Attracting Strange Midnight Snowflakes

Mercury Rev moves in bold, electronic directions with the simultaneous release of two new albums. One of the albums is free to all; both are just clicks away.

Buffalo's own Mercury Rev is the latest band to jump on the increasingly popular trend of making recording industry executives cry by giving away great material absolutely free. On September 29, while simultaneously releasing Snowflake Midnight--a proggy, shimmery, mostly electronic album--the band also released Strange Attractor, an instrumental, digital downloadable complementary album, free of charge from their website. Mercury Rev has always made interesting parallels to the Flaming Lips, as bassist Dave Fridmann has been engineering and co-producing both bands' recordings since 1990 (not to mention a host of other bands). The Flaming Lips have always had much greater success in the US, however, while Mercury Rev's output, for unknown reasons, has most graciously been received in the UK. Perhaps on this side of the Atlantic, the band's wild reputation, if their Allmusic bio is to be believed, has prevented those same recording industry executives--a truly timid lot for the past few decades--from giving the band the attention and promotion it's deserved. Not that the Flaming Lips haven't had their share of strangeness.

Whatever the case, it's never too late to try to give these brilliant scoundrels a homefield advantage, especially when their output (think of buying Snowflake Midnight as a two-for-one deal) is so affordable in these perilous economic times.

TMN Editor Erik Bryan is living the dream. He grew up in Florida, but he’s from all over. He likes playing chess, making cocktails, smarting off, and not freezing to death in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. More by Erik Bryan

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