Purling Hiss was spawned in an incestuous Philadelphia music scene. It was just another band in the stew. Whereas other scenes would fall apart with too many cooks, the City of Brotherly Love apparently embraces the broth.
“Everybody’s friends and jams with each other. It’s really cool,” Hiss singer/guitarist Mike Polizze explained to the Reader from a truck-stop near Austin, Texas. “I think [Philadelphia] was a cheap place for artists to go, and it was a music town. Music towns can be even tougher because everyone’s a musician; it’s almost too much. There was a time when our group of friends found each other, hung out, went to shows together, listened to music together, and then made music together. A pretty natural thing that happened.”
The band has evolved from its cassette four-track roots to being a monster of mid-fi rock. Their current LP, Weirdon, finds the band in the same sweet spot that Guided By Voices occupied when they released Mag Earwig!, circa 1997. The songs have been cleaned up and streamlined, but the charm, and the hooks, are intact. It doesn’t hurt that Polizze can throw down an epic guitar solo when the time is right. Just check out the eight-minute closer “Six Ways to Sunday” if you need a good face-melting. The guy is a 33-year-old J. Mascis at times, even though his weapon of choice is a cheap old Fender Stratocaster as opposed to Mascis’s trademark Jazzmaster.
- Saturday, November 22, 2014, 8 p.m.
3519 El Cajon Boulevard,
“I’m sticking with [the old Strat] for practical reasons. I bought a back-up Strat that was a ’70s in really good condition, but I felt like it just turned into a trophy, which I don’t like. I feel like I can’t really lay into it. It’s too nice. I want something cheap and affordable that I can’t be afraid to drop.”
The band has selected an optimal time to visit the West Coast, as a polar vortex has once again laid into the Northeast. While the group’s lovely brothers in Philadelphia suffer through early episodes of frozen snot and slipping on sidewalks, the trio may once again be basking in the sun.
“The last time we were [in San Diego] we hung out on the beach for a day. It’s just awesome. I remember eating really great street tacos. It was just a place down the street from the Soda Bar. This family that had fish tacos and all kinds of stuff. I’m really looking forward to coming back. It’s always fun to come from the East Coast to the West Coast, especially when it’s starting to get cold.”