Event on 2017-06-29 21:00:00
Being No One, Going Nowhere. The title ofSTRFKRs fourth album may seem bleak at first. But hold it in your head a minute, feel its weight, and you may recognize the phrase for what it is: a goal. In the era of the personal brandamid theFOMOAgeits increasingly hard to shed a stifling sense of self, or to just be in the moment that youre in. Well, consider this an invitation to get blissfully insignificant. Thats whatSTRFKRfounder Joshua Hodges aimed to do when he exiled himself to the desert to create this record, but he returned with his most significant work yet: a set of darkly glistening dance songs rife with sticky beats, earworming hooks, philosophical heft, and bittersweet beauty.The album opens on Tape Machine, and the difference is readily apparent. On 2013s Miracle Mile,STRFKRrefined a full-band sound, but this doubles down on and completely reimagines the projects electronic and pop roots. The initial synths could fuel a rave, and the ensuing groove could score a Drive sequel, but the song is richer still, with cosmic effects flying overhead and a psych-folk earthiness below. It isnt that the band sat this LP outdrummer (etc.) Keil Corcoran penned the thick astral disco of In the End, and he and bassist (etc.) Shawn Glassford both pitch in throughout. But Being No One, Going Nowhere was born in Joshua Tree after Hodges packed up his Los Angeles apartment and moved to that tiny Mojave outpost under the great big sky. It came together for me in the desert, he says. Out there, its easy to feel small and slow.When Hodges startedSTRFKRin 2007, it was designed to be success-proof. The name was both unfit for radio and a jab at fame-chasers. But the project was also meant to be bright, playful and brimming with energy. He stumbled upon a winning juxtaposition thats aSTRFKRstaple to this day: dark (or heavy) lyrics set to happy music. Hodges credits that to Elliott Smiths influence, although Being No One, Going Nowhere has closer sonic kin in Italo-disco, kosmische musik and Tony Hoffers work with Phoenix, Beck andM83. English thinker/writer Alan Watts, a scholar of Eastern philosophy, was another muse for Hodgeshis voice appears on nearly everySTRFKRrelease, including this one. Thats him on interspace, talking about sloughing off preconceived identity to find ones place in the universe, which is the story of Hodges eventual career: stop tryingno, start not tryingand succeed.This albums name actually paraphrases the title of a book by Ayya Khema, a Buddhist nun, but the concept came to Hodges in a less chaste setting. I had an experience at aBDSMclub that was really freeing, he says. I realized that the appeal is letting go of your mind and stress. You can be super present with the pain, and then the pain isnt even pain. Its a gateway to freedom. In a way, each song on Being No One, Going Nowhere seeks that end. Theres the reality-refracting fantasy of Never Ever, the hard truths about addictions ravages on Tape Machine, a death-defying coming of age tale on Open Your Eyes, and references to Hermann Hesses 1919 novel of self-realization, Demian, on When Im With You. If the words dont set you free, the musicexuberant, enveloping, incredibly catchyshould do so handily.None of which is to imply thatSTRFKRis drifting along aimlessly. To the contrary, Hodges crafted this albums dance bent with the stage in mind. The live setup these days includes a custom-madeLEDwall and a homemade light show that syncs with the rhythm of the songs (also, the occasional crowd-surfing astronaut and band-in-drag). Plus, he camped out at the house of producer Jeffrey Brodsky (Yacht,RAC) for a week and a half, working all hours to ensure Being No One, Going Nowhere sounds as crisply booming over PAs as it does in headphones. Even if Hodges is too busy pushing the future of indie dance-pop forward to possibly attain his goal of unplugging, his aspiration is everything: Existing is it. This moment is enough."
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