What happens when my favorite labels work together? Greg Mendez’s newest album. Forged Artifacts and Devil Town Tapes joined forces to bring you the newest Greag Mendez’ album and this new single/video is proof you should get very very excited. It will be a banger.
Here is the whole press release, because it is so well written:
“For Greg Mendez, reflection doesn’t mean a static image in a mirror, or even a face he recognizes. It’s more a kaleidoscopic mirage, where paths taken shapeshift with the prospect of paths untread, and the subconscious merges with the intentional. On his self-titled new album, the Philadelphia-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist investigates the shaky camera of memory, striving to carve out a collage that points to a truth. But there isn’t a regimented actuality here; instead, Mendez highlights the merit in many truths, and many lives, and how even the hardest truths can still contain some humor.
While this is technically Mendez’s third full-length album, his back catalog boasts an extensive range of EPs and live recordings. He’s a prolific and thoughtful songwriter, understanding the joy in impulse, and shying away from the clinical sheen of overproduction. 2017’s “¯\_(ツ)_/¯” and 2020’s Cherry Hell garnered acclaim for their quiet, lo-fi urgency, exploring themes of addiction and heartbreak with an intentional, authentic haze, and it’s this approach that has solidified Mendez as a staple in the DIY community for years.
Greg Mendez was written in fragments, some stretching across more than a decade, with Mendez reworking old ideas and arrangements, and others blossoming much more recently. The weight of time––and perhaps the anxiety in running out of it––clouds the album, as Mendez prods at some painful experiences from his childhood and early adulthood. The common thread connecting the characters is their evident imperfections, and the various degrees of damage they cause, both knowingly and unknowingly. But where do we draw the line between a good person and a bad person? For Mendez, it’s never been that easy.
“There’s a lot of pretty bleak memories in the songs but one thing that I hope comes through is that nothing is ever fully dark,” he explains. While recognizing the severity of certain situations, Mendez is also careful to showcase the absurdity of our reality, and how that can often highlight a softness around the edges. Opener “Rev. John / Friend” begins with a cartoonish organ, like a sermon waiting to start, correlating with the album’s artwork: a Virgin Mary staring at Mendez’s name. It’s a smirk at the serious, where earnesty can still be encouraged, and the light and the dark can effortlessly co-exist.
Throughout the album, Mendez extends an empathetic and relatable hand. The scrappy-pop of “Goodbye / Trouble” waits for “the sound of God,” searching for a sense of love or purpose, but the searcher falls apart in the process. The stripped back, finger-picked “Best Behavior” probes the spite and immaturity that can arise when we feel hurt or wronged, and how lonely that can leave us. “Maria” mimics those moments when we reach back to a story and find ourselves immersed in its scenery, using melodic swells to charge like a memory that floats in front of us, creating a gauze until we manage to tear ourselves out of it. “Everytime you say you wanna know me I get anxious, cause I would probably tell you about some dumb shit,” the song begins, glancing at those who also feel wary to show their full selves.
Mendez encourages us to look beyond the rigidity of a one, true self. Some of the “I’s” on Greg Mendez are not Mendez at all but someone unknown, a person formed to explore the shadows in his periphery. Writing from a different perspective doesn’t happen intentionally, and Mendez only tends to notice it after sitting with the song for some time. “It’s kind of like dreams, where they end up being the stuff that your brain is processing, but you’re not aware that you’re doing it,” he says. It’s an exhale, where Mendez allows his instincts to flourish.
Greg Mendez is an intimate dialogue between the chapters we’ve experienced, and how they can inform the reality we perceive. It’s a reminder that we are constantly shifting, ever-changing selves and that if we ruminate too long, we may find ourselves stuck in the seriousness of it all. Here, Mendez allows us to take the time to notice what happens outside of the framework we may have built for ourselves, and the beauty that can occur when we finally do.“
Wow. This is press release is even a piece of art itself. I have a hunch I will be listening to this song on repeat because it is so so good. I love every aspect of it, the guitars, the vocals, the melody, the softness. I will be definitely getting a physical copy of this release and you should consider it too. I cannot wait to hear the full album once it is out. I am very happy right now. Thank you Greg, FA and DTT, you make our lives more beautiful.
You can get cassettes from Forged Artifacts or Devil Town Tapes.