The prolific and eclectic Dan Melchior first made a name for himself on the same Medway music scene that produced Billy Childish and Holly Golightly (and collaborated with both), but he’s since gone on to carve out a more unique identity with his own take on lo-fi pop. Melchior was born in the English town of Chertsey, not far from Shepperton in Surrey, in 1972, and he began teaching himself to play guitar when he was 17. After making his way through a few unmemorable teenage groups, Melchior formed the Loaded Souls in 1995; while they proved to be short-lived, one promoter who saw them was impressed enough to suggest that the band send a tape to Billy Childish, who was releasing material through his Hangman Records label. Childish liked Melchior’s rough but emphatic blues guitar stylings and evocative songwriting, and he referred Melchior to chanteuse Holly Golightly. Melchior played guitar on Golightly’s 1997 album Painted On (produced by Childish) and wrote a song for the set; he went on to record a handful of albums, singles, and EPs with Golightly over the next several years, as well as playing in her road band. Melchior also recorded a duo album with Childish, Devil in the Flesh, in 1998.
In 1998, Melchior released his first solo single, “Wrong Inside” b/w “Crow Jane,” and in 1999 he formed the first edition of his band Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue, issuing the album This Love Is Real. In 1999, Melchior met Letha Rodman, an artist and musician from the United States; they fell in love, and in 2000 Melchior relocated to New York City to be with her. Once settled in New York, Melchior assembled a new version of the Broke Revue (including Rodman) and recorded and toured extensively over the next several years, releasing a handful of albums through In the Red Records and Sympathy for the Record Industry. Melchior began moving away from the blues-influenced garage sound that defined his early work, an evolution he hinted at in the title of his 2002 solo album This Is Not the Medway Sound, and in 2004 he folded the Broke Revue to focus on lo-fi material with a strong pop and psychedelic influence that also highlighted his witty and thoughtful songwriting. Melchior reintroduced himself with the 2006 album Hi, I’m Dan Melchior, and began working in a band format again with his ensemble Das Menace. In 2007, Melchior and Rodman relocated to Durham, North Carolina, and in 2011 he told reporter Mark Kemp “I didn’t know that much about [the North Carolina music scene] before I moved, but luckily I couldn’t have made a better choice.” Melchior continued to write and record steadily in North Carolina, releasing material through a variety of independent labels. In 2015, after a decade-long hiatus, he re-formed the Broke Revue and released a new LP, Lords of the Manor, which favored a more minimalist and improvisational approach. A 2016 two-volume collection called Filthy Frozen River Rag, Vols. 1 & 2 compiled a variety of previously unreleased material. Melchior followed up a year later with a solo LP, Melpomene.