Unregistered Nurse Presents Angel Du$t ‘Brand New Soul’ Record Release Candy, Dazy, Loosey
Justice Tripp, vocalist / guitarist for Baltimore, Maryland’s Angel Du$t, has never been one for making rock albums, at least not in the traditional sense. For Tripp, an album is not a singular, rigidly defined work, but rather an ever-evolving experience, a grab bag of creative tricks and treats that’s enjoyable whether its contents are savored individually or all at once. “People get really married to the idea of making a record that sounds like the same band,” Tripp explains. “If one song to the next doesn’t sound like it’s coming from the same band, I’m ok with that.” This spirit of creative restlessness, reinforced through a staunch work ethic and a revered live show, has fueled Angel Du$t’s steady ascent over the past eight years. The way Tripp sees it, Angel Du$t are neither hardcore nor a supergroup: just a revolving lineup of like-minded peers and ride- or-die friends, making guitar music, rocking the fuck on forever. YAK: A Collection of Truck Songs, Angel Du$t’s latest full-length and the follow-up to 2019’s Pretty Buff, sees the group channeling an anything-goes philosophy into their tightest, most forward- thinking material yet. Produced by Rob Schnapf and recorded over a two-month period in Los Angeles in 2020, it’s a rotating smorgasbord of percussion, guitar tones, effects, genres, and influences, fashioned in the spirit of a playlist as opposed to a capital-R “Record.” Like every great playlist—and Tripp makes a lot of playlists—it’s a carefully- engineered project that still manages to sound effortless, with brisk pacing and constant switch-ups that keep the spirit of discovery at the forefront.
Candy – The band that holds it all in to best let it all out.
Heaven Is Here is the sort of record that some people may like to describe as groundbreaking or genre bending but this kind of claim comes with a caveat. I’ve got good news for the world: you’re no longer able to redefine hardcore. It was always a figment of someone’s imagination anyway and at this point we’re all trying to guess what it even is, let alone how or why to change it. Breaking ground is no longer about formal innovation but about the desperate and frantic hope that you can make sense of as much information in the world as you possibly can at once. Being human, but pulling the worst of yourself out and putting into your music-making might seem like a reckless way to make a statement but for Candy, it works. Heaven Is Here puts together so many chronologically disparate elements with the confidence and care to graft their relativities together under what basically sounds like extreme duress. Their words and music specifically strive to replicate moments of impact and anxiety, obsessive compulsive thinking, and extreme cynicism so that they might not have to effect how to come down from these types of overwhelming feelings on a day to day basis. Negativity-as-productivity fills the sensational energy that Candy have built into their sound and live shows, and now most specifically their latest LP.
Big room hooks with bedroom production. That’s the ethos of James Goodson, the, well, everything behind Dazy. Since releasing his first single in August of 2020, the Richmond, VA-based songwriter has been using Dazy as a vehicle to make the kind of music that he always wanted to hear, and he’s been making a lot of it. By the following August, Dazy had already put out enough material to release MAXIMUMBLASTSUPERLOUD: The First 24 Songs (Convulse Records), a sprawling collection of the project’s first year. Now, Goodson has set his turn-and-burn approach to the side in service of crafting something that was initially antithetical to his whole mission: Dazy’s debut full-length, OUTOFBODY.
“A lot of Dazy has been about pushing myself out of my comfort zones, and at first that just meant finally putting out new music at all,” he explains. “I’ve always played in bands and made music, but before Dazy I’d been sort of stuck for a while. I never stopped writing songs but I wasn’t sure what to do with them, and they were piling up on my computer for years.” The project’s flurry of early releases was Goodson’s way of shaking off the nerves about sharing music with the public. “There’s something about doing singles or EPs and putting things out quickly that helped me rip the bandaid off–I also just think they’re fun,” he says. “But once I got into a rhythm with that, I felt like I had to push myself again to make an actual album.”
Released by Lame-O Records, along with a cassette version from Convulse Records, OUTOFBODY walks a sonic line between the two labels. There are the loud, noisy, abrasive tones you’d expect from a record on Convulse, and the rich, textured harmonies of a Lame-O band. That’s because Goodson doesn’t take influence from one scene; instead, he set his sights on entire eras. “I think I just wanted to take the initial concept of the band–which was referencing what big-room rock music was 30 or 40 years ago, but asking, ‘What if you made that at home?’–and push that as far as it could go,” he says. “I think that’s the Dazy sweet spot: trying to make songs that feel big but using means that are a little rougher.” And so, despite the inherently more ambitious nature of making a full-length, Goodson took his usual approach at home, in the spare bedroom, with a couple of small amps and Garageband. After narrowing down the potential tracklist from over 100 songs, he spent countless hours writing, recording, and obsessively tinkering. The songs were then sent to Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr., Wild Pink, The Pixies), with whom he’d been working since the first Dazy release, to be mixed and mastered.
In 12 songs and just over 25 minutes, OUTOFBODY answers the question of what if a Ramones album was a collaboration with Kevin Shields. The songs are short, punchy, and so melodically sweet that it almost makes you wish the band name Sugar wasn’t already taken—though Bob Mould’s interest in alt-rock and drum machines is a pretty good reference point, too. The record incorporates Goodson’s love of punk, college rock, Britpop, and jangle pop to expand upon Dazy’s initial goals: the guitar fuzz is still thick and the drum machines are thumping, but there are also quiet, tender moments. Songs like “Split” and “AWTCMM?” set introspection to bouncy backbeats and buzzsaw guitars, while the softer “Rollercoaster Ride” and “Motionless Parade” serve as dynamic counterpoints with prominent acoustic 12-string and mellotron. Elsewhere “On My Way” and “Ladder” emphasize how key the rhythmic component is to Dazy’s sound. “A lot of my biggest influences come from the ‘80s and ‘90s because bands were throwing rock guitars in with dancy drum beats or keyboards or whatever–just all these different things existing together,” he says. “I love rock music tropes but I also love that they’re more malleable than you might think.”
That musical approach bolsters Goodson’s lyrical concerns on OUTOFBODY. “Some of the songs are from years ago, and some were written as I was recording–but I noticed that a lot of them seem to be about feeling pulled in different directions, or this sense of your life becoming more compartmentalized,” Goodson explains. The title track opener lays those themes bare from its very first lines (“Is that my voice leaving my own mouth? / Double check the source, cuz I’ve got reason to doubt”), the uncertainty contrasting with the song’s assuredly cacophonous ending. “I think a lot of times as you get older, you feel pushed towards ‘Who are you? What is your thing?’ when the reality is everybody is so many different things and always changing,” Goodson says. Life’s constant shifts seem to occupy much of OUTOFBODY; the stomping verses of “Deadline’’ give way to dreamy choruses about always feeling pressed for time, while the refrain of “Choose Yr Ramone” (“Time relentless / I’m still senseless”) walks a line between self-awareness and self-deprecation.
By the time OUTOFBODY’s closer “Gone” reaches its end, with mellotron strings, interwoven vocal melodies, and a musical callback to the opener, you get the feeling that Dazy is limitless. The song sounds anthemic but undeniably wistful, while the lyrics caution against the lure of nostalgia, instead embracing life’s cumulative effect: the past that helped shape you, the future you’re hoping for, and the present that you have to grapple with regardless. “I think a lot of life is just feeling unsure or pulled in different directions, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Goodson says. “If you’re lucky, you’ll get to go in as many of those directions as you want.”