In the days before my family had the internet (beyond the periodic 30 day free trial of AOL, of course), I spent many an afternoon obsessively tracking down and collecting the home recordings of Lou Barlow from Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh. I had nothing but rumor and recommendation from older friends about what recordings even existed, but I would trek from record store to record store hoping to stumble upon some basement gem by Folk Implosion or Sentridoh. I still never found the Chocolate Monk cassette... Those rough, minimal, but heartfelt recordings were as radical to me as the Dead Kennedys I was discovering at the same time by the same methods. These days, making an EP in your bedroom and putting it out isn't so much “punk rock!” as it is a thing to do on Thursday because it's raining and why not? Where most bedroom EPs aspire to some faux (and let's be honest, futile...) level of polish, it's rare to find something defiantly, ruggedly, and intentionally DIY.
Afropunk member Marc A Montfleury's debut EP is exactly that. Personal and handmade, the songs are acoustic, but not quite folky. There's a jagged edge to his songs; a lack of polish and slickness that conveys sincerity better than any fancy reverb plugin ever could. Album opener “Tried To Told You” introduces the theme of heartbreak and acceptance that flows through the whole record. And there's a noise collage. A noise collage! (Note to all bands: do you want me to love your EP? Include a noise collage. I'm a simple man with simple needs. One of those needs is a well-placed noise collage on EPs...)
But the real highlight here is the closer “Not Dedicated To Any Girl In Particular.” Building from a classical guitar intro that goes on just a little too long for radio, the song bursts into the most conventionally catchy song on the EP. Marc's got some serious chops on the guitar, and it's to his credit that he prefers to showcase it with nimble fills rather than epic solos. The simple, conversational, and earnest lyrics show a smart songwriter with some serious potential and a lot of soul. The main ingredients great DIY is made of.
Download "Not Dedicated To Any Girl In Particular" from Soundcloud, or purchase the whole EP via Bandcamp. And check him out this Wednesday November 14th at Drom.
- Words by Nathan Leigh