There is a history of records from the '70s that were recorded by reclusive but oftentimes starkly brilliant songwriters (see Bill Fay, Skip Spence, Kevin Ayers) that used their recordings as an outlet of demons, neuroses, and heartbreak. The records were usually overlooked on release and relegated to critical favorites and collector obscurities. Prior to the enthusiastic reissue market that exists today, stumbling on one of these treasures felt like a secret discovery, an entry into the fractured world of its creator that few would know or appreciate.
Dylan Shearer's songwriting has the same haunted, secretive quality of these records. Shearer has a way of capturing melancholy and pouring it cocktail-smooth into the grooves of Porchpuddles. His songwriting, his voice even, feels disjointedly out of time as if echoing from the expanse of 30 or 40 years in the time it travels from speakers to ears. Full of restless ennui and monumental sadness, it's been years since a singer has accurately captured the sense of desperate, gentle soulfulness that's inherent in Shearer's work. As I've remarked about his last release (which had a scant run of 100 copies), this is the kind of record that haunts collectors years down the road and it should haunt you if you know what's good for you. (Raven Sings The Blues co-premiere)