Durham, North Carolina-based performer Dan Melchior has just released a new album. It’s titled Loud Version and drops on March 18th on the Midnight Cruiser Records label. But first, for those of you not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
Dan Melchior is an English singer-songwriter, and guitarist. His rockin’ resume includes several previous platters over almost two decades. He has worked as a solo artist and also collaborated with such other artists as Graham Lambkin and Billy Childish, and has founded Broke Revue, Dan Melchior und Das Menace, and the Dan Melchior Band. He has also shared the stage with such acts as The White Stripes, Mudhoney, The Fall, Bush Tetras, Roky Erickson, Holly Golightly, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Interpol.
Dan Melchior’s signature sound is a blend of multiple music genres including (but not necessarily limited to) garage rock, lo-fi pop, psychedelia, and R&B. On this release both his vocals and the drums were “recorded through dictaphone mic” while the guitar and bass were “recorded direct to tape through OCD overdrive”.
Loud Version is a 10-track album featuring eight original works and two twisted audio adaptations. While his signature sound always contains familiar elements, he strives to drive home an individual feel with each cut. According to an e-missive on social media, this LP was originally “recorded as a batch of demos …meant to presage [his] Australian tour…” Undoubtedly that’s why the tracks here sound like an unabridged, unerringly effective setlist. (Note: the videos included are not the “loud” versions.)
Track by Track
The album opens on the driving “Hungry Ghost” which hits hard and yet only foreshadows what is to come. New listeners will discover his dramatic recording style and fans of his band Broke Revue will be happily surprised.
Track two is “Either Side.” When Melchior first decided to permanently relocate to the US, he first relocated to New York City. This song reflects that period of his life.
The next number is “Pretty Torn Up.” If you’re familiar with his buzzing, distortion-drenched, fuzzed-up previous pieces this will be right up your alley . . . and then some.
“I’m Your Witchdoctor” is a welcome track. Cover cuts always afford new listeners a small degree of familiarity. In this case, Melchior’s cover of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers’ song is intentionally snarly but that is exactly what makes it work as a part of this overall presentation.
“Bottom Of The Sea” is yet another effective example of how Melchior works when creating and harkens back to his rugged roots. In an earlier incarnation, it was performed with Billy Childish.
He breathes new life into Mike Furber and the Bowery Boys’ song “I’m Just A Poor Boy.” Yes, it is another cover cut, but Melchior unmistakably makes it his own.
The next number is “Outskirts.” This is another fevered flashback to his Broke Revue days sans restraints. “Animal” offers an additional example of Melchior’s misanthropic musical leanings, his distinctive vocals, and guitar playing.
“Mockingbird” is also included here. Not to be confused with the 1963 song by Inez and Charlie Foxx made popular in 1973 by Carly Simon and James Taylor, this is a Melchior original that’s given the same treatment as “Outskirts.” Melchior’s signature sound remains steady and consistent.
The Closing cut is the unapologetic audio offering titled “Monkey.” Melchior remains unrestrained ‘til the end as he once more demonstrates what a true garage rock visionary sounds like.
Overall, this is a ramped-up compilation album containing the “loud version” of some of his most popular pieces. It is, however, refreshingly raw. Fans will undoubtedly declare it essential, while new listeners looking for something above the standard commercial fare may find themselves nigh overwhelmed. So, check out Dan Melchoir’s Loud Version and feed your own “Hungry Ghost.”