Hank Williams meets the Modern Lovers (+ a free MP3!)

Most of the illustrators we’ve met support their art habits by working a day job or two. Marcellus Hall is an A-list illustrator (for The New Yorker, among other, excellent places) with a side career fronting indie rock bands. The Minnesota native’s been a fixture on New York’s music scene for two decades now—but The First Line (out on February 22) is his first proper solo release.

Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, Dylan, and the Everly Brothers are obvious reference points—Americana fans will love this album—but Hall doesn’t really go in for nostalgia, and careful listeners will also hear echoes of the Modern Lovers, Einstürzende Neubauten, and New York’s No Wave bands. Like them, Hall lets the sounds of his city seep into the recordings; the tracks sound simultaneously organic and artificially distressed. The First Line’s second song, “Star Position,” is an excellent place to start—download the MP3 below, and click on the Venn links above to hear tracks by Hall’s old bands, White Hassle and Railroad Jerk.

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