Release Date: Apr 1, 2016
Record label: Columbia
It's probably fair to say Californian trio Autolux aren't exactly the most prolific bunch. Since forming in 2001, they've graced us with two albums, a handful of singles… and that's pretty much it. Preferring to opt for quality over quantity, the few releases they have bestowed upon us have all been of a particularly high standard. Which considering the crystalline benchmark set by outstanding debut Future Perfect in 2004, isn't to be scoffed at in any way, shape or form.
A few weeks before their third record, Pussy’s Dead, was due to hit the shelves, Autolux settled in for a Reddit AMA: “If NASA offered you the opportunity to go to space, would you do it?” Greg Edwards replies, “I think, for us, that would be redundant.” Pussy’s Dead sounds both alien and familiar. With sexy, creepy tracks about hip infections spiked with anthemic, breathy vocals celebrating how "it's so so sad, to be happy all the time," Autolux waste no time in re-stamping their authority. You might have thought you enjoyed some other band's moody, rude, theatrical experiments in the six years it's been since Autolux's second record Transit Transit...
When you talk about the best drummers of the last 15 years, Autolux's Carla Azar is near the top of that list. Jack White knew exactly who to recruit when he was putting together his all-female solo group the Peacocks, giving her material on both Blunderbuss and Lazaretto to really embellish her love for Mitch Mitchell and Keith Moon. But nothing compares to what she does as the spine of L.A.’s Autolux.
Twelve years is an unequivocally long time in which to release three albums, a fact that the members of Autolux must be aware of more than anybody else. Autolux’s new release, Pussy’s Dead, emerges six years after its predecessor, Transit Transit, and 12 after 2004’s Future Perfect. For comparison, since Future Perfect, Lil B brought out a total of 47 mixtapes.
On their third record in twelve years, L.A. alt-rock trio Autolux serve up a stark melding of techno-manipulation and dark-toned experimental pop. The shoegaze label that was often attached to their prior albums feels unsuited for the sonic rabbit hole into which they've descended on Pussy's Dead. Though rarely straightforward, there is plenty of allure in the frosty, but richly detailed aesthetics that color these ten songs.
Autolux's third album sounds like you might expect, based on the fact it's on Danger Mouse's label and that it was produced by BOOTS. If you go into Pussy's Dead with an open mind, and you're willing to accept that Autolux refuse to repeat themselves, you'll appreciate it more — and being a fan of Radiohead and Klaxons will help, too — but if you were hoping for a return to something along the lines of their nearly flawless, unique debut Future Perfect, you'll probably be even more disappointed by this release than their last, Transit Transit. Pussy's Dead takes Autolux further in that tripped out electronic/anti-climactic direction, alternating between sluggish and jittery.
Legend has it that once every six years, on the night of a blood-red full moon, Greg Edwards and Carla Azar descend into the heart of a moss-encrusted crypt in the heart of Los Angeles and whisper the profane rites that awaken Eugene Goreshter from his arcane slumber. With 2016 marking the sixth time around the sun since the release of Autolux’s sophomore record, Transit Transit, it’s only fitting that the trio come forth once again to unleash their techno-psychedelic ruminations on 21st century anxiety. Of course, though, the intervening half-decade-and-change hasn’t exactly been a sleepy one for the group.
Autolux haven’t returned from their six-year absence to cheer you up. The L.A. trio clarifies their dour worldview on "Selectallcopy", the opening track on their first album since 2010, Pussy’s Dead: “It’s oh so sad to be happy all the time.” The group makes a contented life filled with bland complacency sound like such a drag. Thankfully, there isn’t anything complacent about the assertive sonic burst of Autolux’s new album, as they return with a noisey, unsettled batch of songs that sing the praises of being yourself amidst life’s shadows, and the haunting dreams that linger there.
Autolux nearly revived Nineties alt-rock in 2004, but a meager two albums in 12 years prevented the L.A. trio from capitalizing on its own momentum. Third LP Pussy's Dead drops on Danger Mouse's label with production from Boots (Beyoncé, Run the Jewels). Wrapped in the electro atmo expected from the production team, the noisy guitar psych of Greg Edwards' day job in Failure matches wits with bassist/singer Eugene Goreshter and drummer/singer Carla Azar's nimble grooves.
Our latest installment of Quick Takes may be up a little bit later than usual, but bear with us - with so many surprise releases, from Radiohead to James Blake to Drake, we've been just as overwhelmed as all of you trying to keep up. But that doesn't stop us from acknowledging some records that we just needed to get off our chests, both the great and the not so great. I was pleasantly surprised with Deakin's long-gestated Sleep Cycle, which is, in my humble opinion, the best Animal Collective offshoot project since Panda Bear's Person Pitch.