Mutts - Separation Anxiety [Download]

Mutts - Separation Anxiety CD
Mutts - Separation Anxiety LP
Mutts Press Pic
  1. So Many So Many
  2. Washington (Still) Owns People *
  3. Half Mile *
  4. Now Now Now
  5. Uninvited
  6. God, Country, Grave *
  7. Five of a Kind
  8. Apathetic Stars *
  9. Tire Swing Blues *
  10. Separation Anxiety

* Suggested Tracks

FCC Warning: Track 3, Half Mile contains one profanity.


* Chart Performance *
CMJ Top Adds #15, Aug 21
CMJ Top 200 #72, Sept 11
CMJ Top 200 6 weeks total on chart

About Separation Anxiety:

Chicago's Mutts, a piano-driven grunge/blues trio comprised of Mike Maimone, Bob Buckstaff and Chris Pagnani, have been riding a wave of good press (for last year's Pray for Rain LP) and have been landing high profile festival gigs at Milwaukee's Summerfest, Lost City Music Festival in Madison, Wisconsin and Chicago's Milwaukee Avenue Arts and Do Division Festivals. The band celebrated the release of their new LP, Separation Anxiety, with a show at legendary Chicago punk venue Fireside Bowl on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012.

Separation Anxiety, whose cover art and several songs were inspired by Robert Frost's poem, “Mending Wall," is the most topical Mutts release to date. Maimone's lyrics address divisions among class, political affiliation, religion, the media, and having recently come out to his family:

"Having grown up playing sports, attended Catholic schools and worked in a conservative corporate environment in my early twenties, it took awhile to get honest with myself" states Maimone. "But over the last [several] years, my self-perception evolved so drastically that change itself became a muse."

"Eventually, I felt comfortable enough with myself to write about homosexuality in [artistic] context. For example, [Pray for Rain album cut] "Blind Truth" is a satire sung from the perspective of a closeted public figure whose position rests entirely on the thing he’s denying." On Separation Anxiety, Maimone is more direct: "Uninvited" is about his experience with his Catholic background as he came out; "Tire Swing Blues" was written about his apprehension in coming out to close family and friends.

Mike Maimone is feeling an increased sense of liberation as a songwriter: "Mutts has always been an unfiltered release of emotion and energy through honest music and lyrics. With Separation Anxiety, I finally feel like no subject is off limits, and that I can write about my deepest concerns, sorrows and joys regardless of subject matter."

Separation Anxiety was added to rotation at enough college radio stations in it's first month to make the CMJ Top Adds chart at #15 on August 21. The next week, it received enough plays to debut at #134 on the CMJ Top 200, making it the second Mutts release of 2012 to chart at college radio. Separation Anxiety joins debut Mutts LP Pray for Rain, which charted for six weeks to open the year, peaking at #107.

Maimone also designed the album artwork. As earlier noted, the front cover is inspired by Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall.” One ongoing theme in Separation Anxiety is the paradox between needing to feel connected to other people, and needing to posess a sense of individuality. The back cover combines "The Declaration of Independence" and "The Misses Mary & Hannah Murray" by John Trumbull, inviting listeners to ponder whether we'd have the same sort of divisive culture if our nation’s founding "fathers" had been a more diverse group.

Separation Anxiety is available on CD, split-color “Mending Wall” vinyl, and for name-your-price download directly from Mutts at It is also available at Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and several stores throughout the Midwest.

Press Reviews

2013.01.02 : Illinois Entertainer Magazine

Separation Anxiety is a serious recording dealing with profound issues, but that doesn’t mean Mutts simply pump out droning shoegazer ditties. Their self-described grunge/blues sound is energetic (though a skosh schizophrenic), moving from gritty guitar workouts like “Tire Swing Blues” to screamfests such as “Now Now Now.” These 10 cuts (plus an untitled hidden track) are weighty yet worthwhile. ( – Jeff Berkwits

