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High on Stress | Moonlight Girls

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Rock: Americana Pop: California Pop Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Moonlight Girls

by High on Stress

Songs about broken relationships, small towns and the cracked glass of daily life.
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. You Have Conversations with Jesus
4:27 $0.99
2. Eyeliner Blues
4:09 $0.99
3. Cash Machine
2:26 $0.99
4. Gold Star
4:49 $0.99
5. Harris County
4:29 $0.99
6. Sleeping in the Backs of Cars
4:14 $0.99
7. Minot
3:02 $0.99
8. My Former Life on the Cutting Room Floor
3:53 $0.99
9. Traffic Report
3:50 $0.99
10. 1995
3:30 $0.99
11. Postcard that Says Breathe
4:27 $0.99
12. No Such Thing as an Easy Break
5:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"I know what you're thinking, does the Twin Cities scene really need another melancholy country-tinged rock band? Well, in most cases I would agree with you and say no, but as long as new groups like High On Stress keep popping up out of the woodwork it's clear that the local well in this particular musical area is far from running dry. With local ace producer Jon Tranberry (Valet, Plastic Constellations), handling bass duties in the group it comes as little surprise that High On Stress' debut album, Moonlight Girls, sounds perfectly polished, but what makes it all worthwhile is that front man Nicholas Leet's alternately gritty and pretty songs live up to the production's high standards. High On Stress mark yet another welcome addition to the already burgeoning local alt. country scene."
Rob van Alstyne
PULSE of the Twin Cities, Volume 9 Issue 15 (July 13-19,2005)

"High on Stress [plays] some really good Americana guitar stuff. You should check them out."
Cyn Collins - www.howwastheshow.com



to write a review


What an absolute gem of an album... not a weak track in ear shot! My standout is " My Former Life..... " but tune your ears in and your sure to find plenty to enthral :-)
My only disappointment is that it took me so long to find High On Stress.
Eagerly awaiting the next album :-)

Pulse of the Twin Cities

High and Lonesome
High On Stress
Moonlight Girls
OBT Records

Talk about a record that damn near matches up to my own eclectic tastes, track for track! These local rocky-tonk heroes-to-be (Nick Leet: vocals, guitar and organ; Mark Deveraj: drums, percussion,and guitar; Jon Tranberry: bass, organ, vocals, guitar and production; Ben Baker: vocals, guitars, organ, lapsteel and harmonica—not to mention special guests Mike Brady on banjo, Jim Anglo on axe, Elliot Hilton on piano and Rev. Matt Marohl on pedal steel) are equally at home spewing ‘Mats-ian vinegar, howlin’ out Haggard-isms or riffin’ off Rolling Stones-y lyrical lashings.

That’s really not such a big surprise, once you suss that various band members and contributors to this collection come from such varied backgrounds as Mr. Whirly, Accident Clearinghouse and the Turf Club Sunday Night Acoustic jam. Toss in a cornucopia of influences ranging from timeless mountain music to dirty pub rock to skivvy punk to roadhouse blues and you’ll have some idea of the absolutely fresh, urgent, in-the-moment groove running through
Moonlight Girls.

Highlights include the hypnotic, melancholy album opener, “You Have Conversations With Jesus,” which bucks and snorts like a randy, winter-bound stallion (“And you wonder what is wrong with me/ Don’t, because I’d like to know ... I’m tired an’ over you ...”), the edgy, nervous drive of “Eyeliner Blues,” the country death chuff of “Harris County” (“... an’ you ain’t never been high, boy/ An’ you ain’t never been stoned/ Until you suddenly find yourself alone ...”), and the honked-out, jug-guzzling ode to lost youth, “Sleeping In The Backs Of Cars,” which softly thrums its way into your head like a tall glass of good sippin’ whiskey: “Do you think we’re ever gonna see it through?/ An’ I’ll be alright/ Just for tonight/ An’ you’ll be high/ High as a kite/ Just for tonight ...” Been there, done that, don’t make me wanna go back but sure evokes the one-of-a-kind feeling of waking up in the cold dawn in the back seat of a ‘78 Oldsmobile with dried puke on my jacket, four cents left in my pocket and a cramp in my back from humping a seat divider all night.

The real treat for me here, though, is the absolute abandon and pure-dee musical joy that fairly oozes from the short-but-oh-so-sweet nugget “Cash Machine.” This one belongs on that great, mythical jukebox betwixt Doug Sahm’s “Give Back The Key To My Heart,” Dylan’s Blood On The Tapes rendition of “Tangled Up In Blue” and Ween’s “I Don’t Want To Leave You On The Farm.”

