Monday, February 16, 2009

Pairdown - Holykyle (USA 2009) @320


Pairdown is the collaboration of Pittsburgh-based singer-guitarists David Leicht and Raymond Morin. The two met and began performing together in 2005. Their eponymous EP, released on Sort Of Records in 2006, is a collection of six songs blending the duo’s inter-dependent acoustic guitar work with Leicht’s inventive writing. The opening title, “Nonlinear Lions” was coined in a passage of Mike Davis’ book, Ecology Of Fear, concerning the link between environmental fluctuations and outbreaks of 'deviant' animal behavior. A series of uneasy images are feathered with bits of satire, from the intro: “they love the taste of your lotion / ending your motion…” to dadaesque refrain, chanted in a bluesy, two-part harmony: “in this future, you’re furniture!”

Holykyle, released February 2009, builds on fundamentals of the EP with increasingly complex writing and guitar arrangements enlivened by electric bass and tight drumming. Over the course of ten songs, Morin & Leicht trade off lead and accompanying vocal duties, with additional contributions by Nate McDermott (of the Boston-based group Paper Thin Stages). The record opens with “Percy In Her Hairfork,” about a Gulf War deserter harbored by a former lover. “Spotted Eye” is a joyful tune penned by Morin, based on his larger illustrated work. The title track, “Holykyle,” is a surrealist’s paean set to hypnotic finger picked guitars and percussion. The song commences with an invitation: “come, you pariahs, aboard / my you-shape canoe, holykyle / I’ve donned her rims with roses / worked her down with a hazel pole.”

Despite the occasional folk-blues guitar phrase or psychedelic turn, Holykyle does not feel like a period piece. Its stylistic precedents range from vintage acoustic-rock hybrids like Leo Kottke’s Mudlark and Love’s Forever Changes, to modern polyphonic guitar experiments epitomized by Gastr Del Sol’s post-rock masterpiece, Upgrade and Afterlife. Holykyle was recorded at Morin’s home with an 8-track reel-to-reel tape deck and modest assortment of microphones. Nate McDermott mixed the tracks in Boston. Hans DeKline of Sound Bites Dog mastered the audio in Los Angeles. Bill Smith Custom Records cut and pressed the 12” vinyl.

01 - Percy In Her Hairfork
02 - Holykyle
03 - Good Wood
04 - Backside Building
05 - Vacation Bay
06 - Three Coat
07 - Spotted Eye
08 - Untitled For Holly
09 - Burning Up A Winning Ticket
10 - Soon You Will Flourish As A Caterer
11 - Woman From Donori

David Leicht & Raymond Morin: Acoustic Guitars and Vocals
Nate McDermott (percussion & additional vocals on LP)
Minette Vaccariello (live bass)
Matt Leicht (live drums)
Jim Powell (live drums)
More Info:

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