Given his crazy output as a musician, his knowledge of rock-‘n’-roll history, and how fanatical he visits shows of his favorite bands across the globe, it’s probably a toss up whether Mikey Erg’s main identity is a musician or a fan. But a chance to record with Steve Albini in old school analogue fashion? That’s special – In Utero is one Mikey’s favorite records of all time and he never recorded fully analogue before. As anticipated, Erg sounds particularly inspired on his latest record Love At Leeds.
One thing Erg was aiming for was capturing that ’90s Albini sound. I think he succeeded, but what I love most about Love At Leeds is that this is not Mikey Erg going grunge, or Mikey Erg copying ’90s alternative hits. This still very much is a Mikey Erg record, and the Albini influences are noticable but subtle. Still, these songs are more layered, diverse, and powerful. Love At Leeds rocks hard in all the right places and is super catchy – that 1-2 punch of Caroline Told Me So and Almost Like Judee Still is pop punk bliss. It’s the kind of record where you find something new to like with each play – those handclaps in Heartbreak no. 53! A truly fun Hollies cover (On A Carousel) – love how Erg tests his vocal range in this one! The ’90s grunge touches in Landmines!
What also stands out is that the names of Jeff Rosenstock, Alex Clute and Lou Hanman (make sure to check out Hanman’s latest record if you haven’t already) explicitly are on the front cover, indicating this very much was a group effort. Complement that all star group of talent with a top producer and some of the best songwriting of Erg’s career and you have one hell of a record. Love At Leeds is out now through Don Giovanni Records. It probably sounds even better on vinyl.