Excuse the Mess Recommends: Prissy Clerks

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Prissy Clerks are a Twin Cities band and I’ve been wanting to write about them for a while, but haven’t had the time nor the venue, so now’s my chance. First though, I want to tell a quick story that coincidentally relates to letterpress.

About a month ago I was doing some letterpress printing over at MCBA and there was a girl also printing that night who I recognized as Clara Salyer who fronts Prissy Clerks. She was super nice and we had a pleasant exchange. It’s great when you meet someone you’re a fan of and they’re actually a cool person and are appreciative of you being a fan.

I followed Clara’s previous band, Total Babe and had been curious what she was up to after Total Babe ended. A little over a year ago buzz started building around her new band Prissy Clerks, which also includes Total Babe drummer Tim Lieck and Howard Hamilton and Dylan Ritchie on bass and guitar respectively. They posted three demos on facebook and I was hooked, eagerly awaiting a full length. I even bought a super low fi cassette they put out called Gimme Kiddie Rock, which is now prominently displayed in my cube at work, so everyone knows how punk rock I am…

Prissy Clerks ended up releasing their full length Bruise or Be Bruised in early December 2012 and it quickly became one of my favorite albums of the year. Prissy Clerks have managed to combine a plethora of influences including, 60s pop, pop punk, punk, grunge, garage rock, indie rock, and make a sound that is uniquely their own. The thing I love most about this band –aside from them being insanely fun to listen to– is their ability to create compelling and sometimes poignant moments, both musically and lyrically. On the song “Daydream Catcher” there’s an instrumental part (bridge?) in the middle of the song that builds and builds, and really transforms what is a slower melancholy song. And speaking of melancholy, a number of songs lean in that direction, particularly in the lyrics, but they’re not melancholy in a depressing sort of way, but more in a, commerserating, “I know what that feels like” sort of way. Bruise or Be Bruised, is also an album of contrasts. You have songs dealing with some of life’s tough questions and struggles, with an upbeat, poppy delivery. Then you have fuzzed out rocking guitars, and pounding drums, contrasted with Clara’s delicate vocals. They even have an accordion on a few songs, which would normally seem out of place with this style of music, but surprisingly works really well. I can’t recommend these guys enough and even if it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, give them a shot anyway, you may be surprised! You can listen to the whole album via Bandcamp below.

One quick side note. Rachel, Archie, and I saw Prissy Clerks perform (they’re great live by the way) at Hymie’s on Record Store Day this year and as it turns out, it was Archie’s first rock show!

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