Monday, February 1, 2010
Mess Folk on Horizontal Action Records
Philip from Mess Folk contacted me the other day about a single of his that came out on Horizontal Action, we ended up taling on the phone and I'm working on his interview for fridays podcast, but in the meantime I sat down to listen to his single again over the weekend. It's one of those inspiring stories that an established label like Hozac would take a chance on the strength of a cassette demo like this.
It's a full on solo homemade project starting with the sleeve a ballpoint pen xeroxed collage of....well.... pills and a 4-track. It goes without saying that's a match made in low-fi heaven. Phillip told me the entire effort was played entirely by him, layering tracks the old fashioned way, one at a time in the livingroom. Like an indie Naked Lunch it comes off as any number of home recorded singles from the early nineties, Eric's trip, Dump, Deluxxe, the endless Lou Barlow varaitions...with more of a raw rock edge, and less preciousness vocally. These aren't depressing I-give-up songs about love, they are part of that fight against everything normal, the boredom, a fuck you to an environment that's given up. I think the sincerely recorded project like this always comes off as intimate, there's nothing you can fake about the honesty. It's as close a glimpse I'm going to get to hear of an underground scene in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
'Something I Remember' from the A-Side is full of power chords, feeling a bit like Ty Segall's solo stuff at points, raw distorted bursts but then Philip's emotionless vocals, slightly echoed feel like a stand in track that ended up sounding better than anything else. 'Something I remember/ something / something I don't know', Whatever it is he's remembered he can't even bring it back. It just sounded good, and ends up a genius struggling document of apathy.
'Give me a gun' slows things down and Mess Folk's strength is in Philips vocals, this melody and delivery is decidedly his, he's this tortured character who can barely pull it together enough to sing. It's a dying death rattle from a completely powerless situation. It's a last resort song, but struggling to the very end. He wavers off from the song melody but makes it back every time, sort of leaving you hanging a little on that last chord change. The whole package is part of this picture...the notebook doodle sleeve, the imperfections, the pure sound of someone not interested in a single part of the business side of songs...it doesn't get better than this for me.
The B-Side 'If I don't get out' really let's loose with a massive blown out live sound. Philip is really losing his mind and vocal chords on this one, possessed in the middle of the garage haze of distortion and cymbals, but it never gets too freeform mess that looses the melody, it manages to keep it together to not be overindulgent or experimental, there is a song here after all. It's a confirmation of anti-everything and keeping yourself sane in the process.
Go pick this up from Hozac, they keep taking chances like this and I'll keep supporting them.
Mess Folk also has a cassette EP you can get from him directly at philip420 (at) hotmail.com.