By Mike Faloon
Fact #1: Hussalonia is a one-man power pop band.
Evidence-based conclusion #1: Hussalonia is one of the best power pop bands. Home Taping Is Killing Me ranks with his/their best.
Facts #2: There is no specific personal information about the member(s) of Hussalonia. Just Jandek-like references to “The Hussalonia Founder.”
Rumor #1: Hussalonia is the brainchild of a mild-mannered white-collar professional residing somewhere in the Midwest. Canton, Ohio, I believe.
Evidence-based conclusions #2: Hussalonia is a genius.
Speculation #1: He’s the sort of person who excels at whatever creative endeavor he places in his creative field of view.
Evidence-based conclusions #3: His melodies consistently hit the mark. Likewise for his guitar tone.
Speculation #2: His record collection is pretty great. He prefers McCartney to Lennon when it comes to music. The opposite is true for lyrics. He understands my inclination to compare him to Robert Pollard—hyper prolific, willing to let a song stand at 25 seconds or four minutes. He’d probably hear me out were I to compare Hussalonia’s river of short songs to those of the Minutemen.
Evidence-based conclusions #4: Hussalonia can turn a phrase with the best of them, perhaps more so now than ever.
Take this one, from the opening song, “Keeping the Company of the Dead” – “In this world there is more bad than good/But the good is f*&# great” You have to believe that if you’re going to embark in any creative endeavor. Hussalonia’s inner optimist gets the first word on this record. He has the last word, too, as we’ll soon see.
Here’s another from “No to Some”: “I went from no to some idea of what I’m doing” That’s the best summation of the past 10-15 years of my life, personally, creatively, professionally.
I think the last song, “Time Will Measure Me,” might prove to be the tape’s crown jewel. It’s slower and noisier and longer than the rest of the cuts. It’s probably the most difficult. I’m still adjusting to it a dozen listens in. It’s the most compelling, too. The title alone is the perfect distillation of the Hussalonia statement / slogan: “Pop does not mean popular.” It’s like he’s saying if people aren’t getting the Hussalonia founder now, that’s there loss. Perhaps future generations will. Yet he has to recognize the longshot nature of this scenario.
Interpretation #1 :The satirical concept that loosely runs through Home Taping is a swell topper for the proceedings. According to the liner notes, Hussalonia was bought out by Nefarico Industries. Subsequently there were internal conflicts between the Hussalonia founder and his corporate backers. Several recording projects were shelved. One of which, Home Taping Is Killing Me, started surfacing on the Eastern European bootleg market. Nefarico saw potential profits flying out the window and green lighted an official release. Interspersed among the songs are three PSAs.
PSA #1: Never purchase a Hussalonia product not encased in a Nefarico security hologram sticker. “Only Nefarico can save you from your own dishonesty and filth.”
PSA #2: Bootleg Amnesty Day. Bonfire at Nefarico Square starts at 6 PM.
PSA #3: “Listening to pirated Hussalonia cassettes is a criminal activity and criminals are worthless, vile scum undeserving of the Earth’s bounty.”
Summary #1: Home Taping Is Killing Me = Vintage Elvis Costello crossed with SCTV. Treat yourself.