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Purling Hiss

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Watery Love Performing w/Purling Hiss/Birds of Maya’s Mike Polizze on Bass at KFN July 23

Rock outfit Watery Love certainly carries a lot of star power in the local underground music community. Fronted by former Clockcleaner and mastermind behind Richie Records/TestosterTunes blog Richie Charles, the band has already attracted Espers songbird Meg Baird to be its original drummer before leaving for the fleece-weather climate of San Francisco and Kurt Vile to volunteer to come in for a tryout on bass. And just last week, Richie tweeted an Instagram pic with the caption - “Another over-qualified musician-type agrees to play bass guitar for Watery Love.” Well, that photo was of Purling Hiss/Birds of Maya schredder Mike Polizze. So if you’ve ever wondered what Polizze would sound like dropping bass bombs, then head on over to Kung Fu Necktie tonight where Watery Love will be joined by Taiwan Housing Project (ex-Harry Pussy, ex-Little Claw) and No Bails. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 8pm, $10, 21+ - Alexis V.

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Album Review: Water on Mars - Purling Hiss

With the release of their latest LP Water on Mars (Drag City), Philly natives Purling Hiss depart from familiar territory. Famed for his duplicitous talents, frontman Mike Polizze (who also fronts jamtastic power trio Birds of Maya) transcends his lo-fi beginnings in exchange for the newer soundscapes of Water on Mars. As if having undergone an evolution of sorts, Polizze and his bandmates’ prior penchant for psych-infused garage has expanded to include palatable pop-inspired tracks and elongated guitar riffs delivered with impressive precision and speed.

In thevein of famed locals like Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs, Purling Hiss’ signature blend of rock meets psych meets fuzz is present throughout Water on Mars, yet in a refreshingly unfamiliar way. Guitar riffs nostalgic of Cobain and J Mascis intertwine with malleable croonage by Polizze. Throughout, Water on Mars’interstellar instrumentation transports listeners to lyrically visceral landscapes rooted on an extraterrestrial plane. The appropriately titled “Lolita” conjures feelings of frustration and tortured longing framed by deliberately garage-y vocals, while the jangly semi-sweet melodic lines of “Mercury Retrograde” audibly captivate by way of unshakable soundscapes fostered by innovative lyrical narratives. “Rat Race” plays out to be equally memorable much like the driving chords of “Dead Again.” The polished yet palatable cadence of “Dead Again,” an audible juxtaposition to the lo-fi rawness of earlier tracks like “Bedroom” or the dark hums of “Malice in Wonderland,” proves to be a possible homage to the late great Elliot Smith’s repetitive yet emotively genuine malaise. Equally shaking, the mellowed out psychedelics of “She Calms Me Down,” perhaps a more familiar sound for fans, is awash in Spector-esque precision which shifts gears with “Face Down,” a full-throttle anthem with face-melting riffs and a reverberating percussive pulse. “The Harrowing Wind,” with toe-tapping inducing beats illustrates Polizze’s vocal range, offering listeners a pop-inspired diction slightly different than what is presented in prior tracks.

Closing with “Mary Bumble Bee,” Water on Mars, from start to end is far from predictable, demonstrating the probable genesis of a new approach towards psych for Polizze, Purling Hiss, and their limitless future. - Dianca Potts

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Where Is My Mind?: Purling Hiss' Mike Polizze

Tonight at Johnny Brenda’s is the album release show for Purling Hiss’ rad new LP Water on Mars (Drag City). Also providing some sweet, sweet tunes will be Spacin’ and Axis: Sova. We were happy to catch up with the Hiss’ mastermind and local guitar hero Mike Polizze this week before the power trio hits the road to melt some faces across America and Europe. You can check out what he had to say about the band, their latest release and much more HERE.

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Where Is My Mind?: Purling Hiss' Mike Polizze

- by Q.D. Tran

Tonight at Johnny Brenda’s is the album release show for Purling Hiss’ rad new LP Water on Mars (Drag City). Also providing some sweet, sweet tunes will be Spacin’ and Axis: Sova. We were happy to catch up with the Hiss’ mastermind and local guitar hero Mike Polizze this week before the power trio hits the road to melt some faces across America and Europe. You can check out what he had to say about the band, their latest release and much more below.
 
The Deli: Where did the name Purling Hiss come from?
 
