Release Date: Jul 17, 2015
Record label: Drag City
With each project essentially squatting on borrowed time, existence is fragile in the start-up world. Mike Donovan, a longtime staple of the San Francisco music scene, seems to have that frenzied mindset in common with his new neighbors. For nearly a decade now, each release that Donovan has been associated with—from numerous Sic Alps albums to various collaborations, side projects, and more recent solo work—has had the air of carefully calculated reckless abandon.
When Sic Alps decided to call it quits in 2013, founder Mike Donovan lost the closest thing to a day job he’s ever had. No wonder then, that before long he decided to immerse himself in the heady arenas of late 60s Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard, something that carried over to Donovan’s eventual solo LP Wot. This aesthetic of more pop orientated tracks with a short, sharp acoustic back bone is something Donovan has carried with him and is something that provides the overarching basis of his eponymous album, released under the new moniker Peacers.
In the intertwining, weird and wonderful word of San Francisco rock, Mike Donovan is one of the area’s more esteemed luminaries. First with his band, the much missed and sorely underappreciated Sic Alps, as well as his own record labels and work as a member of at least seven other bands, Donovan has cultivated a singular path through the terrain of off kilter guitar rock, culminating in his solo debut, 2013’s weirded-out, acoustic leaning Wot. Peacers is the prolific Donovan’s new project and the self-titled debut highlights the guitarist and singer’s ever more lucid and oblique rock stylings.
Mike Donovan's back — and he's brought former Sic Alps pal and garage golden child Ty Segall with him — on Peacers. Donovan's latest effort is jam-packed with tunes clocking in at just less than three minutes, making the 15-track album burn right by. It's less a continuation of Sic Alps and more a maturation of Donovan as a musician; the chaos is much more contained, as he opts for a more melodic approach, with noisy outbursts peppering the record instead of commanding it.
As the leader of San Francisco noise rock band Sic Alps, Mike Donovan was an advocate for madness in an increasingly well-behaved city. But by the time the singer dissolved the group in 2013—following four full-lengths and a number of singles—it seemed like he, too, needed a breather. Not long after Sic Alps called it quits, he released a solo record, Wot, under his own name.
Peacers — Peacers (Drag City)Mike Donovan has always been in unusually close touch with his subconscious whether in the long-running Sic Alps, his 2013 solo album Wot, or now in the more or less solo project Peacers. Indeed though the last Sic Alps record (and the subsequent solo outing) seemed to be moving towards clarity and structure, none of his songs whack you in the face. You enter each one or two minute soundscape like a dream sequence, disoriented, hands out in front of you, open to whatever but not sure where you are.