Like a lot of great country-fied rockers, the tune glides in on tentative acoustic strummin’ and a grab-you-by-the-balls line (“The moonlight girls make the weather/ Where the jukebox plays ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together ...’”), then slams into a barn-burnin’, soul-soaring, fuck-off-and-die to pain an’ heartache hootenanny. A universally-empathetic romp about livin’ life at the dark end of the street an’ just bein’ happy as a pig in shit that you can get a cash advance from the machine an’ drink yer troubles away one more hour, one more night, one more week: “Red-eyed girls/ Go home in fancy cars/ After all-night parties drinkin’ in the hip-hop bars/ An’ I go home, Studio 24, the jack of hearts/ Sleepin’ on the floor ...”

Though this whole album is chock full of killer hooks, note-perfect historic homages, and fresh, thoughtful lyrics, “Cash Machine” most embodies the spirit, guts and true-blue, whiskey-soaked American soul flowing through the band itself. High on stress? Fuck it, hit the cash machine, get an advance, go out an’ dance, let your survival be left up to chance ... killer shit. HighOnStressBand.com.

City Pages

Moonlight Girls
Nick Leet (formerly of Standard Thompson) is the primary songwriter, and he comes up with some lyrical nuggets, as on the opening track, "You Have Conversations with Jesus." "You're a freight train with understated makeup," Leet sings of a former girlfriend. The clever, enigmatic lyrics of "Eyeliner Blues" provide evidence that the band's been taking notes while listening to their Paul Westerberg records. "Cash Machine" is the catchiest track here, with its shout-along chorus, reminiscent of A.M.-era Wilco.

High on Stress make rare, but effective use of the distortion pedal, putting a felicitous charge into tracks such as "Postcard that Says Breathe." There are other welcome, unexpected flourishes throughout, like the organ jam at the close of "Sleeping in the Backs of Cars" and the banjo fills (courtesy of guest Mike Brady) on "1995."

But the track that puts this album over for me is "Minot," an irresistible poison-pen Valentine to North Dakota. "This is an ode to cover bands, and bad punk rock, and a town I can't stand," Leet snipes. More than a few small-town transplants will find the sentiment familiar.

Rift Magazine

High on Stress definitely has had their share of crushes. Thankfully for us, their admiration is more an infatuation than an obsession and "Moonlight Girls" is nothing more than a sweet love song to the bands they admire.
High on Stress has created one of the most impeccably produced local albums in recent memory. This is no doubt attributed to the expertise of bass player/local producer Jon Tranberry (Valet, Accident Clearinghouse, the Plastic Constellations). Their finely crafted alt-country absolutely sparkles under his guidance, with the end result being an album standing up to numerous listens.
Guitarist/singer Nick Leet exhibits an uncanny ability to take an average pop song and infuse it with enough gritty honesty to keep things captivating.
Album standout "Cash Machine" boasts an irresistible chorus leaving listeners with no other choice to sing along. If "Minot" was recorded on a four-track, it could easily have been a dorm room standard in 1997. "Postcard that says Breathe" could easily have been an out-take from Wilco's "A.M." and it's only a matter of time before album opener, the Jay Farrar-esque, "You Have Conversations with Jesus," is in heavy rotation on The Current.
Sure it's derivative. It's also one of the best albums to come out of the local scene in quite a while. In this case, lack of innovation does not mean lack of quality. the best songs will stay in your head for weeks. Here's hoping that High on Stress can keep their hormones under control and keep writing memorable tributes to the artist who have inspired them.

South of Mainstream

not too stressed out
They don't sound TOO stressed out. In fact, the overall sound is rather laid back and mellow. It's part alt-country, part indie pop, and just the right amount of alt-rock. I hear bits of REM, a little bit of Buffalo Tom, and maybe just a hint of the Replacements.