2012.11.07 : Now This Sound is Brave

Elements of rock, hardcore, progressive, thrash, funk, blues all throw in together for a meaty stew in songs that lyrically explore subjects from politics to religion to maintaining a romantic relationship as a touring musician.
It’s a compelling mess (and I mean that in the best way) Mutts are making here, never falling into cookie cutter parameters or imitation. Many of the elements used are familiar, but the direction these elements are taken is not, and that keeps your attention, wondering where Mutts will go next.
Now here’s the part that really excites me: Separation Anxiety was funded in a Kickstarter campaign as part of a double-album deal. The second album, Object Permanence, will be an acoustic album and a sampler listen shows the album running in a vein similar to “So Many, So Many” and “Separation Anxiety”, so keep your ear to the ground for that one.
Read Full Review

2012.09.28 : Epitonic

Mutts cover a broad spectrum of blues, from light Southern shuffles to heavy, dirty rock, and singer Mike Maimone adjusts from a gravelly whisper to distorted screaming. View on

2012.08.08 : Playground Misnomer

Mutts is the perfect definition of a weekend-warrior band that might finally break out... Separation Anxiety is an album chock-full of very, very personal songs... Maimone recently came out to his friends and family, and many of his lyrics document his uncertainty of society’s acceptance of homosexuality... Mutts is billed as a blues-rock band – think Tom Waits, Queens of the Stone Age, Murder By Death, and a little bit of The Dead Weather all tossed up and served together – but the lyrical density and intimacy transcend the traditional definition of a blues group... regardless of what musical muscle they may be flexing, Mutts always retains a fantastic, singular raw emotion throughout Separation Anxiety... The prolificity of Maimone and the rest of Mutts is quite incredible, releasing two, potentially three full-length albums inside of a year. I’m excited to see how Object Permanence stacks up to the tracks on its excellent counterpart, and you should be, too. If you’re a fan of hard rock, blues, or anyone with something interesting and important to say, check out Separation Anxiety, along with the rest of Mutts’ discography, at their Bandcamp. The best part is, it’s all available free of charge. Read Full Review

2012.08.01 : Vocalo 89.5FM : Live From Studio 10

Chicago's Mutts create a dirty and heavy blend of grunge and blues combined with singer Mike Maimone's raw and guttural vocals. After playing for years in successful touring bands, Mike and Bob came together to form Mutts and make their own music on their own terms. A few years later and the band had several EP's and two full-lengths in their catalog with yet another on its way, and has gained enough momentum to become a buzz name in Chicago's rock scene.

Upcoming Tour Dates


Press: August Forte | (773) 278-6686 |

College Radio: Jesse Stensby |

Band / Manager: Mike Maimone | (440) 813-5376 |
Matt Maly |

Booking: TR Agency | Tyler Rehm | || TJ Matzen |

Links: [EPK] [Website] [Facebook] [Twitter]

Mutts Electronic Press Kit:

Previous Mutts Releases:

Pray for Rain [Download] [Stream ± Info]

Mutts - Pray for Rain
  1. Fool *
  2. Not Ready
  3. DOB
  4. Save Us *
  5. Throwback *
  6. Blind Truth
  7. Done it Again *
  8. Real Bright *
  9. Jesse
  10. Show of the Century
  11. Putting on a Show

* Chart Performance *

CMJ Top Adds #8, Nov 28

CMJ Top 200 #107 for 2 weeks

6 consecutive weeks CMJ Top 200

* Honors *

Huffington Post Top 30 Chicago Albums of 2011 #26 See Full List

The Deli Magazine's Chicago Emerging Artist of 2011

2012.01.13 : Absolute Punk Featured Free Friday Download

* Review Selections *

2012.Spring : The Big Takeover Magazine

Everyone compares Chicago's Mutts' leader Mike Maimone to Tom Waits, and since the singer cops to loving the California cackler, there's no condemning it. That conceded, though Mutts play hometown indie haunts such as Double Door and Empty Bottle, their ancestrial lair lies south of The Loop, from days when New Orleans R&B stars plied black blues joints. When I think Waits, I think Screaming Jay Hawkings, and Maimone howls a lot like the "frenzied" late Jalacy. But his rollicking piano 'n' organ-smackin' funky bayou romps, like the dirty 6/8 totter of "Done it Again," ooze, crawfish-like, like a garage rock clatter inversion of the filé gumo-brown swamp stomp of Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Huey Piano Smith, Eddie Bo, Jessie Hill, and later Ernie K. Doe. Wolfman Jack would have loved Mutts; he and Maimone could howl at the full moon together. - Jack Rabid

