There are certain artists that quite sound unlike anybody else – maybe their voice is so shaken, distinct, and at odds to what many consider radio-friendly, people listen… as if out of curiosity only. But then those voices grow on you.. and they become a path to realization and camaraderie amongst fellow listeners. Take the jagged vocals of Tom Waits, Jeff Mangum, or Nick Cave for a ride and they surely don’t sound like Brandon Flowers. Paul Bergmann checks into that category of “welcomingly weird.”
Bergmann’s latest record The Others Side (out 4/2) swoops in with triumphal mourning, those first, fist-swinging slide-guitar chords and splashy, spaced-out drums courtesy of guitarist Stephen Heath (LA Takedown, Weyes Blood) and drummer Dylan Ryan (Ether Feather, Man Man).
For some time, Paul has been writing and singing as if from a vantage point far into the future; as though uncovering rather than composing his own body of work. To date, his twelve releases have ranged broadly across the landscape of the indie singer-songwriter. Early work in folk-pop, recorded while signed with Fairfax Recordings, has found its way into TV and film, but to dip into Paul’s work at random is to discover many different versions of the same artist.
This scruffy folk punk, electro-piano torch crooner, analog psychedelian, and, occasionally, strident Neil Young disciple par excellence has crisscrossed the country in concert in support of one project or another, opening for the likes of Angel Olsen and Lou Barlow, selling out the historic Cairo Jazz Club in Egypt. Such peregrinations have concretized Paul’s thematic obsessions over the years: the life, and death, of the creative type; human desire; aging; the follies and false promises of stature and fame. In his relentless œuvre-building, Paul has amassed an especially articulate kind of existentialism: what it means to persist, and to create, in a world which dies in the near distance. In The Other Side, his latest reckoning with life and imminent dissolution, he forces a truce with our collective lack of an afterlife.
Glide is thrilled to premiere “Oh, My Love” from this eccentric and solitary singer-songwriter, whose sound is quite impossible to define. Bergmann ventures down unprecedented tonal channels and lyrically mysterious streets, crafting an inspiring ode to creativity, where the sounds of other promiment freak flag waving artists ala Captain Beefheart roam.
“Oh, My Love is an old-world love song; grand mortal declarations professed alongside a pagan reckoning with the elements as beings. It was built with large slabs, in a blunt Romantic approach. It is the central figure of the album, and defines the ethos of The Other Side,” says Bergmann.