So the press release says Joy Void Recordings is “excited to announce their newest signing, Richmond, Virginia’s Cat Be Damned.” Well they might be excited, but Cat Be Damned, aka Erik Phillips, sounds like whatever is 30 miles down a shadowed road from excited. Shoot, this nearly narcoleptic lad has even named his project in defiance of everyone’s favorite fun cute internet habit, cats!

The label has the name right. There is a joy void in this Virginian, the kind of guy who, really, held a job being a sign spinner, hanging out on roadsides pointing oblivious drivers to where they could get a sandwich or whater. Then Phillips would go home, listen to Elliot Smith, and deal with Christian guilt from his parents, and, well you get the idea.

So where then does he find the quiet lines of beauty that run through “Soft Collision,” the new track from his upcoming album, Daydreams In A Roach Motel, premiering right here? I’ll assume it’s in making the music and probably some Ritalin. The album’s out May 20 digitally and on cassette, perfect for slowly folding into your old stereo, mustering up the energy to hit the wonky play button, and leaning back only to accidentally squish you cat as it hisses at you and runs away.