Black Iris prove that you can pay the rent and save your integrity too. Some of it, at least.
Being a hack myself, I've always had a soft spot for the composers of TV commercial sound bytes and soap opera scores. Nick Drake rip offs, Daft Punk lite, Ennio Morricone piddlings; these are the things rent money is made of. So when I found out that the guy who made this Cadillac ad is part of a wider collective of touring musicians for bands like The Walkmen, Cursive and Foreign Born that writes big name commercial schmaltz, I had to download the preview tracks to the 7″ series they're starting.
The collective is called Black Iris and they seem far more earnest than me about their hackery:
Black Iris, the bicoastal music collective of musicians working within the advertising and entertainment industry, sought to compose a driving, upbeat call to arms for the pressing We initiative established by The Alliance For Climate Protection organization…
Etc., etc., etc.
I'm more interested in their purely creative efforts, here showcased in two tracks, the first, Fool's Gold, which features members of Foreign Born, and the second, Flowers of Doom, which is a collaboration between Cornbread Compton of Cursive and Josiah Steinback of Heaven. The first track, Fool's Gold's “Surprise Hotel” takes a slice from the all-to-omnipresent gimmick of Afro-Pop, thereby stroking the sheen that got them into a commercial music collective in the first place. Flowers of Doom's “Spring on Fire”, on the other hand, is a rich bite of psychy Americana, inevitably glitzy in production values, but replete with charming vocal harmonies and bombastic, orchestral swirls and turns of chords.
Fool's Gold, “Surprise Hotel”
Flowers of Doom, “Spring on Fire”
The Cadillac commercial you've all been waiting for: