Members: Raquel Bell (vocals, guitar), David Marshall (guitar, vocals), Ray Rizzo (vocals, drums)
From: New York, NY
Genre: Psych Soul Thrash
“I’m very proud about how much New York music comes out of us on Solar Door, and proud of what I consider to be our version of American Pop,” Mesiko drummer Ray Rizzo told Chicago’s The Total Scene about the NYC trio’s debut album, out now on CD and digital formats. “The shreds of Can and Bowie and X that people pick up on are come by honestly, but we didn’t strategize those things or hole up with records,” Rizzo continues. “We arrived at the music being as it is because we are heatseekers and novice lucid dreamers.”
Mesiko will be on tour this February to celebrate the November release of Solar Door, one of the best albums of the year according to New York Music Daily, who noted that “As psychedelic art-rock in 2014 goes, it doesn’t get any better than this. Is this the best album of the year? It’s one of the best half-dozen or so, no question.” The band’s eclectic style blends psychedelia and folk-noir, incorporating elements of art-rock, post-punk and powerpop. Frontwoman and keyboardist/guitarist Raquel Bell and guitarist David Marshall originally paired up in the short-lived experimental band Norden Bombsight. After that project ended, they partnered with highly sought-after drummer Ray Rizzo (co-founder of Louisville’s Motherlodge Festival who has lent his skills as a drummer to artists like Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Days of the New and Ben Folds) to form Mesiko in 2012. The trio’s first set took place during Bell’s solo residency at Brooklyn’s now-closed Goodbye Blue Monday, and they quickly found themselves fusing their fledgling union with a performance at The Lebowski Fest.
It was at Lebowski Fest that the band connected with the album’s eventual audio engineer Kevin Ratterman (Jim James, Andrew Bird, My Morning Jacket, Maserati), about whom Rizzo remembers “He was dressed like a nihilist from [The Big Lebowski’s] dream scene wearing a smoldering red shiny body suit and we thought, clearly this is the guy for us.” In addition to bringing Ratterman on board, Mesiko also collaborated on the recording with Annie Nero, Roadie Rodahaffer and Brian Schreck. The debut was produced by Sam Cohen (Yellowbirds, Apollo Sunshine) and mastered by Joe Lambert (Animal Collective, Kanye West, Cheap Trick). The resulting album, Solar Door, is the outcome of the collective accomplishment of vigorous songwriting and a dedicated production team who set out to make something truly special.
After the completion of the album, the band also enlisted the help of Academy Award-nominated actor and musician Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire, Revolutionary Road, Man of Steel), who has been known to sit in on bass, to star in a video interrogation of the band to raise funds for the album. “[Michael Shannon] is a seriously talented man, the sort of artist that inspires you to bring everything you’ve got. Be it sharing the stage or a pint, it’s serious, and you know it’s going to be great.” Marshall told The Total Scene.
Mesiko has performed all over Brooklyn and Manhattan and has played on bills with Jolie Holland, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Corporal, Mucca Pazza, Dawn Landes, Trixie Whitley and Catherine Irwin. Mesiko hosts live musical events for the community at the People’s Garden in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and has made multiple appearances at Motherlodge Festival, in addition to appearing at the aforementioned Lebowski Fest and Montreal’s Jazz Fest.
One of qualities we appreciate the most in a new band is how spontaneous they sound – and that’s what a lot of people seem to relate to in the new decade after years spent glorifying rather contrived music. But it’s really, really hard to sound spontaneous on record without sounding sloppy or careless. That’s obviously not a problem for newly formed NYC band Mesiko, or that’s what we gather from this truly great alt-folk-rock tune streaming below, entitled “Lies”…Mixing traditional American music with authentic rock’n’roll attitude and a vein of psychedelia, “Lies” has the intensity of one of the best uptempo Nick Cave songs without being NOT fun…We added this song to The Deli’s playlist of Best songs by emerging NYC artists. – The Deli Magazine, NYC
[Mesiko] is tantalizing. There’s Lies, with its soaring harmonies and melodic Phil Lesh-style bass, and Daphanes Counter, a slower, more electric number with a characteristically gorgeous but apprehensive solo from Marshall. – New York Music Daily
Brooklyn trio Mesiko have a sound as forlorn and haunted as a desolate countryside. With their hollow guitars and aching, somewhat country-tinged, harmonies, they sound like chilly echoes from a faraway place. Their male-female vocal harmonies, especially on the clamoring, uptempo “Lies,” recall Jefferson Airplane in its Grace Slick/Marty Balin heyday. – Cool Cleveland
Front vocalist Raquel Bell’s voice is a mix somewhere between Dolores O’Riordan and Grace Slick; it has a fresh, interesting and unique quality mixed with a delicious vibrato…Mesiko definitely did not disappoint…The crowd definitely seemed to enjoy the music and the entire vibe throughout the set was groovy. Overall Mesiko was a perfect fit for the strange and crazy Lebowski Fest. – Louisville.com
Mesiko’s self titled 3 track release probably has as many recorded layers as a normal 8 to 12 track album by a normal band. These songs are a knock out both in terms of their songwriting and their engaging, textural production. – Music Discovery Blog
2014 FALL TOUR DATES
10/31/14: Bushwick, Brooklyn – People’s Garden
11/1/14: Brooklyn – Baby’s All Right
11/9/14: New York – Bowery Electric
11/10/14: Columbus, OH – Little Rock Bar
11/11/14: Chicago, IL – Gingerman Tavern
11/13/14: Birmingham, AL – The Syndicate Lounge
11/14/14: Nashville, TN – Betty’s Grill
11/15/14: Louisville, KY – Zanzabar