Luscious hooks and delicious synth-rock gusto
San Francisco's synth-rock outfit Dangermaker will drop their second album October 5.
It's called Run, and picks up where their previous EPs left off: captivating hooks, grand songwriting, and edgy, glimmering energy.
Dangermaker took shape when singer-songwriter Adam Brookes let a group of musicians listen to some demos. Carlos Rodrigues was one of those who listened. Brookes and Rodrigues began collaborating on new music, which they recorded at PopSmear Studios with Scott Llamas. When the 5-track EP dropped, it harvested vast praise.
Still, the duo realized they needed a bigger sound. Serendipity intervened, providing two East Coast musicians, keyboardist David DeAngelis and bassist Neko Fuzzmonk, who decided to see what the West Coast was all about. The quartet hooked up and in 2011, entered Studio SQ to record Black Dream. During the first week of recording, Brookes' father passed away, almost halting the entire project. The band rallied, using the tragedy as creative catharsis.
"Without realizing it, the experience influenced many of the new songs found on the record. Writing and recording became a process that brought us all together," says Dangermaker.
Dangermaker recently finished stints at Bottlerock Napa and Live 105's BFD Music Festivals, sharing the stage with Florence & The Machine, Atlas Genius, Grouplove, Modest Mouse, Cold War Kids, and Best Coast.
Comprising a dozen tracks, Run opens with "In a Dream," a big indie pop number with streaming textures and shimmering colors. A driving, infectious rhythm propels the music onwards and upwards, like the emerging rays of the rising sun.
From a subjective standpoint, the best tracks on the album include not only "In a Dream," but "Pressure," a percolating pop tune with bright colors and Brookes' intoxicating tenor. The tune ripples with coruscating hues and radiant energy.
Another favorite is "Ashes to Ashes," the David Bowie tune laced with pop and new wave flavors. The staggered groove infuses the music with nuanced textures, as Brookes' tones float with melodic persuasion.
"Sleepwalking" opens with surfacing synths flowing into glistening filaments of color, skintight with sparkling, spiraling timbres. The surging energy of the chorus suffuses the song with rushing momentum. "Fantasy" conjures up elusive memories of Depeche Mode and The Cure, as torrents of color flood the atmosphere with new wave indie pop gusto.
Run is a brilliant album, full of pervasive, palpable sonic energy, along with marvelous vocals, and luscious hooks.
Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.
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Plus celebrities react to Nigerian protests.
Young people across Nigeria have been pouring into the streets for the last two weeks to protest police brutality, specifically the controversial special police force known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Tension came to a head on Tuesday when armed forces fired on protestors in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, who were out past the state-mandated curfew. According to AP News, "Police also fired tear gas at one point, and smoke could be seen billowing from several areas in the city's center. Two private TV stations were forced off the air at least temporarily as their offices were burned."
Not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
October 21, 2020 marks the third annual International Pronouns Day.
Created by an independent board and first observed in 2018, it's one of those small commemorative holidays that trends on Twitter in hopes of drawing attention to a pressing social issue, like International Women's Day (March 8th) or the ever so serious National Taco Day (October 4).
But Pronouns Day in particular "seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace." The organization's website further describes, "Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people's multiple, intersecting identities."
But in the words of nonbinary activist and Trevor Project's Head of Advocacy and Government Afairs, Sam Brenton, "Pronouns are hard." Never before have pronouns been scrutinized as closely as they are in 2019 for their power to (in)validate or accurately describe something as fluid as gender identity. In fact, it was only this year that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary expanded the definition of "they" "to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary" (thus codifying a long history in English language of using "they" to refer to a singular non-gendered entity).
‘Everyone has the responsibility to be respectful.’ — The @TrevorProject’s Sam Brinton is explaining why pronouns a… https://t.co/pMMO8KRvBR— NowThis (@NowThis)1571253180.0
But throwing an additional wrench in the works is the fact that not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Take me, for instance: Despite having female biology, I couldn't pass a lie detector test saying I'm a "woman." But my pragmatic, Puritan family is still endearingly confused by the idea of "liberal arts," let alone the notion of gender fluidity. And I'd rather share a communal language with them than do the emotional and mental labor of re-orienting their worldview for them. Plus, I have the privilege of passing as female without feeling too, too, terribly dysphoric (which non-binary people can definitely suffer from, despite not identifying as trans).
But enough about me, look at Queer Eye's beloved Jonathan Van Ness. While he's been outspoken about being genderqueer, gay, and HIV positive, he prefers he/him pronouns. "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary," Van Ness said. "I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman." As he told Out magazine, he doesn't identify as a man, but he does prefer "he/him/his" pronouns. In his view, those pronouns don't detract from or contradict his non-binary identity, because gender is not about simple binaries between masculine and feminine identifiers. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he said. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to."
On the other hand, last month non-binary singer Sam Smith announced that their preferred pronouns are "they/them." Smith posted to Instagram, "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out." People like Smith and Trevor Project's Sam Brenton simply feel more validated, seen, heard, and true to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns. Smith wrote, "I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*ck it!"
Most importantly, as pretty much every non-binary person and activist is aware, changing cultural norms is hard. While LGBTQ+ activism is inspired and passionate and dedicated to expanding human rights to all gender identities, we all know that changing society's entire understanding of gender and pronoun usage is about slowly opening minds. As Smith wrote, "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you." Happy Pronouns Day to you/him/her/they/(f)aer/zim.