April 26, 2020
Genres do little to capture the importance of our favorite musics. Obsessive music fans among us know this. However for the purposes of sharing the wealth we do well to cover the experimental noise, punk and rock on which this organization was founded in addition to the incredible spoken word and hip hop that protects and furthers our mission of highlighting undervalued artists. It's all DIY to me. Enter Shawnie Brando AKA Little Priest. Lifer.
Based on what I know about the artist himself and his first release, I expected to hear another batch of dark, evil little lullabies perfect for those of us who watch horror movies right before sleeping. I truly love the hand made Untitled cassette tape I was handed a year ago next month. But what's made clear on the new s/t fresh out yesterday is that there is a lot more going on in the warped world of Little Priest than we knew. The first tape will always be special but compared to it Self Titled is head and shoulders above and it appears to be a clear cut case of high-fidelity decapitation because music-wise nothing else is missing.
Recorded entirely on a 4 track, and mixed by essential South Shore plug Jerry MacDonald of Odd Fellows Recording in Weymouth, the classic drum machine sounds, crunchy and warbly guitar and small arsenal of vocals styles are just perfect. From whisper-like warnings to straight guttural screaming and his unmistakable nasal croon, Shawnie's distinctive vocals are comforting for me in the age of corona. It's the artist I know - a tortured soul, who really knows his shit. For anyone who knows Mr Brando personally he is a walking, bald encyclopedia of music specializing a variety of heavy and hip hop. You can hear the wide influence on the album; He's got beats that bang, hypnotic riffage and commiserating lyrics about being trapped inside.
First track is a total groove, creeping around with disturbing swagger it's incredible how hopeful and positive "even though we might burn in the next world... keep your love alive first" makes me feel. Somehow LP transitions to the perfectly coined "my city is crumbling under me" the garage rock anthem of the release, complete "sha la la"s and extra heavy on the scuzz. As the wild ride continues through woozy goth-pop, anti-ballads and haunting catatonia I wonder if this is a fluke or if Covid-19 will see some of the best, most concentrated efforts we have seen in awhile from some of our favorite creators. Wraps up nicely with monster-grunge-hook anchored "turtle" reminding me of Terry and Billy (of Buck Gooter) chillin in a spacious sea of realness.
Ultimately my takeaway is summed up perfectly by title of track 5: "I have more than I'll ever need." Easy for me to say though, surrounded by so much talent in this damn town. Don't take it for granted people! Support the arts! Go buy LITTLE PRIEST on bandcamp and support this construction worker who should be famous by now.