The second in our sporadic series of record label profiles (following the recent Thrill Jockey DD special) is all about Merok, the micro label run mostly by The Big Pink’s Milo during intermittent moments of clarity in the downtime from his day job.
Quality control at the label whose first releases were Klaxons’ ‘Atlantis To Interzone’ and Crystal Castles’ ‘Alice Practise’ is high; they’re yet to sign a bad band. These are their top five acts at the moment.
Blondes – ‘Moondance’
Blondes are perhaps Merok’s most promising protégées, a Brooklyn duo who peddle what they call “ecstatic trance”, a kind of strung-out cosmic kraut that owes a debt to much of Kompakt’s output, in particular The Field. ‘Moondance’ is eleven minutes of undulating synths and soporific stuff.
Active Child – ‘She Was A Vision’
From camp lo-fi, meanwhile, Active Child (aka LA native Pat Grossi). Building on the kind of canyon echo drums that are so popular right now, ‘She Was A Vision’ is a blissful track simultaneously lethargic and mournful, a harp and falsetto-filled mini epic that comes across like 2010’s version of Chairlift’s ‘Planet Health’.
Comanechi – ‘Crime Of Love (The Big Pink remix)’ & ‘Mesmerizing Fingers (USF remix)’
Comanechi is the twisted baby of The Big Pink drummer Akikio Matsuura, but you probably know that already, and you probably bought the 9/10 album ‘Crime Of Love’ already. Well, here’s an exclusive Big Pink remix of the title track and a USF mix of ‘Mesmerizing Fingers’
Titus Andronicus – ‘A More Perfect Union’
I think one of Milo’s conditions of entry to the Merok club must be that every band brings something somewhat unusual to the table. While on the face of it Titus Andronicus offer straight-up righteous rock ‘n’ roll, they’re constantly turning it in their hands, looking for new ways to present it to the world. Our free track, ‘A More Perfect Union’, for example, is no straight rock track. Named after a snippet of the preamble to the US constitution in seven minutes it samples Abe Lincoln, misquotes Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’, then stops halfway through to turn into a bouncy jig and resurrect the abolitionist ditty “glory, glory, hallelujah”.
Divorce – ’29 Steps Towards Achieving Personal Actualisation’
Finally, who likes migraine music? Divorce make the kind of skull-wrenching racket that makes Lovvers look like Michael Ball’s backing band, all diseased guitars and incessant shrieking, or, in the words of Lydia Lunch, “like ungodly offspring sprung from Cuntzilla’s incubator, a bloody smear of nasty mutation oozing a sickly runoff of infectious virulence”. Enjoy.
What do you think of the tracks?