The Key Studio Sessions: Purling Hiss

Purling Hiss

It sounds trite, but my goodness…the things Mike Polizze can do with his guitar. A woofy low-end riff that slams into dizzying trills of sixteenth notes; a high-pitched jump an octave up and a rickety tremolo bar drop way back down; that feedback-harnessing skill. When Purling Hiss recorded its Key Studio Session a couple of weeks back, a small crowd of Y Rock DJs watched, jaws dropped, from the control room. (“Totally Mudhoney!,” commented Erin Mae of Pop Theory.) Adam G. of The Deli—who lent a helpful hand setting up and breaking down—was similarly impressed. By the time Polizze got to wailing away on the solo for “Space Roots/Limerence,” minds were collectively blown. Coming off an era where six-string skill hasn’t been super fashionable, it’s inspiring to watch someone unabashedly shredding, and doing it so well. Then again, Polizze would probably be the first to tell you that guitar music never really went away (see his other band, Birds Of Maya); the mass audiences just stopped appreciating it.

What began as Polizze’s home-recording side-project (to fill the downtime between Birds practices) evolved into a functioning three piece last fall, after good buddy Kurt Vile offered to take Purling Hiss on the road. Polizze recruited drummer Michael Sneeringer (of The Loved Ones) and bassist Kiel Everett (of Tin Horses) and the three seasoned musicians quickly locked into a solid unit. The rhythm section makes such a robust, heavy sound on its own; it propels what are essentially sparse arrangements into sounding massive. The guys say they’re stoked to record the next Hiss release as a band, and I’m excited to hear the results—based on this session, it’s stuff that will play as well to Wilco fans as Kung Fu Necktie crowds. But I also dig the warbly, wacked-out flipside exhibited in the improvised tape loop number that closed their set. Polizze says they’re incorporating this stuff their shows more. Perhaps we’ll hear it tomorrow night when Purling Hiss plays KFN with Watery Love, Far Out Fangtooth, and DJ Good Feelings. The performances begin at 8 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $8.

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