Jerry Paper, “Comma for Cow”

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Jerry Paper

The dizzying electronic pop soul residing in host body Lucas Nathan is set to follow up his existential portrait Carousel with a seventh full-length. Jerry Paper has always concerned himself with simulacra, and he’s professed an interest in the line between the real and the virtual (that is, “fake”) and in dissolving that line: in simulating “real” instruments with analog or digital synths, he’s made the recorded world a place for play, a vastly appealing virtual reality. Notably, this time around Nathan is pressing into the established “real world” with the instrumentation on Toon Time Raw! Though he produced his prior records purely solo—bolstered by synths and drum pads—he’s brought in a jazz outfit for accompaniment this time, a group who take the moniker Easy Feelings Unlimited and choose to remain anonymous.

Still, with the change in setup, Jerry Paper hasn’t dropped the synthetic backdrop, nor has he abandoned the simulacrum. Where the tunes on Carousel and Big Pop for Chameleon World had a cartoonish tinge, the drooping synths recalling an animated, boxed-up world existing halfway in ours, here he’s embraced the theme explicitly. The new record takes on the ordinary lives of cartoon characters, and “Comma for Cow” is an ode to Susie the cow, whose plight is very real: “She keeps it together alright / even though she wants to cry.” Nathan’s vocals droop wrenchingly over the thumping bassline as he narrates Susie’s loneliness and her promiscuity, the sparse swing of the band irresistible. In characteristic Jerry Paper fashion, the heaviness of the whole situation is half masked in the music’s lightness, but it’s hard not to feel for Susie. “If only you knew how much she misses you,” he utters in the thrall of a bossa nova-style chorus.

You can hear “Comma for Cow” below and scroll down for Jerry Paper’s June tour dates with Dougie Poole. Toon Time Raw! is due out June 17 on Bayonet Records.

Jerry Paper and Dougie Poole tour dates

16 Providence, RI at Aurora
17 Brooklyn, NY at Secret Project Robot (record release show with Sean Nicholas Savage)
18 Philadelphia, PA at Space 1026
21 Atlanta, GA at Mammal Gallery
22 Athens, GA at Secret Squirrel
23 Nashville, TN at DRK MTTR
24 Dayton, OH at Fire Blocks District
25 Athens, OH at Bat Lounge (with Giant Claw)
27 Toronto, ON at Smiling Buddha
28 Detroit, MI at UFO Factory
29 Chicago, IL at The Empty Bottle