Max Bien Kahn is a songwriter and musician based in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he is the bandleader and creative force behind Max and the Martians. In the spirit of his adopted home city, his resume is bursting with musical partnerships: he has spent the last decade playing full-time with Tuba Skinny, a band built around the musical traditions of New Orleans, working as a studio session player and back-up musician, and collaborating with songwriters like Esther Rose, Duff Thompson, and Steph Green. Max also contributed to the landmark Mashed Potato Record compilations, a collection of NOLA’s most exciting artists and a testament to the city’s continued musical vitality.
Max’s newest release under his own name, On the Floor EP reveals a different side of the charging songwriting found under the Max and the Martians moniker. This collection gathers three b-sides from the All the Same sessions alongside an unreleased demo, all of which showcase the rambling, bare-bones feel of the Martian’s live sound. The first, unreleased track, “It’s Only You,” is a nod to old swamp pop featuring Camille Weatherford and Esther Rose singing vocal harmonies. “Death Dance (Alternate)” infuses the same frantic energy into a peppier version of the album cut, while “Please Hold On (Solo)” strips that song of everything but raw nerves. Closing with “Wrong Time,” a full band number about loneliness in the city, On the Floor offers something for fans of the Martians and new listeners alike: heartfelt, joyous, and daring rock and roll.
Max and the Martians' last full length, All the Same, came out on vinyl in March of 2021 on the indie label Perpetual Doom. The album is an amalgam of jangly, hazy, upbeat, dreamy songs that tell a story of love, loss, and personal change over the course of ten tracks.
Prior to All the Same, Max and the Martians' released the 7" Please Hold On (Mashed Potato Records, 2019), the Curtains EP (2019), and the debut self-titled LP (2016).
photo by Akasha Rabut
"I love the laziness of this song. The way it gently unfurls and spreads itself across the speakers. It has that jangly 90s slacker aesthetic, wrapped up in a late afternoon, sunburnt afternoon kind of country vibe."
"It’s gloriously, beautifully sad in a way not usually found outside Brian Wilson’s sandbox or Gram Parsons’ desert hell."