Mike Polizze: It’s a reference to white noise. The purling definition is: (of a stream or river) Flow with a swirling motion and babbling sound. I thought it just sounded cool, and complimented the music I was making during the first 4-track recording.
 
TD: Why did you call the new album Water on Mars?
 
MP: I think in context - it’s thought provoking. It’s meant to be interactive with the listener to conjure their own relation to the title. That’s what I get out of it. Maybe it’s a nod to the future, and desire to be somewhere else. It can mean many things.
 
TD: There is certainly a more polished sheen to the songs on this album. Was this a conscious effort when you started recording it? Did your experience with recording “Lolita” for Weathervane’s Shaking Through at a professional studio have anything to do with it?
 
MP: We already had tentative plans to record with Jeff Ziegler, and had already demoed with him the year before, so we knew what we were getting into. The demo and Weathervane experience helped guide us into the studio setting. 
 
TD: How do you feel Philly and its music community have affected your music from when you first started performing out until now?
 
MP: I think being in a band with Birds of Maya has definitely rounded out my musical personality. I’ve been with them almost 10 years, so going into Purling Hiss, it had a big effect. Also, just being surrounded by so many other great friends and bands helped too.
 
TD: You originally put together the band to play out live. Was there a defining moment with Kiel Everrett and Mike Sneeringer that you realized Purling Hiss was a cohesive unit, and you should start writing songs more with their input?
 
MP: Definitely on the first tour, I knew we had a great unit. The friendship was there, and everyone involved wanted to move forward with it. There were some kinks to work out along the way, but with this new album, it proves we found our sound. It’s getting better too. I’m already looking forward to newer songs.
 
TD: Besides an apparent growth in the structuring of your songs on the latest album, there seems to be more of an emphasis as well as maturity with your lyrics and storytelling. What helped to inspire that?
 
MP: I think it was just a natural evolution, and understanding that the vocals would be recorded more clearly, and just an over all completeness of songs.
 
TD: You worked on the production of Water on Mars with Jeff Zeigler and Adam Granduciel. What did you learn from being in the studio with them that you never realized before while recording your previous works in your bedroom by yourself?
 
MP: They have the ears, the resources and the knowledge. Recording by yourself in the bedroom is taking on everything, and with limited resources and know-how, you can only get so far. I’m very proud of those recordings, and home-recordings have great charm, but it was time to capture the band’s sound, and going into the studio was the next step.
 
TD: Both of them are also the lead songwriters in their bands Arc in Round and The War on Drugs. Did they provide you with ideas that affected your songs in anyway? If so, how?
 
MP: They both have a lot of experience working in the studio - obviously. So as hard-headed as I can be, the suggestions were pretty welcomed. Jeff knew how to engineer, and capture us live, as he has done sound for us at live shows before. And Adam also watched us grow as a band, since we’ve toured together a bunch. They knew our personalities and how to help us find what we were looking for, from getting a live sound all the way down to the nuances of a slight effect on a pedal.
 
TD: Where did your love for guitar come from? Was it the first instrument that you ever picked up, or did you start your musical journey with another instrument?
 
MP: I took piano lessons when I was a child. I picked up the guitar when I was about 13, and knew that was the instrument for me.
 
TD: What was the first song you learned on the guitar that you were really excited about?
 
MP: I got really close to learning some Hendrix stuff!
 
TD: Who are your guitar heroes?
 
MP: I started off as a teenager trying to cop Hendrix, Iomi, and Jimmy Page riffs. I eventually got real into Greg Ginn, and a few years later concentrated on song structure.
 
TD: What’s in store for Purling Hiss this year? Will there be any more releases before the year is out?
 
MP: We will support this new album by touring this spring in the US and Europe. That’s all for now.
 
TD: What’s your favorite thing to get at the deli?
 
MP: I’m trying not to eat too much deli meats these days.
 

 

 

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Purling Hiss
Water on Mars


 
 
 
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New Music Video: "Mercury Retrograde" - Purling Hiss

Whoa - check out the premiere of Purling Hiss' new music video for "Mercury Retrograde" that is featured at EW.com! You can also see the schedule for the band's upcoming tour. Their next show in Philly will be Friday, April 5 at Johnny Brenda's with Spacin' and AXIS: SOVA.

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