After seven years of silence, Pinataland founder David Wechsler – whose bizarre orchestrette once emanated from near the epicenter of a NYC micro-scene fascinated with Old World themes, history, and oddball strains of Americana – returns with a self-released 7-inch single. And, man, is it worth tracking down when it comes out in a couple weeks.
The two-song single is a primer for the next record from Wechsler project Tyranny of Dave, 2018’s The Decline of America Part Three: Silence In Brooklyn. And, while it takes its attention to thematic detail and master-tone from Pinataland, its presentation is wholely other.
“Silence In Brooklyn,” the A side, “chronicles the afterlife of Brooklyn after rising oceans leave much of the borough uninhabitable,” Wechsler said in press material. But environmental destruction of a major metropolis never sounded so raucous. Didi Afana’s guitar is jangly, even soulful in an early Keith Richards kind of way and Ami Saraiya, Anna Soltys and Maggie Ward add a nice touch – cooing “shoo-waa” backing vocals – to the toe-tapping mix. Wechsler is the real star, though, rollicking over rolling toms, backing guitar and occasional electronic glitch as he spits out lines like “We were all in the stew/ We didn’t know want to do/ Whatever anyone said it seemed it was too late.” What’s surprising is how animated Wechsler sounds, how he sounds like he’s really cutting loose and breaking into his own.
“All This 4 U,” a B side laced with plenty of Velvet Underground lyric references, is a gem of a country ballad, where singer Nora O’Connor sweetly caresses lines like “It’s all for you/ You got it made/ Didn’t you know?” This is straight-forward, far from as obscurantist as some of Wechsler’s earlier work, and it confronts the listener head-on. A bridge at the two-minute mark, where O’Connor’s vocals are carefully multi-tracked and the lonesomely strummed acoustic guitar sounds like it’s accented with the hint of piano, will break you.
These two too-short songs will leave you counting the months until spring 2018. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for something new from North-Carolina-by-way-of-NYC antique-gardist Curtis Eller and his American Circus. Both these boys are out to show that, while one of the 2000s ripest undergrounds can’t be found in New York anymore, it didn’t die on the vine.