The Higher State with Marty and Paul Messis have a new album, called Volume 27, out soon. Here’s a video for “The Worst of Their Treason”, the first song released to the public. The video looks like it’s shot in San Francisco a long time ago. Any know who the band in the film are?
Posts Tagged Paul Messis
This has been an amazing year for albums, but perhaps not so much for 45s. Maybe I simply haven’t had the time to keep up, or maybe it’s that no one out there is covering singles and EPs to the same extent anymore (bar Still Single). Either way, we have some rock-solid entries at numbers 1 through 7, with a last minute addition of Levitation Room a couple of late nights ago. Can’t wait for their debut LP on Burger in February! BellTowers deliver again, with another amazing single – not included on their LP that came out in the spring (will that be on the albums list….?). Both Pearl Charles and CCTV are artists that have debuted this year, so well done. CCTV (even the 2nd press) and several others are already sold out, like the Mystery Lights tape for example. But I picked up the 45 out on Wick today, which has two tracks from this EP.
This year I’ve made a similar list for HYMN, with 10 entries. Two of them ended up in the final list compiled from our 40 contributors. To find out which ones, head over to the HYMN article.
Sheer Mag – Sheer Mag II Static Shock EP
Levitation Room – Minds of Our Own Burger MC
The Heaters – Mean Green Beyond Beyond Is Beyond 7″
The BellTowers – Here to Stay Market Square 7″
The Mystery Lights - At Home With… Hologram Skies MC
Pearl Charles – s/t Burger MC
C.C.T.V. – s/t Lumpy EP
Paul Messis – The Blind Leading the Blind Market Square 7″
Tommy & the Youth – Mean, Moody & Magnificent Moody Monkey EP
Warm Soda – Renegade Mode Southpaw 7″
The Hanging Stars – The House On the Hill Great Pop Supplement EP
Miriam – The Hand Don’t Fit the Glove Norton 7″
Fogbound – Purple Wax John Colby Sect 7″
Scully/La Luz – LAMC #16 Famous Class split-7″
Mama – Speed Trap Hozac EP
The Urges – Passing Us By Mersol 7″
Les Grys-Grys – Left Unseen Dirty Water 7″
The Noble Krell – The Velvet You 13 O’Clock 7″
Matthew Melton – Too Many Hearts Lack Lovers Southpaw 7″
Hinds – Burger Burger MC
The Baron Four – Walking Out State 7″
The Ar-Kaics – Always the Same Market Square 7″
Terry & Louie – Can Ya Tell Me (How Life Goes On) Tuff Break 7″
The Suburban Homes – Conformity In the UK Total Punk 7″
Patsy – Eat It Total Punk 7″
The Higher State – Consider It a Debt Repaid 13 O’Clock 7″
The Kumari – Walking Croque Macadame 7″
BEST SWEDISH RELEASE
The Alloy Six – Eye to Eye Hullu 7″
Nightmen – Girl For You Rundgång 7″
Paul Messis has been busy making the rounds with The Higher State, of which he is now the only member apart from founder Marty Radcliffe (The Mystreated). Finally, Messis has returned with a new solo single, this time on his own label Market Square. With a string on brilliant 45s and two LPs on labels like 13 O’Clock and State he has built a solid reputation for himself, but he still does not have a band. Working the one-man-band sound to its limits, Messis has turned out what I believe is his best single yet – combining all the aspects of his sound with a cleverly nonchalant vocal. In particular, the b-side “As Time Rolls By” is a fine piece of songwriting. The first 100 copies come with the yellow photocopied sleeve above.
Everyone might not be familiar with the fact that Messis is also the artist behind the Suburban Homes moniker which has received quite a bit of attention after their initial 45, also released on Market Square. Punk labels around the world paid attention and Totally Punk snapped them up for their new release “Conformity In the UK”. For Messis it has been a relief to work on these much simpler and straightforward tunes, and he has managed to squeeze a fair bit of aggression and frustration in there. Let’s just hope that is not the only driving force behind his music, or we will stop culling the fruits of his labour as soon as things start to look up in the world. On second thought, that is not bound to happen any time soon.
