Purling Hiss Returns with New Album, Weirdon

Philadelphia psych-punk trio Purling Hiss just released their seventh full-length album, Weirdon, a couple of weeks ago—and unless you’ve been following them through the years, you’d be hard pressed to trace these latest songs back to the same guy self-releasing CDs in 2009.

Photo by Tiffany Yoon

“Yeah, a lot of stuff’s different, isn’t it?” frontman Mike Polizze said when we spoke over the phone. “Someone who has no idea about our music can listen to Public Service Announcement [2010] and then not know that we’re the same band that recorded Weirdon.”

Purling Hiss began as Polizze’s solo side-project, with him recording on a four-track that lent his songs a rugged tone, heavy in static and clouded with thick sounds.

“I just wanted to record anything, and it didn’t matter,” Polizze said. “I didn’t know anybody was going to hear it, and I put them out…all I had then was a four-track, and I documented how I felt…I wasn’t really anchored down.

PurlingHiss_byAaronBiscoePhoto by Aaron Biscoe

“Now I have a little bit more of a foundation where I have a band together and we’ve got studio albums…and I could see us finally molding into a unit and having that language there and evolving into something that’s more recognizable,” he continued. “But I still want to evolve in whatever direction without feeling held back or restrained in any kind of way.”

Weirdon, written last year after the band finished touring and recorded in the winter, does witness the band at liberty with their sound, although they maintain a very firm and very steady hold of the wheel. The 11-track record is full of energy, but it has its blissful moments of inertia, too.

Opener “Forcefield of Solitude” gradually builds on itself, its gentle meander through its initial verses eventually revving up with Polizze’s forceful chants and soaring guitar screeches before tumbling into the rousing “Sundance Saloon Boogie,” where the notes ricochet enthusiastically in their staves, guided by a buoyant bass line. The bluesy “Reptili-A-Genda” rocks you more gently, cradling you in drawn-out vocals and generous guitar twangs grounded in soft but steady background shakers. It’s closer “Six Ways to Sunday,” though, that stands out the most, a languid, eight-minute track (the album’s longest) that cautiously sidles its way up to a stunning instrumental meditation.

PurlingHiss_AaronBiscoe3Photo by Aaron Biscoe

“A lot of [the album] has to do with just what I was going through at the time, just being away from home and the stresses of that and personal stuff,” Polizze said. “I think that the album captures the ups and downs, and you just boil it down to what matters. It’s understandable…some people expected the album to be weirder, but I don’t think it’s just all about that. The songs are quirky and goofy, and some are more serious.

“It’s not necessarily a happy album or a sad album, but it’s just trying to include all the elements. It’s cathartic, it’s therapeutic.”

Mike’s WILD Wish: Just to go out and have a good time and a good tour. We’ve been talking about the album so much, and that’s the next logical step.


text by: Claire Voon

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