I was about to write about how I both lost my laptop (to a beer spill) and my bartending job (to tardiness) the day before I did mushrooms at Ft. Tilden and saw Mac DeMarco live for the first time, but this is about the music–and with that in my mind you have an idea as to the source of this review. So grab your pack of North Carolina class-A cigarettes and your liter of Domincan Gold Brugal, and let’s talk Macky D’s new album 2 for a couple two-tree hundred words, shall we?
Glad you’re here. That means you’re most likely bored, love tunes, and/or dig Impose enough to actually read the reviews. Thanks. That’s awesome. We at Impose are like that, too. I think. At least enough to help us along with writing semi-coherent shit about artists with which we may not be too familiar. I mean, look at the depth and breadth of the music industry today. If you have a life beyond weed-tar stained walls and sour sheets, you’re most likely streaming your new favs via Spotify or reconciling your “adventurous” surface-level taste through avenues like NME, Spin, or the Hype Machine. Keep scouring Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and cassette labels, you righteous souls. You are why start-up venues are able to book shows and pay artists with digital-weight in drink tickets and two-digit sums! I digress.
Mac DeMarco is the hip-cocked swagger your tenuous collegiate romance has waited to grace late-night in the dorm room. DeMarco’s slow-burn, glam-funk is the dental dam instilling confidence in Western, torrent-savvy campuses. Lo-Fi, sardonic, and hep, Captured Track’s new self-proclaimed “puss” from Montreal gives us his smokey take on what he endearingly calls jizz-jazz fit with a tribute to his favorite floor-tobacco brand, Viceroy. DeMarco is not a golden boy with words or the guitar but the heart-felt hero some of us harbor in our romantic, black-lunged torsos. While the Viceroy cigarette brand he regards in a fond light is considered a “budget” brand in Canada, those smokes are produced by R.J. Reynolds–which produces my brands Camel and Pall Mall respectively (fuck Altria–the producer of ‘Merica’s “leading”, flavor-less brand, Marlboro). It would be useless to compare DeMarco’s “product” to those with a bigger budget under bigger labels, and so what his music offers is not only satisfactory for the potential customer short of pocket but worthy of brand-recognition (Captured Tracks rarely does us wrong) and repeat listens. His pipes are tainted with the rich smoke of countless pack-a-day ventures. His guitar licks come compliment of late-night, seemingly self-taught noodling. And his Lo-Fi recordings rear the romanticism of contemporary bedroom poppers like Netherfriends, Run DMT, Ariel Pink, Jeremy Jay, Joey DeMarco (not of relation, but look him the fuck up), White Fence, and Gnar Tapes’ soft-siders the Memories. Yes, he does have a folk-funk style comparable to early G. Love, but does it all the different…
The whips, the slides, the trickle of his scale play are what distances himself from his “relatives” in the been-done-before grainy hook-laden guitar world. DeMarco gave us a glimpse into what was gleamed from his past with Makeout Videotape, on his screwed (slowed) debut EP Rock and Roll Night Club, with the recycled inclusion of the track “Only You” and the cloudy, chorus-heavy effects present of the duo’s only album Ying Yang. But, with 2, DeMac has taken a step forward. He has tuned his guitar… and, well, let his voice ring out in its true tempo.
It’s probably better for this kid’s continuity that he’s not considered a “drunk Elvis” crooner on 2. Embracing one’s true attributes is more admirable in the realm of artistry in lieu of the one off, bucket-list release. After all, The Beets’ frontman Juan Waters (also of Captured Tracks notoriety) told us in his cover of “Locomotion,” “…learn the guitar before you learn the distortion.” His almost spoken word approach to singing dominates the album, like Night Club. But what’s more endearing on his latest is the apparent affliction to his larynx with strain and smoke. Creating a slight grovel and charm with every turn of syllable… rightfully expressed with the cough during the outro of “Ode to Viceroy” (for obvious reasons).
A surprising turn comes with the psychedelic influences on numbers “Robson Girl” and “Sherril” that not only owe a tip of the cap to revivalists Brian Jonestown Massacre and Ty Segall, but to the age-old, tried source of all that is garage-tinged psych, Ze Velvet Underground and Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd.
As if DeMarco hasn’t given you enough chances to grace the side of your thumb with your lover’s cheek on his latest, he finishes off 2 with an ode to his own, Kiki. “Still Together” lulls even the loneliest of saps into a world of Mbube-style vocal swoons which are destined to produce either solitary tears or tightly gripped hands. A song too simple and good to ever be appreciated by more than two people at a time.
What's amazing is that this dude isn't on Woodsist…