Blood Meridian singer/songwriter Matthew Camirand is a man with a diverse rock and roll history. At the moment, he’s completely focused on Blood Meridian, whose debut album is titled Kick Up The Dust. Camirands’ band mates in Blood Meridian are Vancouver rock-scene luminaries Joshua Wells (drums), Shira Blustein (organ/pianos), Kevin Grant (bass), and Jeff Lee (guitar). Together, they’ve created 12 stunningly diverse tracks for days when the skies are slate-grey and Jim Beam is the only friend worth turning to.
“We’ve tried to write love songs, songs that people can draw little hearts around but somehow somebody always ends up dying in the end.”
In the tradition of landmarks like the Gun Club’s, Fire of Love, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Tender Prey, and Neil Young’s On the Beach, Kick Up The Dust defies easy categorization.
“For us it’s all about that sloppy dirty 80′s/early 90′s punk blues/Americana stuff,” Camirand admits. “Country and blues music by way of people who learned to play guitar from listening to Ramones records.”
Blood Meridian proves itself equally adept at hearts-of-darkness Americana, “In The Forest, Under The Moon”, druggy psych-folk “Good Lover”, and lyrically scathing openers, “Your Boyfriends’ Blues”, and “Work Hard, For What?” “I just write down the things that need to be said at the time, and sometimes you might have to say some shit that someone might not wanna hear…”
Named after Cormac McCarthy’s novel of unforgiving violence in the Old West (“That book knocked me on my ass like nothing had… like watching Apocalypse Now for the first time…”), Blood Meridian began as a hotel-room project when Camirand was on the road with his past group, The Black Halos. Some songs are solely works of fiction, springing from the imagination of a writer who loves authors like Flannery O’Connor and John Fante.
About half of Kick Up The Dust was recorded in Vancouver at The Hive Studios, which has recently spit out another couple of Camirand/Wells projects, Black Mountain and Pink Mountaintops. The other half was tracked on Vancouver island at Shawnigan Lake, where the bands’ friend Dante Decaro (Wolf Parade, Hot Hot Heat) has built a small studio aptly named “Deadwood”.
“The green and brown vibes at Deadwood had a huge impact on the album. We did all the tracking ourselves up there, no interference, no cars, no jobs, no bullshit. Just good friends, a few beers, some whiskey, a rock quarry for swimming, a couple horses, and a dog named Wendle.”
The record was then handed over to Steve Fisk (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Unwound) in Seattle for mixing and then to Toronto’s Peter Moore (Neko Case, The Band, Cowboy Junkies, Tragically Hip) for mastering.
This is music that seeps into the skin like barroom smoke, instigating unease in the listener; and for those who perpetually exist in dark places, it’s doubtful that you will find any comfort here. This isn’t a blues record to commiserate with; this isn’t your drinking buddy; this is confirmation that life really is hard, and you really are going to live it alone.