Audio Remasterer: Sebastian Cowan.
Recording information: 2006-2014.
A versatile songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and home-recording engineer with scores of songs under his belt, Michael Stasis began releasing collections of his tunes in the early 2010s after relocating from the East Coast to California. RIP III, his third compilation and first on Arbutus Records, is packed with rough-and-ready nuggets of infectiousness that showcase the artist's typically wry sensibilities. It's a diverse set, a virtual aural mosaic of genre snapshots, including but not limited to spoken word, post-punk, and novelty songs, with a neo-psychedelic through line. The variety of musical styles, often within the same song, jibes with the unpredictable subject matter and impish lyrics for an entertainingly eccentric indie rock soundtrack ("I don't wanna be crushed under this building/I don't wanna die under the sun...Just by going outdoors/The death toll's gonna rise" and "The city lights come into view/The sky is green like Mountain Dew"). "Venus of Soap" offers classic British Invasion vibes and bedroom reverb ("Instead I am the man who is squeezing the Venus of Soap out of his arms and into the drain"). The novelty-psych of "Land of the Goths" offers a well-executed Zombies lark with a seemingly ironic, certainly enthusiastic organ solo, handclaps, and lyrics like "Double, bubble, toil, and trouble, check your candy twice." Meanwhile, "All the Ways" is a composite of Beatles songwriting and bulky electronic instrumentation. It's an album where a quasi-baroque synth instrumental ("The Dairy Queen") precedes garage rock ("Greenskin"). Though it's hard to tell based on the small percentage of Stasis' work that's received a proper label release if it's representative of his output, treated as an album, RIP III is recommended for those who may value devil-may-care indie rock from a fertile and delightfully offbeat creator. ~ Marcy Donelson