Joe Merklee – July (2018)

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Joe Merklee has been an integral part of the independent pop-rock scene for the past couple of decades. More recently, the New Jersey-based singer, songwriter and master of many instruments has been the brainchild of damfino, whose smart and catchy compositions never fail to generate positive responses.

Here on his latest project, an EP titled July (Two Ton Santa), Joe roped in a pair of equally talented and noted musicians to cement the mission. Guy Capecelatro III handles lead vocals and guitar, while Oliver Ignatius takes on guitar, bass, drums, organ, mellotron and backing vocals. The tunes were penned by Joe Merklee, who contributes backing vocals and plays guitar, mandocello, harmonium and mellotron.

Conducted by calm and quiet vocals that barely register above a whisper from Guy, the material on July circulates around brittle folk pop tones and textures. Although the clip may be measured and sedate, the songs exude a deceptive strength, where the delicate melodies really sneak up on you.

Merklee’s “I Am Molecular,” “This Decision” and “Drifting Backwards” hum softly with leisurely flowing rhythms, ringed with lonely harmonies. Framed of a beefier structure, “The Fog of Distance,” features a compressed blast of fuzzy and buzzing sounds coaxed by an adventurous meshing of instruments that mirror select elements of ambient music.

Not only was July recorded because Joe Merklee and his pals love to make music and the EP is an edition of a series established in 2017, but they did so for worthy causes. All proceeds from the endeavor will go to either Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center or the SPCA. Simply contact Joe at bandcamp, state your preference and the deed will be done.

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