It was sad to see Dischord's Q & Not U disband, but I'm excited about the new projects - drummer John Davis is working with Laura Burhenn, and Chris Richards, a.k.a. Ris Paul Ric, has released the excellent, challenging Purple Blaze.
In a concert review, Popmatters said:
In talking with Richards, you realize how humbling it is to tour like this: a man, a car, a map. Completely free of rock star posturing, Richards is doing some serious soul searching on this go-round. The same can be said of his music. He is touring to support Purple Blaze, a quiet and haunting affair recorded and mixed earlier this year.
Armed with his black, duct-taped guitar, Richards opened the set with one of the strongest songs in his solo repertoire, "Valerie Teardrop" -- a compelling number that brought to mind Gary Jules' cover of "Mad World" in its emotional resonance and delivery. The psychedelic freak-outs that were the one-two punch of "Hanging from the Grapevines" and "Up in My Window" dissolved into a fascinating (if troubling and noisy) collage of sound.
Dusted magazine recently reviewed Purple Blaze, and concluded:
Purple Blaze has the material and the determination to become a dorm room classic, but the intelligence and restraint shown here lead to far more. It’s sentimental, explicit pop for people who don’t need their own pimply emotions whined back at them, and if Richards keeps up this level of quality on future releases, the world is his, ready to take.
It's one of those albums that you listen to, and it does something to your psyche, but you're not sure exactly what. You are sure, though, that you want to hear it again, now. So you pop it back in, and it's as challenging as it was the first time. Richards assaults your psyche with his acoustic guitar, incisive songwriting, and some subtle, organic effects via Tim Hecker. Once they get hold of you, you're theirs.
Ris Paul Ric mp3s, from Purple Blaze:
Ris Paul Ric is playing at the Black Cat tonight.