One way to quantify success on the Austin Ventures stage is by the number of people stopped in their tracks on the way to the chicken-cone stand. With only seconds to make an impression, unfamiliar acts have to hit swiftly or be swallowed. The M's boasted an affable enough sound that mined late-1960s psychedelia crossed with emergent 1970s glam. Unfortunately, the Chicago quartet (augmented by a keyboardist) never managed to garner anything more than polite applause. The most memorable songs off this year's Real Close Ones are driven by an almost quaint, slice-of-life sensibility that didn't translate well in the noonday sun. "Ultraviolent Men" came closest to lighting a spark, if only because it was easy to imagine as an angular outlaw country anthem. The R&B bent of "Shawnee Dupree" and bumper sticker sloganeering of "Get Your Shit Together" also had flight potential, but the M's over-reliance on pedal-happy languor undermined their lift.
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