McGuff and the Dumpster Fires is difficult to define, not quite giving themselves wholly to any one genre. Though voted best Indie Pop band in Dayton in 2017, they stir together a mixture of melodic ingredients into their savory musical melting pot. Borrowing the most desirable features of rock, punk, and pop, they weave together a beautiful tapestry of tracks that exemplify their proclivity for storytelling.
The music itself will have you moving your body in tune with the powerful swells that threaten to carry you away. With guitar riffs that resonate in you soul and a beat that begs your hips to sway, your feet to jump, and your head to bang, you will find yourself lost in a sea of energetically bouncing bodies and swishing hair. And the vocals are a truly shining beacon in such a sea; divided between the two McGuffs of MDF, husband and wife Emily and Taylor have such differing vocal strengths one would wonder how they even cooperate in the same ensemble. But the pass off gives the band a startling and exciting variety. Taylor, in all of his cocksure, bourbon-drinking, punk glory, has a voice that’s rowdy and vaguely raspy that makes you want to jump up and dance, screaming the lyrics at the top your lungs and raise your liquor high above your head in a raucous salute. The lovely and lively Emily, on a different note (ba-dum-ching), is a powerhouse, belting out the tunes with such epic force you’ll be surprised the building is still standing.
Their style can only be described as a knock-down drag-out battle against any semblance of boring old silence. To watch them throw their entire being into their art is like a cathartically divine experience for the soul. How can they sing that loud without losing their voices, nearly screaming into their mics like they are warriors on the front lines of a charging army? How can they dance on that stage – so emphatically it’s like they are performing an ancient dance ritual to unseen gods – without collapsing in exhaustion? Their performance is truly moving. Paired well with a mixed drink – or several – a lively crowd, and some flashing colored lights, it is the only way to let loose after a long work week.
Their most unique quality, however, is their talent for penning intriguing lyrics. Hearing a MDF song is like being trapped inside a fairy tale – but instead of Cinderella, you are transported to a realm more akin to The Little Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe, or The Little Match Girl. Singing about how the landlord needs the rent, comparing the world to an e-cigarette, or complaining about how someone you don’t like just won’t shut up (I’m not your friend and you know I’m never gonna be one, it’s true. But I’m stuck here listening to those syllables pour out of you), they write in such a way that you can’t help but relate. It feels like a poignant commentary on every day life and what it is to be human in today’s world, always choosing to see the humor in the darker side of life. You’ll find yourself saying, “Oh yeah, I feel like that all the time, but I’ve never heard it put quite like that.” It’s a refreshingly sarcastic take on the world around us. It’s almost as if they’re saying, “Yeah, the world sucks, but we’re going to have a good time in spite of it.” Most stunningly, though, are the rich allegories and literary references in these songs. It feels like a fairy tale, as the descriptive language paints achingly beautiful images in the mind. Molten metal and mortal hell are just a couple of phrases you’ll hear in these witty and mystical originals. Or perhaps my absolute personal favorite, in the track titled Harry Bergs written about the literary classic short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, is this line that goes, “Halloween and hardware, that Harry Bergeron; metal growing on him like vines on brick.” And the single Ghost Town is an especially hauntingly enchanting look at hometowns everywhere. I could go on and on about how well-written these songs are, but I fear I couldn’t stop myself. Truly captivating and magical, one needs to listen for themselves to really understand how moving and inspiring these lyrics are.
Overall, with songs that sound equally enrapturing live as they do recorded, and a stage presence that will leave you in awe and invite you to push your body to its limits to match their enthusiasm, they are a brilliant gem shining on the Dayton music scene. Well worth the babysitter on a Friday night, or even the two hour drive from rural Ohio to the big city, as well as the extra drinks you’ll be buying as you find that you’re enjoying yourself too much to not just let go and call an Uber later. The only thing left to say is this war cry…
GO SEE MCGUFF AND THE DUMPSTER FIRES!!!
Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/mcguffandthedumpsterfires/