Mike Donovan - Exurbian Quonset
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Out 24th May 2019
Mike Donovan has seen his share of the world, making records and playing shows all over the past 20 years with, chronologically, The Ropers, Yikes, The Hospitals, Sic Alps, Ty Segall, The Peacers and most recently, himself.
In June of 2017 Mike led The Peacers’ sophomore effort, ‘Introducing The Crimsmen’, into the world. In 2018 his own sophomore solo release, ‘How To Get Your Record Played In Shops’, hit down (in shops - it worked!). Now a third long player in the timeframe arrives, as Mike whisks us away to his remote ‘Exurbian Quonset’.
‘Exurbian Quonset’ sticks up like a fork in the road - it was drawn together as Mike prepared to be the last man from the old gang to leave SF, where he broke so many rules and new ground, working as a driver, a trimmer and a craftsman, cementing bricks into the foundation of the new centurion West Coast rock and roll movement from his place alongside Thee Oh Sees over the past decade. It’s dedicated to the woman who married him and taught him both words in the title of the album - exurbian and quonset - and who he’ll whisk away with to somewhere just like the title.
‘Exurbian Quonset’ is a pure solo record - Mike created everything in the place, from voices and guitars to keys and space. It is pure pop music as well, as it has been played in dark, wet corners (and on the safety of cold, dry turntables) for the past half-century. Abstract-, post-, deconstuct- and autodestruct are as much a part of Mike’s songs and singing as the melodic evocations of personal moods and private memories, dreams and fantasy, a Proustian matrix, stamped into antic untameter.
After a burst of Velvet clatter and noise, clamour, balladry and cavernous shimmying to open the record, the skies clear and birds appear, as if to signal a new season. Side two displays his deep propers, moving from the uncompromising Lennonist collage, ‘Wot Do Rich People Do All Day’ to the cheerful McCartneyisms of ‘B.O.C. Rate Applied’ to the Harrisonseque despondence of ‘Nowhere Descender’, creating corroded ‘White Album’-esque fx in our mind without ever leaving his own backyard - or cleaning it up. The mood
is only extended with the acid-burnt instrumental ‘Zone Dome’ and the farewell ditty ‘My System’, ringing down the curtain in definitively (Mike) Donovanesque fashion. Where will we find him next?