After the Mekons released their first album in eight years in 2019, the long-running cowpunk outfit make a quick return with their surprise new LP Exquisite, which the band wrote and recorded while in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The album — “recorded in splendid physical isolation on mobile phones, broken cassette recorders, clay tablets and other ancient technologies in Aptos, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York and Devon in April and May 2020,” the Mekons noted — will arrive exclusively on their Mekorpse Bandcamp on June 19th, or Juneteenth; on that day, Bandcamp will donate 100% of their share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Ahead of Friday’s release of Exquisite, the Mekons also shared their trippy video for “Escalera,” filmed by the band during their respective isolations.
Exquisite borrows its name from the art term “exquisite cadavers.” “In Paris, in 1925, Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prévert, André Breton and Marcel Duchamp invented a game they called ‘cadavre exquis,’ derived from a phrase that came up when they first played: ‘le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau’ (‘the exquisite corpse will drink the new wine’),” the Mekons said. “Basically each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see only the end of what the previous person contributed. In the current plague year 2020, after a planned rendezvous in Valencia was necessarily canceled, Mekons adopted this method as a means of collectively assembling lyrics and tunes and recording their new album.”
The 12-track Exquisite will only be available as a digital download via Bandcamp. “While we look toward a worse economic depression than the Thirties, scanning our eyes toward the horizon of annihilation, take joy while you can from falling statues and well, you just might be tired from having to take to the streets: What better time to settle down with a fancy hydroxychloroquine cocktail, mainline some bleach and dig the Mekons’ new surrealist sounds?” the band added.