2012.04.01 : Alternative Press Magazine View Online Here

2012.02.28 : Electric Panda

The raspy vocals and relentlessly hard blues rock of this Chicago three piece makes a whiskey on the rocks sound better than ever before. It’s the kind of edge and dirty soul that just can’t be faked, so filthy they make The Black Keys seem sterile. Read Full Review

2012.01.07 : Hiawatha Review

Serendipitous music: that’s what I say I want, as if you can put a microphone within fifteen feet of a speaker and suddenly have the magic of CD level crisp, distinct and distinguishing sound. But that’s how I want it to feel. I think the actual goal is resonance. Resonance is what happens when you play the string of one guitar and the similar string of another guitar in the room hums sympathetically without being touched. So, what happens when people hear organic sounds, human sounds, sounds let’s call raw? We resonate. These sounds ring a similar bell somewhere inside us and we hummm.
Ragged and raw is a great way to start to describe the Mutts's warm and atonal form of badass bluesy rock and roll with rollicking dirty piano rolls, fat stand-up bass, fuzzy-filthy guitars, and heavy, jubilant drums. Maybe rich, grimy, or explosive would work too, but with so many angles—so many stories, so many tones and sounds—ragged, raw, explosive, all these words are just a taste, a first-bite, a start to describing something so human. Give it a listen, put it on the speakers, stand in the room, hum. Read Full Review

2012.01.03 : Illinois Entertainer Magazine

"Pray for Rain - free to download - holds off on the bpms, but only so their Tom Waits-meets-Oh My God fists can reload to strike again after your skull rebounds off the wall."
IE Online

2011.12.26 : Radio One Chicago

"Chicago's Mutts released their full-length debut, Pray for Rain, late in 2011, but the album still managed to get the attention of college radio and select blogs before the holidays. We are happy to weigh in on this amazing, if divisive, collection of songs as the year races to a close.
Pray for Rain, like the Mutts stage show, is not for everyone. The album is too thick and greasy for most pop fans. That said, if you like music with some grit and noise, the album flails and lurches with enough gonzo abandon to make one punch-drunk after listening."
Read Full Post

2011.11.30 : Playground Misnomer

"They’ve released consistently great music for a while now, blending the most deranged sensibilities of Tom Waits and Man Man into some sort of nightmarish bluesy post-punk – and it’s never sounded better than it does on their upcoming release, Pray for Rain.
Pray for Rain opens as explosively as it possibly can with “Fool” and from that moment onwards, it becomes clear Mutts aren’t holding anything back on this one. The first time I heard “Fool” it absolutely tore my head off; the fact it still does is indicative of a surprising staying power which is something that often proves to be the downfall of bands that could be (incorrectly) scraped into the “novelty act” tag. However, here the songwriting, musicianship, and arrangements are transcendent enough to avoid that. Every member is a powerhouse at commanding and finessing their individual talent and it shows in abundance at the immediate outset of this album as well as its closing moments, and everywhere in between."
Read Full Post

2011.11.28 : Indie Monday

"I’ve never met a band that fuses so many genres into a sound uniquely their own. You can hear the grunge in the sounds they choose for their instruments, along with the heavy drumming. You can hear King Crimson in the odd time signatures they effortlessly move through. And you can hear Tom Waits meeting Randy Newman in Mike’s whiskey-soaked melodies. The result is a band who has been placed on bills with metal bands (albeit a tad awkward), while also having a residency at Uncommon Ground, a hushed, coffeeshop environment. Nowhere can the range of their sound be heard better than on their new album Pray for Rain, due out in December." Read Full Article

The Tells of Parallels EP [ Download ] [ Stream ]

Mutts - The Tells of Parallels EP
    [October 2010]
  1. Terranaut
  2. Symmetry
  3. Gone
  4. Masquerade
  5. Junior

