Terms like ‘freak-folk’ and ‘psych’ have been tossed around like so much confetti over the past few years, seemingly applied to anyone that has a delay pedal and oftentimes the results have very little to do (in my mind anyway) with the psychedelic experience. This album, however, is the polar opposite of that statement. You can apply generic descriptors to it and they would fit, but they just wouldn’t completely convey just how feral and imaginative it is. You can practically hear this guy’s brain melting onto the tape.
BR Garm is the work of Brendan Evans (Visitations, Strange Maine, Dark-Urrru, etc.), this being his first vinyl release with this project and, incidentally, the first vinyl release on Dontrusttheruin, home label of the Big Blood family. With lines like “My mind is gone/And I don’t want it back” and “Sittin’ on the back porch drinkin’ wine/Sittin’ on the back porch waitin’ for the end of time,” the whole thing has a dystopian punk edge to it that I find quite refreshing in these days of synth bliss-outs. The desperate urgency in his delivery is like the aural equivalent of being 16 and taking acid at the carnival in your shitty backwater hometown, sneaking off to smoke cigarettes behind the Laundromat and make out with your first love, not sure if you’re insane or if it’s just the buzz. The hellish lock groove at the end of side one only serves to drive the paranoia home.
At the core, Garm is just a man and an acoustic guitar, but along the way he’s accompanied by blazing squalls of fuzz, demented background vocals and pretty much whatever else he had lying around from the sounds of it. This is a ‘bedroom-pop’ classic that could’ve come straight outta 1994, but also calls to mind earlier home-recording pioneers like The Great Unwashed and even a hint of R. Stevie Moore. Packaged in a full color jacket with killer artwork by Hilary Irons, it even comes with a songbook with lyrics and chords if you want to play along! It’s been out for several months, but they only made 500 of these puppies. Get it from Time-Lag.