The Seattle duo MoZo will be releasing its new album at a September 18 show at Rozz-Tox, and in its home base at a show in ... November.

That sentence has several layers of oddness, especially considering that guitarist/singer/songwriter Moe Provencher and drummer Aimee Zoe Tubbs have no MoZo shows scheduled in between.

Let's start with the band releasing its record here, despite never having played the Quad Cities area previously. Tubbs is from Eldridge, Iowa, and this will be her first hometown show - and her first show in eastern Iowa in six years. "I have played for family and friends before in other bands," Tubbs said. "I'm more excited than anything else to share our material and have them listen to what we sound like now." The Rozz-Tox concert will also feature the debut of Sheridan Drive - a duo that features the daughter of Tubbs' childhood best friend.

And having two months between record-release shows - and two months between shows, period - is part of MoZo's unusual character. The pair began busking together in Seattle roughly a decade ago, and although Tubbs and Provencher are full-time musicians, MoZo is more of an occasional outlet for their original music.

They spent the summer as the rhythm section for another band, playing roughly 40 shows, and MoZo itself might only play a dozen gigs this year - a reflection of the difficulty making money as a band.

But that's no reflection of the quality of MoZo. The new album, The Neighborhood Has Changed, kicks off with three spectacularly catchy bits of songcraft in the vein of Jenny Lewis, with "Making Me Beg" adding a raucous New Orleans vibe courtesy of horns and woodwinds.

The remainder of the album largely slows the tempo and peels away the pop, but it remains compelling - from singer/songwriter storytelling to the gentlest of blues to harmonica-fueled protest to the subtle builds and releases of "A Little Love."

"These records just feel like passion projects," Provencher said. "We are making our living in music, but it's spread out over many different bands and vehicles."

So MoZo carves out time every few years for a new record and a bicycle tour. (Those tours have included western Europe and Australia/New Zealand.)

"Let's go see some places we've never seen and travel by bike," Provencher said. "It's such a different experience when you're moving slowly like that. ... It came from not wanting to sit in cars all day. We both spent many years doing band tours. In some ways it feels like a cubicle job. ... We kind of wanted to get out of that van/driving mentality and get off the main road. ... It really connects you more to where you are when you're on a bike. ... You just meet more people, and you're more connected to your surroundings. ... There's more food for thought when you're off the interstate and you're seeing new things."

But they mostly play with other people. Tubbs, for instance, plays drums with several members of Seattle's Bushwick Book Club - a group of songwriters (including Provencher) who use literature as the starting point for writing exercises.

That club, Provencher said, generated six of The Neighborhood Has Changed's 10 tracks: "The rules are pretty simple: Just read the book and write new music. ... You can draw from anything you feel."

So Cheryl Strayed's self-discovery memoir Wild - about a 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail - begat the new album's "No Use Waiting," Provencher said: "Back in the '90s, after I turned 18, I went to college for a year and wasn't really happy. And I decided to buy a bicycle and just head off down the East Coast. ... So reading this memoir, I didn't have the same impetus she did with grief, but I just thought a lot about solo travel and that kind of journey. I thought about my mother, because she had driven me to my starting point outside of Boston. And I was just thinking about letting go and family."

The record's arrangements are thoughtfully robust, but on the road they're pared back. On bicycle tours, obviously, MoZo plays as an acoustic duo. In Rock Island, though, Tubbs promised that MoZo will offer its plugged-in side: "When it's just Moe on the guitar and me on the drums, there's something that's more raw about it anyway ... that automatically makes it a little bit sparser and grungier. It's fun to play with what we're going to do with the low end. The arrangements come from ideas surrounding that - how we can make our sound as full as possible with just the two of us."

MoZo will perform on Friday, September 18, at Rozz-Tox (2108 Third Avenue, Rock Island; Cover for the 8 p.m. all-ages show is $5 to $10.

For more information on MoZo, visit

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