How to Slip Away is a strange, sparse collection of music from Brooklyn-via-Vermont musician Zach Phillips. On "Fucking Up," perhaps the track most emblematic of the delightful quirkiness of the record, Phillips enlists friend and one-time Jib Kidder collaborator Sean Schuster-Craig for a ditty whose rushed, atonal monophonic guitar does sound—after all—a little fucked up. Its an oddball assemblage of fucking up, replete with kinky chord stylings and abrupt starts, stops, and hiccups along its minute-and-a-half runtime. At points a polemic against everything from mosquitos to superheroes, a very brief history of fucking up, and an autobiography of Phillips' experiences with fucking up, "Fucking Up" never really finds a center—or even a destination. Which is to say, it can't stop fucking up. The off-kilter track, despite its falterings and bizarre structure, is wonderful, an addictive bright spot in Phillips' goofy yet endearing How to Slip Away. If the goal was to make a bad song through confusion and profanity, Phillips and company fucked up big time.
"Fucking Up" is part of Zach Phillips' collaborative album How to Slip Away, out now on his own OSR Tapes label.
Creating a lo-fi bridge between two of the best cassette labels in the scene, Brattleboro’s OSR Tapes head Zach Phillips has released a new full-length, Recorded in Heaven, on Chicago’s Lillerne Tapes. Phillips writes charmingly uncertain pop songs that have an off-kilter nervous energy similar to his work in groups like Better Psychics and Blanche Blanche Blanche. Here, however, the result is more hushed, with Phillips delivering his idiosyncratic lyrics in a warm, low monotone, punctuated by staccato pianos and decaying synths. The barely-shorter-than-average title track, clocking in at 48 seconds, exemplifies the delightfully odd sonic space he has carved out for himself: a pleasant melody and acoustic guitar progression hint at familiar tropes of folk and vintage psych, but it’s coated here in disorienting squelches and ends abruptly, unresolved. Phillips twists apart the conventions of pop narrative, working with a crude palette to create something that pulls the listener towards a colorful future.
Check out the track "Recorded in Heaven" below. Recorded in Heaven is available now on CS or as a digital download from Lillerne Tapes.