The Higher State have just layed down some tracks for their new and fifth (!) studio album. Considering their last one was their finest moment so far I have high hopes for this one, to be called Vol. 26 (no doubt a reference to West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band who called their albums things like Vol. 2 when it was actually their third). However, it is a bit unclear who is actually in the band now apart from founding member Marty Radcliffe and new recruit Paul Messis. But you’ll get a taste of what’s to come on the new 13 O’Clock single coming out next month. It is already playing on Spotify so check out these moody janglers embellished with organ. I am convinced!
Paul Messis is back with another slice of vinyl recorded at State HQ and released by 13 O’Clock. Here is the strangely sundrenched video for the bleak psych jangler “Nightmares”. An a-side that manages to sound like both The Electric Prunes and West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, while remaining uniquely Messis. Even better I think, is the flip “Penny Arcade”. Here we have a bittersweet beat ballad, carried by a beautiful melody that makes me think of one of my favourite groups Sandy Coast. Another winner from Monsieur Messis.
And of course, directly from the State, comes the 2nd 45 from Denmark’s The Youth. The Sandgate studio has done wonders for the group’s sound. This is a truly menacing beat record, almost blowing Thee Vicars out of the water. “I’ll Call Your Bluff” has that great putdown vocal with a compelling continental groove. The Youth channel the best of Scandinavian and mainland Europe 60s beat, and on the incredible “You’ve Done Me Wrong” they have cut a track that would’ve kept the Star Club crowd dancing past 4am. The best new garage group of 2014? Well, I’ve yet to hear the Rosalyns debut 45.
In more 13 O’Clock related news, the first album from Sweden’s The Flight Reaction should be out imminently. And while we’re speaking of State Records’ studio, I should mention that my wishes have been heeded, and The Kumari’s best recording so far, “Until That Day”, has now been made a-side of their most recent 45 on Hey Girl. Get it directly from the Spanish label.
If you’re a garage head these would have been the two most anticipated releases of the year. Since bursting out of a Melbourne suburb in 2009 with their Lovin’ You EP, they’ve practically spawned a whole scene of garage and punk groups inspired by them and Straight Arrows. The Frowning Clouds have now found a home on Anti Fade, run by the people behind Living Eyes (one of those very bands). Still represented by Saturno in Europe, who have helped them sway a new continent with only two brief visits. And a fantastic tour tape to boot, that I wrote about earlier and which features in my recent list of 2013’s best singles and eps. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Whereabouts ended up on my list of the best 15 albums, which I will be posting soon too. Because although the Gospel Sound From the Church of Scientology cassette didn’t show much progression from their ’65 revival sound of Listen Closelier, (except some ventures into ’66 sounds, like The Mods’ “Days Mind the Time”), this album is a completely different beast. While recent single “Propellers” is included here, neither that nor the preceding “All Night Long” hinted at the direction they would be taking here. This 13-track album is an ode to the psychedlic era Kinks and the folk-rock sounds of 1968. Without churning out catchy pop songs, they achieve the same success Woods did on their latest album, via quirky song structures, groovy bass lines and far-out 12-string sounds (check out the ending of first track “All Angles” for example). “Into the Ground” and “Dreamtiming” are among the most beautiful electric folk songs of the year. And on “3 O’Clock Habit”, “Beetle Bird” and “Product of the Peanut Butter Company” they could have been channeling Peanut Butter…. Conspiracy. But they’re at their absolute best when they are just Frowning Clouds: “Mayan Calender Girl”, “Much Too Much Too Soon” and “Heaps Deep” are unique and memorable songs in their own right. And still they’re not afraid to break out a simple braindead riff like that of “Human Being, Human Doing, Human Going”. Hear it on spotify
It’s true, The Higher State are here with their best album so far, aptly titled just The Higher State. Unassumingly packaged and presented, this masterpiece sounds like it could have been recorded in a casual 10-day session just like Younger Than Yesterday. Marty’s cut his hair, Paul Messis has come in on bass, no paisley shirts on the cover. As a band they’ve reached an age at which style and artifice is less important than just being yourselves. “Look here comes another trend, now you look just like your friends” to quote the album’s closing track “Try Slowing Down”. Even though the more psychedelic precursor Freakout At the Gallery was great, it’s this equally balanced mix of 12-string folk-rock and seething fuzz leads that they do best. With two razorsharp singles already released this year, only “Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)” is included here, leaving you with 11 new songs that together make up the strongest material Marty and Mole have released since The Mystreated’s classic LP Looking Right Through (that, believe it or not, turns 20 years old next year). Perhaps it’s Messis who has re-ignited that spark, or maybe it’s the comfortable setting of their own Folkstone studio that just makes these songs come together naturally. Each of them so strong it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Hear it here, or get it from 13 O’Clock, along with their newest 45 “I Just Pretend”.
