Chris Weisman has been sitting on Monet in the 90s for five whole years—long before he was requesting covers for hefty compilations. He recorded the album back in 2009, when he was still playing in Happy Birthday with Kyle Thomas of King Tuff, but never officially distributed it, instead firing off odd, winding pop collections like 2012’s Beatlebro. Now, the dormant LP will get to see the light of day thanks to its new home with OSR Tapes.
You might have caught Weisman earlier this month backing up Speedy Ortiz on the B-side to their charity single “Doomsday”. His contribution to the LAMC split single series, “I Took It Off A Record”, is a polished, acoustic number packed with nimble bass, cascading guitar, and Elliott Smith harmonies. Monet in the 90s doesn’t sound too much like that song. Simultaneously weirder and easier to dive into, the album’s full of unexpected melodies pitch-shifted above Weisman’s natural range. It carries the rough edges and isolation of a Daniel Johnston tape, but sounds more orchestrated and deliberate: lo-fi, Beatles-indebted pop made by someone who knows music well enough to teach it for a living.
The first song on Monet, “Working On My Skateboarding”, mutes an electric guitar down to the warm tone of a cheap Casio, or maybe it’s the other way around. Weisman sings fondly about an old skateboard as it takes on the weight of a metaphor for… life itself, I think. He’s one of those lyricists who writes so concisely that the gaps between the lines swell taller than the lines themselves.
Chris Weisman’s Monet in the 90s is out now November 17 on OSR Tapes.