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Music Review: Middle Class Rut – MC Rut EP

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Sacramento, California isn't a city that is known for producing the kind of bands that makes Seattle, Washington or even Austin, Texas famous hotspots for not just up-and-coming musical talent, but for established acts as well. Cake and the Deftones are a couple of Sacramento bands that enjoyed mainstream success, but very few others have ever hit national radio.

Middle Class Rut is looking to expand and fracture that Northern California stigma by trying to bring '90s alternative garage rock back into the limelight.

Longtime friends and collaborators Zack Lopez (guitar/vox) and Sean Stockham (drums/vox) decided after the breakup of their last band Leisure to try their hands as a two-piece act. Years of experimenting in a studio culminated into brief tours and now into a self-titled EP that combines the sparkle of youthful ambition with the polish of decades-old experience.

MC Rut unconventionally opens the EP with the grunge/metal hybrid "All Walks Of Life" (download mp3 here) that somewhat reminds me of Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" but with less Manson. The forgettably manic "Let It Go" follows, and disappointment began to creep up until the edgy and rebellious "Busy Bein' Born" brings the SacTown duo back into the stretch. The song's tone seems much more than teenage or post-adolescent angst, but in many ways despondent of living in such a chaotic environment in such an uncertain body and mind: "Cause what I get ain't half of what I give / And that don't suit me anyway."

What probably would be diagnosed as depression, fans would call it MC Rut's stride, which escalates further in the two attitude-filled downtempo tracks "New Low" and "Dead Set," with the latter especially amazing and stunning with the depth of the band's subdued, almost restrained efforts. And while "25 Years" proves addicting in its bare and distant form, "So Long" is captivating in its range and completeness.

How excited must the Sacramento natives have been to release their debut EP when the two could have easily recorded a few more tracks to round out a full-length album? A brief early hiccup doesn't delay Sacto's Middle Class Rut.

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