While the bubbling tension is cool, Mumble & Peg's true power lies in its heroic management -- aka ratchet-tight songwriting -- of chronic Gen-X malaise. (No, this theme didn't vanish with the dot-com boom.) Disgruntled and disgusted, the band forges gnarly, dystopic indie-rawk from cantankerous lyrics, snarling acoustic guitar, and a hard-hitting rhythm section.
On All My Waking Moments in a Jar the band blasts through a set of cranky and self-flagellating paeans to twentysomething antipathy. On the opening track, "Resigned," scruffy lead singer Erik Carter sums up the group's sentiment with a yowling cry of "This is pointless!" Then he clarifies the, um, point with a brazen yet piteous chorus: "Fuck all of you!/ Mumble & Peg hates you as much/ As we hate me." It makes you wanna take them home to Ma -- in a tightly sealed jar -- for some good old-fashioned, nonchemical healing. (As an added bonus, everyone's favorite schizoid balladeer, Wesley Willis, who wrote one of his trademark tunes in honor of Mumble & Peg, MCs the CD release bash.)