"A LOUPE" Debut-solo Album from Marcus Striplin of PLEASANT GROVE is available at BANDCAMP
22 years is a long time to scream into the void, to drag off of a cigarette, to hold an acoustic strum like it's an endlessly vibrating note.
All 22 years of Marcus Striplin's recording life can be heard in his songs. Country strums, Texas prairies, howling feedback, thick riffs, multi-part harmonies, and stories about every kind of explosion and schism a heart can fathom: these add up to the 41-year-old Texan's kinda-country, kinda-soul, kinda-rock, kinda-living songs on his first solo album as Margaret Chavez. The name is a tribute to Striplin's mother, and it's a memorial tribute in more ways than one. "You raise a child / you make it smile / just for a little, little while," Striplin sings before bidding her—and what sounds like other pains in his life—"Gone, Gone, Gone."
Above all else, Striplin's voice, bursting through a mess of curly black hair, sets his music apart. Whether it peeks out like a naptime squint or erupts like a meaty guitar chord, Striplin's singing really sounds like few others, as if Morrissey got into a screaming match with Elvis and they ended it with teary-eyed kisses.
Striplin counts as a member of a burgeoning Texas music scene in the '00s and '10s, alongside country-inspired heart-bleeders like Centro-matic and experimental soundsmiths such as Lambchop. Like a car left in the sun a little too long, Striplin combines the ideas and sounds of his best peers and contemporaries in a sound that's heatstricken and reflecting chrome in the sun.