Dan Friel is the guy with red hair in anthemic psychedelic Brooklyn noiseniks Parts & Labor. He’s also the mind and burnt keyboards behind this interesting eponymous solo project. Stepping outside P&L isn’t new for Friel, but the first full-length release Ghost Town came out a week and change ago on Important. Before this 30-minute disc, he did a series of EPs: Night People released the cassette-only Obsoleter in 2006, Velocirecords put out the Sunburn CD in 2004, and Friel self-released Broken Man Going To Work in 2001. You should have no problem tracking down Ghost Town, a thrilling collection of fuzzy instrumentals constructed by Friel, his web of “mediocre guitar accessories,” a 22-year-old keyboard, “a remote control car joystick,” walkie talkies, and other noisemakers. The chirpy, infectiously joyous opening track “Ghost Town (Part. 1)” has a tone that’s very similar to the burnt electronics and melody as you’ll find on Parts & Labor’s recent outings. After that, he burrows into a new world entirely. We have the gateway drug as well as the equally uproarious “Buzzards” to give you small taste of this album’s idiosyncratic beauty and blipping, crackling, and distorted fist pumpers.
Speaking of ghosts, did you hear Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Ghost”/”Untitled” transition in there? If not try again. And listen to “Desert Song”‘s high-pitched bagpipe-y (but Eastern sounding) tones on the album proper. It’s sunny out today, so we went for the record’s poppier bits, though it would’ve been nice to mix it up some with the wraith-like 8-bit tumbleweed Morse Code of “One Legged Cowboy” or crunky “Appliances Of Bremen.” It’s difficult to get a sense of Friel’s sound with just a couple pieces, but you can explore Ghost Town further at his MySpace and a few sample clips, including some of the aforementioned, at his Important page. It’s also helpful to list his MySpace influences in full: “Sonic Youth, Boredoms, Amps For Christ, John Fahey, The Bug, Alacie Tullaugaq & Lucy Amarualik, John Coltrane, Ennio Morricone, Albert Ayler, Oval, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Sun Ra, Steve Reich, Harry Partch.”
Ghost Town is out via Important. In Friel-related news, remember to check out Parts & Labor at this summer’s Siren Festival. In the meantime, this is what Ghost Town looks like, as rendered by Shawn Reed: