x
the_deli_magazine

Rate the Artist:


Please visit The Deli's full web charts organized by genre and region.


Go to Charts

Cancel

Jeremy Bastard threads the needle on debut LP





Jeremy Bastard threads the needle on debut LP

“Slipshod, down by evening

I needle cabarets

I cannot quit the feeling

I dressed up anyway--“

 

"Needle” is a word rife with many different meanings. A needle used to be required to hear pre-recorded music and maybe it still is if you're a vinyl junkie. You also need one to sew a sweater or scarf and other warm and fuzzy things. But "to needle" someone means to bug the hell out of them in a very un-warm and fuzzy fashion. Intravenous needles are used to save lives. But they're also synonymous with drug addition and deadly ODs. And when you're on "pins and needles” you’re not sure whether to anticipate or to dread a future event. 

“Needle” is also the first song on Jeremy Bastard's Everyone Is History, There Is No Memory, his first full LP as the featured performer and producer. The album is full of warm analogue synths tones but mixed with a coldwave sensibility, and the overall sound is by turns murky and sleek or sometimes both at once. And who knows if we're talking about good needles or bad ones in a song like this, but either way much of music has a pins and needles quality to it in a way that reminds me of the Tech Noir scene in the first Terminator movie.

For one thing there's the death disco vibe of "Needle" that sounds just right for an 80s club with a chain link fence around a neon-saturated dance floor. But there's also something about the sound design like in how the soundtrack gets all echoey and distant sounding just as the scene above transitions to slo-mo visuals. And then the music transitions from diegetic to non-diegetic sound, but so gradually and seamlessly you could miss it if you're immersed in the action too much but it alters your perceptions either way.

Jeremy Bastard's music does this same thing too with overlapping layers of sound that alters your perceptions. Like when waves of echo seems to coalesce and follow their own rhythmic logic independent of the rest of the song. Or when a sound is pushed into the red far enough that you can get lost in its ruptured, distorted interiors. Overall there's a clear focus on being diffuse on the record (Official Paradox of the Day) but just don't get it twisted because this isn't an experimental noise project. It's still a dance record but one that threads the needle with sonic experimentation. 

Take for instance the first of the two tracks featuring Electra Monet on vocals, whose singing could be described as Nico-esque or if you prefer Jane Birkin-esque. Normally if you've got a voice like this to work with you'd expect the producer to make that voice sound as angelic and ethereal and "pure" as possible. Ms. Monet's singing on “Shadow Boxing” is all these things except pure (and all the better for it) because the production highlights the grit and grain of her voice (including, most unusually, the sibilance of echoing "Sssss" sounds) and of the instrumental sounds from the pounding drums to the insistent keyboard ostinato to the John McGeoch like guitar outro. These are dreampop angels with dirty faces.

But then next the third track "Love is a Mistake" (featuring Disolve) would be a perfect fit for John Hughes’ never realized sequel to Pretty in Pink because it's a hooky indie-electro-pop song with romantically tragic overtones that would be perfect for the scene where Duckie drives up to the class reunion blasting the song on his car's cassette player still bitter at how he didn't get Molly Ringwald in the end (sidebar: the ending of Pretty in Pink was changed because Duckie wasn’t considered Molly-worthy enough by test audiences). 

And Jeremy Bastard could play the DJ at the reunion prom because that's something he does too. And on Everyone Is History he holds onto that DJ-minded curatorial mindset by featuring a different singer/lyricist/collaborator on every other track or two, and according to Jeremy himself it was the motivating spark behind the entire project. Exiled to Florida for much of the past year, Jeremy turned to producing and long-distance collaborations as a way to maintain creative momentum and human contact. And in the process he may have found his future musical lane, or one of them, because this one-on-one approach apparently suits his creative muse, at least judging by other recent releases in this format (see below) and bonus non-album tracks from the album's various collaborators that keep popping up as b-sides to its singles like needles in a haystack. (Jason Lee)

This Emerging Artist is based in NYC,
check out other talented locals we picked
for our NYC Artist of the Month poll below!

New Poll Coming Soon!

sponsored by::
 

 

 

NYC New Bands With Buzz

- news for musician and music pros -

Loading...