The Mystery Lights' story begins in 2004 in the small town of Salinas California when friends Michael Brandon and Luis Alfonso – whose shared fondness for groups like The Mc5, Velvet Underground, Dead Moon, and The Fall (just to name a few) – decided to join forces and craft their own brand of unhinged rock and roll. From there they spent the better part of 10 years touring relentlessly before migrating to Queens New York in 2014.
With a live show known for its raw, visceral energy and relentless assault – leaving little to no stoppage between songs – they barreled through countless NYC haunts and DIY venues, quickly amassing a fervent local following. The buzz soon caught the attention of Daptone Records execs who were in the beginning stages of launching a new rock-centric imprint, Wick Records.
Impressed by the groups’ musicianship, groove, endless supply of energy, and understanding of musical history the Mystery Lights were quickly signed to Wick. Though a rock band at heart, the parallels to what Daptone Records had traditionally looked for in their Soul artists was undeniable. Soon sessions were booked with Producer/Engineer Wayne Gordon, and the release of their debut single “Too Many Girls” b/w “Too Tough to Bear” launched to mass critical fanfare.
Upon the release of their self-titled full-length on June 24th 2016 The Mystery Lights were quickly crowned “one of New York’s finest garage rock bands” by NME. Extensive touring, including multiple stops in Europe, Asia and Australia followed which found the group graduating from support slots at hole-in-the-wall clubs to headlining stages at major festivals worldwide.
After two years of break-neck, non-stop touring, the group settled back into Queens to prepare for their second full- length record, “ Too Much Tension” (out on 10th May 2019). With Wayne Gordon in the producer’s chair and several intense writing sessions under their belt the group were back at Daptone’s House of Soul and ready to track. While keeping the hard-hitting approach of the first LP, “Too Much Tension” finds the group digging deeper into their well of eclectic influences, enriching their sound while echoing the past. Mixing the eerie, insistent synth sounds of groups like The Normal and Suicide, the energy and swagger of punk’s golden age, the pop sensibility of The Kinks, and the stark, deliberate execution of Television – The Mystery Lights are taking their idiosyncratic brand of rock and roll to dizzying new heights.
“ ...a blistering rocker packed with knife-edge guitars” - Rolling Stone
"Brandon, like Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones before him, performs with a power and vigor that keeps him undeniable. This is what Daptone does: vintage hit-writing techniques, powerhouse performances." - Pitchfork
" ...combine the aesthetic of that city's downtown dwellers (like The Velvet Underground) with a present-day urgency." - WXPN, World Cafe
“The Mystery Lights dish up the kind of ’60s garage-psych jangles that seem purpose-built for a sun-baked, dust-filled slot supporting Oh Sees“ - DIY
“The Mystery Lights are as good as it gets, one of New York’s finest garage rock bands at the moment.” - NME