Friday, August 12, 2011


Emerging from Bloomington, IN, Hypoctite in a Hippy Crypt is a solo project with an interesting name and even more intersting music. Tweaker in the Park, the debut for the legendary Gulcher Records, is like an updated version of Chris Bell's I am the Cosmos: it's a strange mixture of Elliot Smith's intimacy and Syd Barrett's trancendental meditations, at once folky and psychedelic, a shamanistic attempt to meld the music and the lyrics into some sort of strange communication that intermingles with the stars and the drunken points of no return that all heaven's dissent may or may not be trying to overcome in a His Name is Alive sort of way. It's indiepsychefolkedelia for the masses but really just for one guy and whatever demons and mastodons he'd confronted - the same one's we all face but don't have the courage to face.

A sample lyric from "A Little Late":

"And now you're trying all your best,
To bite the tears an not confess,
The broken toys and broken dreams,
Behind your bedroom door,
Now's the time you realize,
All the time's you've compromised,
Who get's player one,
And who's guarding the door.."

It's rambling without structure and always tripping over itself - it's Bright Eyes without the artifice, and wrapped in a cushy dreamsicle that's both sickening and sweet, something you crave and hate yourself for craving - like heroin or, well, a Katy Perry song.

HIAHC continues:

"Never quite on top,
But never inbetween,
You're always there,
But you're never ever seen..."

You can't resist that. I was lucky enough to get HIAHC to answer a few questions.

ME: Ok so where does the name come from?

HIAHC: The name came from Kurt Cobain's diary, something about the imagery of it all just kinda stuck in my head after i read it. Its a funny thought really.

How did you get hooked up with Gulcher Records?

I was recording some songs to help out a friend with his music school application, then next thing I knew I had an album, and through the magical internet pixie fairies, Gulcher heard the album and was interested, and they were crazy enough to offer me a deal.


Hmm, the big ones would have to be Weezer and The Beach Boys. Rivers Cuomo is a melody mastermind, along with Brian Wilson. They have the kind of songs that make me replay a 20 second section of a song 30 times or so. Their melodies and how they are constructed just blow my mind some times.

Of course, the Beatles. John Lennons vocal techniques have always fascinated me. Syd Barrett's whimsical lyrics are have been huge as well. Elliott smith is also a pretty big influence, his guitar skills along with his vocal styles gives me chills, and lyrics that make a small puppy cry along with the person throwing it over a bridge. Throw The Unicorns, Beck, and Bob Dylan in there too. A lot of weird music has shaped the way I write.

Here's a question, and by all means, feel free to tell me to fuck off if you feel like it on this one, but, lyrically, are you singing to someone in particular on this album?

Ha ha. I won't comment on this. Next question.

Can you tell me about how the album was recorded?

The album was recorded in the basement of my friends dorm, so it kinda has a lo-fi intimate feel. He used some cheap studio mics. He has his own label, Tree Machine Records that he was starting up at the time. Is that the answer you were looking for?

Also, At first only an acoustic guitar was used, then we went back and added some electric guitar, and some shaker, and of course some drums durring mixing. any questions about the songs or anything?

What are "The Crazies"?

The crazies.... are just the crazies. There is a women who roams around the streets and library of my hometown yelling at people giving looks that could kill Satan. She screams about voices in her head, and will scream at anyone she deems interferes with her psychotic delusions. I have had encounters with the mystic creature, its half humorous, and half spine chilling.

What's the story behind "William J Harris"?

No Comment. Sorry.

I'm probably off base on this, but is "Tweaker in the Park" kind of, I don't know, a sort of concept album? I mean, are all of the songs interrelated in some way?

There are definitely topics that could shift from song to song, and themes or ideas that are present more than once and through out the album. It's weird because a good number of people have asked me that. Would love to hear peoples interpretations of it.

Any plans for a second record?

I hope to record another album or an EP over the next few months, I have alot of songs to choose from, and have several track lists and ideas written up in my sketchbook..... or i could never make another song again. It changes daily.

What about playing live? How do the songs sound live?

The songs take on a more electric vibe when live, but it's for the better. Improvisation always makes it fun. One can expect dual cannon Yogo launchers to launch yogurt into the crowd. As well as caged animals of various types.

Here's a preview of the album - you should go to the Gulcher Records site and buy it.

Review: Crystal Antlers: "Two-Way Mirror"

Crystal Antlers, Two-Way Mirror, Recreation Ltd., 2011

There's an air of desperation that emanates from Two-Sided Mirror, the sophomore full length effort from Long Beach, CA's Crystal Antlers. From the chaotic expulsion of sound that kicks off the opener "Jules' Story", Mirror careens and caterwauls through thirty four minutes of post psychedelic blank-core, shivering and shaking with the a sort of drug addled spirituality that's at once horrifying and infectious. It's like the whole album is chasing after something, reaching and grasping for an object dangling just out of reach that scrapes against the fingertips and bounces away frustratingly into the dark as the band is trying everything they can think of to reach it. As a result the album is disjointed and disconnected, full of false starts and incomplete ideas, a mix of genres and influences that sees Fugazi, Converge, Dead Meadow, and Arcade Fire all turning to say, "Wait. What?". It's a miasma, a complex trigonometry question trying to read basic poetry while pieces of all sorts of things fly all over the place in distraction. And every song has at least ten seconds of absolute brilliance rattling around inside of it, but it's wrapped around a smoky deception that's short of breath: these guys don't have it all figured out, though everyone was hoping they did.

And that's the great fury of the day - the new album was supposed to be so much more. But maybe we see the trees and not the forest. Maybe we've been looking for lipstick and tight leather and are disgusted to find cracked lips and pajama pants and a hand outstretched for spare change, and when the band sounds exactly like 764-Hero or any of our other indie faves from ten years ago ("Fortune Telling") we get upset and push them and parts of ourselves away. A lot of critics have been saying that this album is missing something, criticizing the instrumental interludes ("Way Out") as superfluous, some even hinting at a sophomore jinx. I hate to get personal, but I don't agree. I think that this is where Crystal Antlers needs to be - honest and true, showing both their genius and the pretension and "everything I do is fucking awesome" swagger that comes with genius and I do not think that there are any accidents in Mirror. In fact, I think that everything about this album is carefully planned out and I think that it is a great album, essential in many ways, but not for the reasons that the members of Crystal Antlers probably think it is. I've said that Mirror is an album of desperation, an experiment in reaching and trying to touch things that might or might not be real. And it could be that what Crystal Antlers are chasing their own tail. Or it could be that the band is grasping at the ultimate secrets that rock and roll still has hidden away. Either way, the next album should be amazing.