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“Sarasota singer/guitarist Erin Murphy (Equines) and Philly native cellist Greg Bortnichak (Sparta Philharmonic) met a few years ago, embarked on a whirlwind indie rock romance and started a collaborative recording project they dubbed Bard and Mustache that evolved into permanent pairing after Bortnichak’s move to the Sunshine State last year. The two recently merged their respective labels (hers Finch House, his NJ-based Atlas), and simultaneously got engaged and released their third EP, Bitter Painter, in August. Dark, baroque-flavored rock with more urgent pacing and experimentation than previous excursions, Bitter Painter has a lo-fi Grizzly Bear-haunting quality imbued from the all-analog studio and reel-to-reel tape machines they used to record the layers of fuzzy guitars, mechanized beats, and electric violins and looped cellos plucked, drawn through mood-setting swells, liberated in dramatic staccato bursts or scraped forth in squealing scales. The overlap of Murphy’s throaty rich vocals and Bortnichak’s lower register talk-murmur style and ethereal higher-register add an intriguing capriciousness to the tracks.” - Leilani Polk, Creative Loafing
Bard and Mustache is the project of independent music veterans, Erin Murphy (Founder of both Finch House Records and widely-popular Florida whimsy-rock outfit The Equines) and Greg Bortnichak (Sparta Philharmonic, Metal Hearts, Circa Survive). The duo met in 2010 while Greg was touring the country with Philadelphia based art-punk duo Sparta Philharmonic, and began recording together in January of
Following consistent touring of the Northeast and Midwest, Bard and Mustache released a follow-up to Falcor’s Burning Belly, called FOUND, in October 2011. FOUND showcased the duo’s sense for nuance and range of expression with acoustic instruments, and followed in the steps of its predecessor utilizing a single live-take, lo-fi recording philosophy. They then toured heavily on FOUND, often in support of well-known national acts including Dinosaur Feathers, Baths, Vacationer, and The Damn Choir.
Early in 2012, Bard and Mustache began writing a new record, employing a completely different approach. Their new set was markedly more complex, reliant on hypnotic rhythms and the expressive potential of pure sound. It became apparent that the band’s new music necessitated a new approach to recording as well, so Greg and Erin got to work building an entirely analog studio, utilizing reel-to-reel tape machines from decades past to ensure that their music stayed as DIY, tactile, and honest as possible.
Recorded between April and May of 2012, Bitter Painter is the first record highlighting both Bard and Mustache’s new sound as well as their approach to documenting it. It also marks their first official release on the record label that they helped engineer together, Atlas/ Finch House Records.