Mouthus often sounds like a lot of things: tribal-industrial, U.S. Maple, white noise, Jandek, minimal techno, even various folk forms from Asia. Thurston Moore, whose Ecstatic Peace imprint released the band's Loam LP in 2005, has described the pulsating squall produced by axeman Brian Sullivan and drummer Nate Nelson as "a brain-gouged cross of Manowar head implosion and New York dustbomb detonation." That's beat poetic hipster jive, but the Sonic Youth dude nails the metal/no wave vibes also coursing through Mouthus' strange, murky grooves.
Trying to figure out what Mouthus sounds like is a popular pastime. The New York duo, often associated with the current noise-drone movement, has stumbled across a novel synthesis, and like any really cool magic trick, critics are trying to decode it. One key element that's rarely mentioned is indie rock -- not the new crap like Arcade Fire, but the classic lo-fi shit: Dinosaur Jr., early Sebadoh, the Grifters. Of course, Mouthus doesn't really sound like any of those bands, but the duo is so a part of the American indie tradition, which basically has its roots in two groups: the Velvet Underground and Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Sullivan and Nelson, you see, are ragged dudes with a love for feedback and jamming (that's what indie rock used to be about). And all those other influences, however exotic, are filtered through this tradition.