CO-FOUNDER of the lovely Dear Life Records, home to rootsy talents such as Josh Halper and Wes Tirey, and also the musique concrète stylings of Bolomite Jr. (see our recent Dear Life coverage here); drummer in the indie four-piece Friendship, Philly’s Michael Cormier makes a potent contribution to the beating heart of the US underground scene. Hell, he’s even a bread-baker by day. Mind and belly.
And he’s also a singer-songwriter of some standing in his own right – as you’ll know once you part the long grasses, come hear his new track, “Empty Mugs”.
It’s a little classic of current Americana songcraft, rays of string-squeak and gently caressed guitars, lo-fi vocal aesthetics and jazzy keys, all concerning the universality of waking up in the middle of the night, needing a pee, blinking and yawning at “the empty mugs on the bedside table”, rudely brought to after dreaming of motorboats.
Yep, you’d be right to note a little …Michigan/Seven Swans-era Sufjan in the gossamer warmth; a little of the bright airiness of Sam Prekop and The Sea and Cake, too.
It’s taken from an album of tender, funny and wistful miniatures entitled More Light!!, which will be with us come June 25th on fellow Philly label Oof Records.
Michael says of the song, which closes the forthcoming album: “This song was the first I wrote for the record, and I always figured it would be the last song. Like [album opener] ‘Degradation’, it’s about a sleepless night.
The second verse was written after waking up from some nightmare, trying to calm my brain by listening to the wind whip across a carless 49th St in West Philly.
“My writing is indebted to the work of Virginia Woolf, from whom I learned that heightened perception can be the most daring form of artistic expression.
“The second half of the song also becomes a retelling of a dream I had where I was on a motorboat with Woolf at the wheel. It was absurd at the time, but the scene lingered with me and was deeply comforting. Her long grey Victorian dress flapping in the breeze, a look of stern satisfaction on her face.
“I liked trying to imagine her bedroom too, whether in London or on the coast of South West England, and whether or not she let empty mugs of tea, long since finished, accumulate over time. Did the tea bags (if they had those?) become crusty, wrapped in a thin fuzzy layer of mould like mine do?
“All the sounds on this track were made by Lucas, Erika, and myself; quite the power trio if I do say so myself.”
Michael Cormier’s More Light!! will be released digitally, on CD, cassette and extremely limited (100 only) vinyl by Dear Life Records and Oof Records on June 25th; hell, you can snare a copy for y’self early on, here.