Old City founder and longtime Cincinnati music staple Sammy McKee - here, better known as Grave Clothes - is set to take the stage tonight at MOTR along with SKRT and Siren Suit in celebration of his debut EP, out today, as well, via Lo Fi City.
A moody, lofi outing that pairs McKee’s writing prowess with stripped down ambiance, the EP falls somewhere between Ben Gibbard’s All-Time Quarterback release, quieter Tom Waits, and some of the more forward thinking Nick Cave albums. Backed by electronic drums, with all the proper bleeps and bloops to accompany them, McKee’s subtle yet deft guitar work pairs well with his no-nonsense vocals. It’s a short, but ultimately satisfying journey into some incredibly well put together songs.
As the EP plays through - starting with the cleaner vocals of “The Story” through my personal favorite, “Soured Coward,” and ending with a sludgier “Mutante,” McKee’s vocals become muddier, less coherent, until the album closes through an escalating wall of sound. Having listened through the EP half a dozen times now, it’s a release that makes sense as the weather cools and the sun starts going down a bit earlier every day. While it could become oddly heavy feeling, rather than sounding, it never becomes a dirge and, in fact, warrants repeat listens.
If you’re in the area, get to MOTR tonight for his gig with Siren Suit (who put out one of my favorite albums of 2021) and SKRT - get all the details here.