John Porcellino ranks right up at the top when I breakdown my favorite comix artists. He was one of those artists I’d read and realized that despite having little artistic talent, if I just was like “Fuck it, I’mma draw some comics” I could draw comics. Not to say that Porcellino has little artistic talent, because he’s an artistic genius. The way he can say so much with his sparse drawings is inspiring. His King Cat comics (broken down into King Cat Classix, Map of My Heart, Perfect Example, and The Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man and as many single issues as I could get my hands on at comics shops, record stores, and conventions) is one of the most heartfelt and powerful bodies of work I’ve ever soaked in. And of course, he’s in bands. Why wouldn’t he be? And of course he had/has a record label, Spit-and-a-Half Records, and of course I stumbled across a CD on that imprint at Half Price Books. And of course I let it sit on my hold shelf (though it was only a buck) for a year and a half before I actually bought it when I transferred out of the Lawrence store. So that last week of work and that week before moving to Minneapolis, I had this Felt Pilotes CD in the car and it was so, so good. Just like some forgotten mid-90s alt rock band that no one had ever heard of but had some really terrific songs. It reminded me of the time I raided the 45s in the Love Garden Shotgun Room and found a whole bunch of 90s alt rock stuff and just proceeded to have my mind blown and, to make listening to them a little game, started this blog.
Funny thing, Felt Pilotes features John P. on vocals and guitar. And that blew my mind because I didn’t even think to look at the liner notes until like three songs in when I was like “This is really great, I wonder if it’s…it is! It totally is!” Funnier still is that I own an LP by another of Porcellino’s bands, Smile, that I sheepishly had him sign for me when he spoke at Wonder Fair a couple years ago. And now this CD, making this dude who greatly inspires me even more inspiring. Cooler STILL, you can listen to (and if so inclined, purchase) this whole CD and Felt Pilotes entire discography on bandcamp. I haven’t made it past Wonderful Summer but I’m sure it’s all the same great, ramshackle indie rock with that “anyone can be in a band” attitude that made all of those great unheard of bands so much fun to listen to.
Oh, and since Porcellino was living in Denver at the time guess who produced it? Robert fucking Schneider. ROBERT FUCKING SCHNEIDER PRODUCED JOHN PORCELLINO’S BAND’S RECORD! That’s like big news because it’s too convenient. Of COURSE Robert Schneider produced this, because he produced Neutral Milk Hotel’s records and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is my favorite album of all time and John P. is one of my favorite writers (and Schneider’s own group the Apples in Stereo were a mainstay on pretty much every radio show I hosted on KJHK, especially the Pop Rocks years). So that makes sense. Anyway, this album was a lot of fun! Definitely want to check out Felt Pilotes back catalog