Red Mass is a hard band to follow. Even their most diehard fans know this. The nebulous Montreal psych project of former CPC Gangbangs garage rocker Roy Vucino (a.k.a. Choyce), the band’s membership includes up to 100 musicians from all over the country (not all at once, though it can feel that way depending on the show) and features releases in all sorts of formats on all sorts of labels. The only unifying principle comes from their manifesto: “to pursue the ideals of free thinking and liberation through art.”
And that’s usually as nebulous a concept as their sound and lineup, but for their latest EP, First Offense, they’ve put their money where their manifesto is and released it on the Free Music Archive, a curated, open-source database of pre-cleared music. “People often equate the impact of a release with industry components such as sales,” writes Vucino in an email to Chart Attack, “but this way you can reach out, communicate and share with people freely. That’s often the main reason for doing art, to share and reach out to people.”
While their shows sometimes resemble a twisted funhouse mirror vision of Broken Social Scene, two out of three songs on First Offense - the glitchy “Firebringer” and the fingerpicked Kurt Vile blues of “Be Gentle” were recorded - by Vucino, alone on his four-track. The other, “Wandering Bishop,” sounds like Captain Beefheart fronting a funk band, perpetually frozen in mid-freakout. You can stream and download the free three-song EP below. Listen, use it for your film project, pretty much do whatever you want with it.