|Mike Adams At His Honest Weight
“Preparation Age” (btv106) LP
Buy one-sided LP Online
1. Lehrpez (3:13)
2. Too Mas (3:21)
3. Live Alone (4:39)
4. Weather On (4:20)
5. Unforgettable People (3:16)
|Mike Adams At His Honest Weight rounds out 2015 with Preparation Age, a new 5-song one-sided LP. The Bloomington, IN based band has two full-lengths to their credit and operate in an experimental pop framework that touches on Wheat’s Hope and Adams, Grandaddy’s The Sophtware Slump, and Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips with Beach Boys harmony sensibilities. Their previous album, Best of the Boiler Room Classics, was released in 2014 on Flannelgraph Records and Joyful Noise of which Pitchfork said “Part crooner and part pop star, Adams projects an outsize persona from the stage, which he then punctures with his between-song banter. Somehow he manages to come across as both ironic and deeply sincere, goofing on the conventions of pop music even as he embraces them as a means of communicating some deep pain.” These five songs were recorded during the same sessions as a forthcoming 2016 full-length and serve as companion songs and a taste of what is to come. They build on the solidly crafted pop songs of Boiler Room Classics through sonic experimentation and take the Mike Adams At His Honest Weight sound into a hazier new territory.
The drums tracks were recorded at Sleepwalk Recording in Bloomington, IN on 1/2″ tape at 1.5x speed and manually slowed down. The tape adds depth and warmth and the speed adjustments give the drums a strange, dreamy quality, especially to the cymbal sustains. That baseline support colors Preparation Age and the future full-length.
“Lehrpez” is stripped down and opens the EP with a revamped take on ‘50s doo-wop finger snaps and plunking bass melody filtered through a Beach Boys harmonic sensibility. “Too Mas” incorporates some social media crowd-sourced backing vocals. Adams made a request through Facebook and Twitter looking for volunteers to contribute backing vocals. Adams then took the submitted tracks, including one from his own parents, and merge them all, unaltered, as the somewhat eerie call-and-response refrain. “Live Alone” builds from some shimmering synth lines and breathy harmonies to a schmaltzy ‘70s variety show horn section and guitar solos. “Weather On” is a bit of a down tempo personal reflection of the past and friends who have drifted away supported by piano melodies and string and synth swells. “Unforgettable People” is a reference to a Charles Kuralt special of the same name featuring a rich tapestry of portraits of regular, everyday people who are all doing strange and extraordinary things. But, in true Mike Adams fashion, the lyrics raise an eyebrow to some Kuralt skeletons in the closet by way of a secret second family revealed two years after Kuralt’s premature death in 1997. Throughout Preparation Age, Mike Adams manages to tell stories of forgotten friends and everyday people, turning fear and anxiety from the departed past into something pleasing and beautiful.
Preparation Age is presented in a limited pressing of 500 copies with the B-side featuring a pinball machine influenced design by Bloomington artist and musician Chad Serhal. The jacket was designed by Bloomington collage/print artist Janelle Beasley. While not being released digitally, the one-sided LP does include a digital download for listening convenience.
Late 2015 and early 2016 will find Mike Adams At His Honest Weight and live band members Aaron Denton, David J. Woodruff, Zac Canale, Kurt Friedrich, and Ben Lumsdaine hitting the road in support of this one-sided LP and the emerging full-length yet to come. The band will find their way to the West Coast for the first time for 14 dates in October with Sound of Ceres.
In the more perfect universe next door, 2016 is the year for Mike and the boys’ magnum opus crowning achievement that will earn them a well-deserved gold record. For 2015, in the here and now, it’s Mike Adams At His Honest Weight‘s Preparation Age.
“…even as he spins slack, major-key melodies, you sense it’s the most powerful coping device he’s got…Mike Adams at His Honest Weight creates a song of extremely deceptive heft.” – Ian Cohen, Pitchfork.com
“Modern underground pop with just enough of what made yesteryear’s sounds memorable to stick the landing.” – Zac Camagna, Styrofoam Drone
“For someone with so much ‘persona’, his records and show stand out because of his relaxed, amiable and affable manner that never sacrifices the heart for the laughter.” – Tom Allen, Geecologist
If you haven’t yet purchased your copy of Mike Adams At His Honest Weight’s Preparation Age LP, there are still copies available for order at the btv online store or available at your local indie record store. If you have gotten a copy or seen some photos of Chad Serhal’s very excellent etching, you may want to know more about it all. Mike made a short post and Mike and Chad have finished a video documenting the process. The pinball-machine design was created and etched by my friend Chad Serhal. The vinyl manufacturing plant sent a blank lacquer to Chad, who carved the design into the lacquer using some exacto knives and other sharp tools. After that, the lacquer was plated with nickel and a stamper was made. From there, the stamper was used to press the design into each copy of the vinyl record. This was Chad’s first ever lacquer/vinyl etching (though I’ve seen him do some pretty outstanding wood carvings before). He lamented to me that there were no instructional or how-to videos online about vinyl etching (it’s mostly done by lasers these days, not people’s hands). So, Chad and I made this video to put online in case some other…