They say in times of crisis, a person's true colors reveal themselves more brilliantly than ever. That certainly seems the case for Dan Melchior and his wife, Letha Rodman-Melchior, local musicians (he fronts and she plays bass for Dan Melchior Und Das Menace) who, since Letha was diagnosed with melanoma and breast cancer in 2010, have battled the diseases tenaciously and continued to pursue their artistic endeavors.
The latest output from the Melchiors is the debut of a new band, Lloyd Pack, which finds Dan and Letha joined by Russell Walker of the English post-punk band The Pheromoans. The trio's four-song Know Your Lloyd Pack EP will be released in an edition of 300 7-inch records by the reliable lo-fi imprint Siltbreeze (which released Assemblage Blues, one of Melchior's 2010 LPs). The famously sardonic Melchior has taken an introspective turn on his most recent solo songs, but in its announcement of the new EP, Siltbreeze promises the characteristic snark. "Its drollery is of the highest Anglo-Saxon order," the label claims.
As his wife has undergone a battery of tests and treatments, Melchior, a famously prolific art-rocker, has issued a deluge of releases, including a 12-inch EP and a brilliant, introspective new LP, The Backward Path, this year alone. He's also stacked canvases with his abstract paintings and collages.
Since Letha's diagnosis, benefit concerts have been organized, records and paintings have been sold; Northern Spy, the New York-based record label which released The Backward Path and last year's Catbirds & Cardinals, even offered to donate all proceeds from the new album's sales to help fund Letha's treatments.
Still, as the couple revealed in Jordan Lawrence's feature story on Sept. 26, the battle rages on. "We still need help," Melchior said. "It's kind of difficult to be asking people for things all the time, but it's just a position that you're put in when you don't really have any health care." Siltbreeze has also promised to donate a portion of all sales of the Lloyd Pack EP to fund Letha's continued treatment. Donations also can be made at melchiorfund.blogspot.com.Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly linked to a poem not written by Dan Melchior.