Once in a blue moon something brand new comes along that just cuts through. You had it almost simultaneously in the US and UK back in 2010 with Odd Future and WU LYF; two groups whose first releases (scratchy demos, websites and self-made videos) literally drew a metaphorical line in the sand between them and, well, everybody.
You had it in 2011 with Death Grips’ Exmilitary, and then Tobias Jesso Jr’s first demo of ‘Just A Dream’ a couple of years later, which within about 20 seconds of hearing seemed so tiny yet utterly perfect that you just knew he was the real deal.
The point is this: people are always saying it’s difficult to weed through the shit out there. But nobody ever says how easy it is to spot the absolute diamonds.
LA band Dessert and director Alex Lill stand out a country mile in that respect. Their jaw-dropping video for ‘Devil/Back Around’ just came out via Nowness and could well be the best of the year. Lill, who’s blowing up thanks to his work on Sampha’s ‘Blood On Me’ video, oversees a phenomenal collage of sounds and images that, in spirit at least, recall all of those artists we mentioned previously. Perhaps it’s because he and the mysterious band (they’re three as-yet unnamed kids from LA – that’s all we know about them) are tapping into the same sensibilities as Tyler, Ellery, Tobias et al back when they started out. It’s heavy. It’s heaven-sent melodies. It’s melancholic and honest. It’s druggy. It’s warped and it’s messed up. It’s pop giving itself a total thrill as it masquerades as high art. It’s intrinsically ‘now’ too… and yet it feels so completely different to everything else that’s around now – that’s why it’s so special.
Starring sumo wrestler Manny Yarbrough in a role that’s almost Shakespearian in its sense of tragedy (you’ll see why towards the end), it’s simply one of the best introductions to a new band I’ve seen in years:
Check out the track ‘Back Around’, which features in parts of the video, on streaming services now.