As youth culture began to reverberate across the world in the early to mid-1960s, rock n’ roll infiltrated the suburbs and tens of thousands of youngsters picked up electric guitars, headed into their parent’s garages or basements, and began hammering out three chord, rudimentary ditties, aping to the best of their abilities the styles of the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Sonics, and other popular acts of the day.
During each subsequent decade, collections of those crude, makeshift, often single microphone recordings began to permeate the underground music cultures of cities from Hamburg, Germany to Detroit, Michigan, perennially inspiring revivalists from The Cramps in the ‘70s to The Gories in the late ‘80s, to today’s slate of raucous garage acolytes like The Allah Las, Ty Segull, La Luz, and Thee Oh Sees. It seems every time a generation tries to bury rock n’ roll, a new crop of musicians are bound to dig it up.
Locally, the spirit of the ‘60s is alive and well, with garage-y bands like The Steven Marshek Group, Faze Wave, Gov Club, Dead Bugs, and others playing for substantial crowds and making some of the area’s most relevant music. You can add revelrous rock n’ roll trio Mercy Mercy to that list. Comprised of Jax natives Dennie Carter (drums/vox) and Jon Dailey (guitar/vox) and transplant Nishant Ghose (guitar/vox), Mercy Mercy’s primitive, fuzzed-out sound and intentionally superficial lyrics—best exemplified on tracks “The Earth was Flat” and “The Usual (Baby)”—would fit in perfectly on among the authentically ‘60s tracks of noted garage rock compilations, like Back from the Grave.
“We all share reverence for bands like The Mummies, Supercharger, Reigning Sound, Mr. T Experience, The Nerves, The Exploding Hearts,” Ghose says of how Mercy Mercy derived its genuinely unpretentious sound. “The spirit of that type of garage rock was built on people that just want to play music.”
Over the course of just a few months playing together, Mercy Mercy has already put together a handful of raucous, lo-fi tracks. Using just a Tascam Portastudio 424, Mercy Mercy recorded everything live, with just two mics on the drums and two mics on the guitars.
“It was cheap and easy,” Ghose says of the decision to use such a rudimentary recording set up. “It’s like the Ramones showed us all, anyone can play rock and roll. The Portastudio enabled us to document those efforts, for better or worse.”
Give Mercy Mercy a listen VIA their Bandcamp page and check them out on Wednesday night as they support Atlanta garage-punkers The Coathangers at Jackrabbits in San Marco.