What began as a project called ‘Bertrand Russell and the Country Club’ soon evolved into Blackout Beach. Whatever the psuedonym, Carey Mercer’s solo creations dwell in a land all their own. Mercer began his solo project soon after the demise of his brilliant first band, Blue Pine, in 2001. Mercer would also form Frog Eyes around this time, recruiting roommate and keyboard whiz Spencer Krug, Blue Pine bandmate Mike Rak and his wife Melanie Campbell to help realize his swirling, frenzied compositions. Though just as dense, intense and literate as his Frog Eyes work, Mercer's Blackout Beach recordings reveal another side of the artist (and the artist's psyche).
Light Flows the Putrid Dawn, issued in June 2004 on Soft Abuse, features some of Mercer's most complex and darkly delivered material to date. The atmosphere slowly builds and swells while Mercer delivers his unmistakable growling rants, seemily from beneath a thick fog. The songs collapse soon after they coalesce. Further listening to Light Flows the Putrid Dawn reveals layer upon layer of intricacies; a cohesive thematic experience akin to Scott Walker's recent work.
Unreleased songs from the sessions that yielded Light Flows the Putrid Dawn would finally see the light of day in 2006, in the form of a limited lathe cut single on Soft Abuse. One of the songs, Claxxon's Lament, is amongst Carey Mercer's best-known compositions, despite the fact that Mercer never properly issued the song himself. Wolf Parade covered Claxxon's Lament for a Believer Magazine compilation, and Mercer performed the song with Carolyn Mark on her duet-laden album from 2005 on Mint Records, Just Married.
In 2008, following a series of stops & starts, Mercer created Skin of Evil, his second Blackout Beach full length. Composed, played and recorded entirely by Mercer alone, the album contains a story arc based loosely upon the classic Greek notion of the ideal woman.