Just two days after Carey Mercer completed the final mixes for his most recent Frog Eyes album, Carey’s Cold Spring, he received a call from his doctor telling him that he had throat cancer. He had been working on the album since 2010 and chose to self-release the record through Bandcamp.
At the time Mercer had this to say, “Illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is a big thing, a thing that impacts a life and forces changes on the way, for example, a songwriter releases her or his product. So I release this from a place where it’s hard to say if I will be on the road to promote it. This is why I have chosen to control the release myself and put it out through the limited channels available to me right now.”
News like this has a way of understandably overshadowing the music itself, and, thankfully, Mercer’s cancer seems to be departed, leaving us the opportunity to appreciate the record without such a dire context. The joy here is tripled: he’s not going to die, and, as a bonus, the record is awesome. And these victories are made even sweeter with the addition of tour dates.
Frog Eyes has recently signed to Canada’s Paper Bag Records who will release Carey’s Cold Spring on vinyl and compact disc worldwide on June 17th. The label will also be releasing Carey’s book called Clouds of Evil, a collection of essays compiled for his son Ivan. Essay titles include: A Story about the Time I Broke Up Wolf Parade, a Popular Independent Rock Band, by Starring in Their music Video and accepting One Thousand of Their Dollars and a Few recollections of the Time my Band Frog eyes Went to Moscow.
Mercer explains that Carey’s Cold Spring is not only built from personal experiences but also from what he saw over the last three years of recording: riots, storms, mass protests, the dissolution of any collective faith in our political and economic institutions. But it’s not all doom and gloom: He describes the record’s duality: “deeply fearful, almost paranoid, the sound of a person grinding his or her teeth in the night. But just a part of it. It’s also the sound of the birds in the morning, I hope”.
Carey Mercer formed the band Frog Eyes, which includes he and his wife Melanie Campbell, in 2001. Their 2010 album, Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph was a nominee for the Polaris Music Prize. The band has released six proper studio records in this time, and is currently working on a seventh, and Mercer has also released records as Blackout Beach and Swan Lake.