"Maimone’s low, guttural, forbidding voice sets the speed, while heavy, distorto bass and pound-pound-pounding drums channel Blue Cheer, Cream, and Hendrix’s Experience while Maimone introduces his central weapon: forsaking all guitar, his organ is so piercing, loud, harsh, and mean, you don’t notice. Shifting from New Orleans funky rock like “Masquerade” to a Dr. John-goes-Funkadelic hangover like “Junior”, or throwing needles in the red on The Doors’ “L.A. Woman”-on-angel-dust (or steroids!) “Terranaut,” The Mutts will gleefully wreck a bad party—or save it."
- Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover Magazine

"Chicago’s Mutts aren’t playing around. The first aspect of their new EP, The Tells of Parallels, that truly jumps out from the speakers is its pure heaviness. Heaviness in the static-y production value and heaviness in general attitude. Every instrument on the record is mic’ed up to 11: the drums, the bass, the keys, the guitar. Actually, scratch that last one. The trio actually forgoes the guitar and instead relies on a dirty, mud-soaked key tone to drive the melodies. It’s saying something that a band can reach the big rock n’ roll moments of current major acts like Queens Of The Stone Age or the Dead Weather without an axe, but Mutts do and quite effortlessly at that.

The Tells of Parallels is one of those albums that if played at a high volume, the paint on the walls of your one bedroom rental might peel right off. Mutts seem to embrace the low end of the melodic spectrum. Even lead singer Mike Maimone’s vocals are nearly baritone, but his control and ability to hit the notes really flesh out their sound. Then you also have Bob Buckstaff’s fuzz-all-up-in-your-face bass and Chris Faller’s jackhammer drumming that can still sustain a nice groove when the song calls for it.

In five songs, Mutts pretty much let it all hang out. The Tells of Parallels is not only well produced, a few songs are really fleshed out with some quirky overdubs and in-studio chatter, but it works because of it’s simplicity. Mutts never drag. They give it their all in five-minutes or less, and it really works. The band are poised to become one of Chicago’s top acts if they keep pumping out material that’s as good as what The Tells of Parallels has to offer. One word of warning: this record is made for Saturday night party shenanigans, not for the hangover of the morning after, unless you want your swollen head to get even more pounded."
- Richard Giraldi,

We Float EP [ Download ] [ Stream ]

Mutts - We Float EP
    [May 2010]
  1. Beggar
  2. We Float
  3. Handcuffs
  4. Mamma's Boy
  5. Let it Be

"Rough-around-the-edges rock filled with melodic riffs and interesting ideas. Right off the start, you're smacked in the face by the riff of "Beggar", a loud, fuzzy and distorted piece of lo-fi goodness. A recommended listen. Give it a go." -

"Mutts has a wonderful rough around the edges quality that makes them seem like a loveable band of misfits." -

"Like a zealous, unruly year-old puppy, their EP We Float runs the rambunctious gamut of influences, spanning jazz, blues, grunge, metal, industrial and rock. Considering the juxtaposed jumble of components, however, Mutts’ combined output is a cohesive sound… If you possess any manufactured pop sensibilities, delicate or otherwise, you may not immediately find too much to latch on to amidst the stripped down production and frenetic, raw vocal stylings. But there’s a brutal honesty buried in the roughness, and the moments where the melodies begin to surface and take hold add just enough suggestion of shine to keep you listening." -

Pretty Pictures EP [ Download ] [ Stream ]

Mutts - Pretty Pictures EP
    [October 2009]
  1. Stolen Bricks
  2. Trust
  3. Uncivilized
  4. on the Rope

"The Windy City barrel house piano man is back, hissing and seething like Like Screaming Jay Hawkins in the graveyard, busting out bits of mean dog voodoo R&B."
- Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover Magazine

"You may moan with pleasure listening to Maimone's treasures! Opening and closing with wild tracks that are way more rock and pop than his piano man full length, this is an exciting record by someone to watch out for and enjoy before he sells out and starts writing songs for Disney cartoons in 2023. Because he is Randy Newman good. But not Randy Newman Toy Story 2 bad." - Roctober Magazine