In Swami Panchadasi's 1912 book, The Human Aura, he describes clear bright red emanations as indicators of "health, life-force, vigor and virility in a pure and untainted form." "Descending in the scale," he continues, "we find the crimson shade becoming darker and duller, until we descend to the plane of impure, sensual, coarse passion, which is manifested by an ugly, dull, muddy crimson of a repulsive appearance, suggesting blood mixed with dirty earth or barnyard soil."
For a band called The Muddy Reds, such a description is telling.
The Los Angeles-based group plays what they call "cosmic roots" – swaggering rock and roll that pulls from front porch American roots, Stax-era soul, ghostly blues, and southern swamp jams. The Muddy Reds conjure images of dusty bones set against black sunrises, of sex and lost souls; their music evokes the primal urges to sweat and shake and move and breathe.
In just a few short months, the quintet of transplanted Texans, wandering Okies, and native Californians has generated a healthy buzz in LA, one that shows no signs of quieting. The Muddy Reds recently completed an EP at the Compound Studio (Ryan Bingham, Cold War Kids, Marc Ford, and The Mars Volta), recording five songs in three days. They tracked live, with the members arranged in a circle to preserve the natural interaction that breathes life into the band.
"If you get back to the basics of music, I mean, why was it made in the first place? Not for self-glorification" Johnny notes. "It was born out of the need for a release – it's human beings sitting around on a late night, telling a story together and turning wheels."
The Muddy Reds received national attention in October 2009 and again in January when Two of those stories, "The Ballad of Millicent Marmer," and "Warbonnets and Wingsuits," made there way onto ABC's "Desperate Housewives," and saw positive reviews. Their self-titled EP (Including the above tracks) was released in December 2009.