Manhattan Murder Mystery have long been underdog heroes in the L.A. underground, a scruffy, hard-playing group of folks who look like they met randomly at 1 a.m. at an East Hollywood bus stop — probably the one where frontman Matthew Teardrop was living. They don’t play shows as much as they host scrums. And their music doesn’t so much as hop between genres, it loots them, opening veins for Teardrop’s ferocious and sometimes heartbreaking kernels of truth.
Somehow, over 15 or so years, they’ve released three albums. The last, 2017’s “Dumb,” was not dumb at all but an onrush living-in-the-time-of-apocalypse indie anthems, the kind that leave you hoarse from shouting along. MMM has a way of making every song sound like an open bar.
Now there’s a fourth album, “Baby Wrestlemania,” out digitally on May 31. Teardrop and bandmates Laura Velez (drums), Todd McLaughlin (lead guitar), Mateo Katsu (keys), Katya Arce and Gibbons (bass) made the record over five days last year with producer Steve Albini in Chicago.
The album collates vignettes from the frontman’s hardscrabble life and makes them sound like rallying cries. “I’ve been about as low as you can get, so it’s easy to write about getting drunk and having a hard time and sleeping on the streets when that’s what you’re doing,” Teardrop says. “It’s telling people about all the hard times I went through and then coming out of it to be a good dad.”
Teardrop wrote album’s closer and title track for his daughter, “… trying to give her some advice,” he says. “Like try not to be homeless. It sucks.” The simple things: “Try and find yourself a place to end up / get yourself a kitchen and some coffee mugs / get yourself a TV and a Persian rug.”
The introductory single is “Bodybag,” in which he questions the supposed higher power. “Well, I grew up really Christian and it’s always been this great thing that Jesus died for us and [was] resurrected,” Teardrop says, “but like, why can’t they just let all of us do that? Or, like, why not just not have people die at all? Why can’t God just tell the devil to go f*** himself if he sucks so bad, right?”
Mike James directs the video. If Manhattan Murder Mystery has somehow escaped your radar over the years, it’s a good baptismal.
||| Watch: The video for “Bodybag”