The Open Source Record Label
Finian McKean (aka Finnian Moore Gerety) led the much-loved indie-pop group Push Kings for seven years until the band broke up on the rocky shoals of the L.A. music scene. Finian moved to Brooklyn and cut a record on his own, Shades Are Drawn (2006). Working late at night, exploring his depression and the angst of city life, Finian carved out a sound at once “emotional and eerie” (Blackbook) and “satisfyingly tattered” (Cokemachineglow). Soon after, McKean (pronounced muh-CANE) started jamming with drummer Patrick Brennan; as a duo, Finian and Patrick got up onstage every week for a year straight. They played their longest and rawest sets at the speakeasy Sunny’s in Red Hook; the pair turned out woozy after-hours music, forty songs before last call. They learned to tap the energy of a crowded room, weaving a mix of original and cover material into an evening-long narrative.
Monsters of the Deep Woods is the distillation of those nights: voice, guitar and drums (all recorded in completely live takes) form the skeleton of every song. Finian’s lyrics veer in strange directions, drawing on hallucinogenic imagery to express his wonder and despair at 21st century life in all its high-tech confusion, rage and disconnectedness from the earth. ("I Could Drink All Nite,” “Sumthin Wrong"). McKean yearns to awaken the world’s chthonic spirits and let ‘em loose on civilization ("Black Cat"). On “Deep Woods,” he tells of losing himself in some misty human pre-dawn, a time before agriculture and before the written word, when art and wisdom were passed on from person to person, mouth to ear to mouth. These flights into cosmic time suddenly condense into lyrics of pure personal emotion on “It’s Late” and “Got No Reason”:
Sittin here tryin to write a song
A melody to carry us away
You and me, this brick house and
The two dogs
The little girl who’s comin any day
Finding “a melody to carry us away” has always been the chief task of a singer, from Orpheus on down. Some of the oldest human song we have comes down to us in Vedic Sanskrit; these melodies have roots in the 5000 year-old poetry of the Rig Veda. This fall Finian will delve deeply into Veda and the roots of shamanism, beginning a PhD in Harvard’s Sanskrit Department. The late-night rock n roll will continue, transformed by investigations into the old ways of singing and seeing.