Arts & Culture Music

Perhapsy reveal brooding new single “34th & West”

For years now, musician slash graphic artist Derek Barber has bounced around Michigan and Bay Area music circles, making a name for himself with his jazz inflicted, inimitable guitar work. Currently a touring member of both Bells Atlas and the new Christopher Owen band, Curls, as well as a contributor to Madeline Kenney and Astronauts, etc., Barber has somehow found time to craft dense emo-pop under his moniker Perhapsy.

Today, we’re thrilled to partner with The Alternative in sharing his second single, “34th & West”. Paying close homage to 90’s icons Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, the song channels murky guitars and soft vocals to great effect over propulsive drums. “This song is a story. It used to be a happy story, now it’s a sad story. That’s how stories go sometimes.”, Barber writes, describing a love song seen from the other side of a breakup. ICYMI – Perhapsy’s first single premiered earlier this month at EARMILK, check it out below.

“An intricate and coloured entanglement” – EARMILK

“The Curse (Is Getting Worse) Official Video

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Although Perhapsy began as an instrumental post-rock band during Barber’s formative college years as a Jazz Studies major at the University of Michigan, upon graduation, everything changed. While on tour, Barber — diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder — endured an extended hospitalization in 2009. The experience left a lasting impression on him. Eventually, he emerged with a newfound musical confidence, and a desire to write songs about his struggles with mental illness. A marked transformation in stylistic direction, his new music was built not only around Barber’s dynamic guitar playing, but his distinctive and personal vocal stylings and songwriting.

Kingdom Starlight Bliss is a perfect introduction to the ever-lush, layered, melodic, dissonant, and deeply personal musical world of Barber. At first glance, it’s title and grinning/greeting monster-based album art brings to mind the cover of a Nintendo video game circa 1990: a charming and not nostalgically far-off perception. However, observers needn’t look very far from the welcoming monsters to make the connection with another musician/artist — one famous for his pure, soulful sincerity as well as courageous efforts in spite of mental health struggles. While KSB may not exist in the more stripped-down, stylistic vein of Daniel Johnston, there’s a parallel within the album’s creativity and sacred practice of bedroom recording. And while Johnston’s legendary bedroom pop is certainly more raw than the detailed and layered world of Perhapsy, it is with the same power of resilience, imagination, and artistic courage Barber draws his inspiration.

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Vinyl is available through Porch Party Records, the boutique Southern California label that’s championed influential West Coast artists like Religious Girls & Golden Drugs. Pick one up and support an incredible independent label!

Please direct all inquiries to Nikolas Soelter at agroupnearyou@gmail.com! We’re seeking a premiere partner for a video, along with writers interested in speaking to Barber.


Find Perhapsy on Apple Music & Spotify

About the author

Artvoice

Artvoice

News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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