Americana Highways is pleased to premiere this song, “Making Complaints,” from North Carolina based band Mad Crush’s upcoming self-titled album. “Making Complaints” features vocalist Joanna Sattin, John Elderkin (The Popes) on vocals and guitar, Mark Whelan (The Popes, Veldt) on guitars, Laura Thomas (Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, Ray Charles, Jay-Z) on violin, and drummer Chuck Garrison (Superchunk, Pipe, Zen Frisbee).
Without a bass player, Mad Crush has created rhythmically complex music, with a touch of an old-timey bluegrass feel in its upbeat, almost pop arrangements. This song is whimsical and tells a story of a mad crush along with the fact that the lyrical protagonist is “not making complaints about the things he must live without.” Mad Crush promises to combine the most endearing aspects of country with the most amusing features of pop music.
I had been trying to woo the other singer in our band, Joanna, with no luck. One night I’d left some equipment at her house after practice, and she put it out on her front porch, where there is also a remarkably unwelcoming, hard wooden bench. Feeling sorry for myself, I imagined sleeping out there as a testament to my devotion and how, if I did that, I’d wake up with a broken back and the neighbors calling the cops on me. So I packed the car and left, and as I did, the lines “Fell asleep on your porch, the neighbors know” came to mind, and I wrote the story from there. I’ve kept this a secret until now… we’ll see what Joanna thinks!
I happened to be listening carefully to how the Stones pull off their country-sounding songs, amazed as always at how they never entirely fall into country or any particular genre, even when all the signifiers are right there. A song like “Country Honk” is way more than just country honk, you know? I was trying to learn their trick as I wrote this song, and I wandered into the music here. Thankfully, it’s not a country song or a pop song — I think it sounds like Mad Crush being Mad Crush.
As I was working on this, I mentioned to Mark Whelan, our electric guitarist, my interest in not having the song sound too country or too pop. He gave it the big boom with the killer riff that starts things off. The entire story of the song has more punch and impact because of his ideas. — John Elderkin
Give it a listen here: