with DR. DOG
Eric Slick is often recognized as a drummer with rock acts including Dr Dog and Natalie Prass, but to label this octopoidal beast a simple tub thumper does a disservice to his immense musical talent. His first LP Palisades dropped in 2017 and revealed a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with ambitions beyond the four on the floor. That record hinted at a sprawling brainscape, and pushed the boundaries of conventional pop formula. Still, something deeper lay within.
In early 2018, Eric approached Boiled Records with the kernel of what would become his Bullfighter EP. At that point, it was a string quartet recording with a single vocal and sparse bells and whistles, but he wanted it to be darker, more surreal and more explosive; less a sheepish grin, more a minotaur's grimace. Boiled's own Ape School aka Michael Johnson obliged. What resulted is a dense four song cycle, still firmly anchored by the strings but rounded off by electronics, percussion and distant piano crashes: somewhat haunting, somewhat horrifying, somewhat beautiful. It is mature, reflective, aching and devoid of the trappings that musicians of this era seem sewn to. In his own words:
"Bullfighter is a song cycle about the first Jewish American matador, Sidney Franklin. It’s also the story of coming to terms with my family’s Jewish identity. It was important to juxtapose Sidney’s struggles with my own. The name of the piece serves as a double meaning. It comes from my fascination with astrology - I’m a Taurus, and the bull is a stubborn opponent.
Bullfighter is comprised of vocals, string quartet, piano, synthesizer, and drums. The string quartet portion was written in a week and recorded in about 2 hours. My good friend Michael Johnson fleshed out the rest over the course of a year. He transformed a two dimensional picture into a beautiful panorama.
This piece of music is important to me. It’s not light-hearted. After releasing my first record, I realized that I had to tap into my own vulnerabilities more. I re-wrote the lyrics to Bullfighter over and over again in the hopes that I could get closer to my version of the truth. Writing it brought me closer with members of my family that I hadn’t spoken with in years.
I hope that it will be transformative for the listener. It’s a document of working through my own personal trauma. I wanted it to feel circuitous. In the end, I realized that death and life are all the same, and that suffering is fleeting."
Bullfighter will be released on January 18th via Boiled Records digitally and on 10 inch vinyl with artwork by Cal Schenkel (Trout Mask Replica).