New Music: John Vanderslice

John Vanderslice is one of those artists whose been on my periphery for a few years. I’ve always heard his name and figured I’d like to check out at some point, but until recently hadn’t followed through on that thought. This week I finally had the chance to listen to him for the first time with his inclusion on Stereogum’s OKX: A Tribute To OK Computer. On “Karma Police” (one of my personal favorite Radiohead songs) he somehow makes the song sound even more isolated and paranoid by stripping out the acoustic guitar and piano entirely (until “the best bridge ever“ - in his words), relying on some icy multi-tracked vocals, spacey sound effects, and a robotic beat to make sure we know what we get when we mess with him. When the acoustic guitar does pound its way in he makes sure it buzzes just like a detuned radio. I’m not saying Vanderslice has improved the original, but he gets the song, and puts a unique spin on it.

Barsuk will release a new Vanderslice album on July 24. According to the label, Emerald City is “fueled by an era of deep insecurity and paranoia; they develop in front of a backdrop of ritualized and mythologized current events. Lyrically, JV's characters and storytellers track Manifest Destiny from burning wagon wheels to two-bedroom homes with full amenities in Bakersfield, California. But at its simplest, and captured with straight autobiography in album closer “Central Booking”, Emerald City is made up of JV's love songs — confused and angry, afraid and defeated.”

Check out the first released song from Emerald City:

MP3 :: White Dove
(Preorder here)

Related: Watch his “Time To Go” video over at Pitchfork. It’s also from the new album.

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