Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Destroyer's Dan Bejar called Skin Of Evil the best record he'll hear this year, meaning that 1) he'll say most anything to help out good friend and Swan Lake bandmate Carey Mercer, or, 2) he isn't planning on listening to a lot of music this year. Blackout Beach, Mercer's solo project, has been dormant for five years as he's concentrated on Frog Eyes and other bands, but his sophomore effort Skin Of Evil suggests that might have been for the best. When he's collaborating, Mercer's weirdness is pulled in fascinatingly diverse directions by those around him; alone, he's just straight-up fucking weird. Sounding like David Bowie sweating and mumbling incoherently through a permanently disabling acid trip, Mercer babble-rants and stutters through 10 themed tracks of atmospheric theatrics: one for a character, Donna, and nine for each of her current and past lovers. With dense puddles of minimalist reverb and feedback, it's experimental and challenging, in that it's sloppy and hard to appreciate. It's easy to want to like Mercer for the company he keeps, but that's hard to do when he's by himself.


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