Tuesday, July 8, 2014
John Thill on Limited Appeal Records
Limited Appeal Records have been challenging listeners for the past twelve years with releases from Anal Cunt and full Blown Aids, so I was expecting a speaker shattering punk or noise act from this single by John Thill. Instead Limited Appeal lived up to putting out whatever they want with this home recorded sounding single from a one man folk pop project currently based in California. With releases on Folktale and Unread Records he's finding a home on other labels with a similar philosophy placed alongside Samuel Locke Ward or Michael Hurley. He's got an inherent sadness like John Darnielle but more abstract, less spelling things out, which I might like even better. When a picture is just painted enough I can fill the rest in I'll make it even sadder and more introspective. Don't get me wrong there's a lot of humor to the tracks, they just happen to be funny because they're sad and true.
A-Side's "Las Lonely Girls" I figured he means 'LA's', but then he's also inventing the spanish conjugation of lonely girls which I like more anyway. A countdown into layers of John harmonizing with himself and an acoustic guitar, all of it immediately coming from that sincere and raw place that's impossible to manufacture. He manages to create a track that's aware of pop construction but still naive and sad with fantastic vocal harmony. Hayden and Ben Lee are coming to mind. "Lone Star" features more great vocal that wouldn't be considered traditionally great, he just puts everything into it like Jonathan Richman in this move from LA to Texas. A girl who's come to the giant state only to find the same boring things. In Strozek, the saddest thing was once they get to America everything is downhill. Moved out to make a new start and you don't get much. Drinking and just trying to get by. None of these tracks ever take the easy road. I'm really blown away by the ease of this, the lyric is dropped on this melody right from the start.
On B-Side's "In the City All Alone" this time he's got a cranky electric creaking and completely messing up whatever tune was there, man I love this kind of K Recs Beat Happening stuff. I'm finally finishing this book about Tracy Thorn and just realized how amazing The Marine Girls are, pretty similar with an American slant, there's a sort of sad blues, country sound to this, but with some jokey experimentation, like John Davis maybe? Pounded on acoustic, the hammered solo fades out and he's just got a great vocal with the harmonies working against each other. The swinging experimental sound of the rhythm makes this teetering see saw of instrumentation. No idea how he pulls this off. "A Girl Rides Her Bike" catches strings in the middle of a strum then switching to picking with that off kilter internal sense of rhythm on this one. A looped acoustic pattern that he places this vocal effortlessly over top. The strums get bounced to an echo for the last few measures and it's little touches like that that kill me before I even start paying attention to the lyrics.
Impressive black and white printed zine of drawings from John, 111 on black vinyl from Limited Appeal Records.