I love stumbling on a record that makes me feel like I found exactly what I’d been looking for. Something fresh. Something new. A special sound that fills a void. It’s like you just discovered some buried treasure. It’s also pretty funny when you have that feeling and realize that you are just extremely late to the party, like I was with Pussy’s Dead.
Pussy’s Dead is Los Angeles band Autolux’s third release and they’ve been making music together since their 2004 debut LP Future Perfect. I look forward to hearing their first two albums because Pussy’s Dead is one of the coolest listening experiences I’ve had in the past few years.
Being new to Autolux, I’m late to the game on Carla Azar’s great drumming. In a twitter Q&A, someone asked about her approach. She responded “it depends on the song, but mainly, I work on beats that matter, keep those and improvise the in-between bits.” After reading that, I went back for another listen and focused on what I’m guessing are the beats that matter (they all matter to me 🙂 ). It’s crazy how she makes something sound easy, but when you really listen you can hear how difficult it must be.
Carla confirmed this in the Q&A. When asked what track from Pussy’s Dead she was most proud of, she said “proud of all of the songs –> but I had to push myself to make junk for code beat seem easy.” I get why she receives so much praise as one of the best living drummers in rock nowadays. She’s a gem.
A common theme or feeling I get from Pussy’s Dead’s song is bleak. It’s not a happy-go-lucky listen if you’re focusing on the stories being told. That said, it’s not a sad listen either.
Autolux takes rock and roll, smashes it into a million pieces and then rearranges it as they see fit.
I hear the term disjointed frequently when listening to people talk about Autolux or when reading reviews about this album and I agree in the most positive sense. The disjointed construction of their songs allows the listener to lose their body in the music and not dwell on the depressing topics being sung about. However, if you want to internalize the lyrics, that option is there for you. Very Radiohead in that sense.
Pussy’s Dead opens with “Selectallcopy.” I can’t help but get images of some strange mashup of Blade Runner and Inside Out whenever I listen to this track. People and relationships forged from templates. Nobody being unique and everyone trying to put on a smile. It makes me think of the Replicants from Blade Runner. Who’s the robot? Who’s someone who you can really connect with? A certain line will stick with listeners: “SO SAD TO BE HAPPY ALL THE TIME.” It made me think of that adorable kid’s movie Inside Out. That flick teaches an important lesson about emotions I believe anyone can benefit from: essentially, sadness plays an important part in a healthy balance of all emotions. So those people who are always happy must be suppressing some pent up emotions they really need to get out. Maybe I’m way off the mark, but that’s how I interpret it.
Another example of Autolux driving home how dull life can seem at times is “Hamster Suite,” which correlates your life with the existence of a pet hamster. “THE SUN IS YOUR WHEEL, THE DAY IS YOUR CAGE”.
Produced by Boots (who you may know from “Early” by Run The Jewels), Pussy’s Dead shows the full range of their sound. It’s impressive. “Soft Scene” is a funky dance jam that would feel right at home on Liars’ electro-rock masterpiece Mess. “Anonymous” has an ominous Thom Yorke piano vibe going on. “Change My Head” sounds like some mutant A.C. Newman track snorted the Pixies “Where Is My Mind?” while “Brainwasher” has the sexy vocal delivery found on many Limiñanas tracks. There’s something for everyone. Bottom line: this is a rock band for current times. The only reason that it took them so long since their last release to put out Pussy’s Dead is because they wanted to make sure it was a great album. They accomplished that for sure.
Autolux is playing at this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival over Memorial Day weekend. I’ll be covering the festival for Bearded Gentlemen Music and couldn’t be more thrilled. On a lineup that has many incredible names, Autolux skyrocketed to be my most anticipated set of the weekend. I can’t wait to see this band obliterate the collective mind of their audience in one of the most beautiful venues I have ever seen. The Gorge is going to be a magical place to be and if you’re there, don’t miss this band!
Pick up a copy of this amazing album over here –> Autolux – Pussy’s Dead
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For the most part I only write about albums that I have personally purchased. I believe these albums are created by bands that deserve your support and money. If one person that didn’t know about one of these albums enjoys it and in turn supports that band…it is all worth it. There are links to purchase the music in posts, but I also urge you to go support your local record stores if possible!