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The End of Comedy [Slipcase]
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Performer Notes
  • Audio Mixer: Shags Chamberlain.
  • Recording information: Ariel's House, LA; Drones Club Mtl; Glen Cabin, Vancouver; Leaving Records HQ, LA; Mac Demarco's House, NY; The Brown Residence, Berkeley; The Copycat, Blatimore; The Telegraph House, Oakland.
  • Editor: Shags Chamberlain.
  • Michael Collins started his musical career under the name Run DMT, making lo-fi psych-pop with a chillwave feel. After a lawsuit and a slight change of focus, he reappeared as Salvia Plath, releasing the nicely done psych-folk album The Bardo Story in 2013. One (more) name change and musical shift later, Collins came back with Drugdealer, a project with a more laid-back, early-'70s singer/songwriter vibe. Stripped of much of the densely layered, heavily psychedelic approach he'd used in the past, Collins is more content to focus on the songs as much as the sound this time around. On 2016's The End of Comedy, many of the songs are free of artifice, boiled down to voice and guitar or left nearly naked to let the emotional impact of the melodies and words cut more deeply. Working with a bunch of collaborators, Collins acts as ringleader as the album plays out like a lovely blend of Harry Nilsson-style witty pop and smoky Laurel Canyon crooning, with a little bit of big-city string arrangements and even a touch of rainy-streets-at-night jazz here and there. He chose the people to sing the songs very well. Ariel Pink dials back the weirdness to deliver the melancholy country-rock of "Easy to Forget" with some real feeling, Danny James has to sing about a hundred "la-las" in the introspective ballad "My Life" and gives each one his all, and best of all, Weyes Blood gives her two features the kind of patchouli-drenched soul the best Laurel Canyon singer/songwriters had, but with a stronger voice. Her singing on the title track and "Suddenly" raises goose bumps as she and Collins combine to make music the equal of those they set out to pay tribute to. The tracks Collins sings himself, like the slow-rolling "Sea of Nothing" and the cocktail-hour-smooth "Were You Saying Something?," are fine examples of modern singer/songwriter material, and if they sparkle a little less than those that his guests sing, that's OK. Add in the charming instrumental interludes that string the songs together and the album is a half hour of relaxed, unassuming soft rock pleasure. It's far less complicated than his work as Salvia Plath, far more direct than his Run DMT-era stuff, and better than both. And best of all, no bad wordplay in the band's name. ~ Tim Sendra
Professional Reviews
Paste (magazine) - "The title track is an exceptional piece of music; a piano-based number featuring the sultry vocals of Weyes Blood that would feel right at home at a old 1860s saloon or speakeasy."

Pitchfork (Website) - "There's a newfound focus...now he's able to turn even the lazily strummed acoustics and heavy-lidded slide work of EASY TO FORGET into something purposeful."
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