Jim Carroll, frontman of Unicycle Loves You joined up with us again, this time for a privy listen to their new album The Dead Age, from Mecca Lecca / Highwheel and Bandcamp, followed by our continued conversations. Walking forward since the dawn of their self-titled debut in 2008, 2010's Mirror, Mirror and Failure from 2012; The Dead Age finds Jim, Nicole Vitale, and Dennis Lehrer casting away all cares by joyfully and gladly stepping out of line.
Opening with “Falling Off”, Unicycle Loves You slides off the rails in a raucous rebellion against regiments. Reinforcing this idea with more raging noises strained and reigned-in on, “We Never Worry”, to the fuzzy jangle on, “Suicide Pizza”; ULY delivers a new kind of summertime blues directly to your front door. As you savor and appreciate all the vast things that Jim, Nicole, and Dennis do with distortion, “Silent Minus” brings one of the album's two brief interludes. The experimental effects and vocal exercise drops you into the instant favorite of “Face Tattoo” that continues the act and art of letting go with the recited lyrics of, “it doesn't matter anymore.” More of that lo-fi glow kicks into effect on the cassette tape blockbuster, “JAWS”, as “Bad News Club” in some ways feels like a noise drenched portal to the late '80s college rock underground. The beauty of what Unicycle Loves You can pedal out from the demo tape haze provides remnants of the song's initial inspirational forms, with the added touches from the three.
“Any Daydreaming Morning” is a slow jam that drifts in on a breeze from unknown eras, where the last dance spins, and pirouettes across the ballrooms, sidewalks, and street corners. Cranking the action back up again, “Grownups” gives a surfs-up take on the prospects of getting older, more responsible, more mature… and stuff. Then we get to the second of the two ambient interludes, where Jim and the band make an almost perfect sonic parabola of sound in an arch of loops and seesawing chords on, “X-ray Glaze”. But before you make your way to the exit, the title track closer, “The Dead Age” finishes the album with a song massive enough to support the opener. Questioning the character of livelihoods never sounded like this, running through the dizzying cycle complete with two intermissions to catch your breath. Stay tuned after the stream of The Dead Age, as Jim Carroll talks with us about their biggest album to date.
Let's pick up where we left off, when we were talking last you were starting to tell us about the ULY secret weapon of 'maintaining the element of improvisational expression' in recording. From a love of '60s girl groups, The Mothers of Invention, and building off of demos with a little help from Dennis on the drums; is this the secret to keeping the best pop inspirations intact through the analog tape spools and the added adornments?
Yeah, sometimes you can't make the perfect mistake or random sound twice. That's why I keep most of my guitar demo takes in the final mix.
This album is pure bliss, the “Endless Bummer” is an exciting full-length to soundtrack our 2014 summer. Consider “JAWS”, the some velvet morning of “Any Daydreaming Morning”, the hunger-tastic glory of “Suicide Pizza”, the perfection of the title track, to the opening beauty of “Falling Off”. The Dead Age is possibly your sunniest and precisely orchestrated album to date, what do you feel you have learned as an artist and individual over these part four albums?
Thanks! I've learned quite a lot in the past six years. Technically and creatively. But I think I've also managed to understand what just doesn't work on a particular album and to leave it for another day. That's why “Falling Off” and “Any Daydreaming Morning” were thrown away from our last album and saved for this one. I've developed my own filter in a way.
You have spoken with lots of hope for the latest uprising of artists from Brooklyn, like the various showcases and nights enjoyed at Baby's All Right and Pianos. Who have been some of your recent local favorites that have found some hometown success?
We just played our record release show at Radio Bushwick with Hippy, Idgy Dean and Whiskey Bitches. They're all some of my favorite Brooklyn bands for varying reasons.
With The Dead Age already done and being released into the world, what demos do you have cooking up that have caught your ear's fancy?
We're working on some droney concepts but I'm staying away from the record button until the summer is over.
What else have you been enjoying from the Mecca Lecca Recording co and Highwheel Records rosters, respectfully?
The new Walking Bicycles album is their absolute best work to date. It's designed to destroy and it's fucking amazing.