Katie Lass: Hypnopomp  LP   (HHBTM Records)

Release date: November 4, 2022

Katie Lass - Hypnopomp LP (HHBTM Records)

Bio: WHO: Katie Lass
WHAT: Hypnopomp LP/ digital (a co-release on the Remove and Happy Happy Birthday to Me labels)
WHERE: Hamtramck, MI (its own city inside of Detroit, where all the bars are, plus the really good Yemeni and Polish and Pakistani food, and where young people can still live semi-affordably)
WHY: Because you like it. Or you will if you can listen through a few times, anyway; we hope you do. It’s hard to find the time to listen, of course.
WHEN: Nov. 11, 2022 (TKTK actual release date here)
RIYL: Swirlies, Syd Barrett, Dumbhead, Lilys, High Risk Group, Skip Spence, Breeders, "Fancy" by the Kinks, Rallizes.

Katie Lass is strong, strange, and on the taller side of medium height. She probably cuts her own hair, but it looks awesome. Katie Lass will make art whether you look at it or listen to it, or not. Lass lives and works in the general Detroit, Michigan area. She works in a record pressing plant, and once lived in Arizona working for a record plating plant. Like everyone these days, she has good taste. I didn’t ask her any questions about her life, because you’re going to want to do that yourself.

It’s not often that we are presented with original works, which seem to slide in and out of time and to adhere to their own aesthetic rules. This is her first album, Hypnopomp, and it is really great music. Something obviously is different here; after a few listens, the beautiful catchy stuff reveals itself. It’s perhaps like the first time you eat “real” licorice.

When Warren Defever of His Name Is Alive and Third Man Mastering first heard this music, he raved. Warren is a friend and he knew I like Katie’s art work, as I’d run it in my magazine Maggot Brain. He doesn’t rave about much. “This music is wonderful; it’s completely insane,” he said after Katie first gave him her home recordings.

I asked him just now what he meant and what he thinks of it and he said after spending the time doing whatever it is that mastering guys do, and he remarked that he would not be surprised if the thing had originally been recorded on a micro-cassette answering machine recorder. “The levels, the EQ, make no sense, but the minute you spend time with it, it creeps up on you.”

When you write glowingly of this music, please don’t use the term “lo-fi,” and not because it would be dishonoring the memory of my old roommate, WFMU DJ Bill Berger (who claimed to have invented that phrase). Bill’s dead; he’s not going to care. Do not use that term because it’s meaningless as a descriptor and an alleged genre indicator.

Likewise, there might be other ways to talk of dreamy, molten-sounding, guitar-based, mildly experimental, underground pop music than “shoegaze” or “hypnagogic,” but you do you. Please do listen, fall in love, and spread the word! If your job is bumming you out right now, I get it. But you’re so lucky that you get to hear Katie Lass’ first record before anyone else!

Love—Mike McGonigal (Hazel Park, Michigan)