Sacred Sphinx

by Tender Mercy

  • Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

     $5 USD  or more


  • Cassette

    Limited to 100
    Includes download code

    Includes unlimited streaming of Sacred Sphinx via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 10 days
    edition of 100 

     $5 USD or more




released 12 February 2015

Mark Kramer Guitar/vocals

Produced by Mark Kramer
Recorded at The Scooter Room,Louisville,KY
Mastered by Brian Lueken at Decibel Mastering

Biggest of thanks:
Alex Glasnovic/Carpithian Cassettes
Sean Padilla
Sean Bailey
Louisville Music Culture
Mike Seymour
Syd Bishop
Phil Olympia
Joe Anderl/The 1984 Draft
Tim Anderl/Ghettoblaster
Susan Doyle/David James
Delia Rainey
Jesse Ceilings
Andrew Lampela
Evan Bailey/Pinata Me
Brian Manley
Twin Limb
Sean Padilla
Tony Presley/Real Live Tigers
Tim Barnes/Dreamland
Zach Hart/We Listen For You
Lacey Guthrie/Maryliz Guillemi/Metacult Creative
Kyle Meredith
Shadwick Wilde/Quiet Hollers
Cher Von
Bobby Barbour
Sarah Davis
Jim Marlowe
Brandon Butler
Six Bells
Logan Nichols
John King/Louisville Is For Lovers
The Room Outside
Amy Oelsner/Vollmar
Chris Martin/Pet Eunuch
Ben Traughber
Billy Hardison

Tender Mercy‘s 5-song EP Sacred Sphinx follows up on his 2014 debut of the same length. His milieu hasn’t changed a bit: it’s still Mark Kramer’s forlorn voice, a gently plucked guitar, tape hiss, and reverb. The minimalist, slowcore songs that result are heavily mood-oriented pieces; they rely not on complexity, but on the all-pervasive mood that the few elements create. It takes work to make simplicity sound so vital, and it’s clear that Kramer has put in that work.
Because of the stark minimalism, the melodies that Kramer features feel immediate and foregrounded: the vocals in the chorus of “Invisible” and the guitar patterns in “Doubt” and “MLK Day” are particularly striking. By contrast, the near-consistent guitar strumming of “Dirt Mtns” feels like a grand statement. Tender Mercy’s songs create an alternate universe for themselves and suck you into it: they seem difficult and foreboding at first, but their charms unfold as the listener slowly accustoms to the type of world that Kramer is imagining. Slow down a bit and enjoy Sacred Sphinx; it’s not the sort of thing that you work to. It’s an experience to be savored.
-Stephen Carradini/Independent Clauses



all rights reserved


feeds for this album, this artist
Track Name: Invisible
You want to be invisible
to hang your head down low
keep a low profile
you want to be invisible

You want to disappear
into thin air
like you were never here
you want to disappear
Track Name: Doubt
Your doubt it binds your feet
so you wont try to leave
your doubt it ties your hands
so you won't try to reach

Your doubt it takes your confidence
and replaces it with "I can't"
pulls you under the surface
so breath it in make it your last breath
Track Name: Dirt Mountains
You rule the day
with your friends
ride your bike
to the dirt mountains

The night falls
there's no shade at all
then dinner ends
and the problems begin

The Taliban
the Viet Cong
now your mom