Shelf Life is Scotty Leitch, a Philadelphia-based recording engineer, sideman and most recently, drummer for Alex G. It’s no surprise then, that his debut solo album Everyone Make Happy dwells in the same slurry and sweet slowcore that has earned Alex a sizeable following. Assuredly, Everyone Make Happy will earn Leitch a similar cohort. This is earnest, bleary-eyed indie rock for small moments and big emotions, but instead of coming through hysterical or bleeding, these feelings seep through like psychedelic jolts of realization.
“Mark II” meditates on sunlight but is more interested in the dust motes dancing in the beam than in the light itself. “Sinking Just Right” glowers through an ooze of familiar self-loathing and album opener “The Curse” manages to be shambling and twee, even though it’s shot through with warped synthesizers.
My favorite, though, is “Time Traveler,” a song that’s focused on fucking up in the past, but still manages to make looking backward seem soothing. Leitch sometimes veers into engineer mode, like when he funnels a clamor of infomercial tripe into the end of “Double Dare.” He morphs sounds in ways that seem alien on first listen, but these jagged moments reveal how fluid the rest of the album is, it washes over you and draws you into a calm spaced-out place. Everyone Make Happy feels like it exists on the gloaming edge between night and day, happy to be on the cusp of either. Stream his ambiguous and comforting debut below.
Everyone Make Happy is out 9/18 via Lefse Records. Pre-order it here.