Mister Heavenly
Boxing the Moonlight
Oct 6, 2017

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Mister Heavenly dabbled in love and affection on their first record, 2011’s Out of Love. This time, however, Ryan Kattner, Nicholas Thorburn and Joe Plummer are in a scrappy mood as they embrace a tougher sound on the band’s new album, Boxing the Moonlight.

“It seemed like it was a good idea to pivot from the subject matter of the first record,” Thorburn says. “That was maybe a more emotional thing, and I think this record is much more physical.”

The physicality is evident right from the start, in the hammering piano and terse rhythm that fuel opener “Beat Down,” or in the buzzing chaos on “Dead Duck,” a psych-heavy freakout that evokes the Monks. The experimental ’60s garage-rockers aren’t the only musical reference point on Boxing the Moonlight. Seventies Krautrock band Faust was a big influence while the songs were being written, as was the sound of hip-hop production in the late ’80s and early ’90s, which informed the deep groove of “Hammer Drop” and the spacious guitar sound on “Magic Is Gone.” Meanwhile, “Crazy Love, Vol. III,” is a smooth jam with an ulterior motive.

“My only hope is that ‘Crazy Love’ can be somebody’s wedding song,” Kattner says. “But the bride has a shiv hidden in her dress.”

If it sounds eclectic, that’s no coincidence, though Mister Heavenly’s knack for catchy hooks ensures that it all hangs together with remarkable cohesion. “I personally hate albums where every song sounds the same,” Kattner says. “It all makes sense in the grand scheme of things. People are complicated. People have a lot of different vibes running through them at any given moment.”

If people are complicated, so was making Boxing the Moonlight.

Kattner and Thorburn started Mister Heavenly in 2010 as a chance to collaborate for the sheer fun of it, and they soon invited Plummer to join them. After releasing Out of Love in 2011, the band started work on their second album, snatching a few days at a time whenever their cluttered schedules allowed: Kattner is also known as Man Man visionary Honus Honus, Thorburn was busy with his bands Islands and the Unicorns (both now dormant), and Plummer plays with Cold War Kids and has worked with Modest Mouse and the Shins.

“Every time we got together, we had to continually relearn how to the play the songs,” Thorburn says. “When we finally got into the studio, there was such a built up reserve of energy that we were ready to hit it fast and hard.”

That fast-and-hard aesthetic also reflects a sense of place. “I don’t know if it’s cliché or not these days to have an L.A. record, but this feels like an L.A. record,” Plummer says. Indeed, Kattner and Thorburn currently live in Los Angeles (Plummer is in Seattle). Kattner makes reference to the city in his lyrics, and Thorburn says he thought of L.A. as the setting for some of the characters in his songs.

It all adds up to make Boxing the Moonlight another successful pursuit toward one of the band’s long-term goals.

“We’re always trying to write the perfect little nugget,” Kattner says, that will endure even into the dystopian future that looks more and more likely every day. Or, as he puts it, “When you find that melted jukebox, and that Mister Heavenly record is spinning, you’re going to try your damndest to find a coin to put in it.”


  • 1
    Beat Down (3:15)
  • 2
    Blue Lines (3:31)
  • 3
    Makin' Excuses (3:54)
  • 4
    Hammer Drop (4:22)
  • 5
    George's Garden (3:58)
  • 6
    No Floor (1:44)
  • 7
    Magic Is Gone (3:25)
  • 8
    Pink Cloud Compression (3:31)
  • 9
    Crazy Love, Vol. III (4:43)
  • 10
    Dead Duck (2:23)
  • 11
    Out Of Time (4:20)


"This is the wild, wonderful, and wacky world of Mister Heavenly. They have a knack for harnessing their whimsical energy while combining tight little nuggets of sound with various fragments from different styles and genres creating something entirely different that is exciting and fresh. Boxing the Moonlight is anexuberant journey through a hip musical funhouse proving that Mister Heavenly really is a super group."

Under The Radar

“Remember when indie rock was funny? These guys do.”

Rolling Stone

"The supergroup has managed to find time in their busy schedule to come together and record a stellar album of eleven dynamic songs. It is a gritty account that continues to draw from the doo-wop inspired sounds of their first album, but also adds new elements such as 60s surf rock, 70s grunge, 80s new wave rock and 90s pop."


“…They’ve crafted a far heavier, swaying and swaggering collection of ultra-catchy cabaret rock. Kattner’s gruff vocals lay a gravel bed under which Thorburn flutters about - all inside bubbles of tight, churning guitars, and some rubber-bouncing percussion. At the three musicians’ cores, though, is a knack for tight (if wacky) pop.”


"...the album’s ethos was really just to keep it interesting by recording a collection of songs that don’t get bored of themselves. And the result is songs like “Dead Duck,” which has a Nine Inch Nails-worthy grind, and “Beat Down,” which tickles you with joyful piano and pop."

Paste Magazine

"Not every band can write a Krautrock and Dr. Dre-inspired pop-rock album and make it sound cohesive. Mister Heavenly can."

NBC San Diego

"For their follow-up, the band pulls from a more diverse sonic palette loosely centered around scrappy power pop with forays into synth pop, Krautrock, and even early-'90s hip-hop beats."

All Music

"What results is a track that stalks with as much menace as fear, intimidating and anxious all at the same time without losing its dreamier textures."

Consequence of Sound on "Hammer Drop"

"...it's bouncy energy proves that this is one of the most fun musical side projects around."

Last.fm on "Beat Down"

"...a propulsive piano-driven stomp.."

Stereogum on "Beat Down"

"...they have an intestinal fortitude super power to eschew conventional rock wisdom and construct peculiar pop tunes rich in bouncy rhythms with crisp bass lines and bursts of energetic keyboards and tight guitar riffs."

Under The Radar
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  • Beat Down (3:15)
  • Makin' Excuses (4:21)
    Jason Tippet & Nick Thorburn
  • Hammer Drop (4:20)
  • Crazy Love, Vol. III (4:49)
    Caprice Castano & Ryan Kattner
  • Dead Duck (2:29)
    OMG Everywhere
  • Load More

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