This issue features:
Emilie Friedlander interviewing Deafheaven's George Clarke about the band's move to L.A., Clarke's so-called "new Bermuda"
Michael Blair dissecting Gun Outfit's Dream All Over and the complex relationship between punk rock and country music
DeForrest Brown, Jr. in conversation with Kode9 about Nothing, labor, loss, and pushing forward through it all
The Tabs Out gang highlighting amazing recent cassettes, per usual
Thirty-ish one-sentence album reviews, written by AdHoc contributors
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Letter from the Editors:
“Influenced by” walks a thin line. It’s a tempting descriptor for music writers, can be helpful for would-be record buyers, and might serve as affirmation for the artist at hand. A quick, favorable comparison to White Light/White Heat is widely comprehensible (to a certain milieu, at least), and it lets everyone know a given rock n’ roll record hits the satisfying sonic spots, right? Of course, “influenced by” can hurt too. Writers can deploy it in an effort to paint a record as “unoriginal.” An overabundance of such references, meanwhile, might distract the reader. And while White Light/White Heat is great, what contemporary artist wants to hear for the umpteenth time that they sound like something from 1968?
In this issue of AdHoc, we look at the influence and inspiration behind some top-notch recent music. But rather than take the influence solely at sonic value—i.e., this record sounds like White Light/White Heat—we search for the deeper implications, personal and societal, that these inspirations indicate. L.A. punk band Gun Outfit is influenced by ‘70s outlaw country, sure enough; how do they approach these time-worn touchstones, though, to fashion a twenty-first-century object of community-building? Kode9 layers his compositions with dense techno-economic theoretical concepts; how does he use these ideas in concert with cold electronic music to access something ultimately deeply personal? In the issue we also speak to Deafheaven and Alex G about the formulations of their recent albums, both of whom cull ideas not just from the music they listen to but the visual arts as well, all as a means to explore human relationships in nuanced ways. “Influenced by,” for these artists, presents only the tip of the creative iceberg.
A good amount of people can put together a song that demonstrates their knowledge of cool shit, after all: a lyric that quotes Burroughs here, a beat that apes Neu! there, whatever, nothing more than a namecheck. This is the music for which “influenced by” is a dead end, a lazy device. When an artist finds new modes of expression, of dissent, of relating to the self and/or the world, within these shared cultural items, though, whether it’s William Burroughs or Limp Bizkit—that’s the good stuff.