(State and Main Records, CD, digital download)
We haven’t heard a peep out of State and Main Records for a while. The Golden Dome Musicians Collective label has been so quiet over the last several months that I’ve been privately fretting the imprint was heading the way of another musical Montpelier institution, the late, great Langdon Street Café. (Shudder.) Thankfully, those fears were unwarranted. The label has simply been biding its time between its last significant release — the farewell LP from indie-pop duo First Crush — and its next musical bounty, which includes the stunning debut EP from Anachronist, Row.
Just how good is Row? It’s so good that if S&M never releases another record, the label could still be considered one of Vermont’s all-time best. It’s so good that I’m considering approaching the legislature to enact a law barring songwriter Brian Clark from lending his talents to any other project until Anachronist completes a full-length album. It’s so good that I briefly considered tracking down the other 99 copies of the limited release and destroying them so that I alone would know its profound brilliance and would hoard it like Gollum and his Precious.
Maybe that’s hyperbole — but only a bit. Clark is an in-demand side musician whose last solo work, the equally excellent Solo Duo Trio, was a personal 2010 favorite. He has crafted a local gem in Row. From the sharp, Uncle Tupelo-esque jangle of “Big Enough” to the brooding, slow burn of “Mary” to the J. Mascis-ish melodicism of “Say It” to the ethereal, blissful oblivion of “Clouds,” Clark offers a tantalizing suite that deepens with each listen. Abetting him are the Eames Brothers’ Phil Carr (drums), the New Year’s Mike Donofrio (bass) and Concrete Rivals’ Jay Ekis (guitar).
So, S&M Records, it’s nice to hear from you again. If your next releases are even remotely as good as Anachronist’s Row, take all the time you need. It will be worth the wait, and then some.
Row by Anachronist is available at anachronist.bandcamp.com.