Messis is back, his new LP Case Closed is available from the reliable State Records. With his new 12 tracks, Paul steps up the songwriting a notch as well as the arrangments. A thick layer of backing vocals, 12-string guitar leads, seething fuzz breaks; it’s all here. The careful listener will also notice hooks and licks lifted from a lifetime of digging through the back room of obscure garage and folk-punk compilations. The obligatory cover version: check, this time he tries his hand at The Five Bucks’ “No Use In Tryin'”. The bitter realism and societal rebellion are still the main lyrical themes, and it doesn’t get any clearer than on what is perhaps my favourite track, “A Matter of Opinion”. It reaches new highs of bittersweet beauty as Messis lays himself bare. Treading the same path, the lamenting “Nickel and Dimes” (hear it below, with a brilliant Byrdsian solo), “Sad How a Love Fades Away” and closing track “Goodbye” would have made for a very bleak record. But although Messis seems to have been through a tough stint, he manages to sound carefree over major sus4-riffs on “It Doesn’t Matter to Me”. This track, which he himself describes as a Euro-beat ballad, makes me think of Sandy Coast, and it’s easy to see why State chose it promote the record with this video. Naturally you also get your fill of five straight-up garagepunk songs on this record. All impeccably produced by Marty and Mole of The Higher State. On the formulaic but efficient freakbeat workout “Sowing Seeds” drummer Mole gets his own time in the limelight, bringing to mind his heyday as bass master in The Embrooks. All in all, Case Closed is a remarkably solid album from a contemporary songwriter – even more so than Messis’ debut The Problem With Me from two years ago.
I’d also like to recommend an upcoming release on Messis’ own record label Market Square. It’s a 45 from Brighton instrumental group The Space Agency. “Bombay Potatoes” and “Purple Power” will have you drooling if you liked Vibrasonic, so check it out here.
It’s not long ago since I wrote about Sam Lunsford and The Young Sinclairs. Now he’s back with another single under the Sinclairs moniker (still just Lunsford mainly). “Engineer Man”, set for release next month on Paul Messis’ label Market Square, is a new recording of a track from the group’s 2007 debut album Feel Bad (available in full on spotify). The new take features superior harmonies and guitar solo, making one of their best numbers even better. The flip “Problems” is less psychedelic and more folky in a classic Byrds fashion, with interweaving guitars and a fragile but crisp melody carrying the song. It’s great to see two of the most interesting musicians of today come together to make this release possible. Did The Optic Nerve ever get this good? I don’t think so.
Here’s a new one-off 45 from Paul Messis and The Sufis. It brings a more British slant to The Sufis’ hyped brand of psychedelic pop. You can get it directly from Messis’ new label Market Square, for only £4.50. Listen to the flip “Inside My Mind” below. Messis promises his new and second LP Case Closed will be out by late spring, and he’s also recording another collaborative single with James Tranmer (The Pheromoans, The Sticks).
Like my 2012 albums list, let’s start this one off with a Slumberland record. Old Marvelous Darlings side project Roommates who had four songs released on cassettes, got a posthumous 45 released this year. “Kelly I’m Not a Creep” is a modern powerpop classic.