I’m here writing this Merce Lemon preview for their upcoming show at Sleeping Village with co-headliner Lily Seabird and Chicago-based Hemlock simply because Merce Lemon is far too under the radar for how incredible their music is; it is a tragedy of the highest order. I’m just doing my civic duty here.
Coming all the way from their homeland of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, carrying with them that blossoming Northeast indie folk sound, this upcoming show at Sleeping Village is an absolute must-see. This is also not the first time Merce Lemon has had Hemlock open for them and as someone who recently saw Hemlock open for Told Slant early this year, they are only the cherry on top of this lo-fi indie folk extravaganza. Also, Northeast and East Coast bands make the best shirts… so, there’s also that.
It has been three years since Merce Lemon graced us with new music so, as far as I know, this tour isn’t in support of any one album but that’s certainly not to say that there won’t be a boatload of new tunes to play through, surely! You don’t just go three years without stockpiling an arsenal of soon-to-be hit songs in between album cycles. Whatever they have cooking up next is definitely not without expectations with both of their albums and EP being so gosh darn amazing. I consider myself more of an Ideal for a Light Flow with Your Body kinda guy but Moonth is absolutely not an album to sleep on whatsoever. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a special shout-out to their wonderful 2018 EP, Girls Who Jump In, a small collection of songs that are as fun as the album cover and title would lead you to believe.
To me, what’s so fascinating and joyous about Merce Lemon is how they explore so many different musical canals, treading not-so-lightly through the annals of their creative darkness all the while never forgetting to water their twangy indie rock foundations as a way to keep their listeners feeling safe, just not too safe. Songs like “Remedies” from their 2018 EP, Girls Who Jump In, and “Johnny When He’s Sweet and John for All the Rest” from their 2017 debut album, Ideal for a Light Flow with Your Body, give off this unexpected punk flare with a satirical, sarcastic lyrical twist that ends up throwing you for a loop when you hear songs like “Love Me or Leave Me”, “Do You See This It Is Rough”, “Corners of Bedrooms”, “Moon Shots”, and “Disco Ball”, all songs with a much more laidback indie folk sound that is more typical for your average Merce Lemon cut.
Any fan of new Big Thief, Sadurn, Lomelda, or even early Silver Jews will feel right at home with Merce Lemon this Thursday, August 24, at Sleeping Village so consider this your warning. Be sure to show up early for Hemlock and Lily Seabird and please, please join me and do your nightly civic duty praying for new Merce Lemon this year. If not for you and the rest of the world, for me.