MIKE POLIZZE has just recorded the next Purling Hiss record at Black Dirt Studio in upstate New York. And if everything goes well, he hopes to have the fifth official Hiss full-length (and second for Drag City records) out in the fall, about a year and a half after the release of the fourth, 2013's Water on Mars.
That's a reasonable amount of time for most bands, but just thinking about a year and a half between releases makes the ultra-prolific Polizze feel antsy.
"I'm in that mode at this point in my life right now," he says from a tour stop in New Orleans. "When I first got the opportunity to tour, I really went for it. I quit my job, moved out of my place, and just went 100 percent into it. I'm really into what I'm doing right now, so I just want to take it as far as it'll go."
Fortunately, Polizze—a longtime Philly scene vet who also plays with classic rockers Birds of Maya—had some stuff in the vault to fill in the gap. Last fall, Richie Records reissued a noisy old cassette he made by himself called Paisley Montage, and in April, Drag City will reissue a similar relic, Dizzy Polizzy.
Fans of the relative cleanliness and power-trio feel of Water on Mars may be taken aback by the super-lo-fi psych-guitar experiments, which sound like aural doodles in the sketchbook of a preternatural six-string shredder still figuring out how to self-record. Because that's what they are, and Polizze's an open book.
"I had stuff that I want the world to hear. I'm cool with it. I'm proud of it," he says. "That's how [Purling Hiss] started out, without the band, and I was just putting out [small runs of] recordings."
No matter the level of fidelity or the reach of distribution, Polizze does what he does well: shaggy rock 'n' roll, fried to a psychedelic crisp, slathered in fuzzed-out vocals and lots of fretboard wizardry. On the family tree of guitar heroes, he hangs on the same branch as Jimi Hendrix and J. Mascis.
Recently, Polizze has been toying with the idea of recruiting a second guitarist to the band to add a new dimension to the Purling Hiss sound. For practical reasons, he hasn't yet.
"When I go on tour, I tour in a minivan. I can literally only fit three people," he says. "So it's kinda like jamming econo, man. We just embrace whatever limited resources we have and just sort of work with it. It's always been that way."
Meanwhile, the current tour is primarily motivated by a desire to get out to the West Coast for the first time in a couple of years. Plus, "It's springtime," Polizze says, "and I'd rather do something than nothing, you know?"