TRACK PREMIERE: MERCH “TWO HEARTS”
Joe Medina makes music as MERCH, except “makes music” doesn’t really fully sell what’s going on here. Really he makes movies or even mountains, with a silent-film-era sense of grandeur and a Sunset Blvd.—the movie and the golden-age music scene—sense of style. He’ll unveil his new Amour Bohemian on Nov. 3, but right now he’s got the song “Two Hearts,” a go-for-broke track with Tijuana Brass horns, unexpected but fearless power-ballad guitar and the last-call spirit of Warren Zevon or Leonard Cohen. (The PR mentions Death Of A Ladies Man, and they’re right—”Two Hearts” is a few stiff whiskeys away from turning into “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On”) In a world of protein-alternative laptop pop, MERCH’s Amour is a barbarian king’s victory feast—he’s got a symphony orchestra and a choir!—and maybe one day it will be as classic as Medina hopes. As he explains:
“Just like every other songwriter says, sometimes the really good ones come out of nowhere. I was in my girlfriend-at-the-time’s apartment—by myself—and I sat down with a nylon-string guitar. I ended up knocking the song out in 15 or 30 minutes. She got home when I was playing the thing, and started crying, so I knew I had something. That song probably led to our relationship lasting another six months. Everything else about ‘Two Hearts’ took much longer. The arrangement of the horns, the operatic singers, the strings, the very deliberate way that multiple guitars are all doing simple bits that dance with one another—it’s all a nod to very specific film score kinds of sounds, but also Mexican ranchero music. I grew up with it, and in recent years, I’d listen to it pretty exclusively on the radio during my constant drives between San Francisco and L.A. I hope to record a Spanish-language version of the song sometime soon, and [I also hope] that it works its way into a traditional singer’s repertoire. In this album of songs all about different kinds of love, ‘Two Hearts’ is the one that—I think—is most universal in its theme. I think you can show that song to anyone and they know the kind of place it’s coming from.”
You can pre-order Amour Bohemian here!