May 23, 2024

Nicholas Merz – The Limits of Men

After releasing six albums with Seattle indie rock explorers Darto, frontman Nicholas Merz finally released his debut solo LP The Limits of Men via Aagoo Records on June 1. This is a quite personal work, comprised of nine songs that are based on ideas he’s been thinking about since for many years now – songs that are a further away from Darto’s fuzzy-indie realms. This record was also made with the participation of various band members, his father, and a few more friends. Here, Merz offers the specter of indie, yet alternative country/Americana, as well as some less amplified cantos that somehow took me into the same space as Nick Cave’s or Eddie Vedder’s musical narrations.

It turns out that both of his parents were in country bands and that has certainly influenced Merz’s songs, filtering them in his own musical pursuit. He skillfully blends this essence with modern and alternative ideas while maintaining the straight country line. The album is very melodic with a down to mid-tempo beat and the vocal acquaintance of, if I dare say so, Johnny Cash.  The groove and the style, no matter the rhythmic class, runs like a train. While this album is not mellow at all, it takes its time to narrate the songwritter’s chants with all these elements and techniques included in all the songs found on this long-play. In first order, you absolutely must hear this super driven buzz track – Bullet Rose!


Merz’s own words best describe all the why’s and how’s on his solo debut, saying “I wouldn’t call this a country record, as much as a record resulting from that dynamic with country music. The record is a social critique on straight white men, masculinity and all the cultural expectations that come with being raised as such“. For the next song I recommend Domestic Dispute!


The Great American Tail also holds Merz’s words well and, actually, all the album’s ghosts in this one song.  I could also suggest replacing the title into The Great International Tail…yeah!


Other great alternative country/indie-Americana tunes include the opener Generation, as well as FashionNeon FiguresMan Without A Woman, and The Empress of the Garden. There are also a few more here, where you may discover yourselves. Throw some love at Nicolas and Aagoo via the following link!



Keep Up With Nicholas Merz (of Darto)




Written by Mike D.


About Mike D 282 Articles
Hey people I'm Mike D from Athens GR (43). I'm a sound engineer, radio producer, and certainly a music "freak." I couldn't be anything else, you see: I grew up in a musical home (my father was a composer), and wanted to be a rock-star but wasn't patient enough to study music. Instead, I studied the technical stuff and went really "nuts" when I started writing articles about the bands and artists I love. It all started back in 2002 in a printed magazine (Sound Maker - RIP) and I still do it because I really like sharing my libraries, discotheque, info, connections, knowledge, and all. I'm involved in all "waves" music (new wave/darkwave/post-punk/shoegaze), punk, industrial, EBM, alternative rock, indie, electronic, avant-garde/ experimental/ freestyle...but on the other hand I can easily throw a classical CD in the player, or a jazzy tune, or...ok you get it: Music! I'd like to read your comments on my writing because you know how it goes, and you all know the glorious song by Placebo,"Without You I'm Nothing"...Thanx and enjoy Freedom and Music, Loud!
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