar genres. Not to say that this is obvious at all times, but it makes it hard to put the duo squarely into any one genre.
If you bear this in mind, you’ll hopefully be ready to enter the word of Molosser and make yourself at home there!