A Hit/Wine-Stained Lips

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The closest thing to a lo-fi national anthem you're ever likely to hear, Bill Callahan succinctly distills the sum totality of the home-recording aesthetic into one side of a 7" single with "A Hit." Singing, "It's not gonna be a hit, so why bother with it?/Just lay it down and forget about it," he captures both the limitless creative freedom and severely limited commercial prospects that shape the fortunes of the four-track recluse. Complete with trudging, crunchy melody suggesting a T. Rex B-side played back through a blown amp, like the very best of Callahan's songs it's both hilarious and heartbreaking, universal and self-obsessed all at the same time. The flip, "Wine-Stained Lips," only suffers by comparison, but judged on its own terms it's a lovely, if fractured, acoustic meditation on that most elusive of moments -- the night before.