Bob Longmore

Musician "in on the joke"
A review of High on Stress
-- Bob Longmore
Metro State University

I moved to Minnesota in 1997. More precisely, I moved to northeast Minneapolis to a duplex with three roommates. A beer soaked, tumultuous time in my mid-twenties; I will always have a place in my heart for the dark, dingy Northeast bars. The Premium on tap and the old-timers perched on their barstools; the no frill rock and roll I found in the clubs and in the record stores; that Minnesota sound: Equal parts earnestness and attitude. I first found High on Stress at one of those Northeast bars. Maybe that is part of the reason they bring me back to those days when I was first learning the streets of the Twin Cities. They have that sound I love. There are no overproduced hollow vocals, no electronic blips and beeps, no filler; they are what rock and roll sounds like in my head when I think of rock and roll. Their sound hovers somewhere between Paul Westerberg-influenced rock and Son Volt-inspired alt-country. Many of the songs on their album Moonlight Girls could have been the soundtrack to my Northeast years. Like on “Cash Machine” where Leet sings about the internal strife that scraping by month to month can cause: Where’s it go, when the money’s gone? Try to figure out where the hell I went wrong Half is spent before you pay the rent Half is spent before the money’s sent Don’t it make your blue eyes red? Leet is honest and open when he talks about the time in his life that inspired these songs. Having just left the band he was in for seven years and breaking up with his girlfriend, he found himself in a low place. "I moved into a studio apartment by myself and ate a lot of McDonald’s, slept on the floor and played solitaire. For the first couple of months, I barely touched my guitar." He eventually did regain his musical ambition. "[I] started to write songs about how I was feeling about the end of the band situation and the constant on-again, off-again relationships [with the band and his girlfriend]." Around this time, two friends of Leet’s died in a car accident. Leet was scraping by just to pay the rent. "There was really just a lot of crap going on in my life at the time." Leet is from Minot, a town he refers to as "a dead-end street for a lot of music lovers or job opportunists." On the song "Minot" he sings, This is an ode to cover bands Bad punk rock And a town I can’t stand I can sympathize with the desire never to go home, with the feeling that here in Minneapolis is where I belong—where I should have been all along. Of course, there are pervasive themes of lingering heartbreak and heartache. On "No Such Thing as an Easy Break," Leet attempts to make peace with his demons — a peace that is necessary just to move on: Can't say I didn’t see it coming Doesn't make it hurt any less She says, "I still love you Just not the way that you want me to" She says she still cares But how am I supposed to feel Then Leet lets go with the punch line that every self-doubting person on the bad end of a breakup repeats in their head as they replay the events, "She said that all along." On "Gold Star," the lyrics reflect the instability of life. Set against an organ-laden bed of countrified melancholy, Leet sings: Sometimes you have to let go To find out what you're looking for With your car crash romances And a year in review And then, having talked to the band and after seeing them live, the line that I think sums up their attitude, "You come to expect it / The dark comedy of love and life." Leet, as the front man, has the skill and passion to pull you into his world of women, booze and desperation; but at the same time, has the lightheartedness to laugh between the songs, to let the audience know that he is in on the joke too. The joke: That life sucks a lot of the time. But there are things that make it worth living, like singing in a rock and roll band.

South of Mainstream

not too stressed out
They don't sound TOO stressed out. In fact, the overall sound is rather laid back and mellow. It's part alt-country, part indie pop, and just the right amount of alt-rock. I hear bits of REM, a little bit of Buffalo Tom, and maybe just a hint of the Replacements.

C.Dush (musician)

moonlight girls
I've had the chance to listen thru several times already. The production/recording is outstanding! Top notch! I really like the songs and vibe. I hear a little "Achin' to Be" era Replacements and Wilco here and there. Defintely hear some Chris Mars-isms on drums! Good job!

The tone of the guitars and how the drums sound in the mix kick ass. Really great job on the recording/engineering/mixing.

Dan Peck

Good Stuff
I've listened through the CD a few times. That is some seriously good songwriting! I love the production, too. Really full and polished. great work!

Tracks 2 and 3 are my favorite so far. Eyeliner Blues in particular evoked a bit of a Replacements vibe for me. Not sure if that was intentional, but I think its really cool!

Shuteye Records

Brilliant, beautiful and extremely refreshing
Shut Eye Records (Atlanta, GA) Review of Moonlight Girls

High on Stress is a testament to the timelessness and livelihood of alternative/pop rock. In an industry dominated by scenesters and fad genres, this music remains true to itself, free of pretension and filled with honest songwriting. Taking cues from Americana-tinged chords of The Jayhawks and Soul Asylum, songs like "You Have Conversations with Jesus" and "1995" are brilliant, beautiful, and extremely refreshing--especially in the wistful pedal steel in "1995." All in all, Moonlight Girls is a delightful listen and finely crafted album.