Richie Records is at it again, offering up some of the more interesting stuff coming out of the underground, this time with Montana’s Mordecai. Their loose, shambling tunes sound like they’re inches away from falling apart in the best way possible; they nail that sound of a band finishing up the songs during the actual recording of the album, which can really sound special if done right. Not to say that they don’t know what they’re doing; Mordecai’s songs are endlessly tuneful and a sense of excitement prevails through the entire record, possibly because you just know that these songs are going to be played slightly different every single time. Mordecai respect this fluidity; they work for the music instead of the music working for them, playing the songs how they demand to be played in the moment rather than trying to create a perfect, easily reproducible end-product. This stuff reminds me of all the weird, VU-indebted proto-punk and DIY stuff that came tripping and puking out of the underground in the early years of punk, as well as some of the stranger stuff that has bubbled up in the ensuing years. I’m thinking Mike Rep and anything else coming out of the endlessly out-there Columbus DIY scene (especially Ron House’s projects), the early DIY stuff from the Messthetics comps, the stranger side of New Zealand’s insanely fertile underground scene, and, for a more recent comparison, bands like Yuppies or other Richie Records bands like Spacin’ or Purling Hiss; something that you feel like you know inside and out but still can’t quite pin down. Things really start coming together as the album goes on, especially on the very Velvets-esque “Space Between” and the strangely Clean-sounding “Scuzz”. Something about this album really sticks with you, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is. Either way, pick up this unexpectedly compelling collection of tunes from Richie Records.