John Toothill is a man of thousand talents, and he doesn’t hesitate to showcase them through countless incarnations. Besides being entirely responsible for anything considering his record label named Swimming Faith, John performs in dozen of quality groups and outlets along the way. Science Man, Night Slaves, Alpha Hopper, Spit Kink, Black And White Cat // Black And White Cake, Cobra Cobra, Johns are some of the groups he participates in, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I forgot some of his bands from a very comprehensive list. Swimming Faith acts as a platform for his works, which are unquestionably tremendous and inspiring. Not to mention a strong presence of DIY ethics that John devotedly follows.
The Midnight Vein is one of his solo projects that is lurking around for a while. Previously, he published a debut self-titled cassette, followed by a remarkable idea where he would make a special delivery to the door and then perform a private gig for an hour or maybe three. It’s probably one of the neatest ideas I heard in a while. Till It Explodes is his latest offering to the broader audiences, which includes two new compositions. For those who are not familiar with his sound, The Midnight Vein profoundly examines the fundamentals of psychedelic, kraut, garage, indie, folk, lo-fi rock. However, John incorporates subtle dosages of dream pop, shoegaze, blues through very delicate orchestrations, and soulful chants. The overall sound is charming and hypnotic, with dreamy atmosphere included through gracious portions of the studio reverb effect.
A number of the same name opens up this marvelous 7” record. John decided to delve into dreamy psychedelic melodies followed by a strong indie blues vibe, subtle enough not to spoil the primary aesthetics of The Midnight Vein. There’s a strong resemblance with Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Thurston Moore, or perhaps John Lennon on this record. However, The Midnight Vein sounds more appealing than the abovementioned artists, mainly because of thoughtfully arranged instrumentations that accommodate one another. John thought about each included layer, so Till It Explode sounds soothing, but with some specific edge hidden beneath the spacey atmosphere.
Run From The Light comes on the other side, and this composition provides more kraut rock-oriented sound that completely goes with the material pressed on the A-Side. This particular composition leans towards a similar aesthetics as the previous one, but with a fuzzier, dirtier, lo-fi approach. Run From The Light liberates melancholic thematics performed by compelling guitars, while the hypnotic choruses are gradually dragging the listener into a deep meditative state. Moderate tempo leads through the vast world of repetitious harmonizations that are sounding even more interesting as the song progresses towards the closure. The chorus liberates a specific country blues vibe, but I guess that was not entirely John’s intention. Nevertheless, it sounds just as it should be, catchy and magnificent at the same time.
Besides extraordinary music, John pays a lot of attention to the visual aspect of his records, and Till It Explodes is not an exception at all. The artwork includes a circle surrounded by thousands of arrows pointing in all directions. The labels carry the exact design that creates an optical illusion while spinning on the turntable. As a bonus, John included wildflower seeds from his garden, so you can repetitiously play this record while watching the flowers growing. Till It Explodes is available at Swimming Faith store on The Midnight Vein Bandcamp page. Don’t miss this one out!