Slick is probably best known as the drummer for Pennsylvania rock band, Dr. Dog (since 2010) — as well as the drummer for Adrian Belew of King Crimson and as co-leader of the Philly band, Lithuania. Palisades, however, sees the musician stepping out from behind the kit. The record was penned over the course of 2014, when Slick decided to leave his native Philadelphia for the first time and move to Asheville, North Carolina. He practiced meditation and Jungian dream therapy as a form of reinvention — and to write his own songs, which all sprung from these intense periods of meditation. Slick specifically found inspiration in the works of writer/actor Spalding Gray, especially his 1992 book “Impossible Vacation,” which details, well, the impossibility of searching for Zen. “I know it’s the funny trope: indie rock dude goes to the woods and makes an outsider record,” Slick says. “But it was a time of deep introspection and a fruitful period of my life. I wrote somewhere around 50 songs in 2014.”
Eric Slick wants you to know that his upcoming debut solo release, Palisades, is not a breakup record. “It’s not a record about love or anything like that,” he says. “It’s an album about meditation, death, self-help, dream therapy, tarot and mysticism.”
Palisades is a document of that year, a record that washes over you with both the power of a hurricane and the peace of light filtering through the trees — and turns your third eye inward. It starts off strong and discordant with “You Became the Light,” which details Slick’s first attempts as meditation, then jangles into “The Dirge,” which he says is all about moving away from your hometown. Some songs came from a place of pure meditation, like “Palisades,” the dreamy title track, the origins of which are unknown to the songwriter. “When you’re meditating, sometimes unexpected thoughts happen,” Slick says. “I don’t know why I’m singing about the Palisades Parkway in New York. I have no fucking idea. That song is a complete mystery.” The record ends with a suite of tracks (“Evergreen” and “Into the Void”) that echo the eerie, almost arcane artistry of English bands like XTC and Procol Harum, while also evoking the dissoant melodic sensibilities of Robert Wyatt, Brian Eno, and Van Dyke Parks.
After returning to Philly at the end of 2014 — and recording Palisades in three days at Phil Elverum’s (Mt. Eerie) The Unknown studio in Anacortes, Washington — Slick tucked the songs away for a spell, finishing them in 2016 with help from producer José Díaz Rohena (Neighbors), Michael Johnson (Ape School, Kurt Vile), Dom Angelella (Lithuania), Ricardo Lagomasino, Ryan Neitznick, and Dailey Toliver (Molly Burch).
Slick plans to take his solo act on the road in 2017, starting with a string of performances at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Palisades will be available April 21 via EggHunt Records.
Tickets are still available here or can be purchased at the box office.