In the meantime I'd like to share with you one of the best things I've heard all year, a little CDR handed to me by an old friend named J.P. Herrmann. Now I could go on about Mr. Herrmann and his wonderful family and the times we've shared, as I've known him for well over ten years now, but I'll try and stick to the music. Herrmann was the former bassist for the departed 84 Nash, whom he formed with my older brother Kevin and Mr. Andy Hampel (where's your solo album, bud?) back in the mid-90's. Their story is also one for another time, and hopefully I'll get to a big 84 Nash retrospective in the coming months.
Back to Herrmann, now a family man, but never one to stop recreating the sounds in his head. He never sang much in the Nash, maybe some backup vocals if we pushed a mic in front of him, sometimes if a little impromptu Fleetwood Mac cover came about, but I honestly had never heard J.P. belt it out until I played back his CDR, Hieroglyphics. Wow. The man knows his way around a melody, and his vocal style is pretty darn original. He's got a little bit of the old Nash style in him, which itself stems very much from an old Daytonian heritage if you catch my drift, but there's also something very angular about it, reminiscent of Lars from the Intelligence possibly. Maybe a little Will Foster/Guinea Worms influence?
Herrmann not only sings but bangs out everything else here, drums, throbbing bass (his most comfortable instrument), guitars all over the place. There's an excitable Post-punk vibe to "Monopoly's Approved" and its circular guitar attack, and then whack, next up is the robot clatter of "Waving My Arms". So great. I'm hearing a little Lindsay Buckingham circa Go Insane too. Every tune is killer, especially the irresistibly catchy "Car Conversation" - a tune you'll have to smack out of yer head with a good blackout drunk or whatever it takes - and introspective instrumental closer "Labyrinthitus".
What's really great is that Hieroglyphics has already been making waves, as DJ Rick, of Art for Spastics/KDVS (you've been listening, right?) has declared himself a fan! That's about the highest compliment a band can receive these days.
1. Halt Your Retreat
2. Monopoly's Approved
3. Waving My Arms
4. Frozen Cabin
5. Car Conversation
7. Catch the Mouse
8. Dead Water Dead Light