Frog Eyes

Indie rock is littered with artists who refuse to make creative concessions, and thus are reduced to the peripheries of the music world. Carey Mercer, the erudite singer for Canadian psych rockers Frog Eyes, is one of those guys, and he deserves all the kudos in the world for fighting the good fight and maintaining his idiosyncratic style.

While his frequent associates and collaborators Spencer Krug and Dan Bejar have found great success in their various projects (Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown for Krug, Destroyer and New Pornographers for Bejar), Mercer has remained resolutely under the radar, which seems to suit him just fine.

Mercer’s creations are wordy, schizophrenic, and mostly devoid of choruses or big hooks, and while Frog Eyes can be a challenging listen at times, that just makes the inevitable payoff and emotional delivery of the music all the more rewarding.

Frog Eyes continue to churn out quirky, brainy records like 2015’s Pickpocket’s Locket, a collection of tracks that have a bizarrely-uplifting feel to them, which may be a reflection of Mercer’s battle with throat cancer, which he happily seems to have conquered. Mercer is a beloved figure in the indie rock world, and his recovery from the life-threatening ailment is great news for anyone who’s been lucky enough to appreciate his offbeat brand of music.

Proving his health is now in fine fashion, Mercer has Frog Eyes back touring frequently again, with the latest tour including a stop at Bottom of the Hill on Thursday. Mercer has a manic stage presence, stalking and hovering above the microphone like it’s his prey. It’s doubtful that cancer will have changed that feature of this uncompromising performer.

Frog Eyes, Wreck and Reference, White Cloud
Bottom of the Hill
March 17, 2016
8:30pm, $10 (21+)