"Protestant Work Ethic is Simon Usaty. Simon is songwriter and one half of KES (alongside Bernard Bauch), eventually Vienna's finest alternative rock -and country- outfit and long-time inside tip (listen to "Nordwaggon" on 12rec.032). According to the name of his solo-project, Simon stripped of every superfluous knick-knack, focussing on a few acoustic instruments and his juvenile voice. But as a Protestant Work Ethic might imply a success-orientated, rather rational concept for life, Simon decided to break with the cultural surplus of his moniker in this point. His work ethic is an emotional one.
In North America, kids grow up with folklore and country-music. And although 99% of the commercial western & country-genre is bullshit, one percent settles seed in bands like Wilco, Califone or the Bright Eyes. Right here, Simon Usaty manages what so little European musicians achieve: authentic, alternative country-music. His voice has a certain moment of failure, still he's an awesome vocalist, on stage and on his recordings. The chords he picks draw influence from folk and blues, the instruments are well chosen: acoustic guitar, banjo next to harmonica, chimes, accordion and bits of percussion. The overall feel of his Ep is melancholy, but every now and then Simon pushes aside the clouds ("Walk the Plank"), at least a bit. Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies ("Weather Side") take turns with introspective instrumentals ("Duba Ktana") and shyly shivering gems of pop-songwriting ("Set Out to Take on"). If you'd like to see Protestant Work Ethic compared with other 12rec. artists, you can imagine Simon's music standing between UK-based Crepusculum and Californian Giraffe.
The "Turned, and Turning Ep" is a destillate from Simon's self titled debut-album released back in 2005. The Cdr-version won't include the outtakes, but you can ask for the whole thing if you dare. Furthermore, look out for the magnificent new KES-longplayer "Tous Les Soirs". We'll keep you posted". (12rec.)