Release Date: Feb 12, 2021
Record label: Dead Oceans
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Bedroom Pop
There's an easy tendency to clump Claud 's soft-sung music in with other predominant bedroom-pop artists of the streaming era, and their earlier material more so fits in that regard: sweet yet lackadaisical, tunes simple enough to hum along to. But what has made Claud stand on their own over their past few releases has been their frankness in how loving affects them, and in turn, affects all of us. It also helps that Super Monster is more cohesive than Claud's previous work, possibly due to the wide range of friends and collaborators they enlisted to enhance it: friends like Claire Cottrill (Clairo), Nick Hakim , and Joshua Mehling, the other half of Claud's first music project, Toast.
How do you take your music to the next level without losing what made it special in the first place? This is the dilemma faced by any artist after their first brush with success. By definition, bedroom pop musicians -- a loose collection of artists with viral stars in their eyes making intimate art on their own terms -- should be anathema to this sort of upskilling. Yet, Billie Eilish blew up the bedroom aesthetic to blockbuster proportions, moving the genre's most visible artists from the margins of the Internet towards the mainstream.
'Super Monster', both Claud's debut and the first full-length release on Phoebe Bridgers' recently-launched Saddest Factory label, is classy and well-executed. Their brand of slick, understated pop could sit on a shelf alongside Haim, or Christine and the Queens: opener 'Overnight' is a sweet, breezy '90s throwback that's easy on the ear, while 'This Town' grows from grimier beginnings towards another big chorus. Elsewhere, scratching below the surface, Claud bites as much as they balm, don't be fooled by their bubblegum delivery on the new-wave 'That's Mr Bitch To You', a wonderfully catty riposte from a jilted lover.
The Lowdown: Ah, remember the good ole days of youth? Those feverish college days when you'd record music with your college roommate, then somewhat accidentally drop out of school to tour the world with Girlpool, Girl in Red, and The Neighbourhood? No? OK, maybe that was just the distinct path of Claud Mintz, the now 21-year-old, sparkling bedroom-pop singer. Claud, who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, is somewhat of an autonomous creator by design: Over the past few years, they've released a stream of pop tunes of their own accord and, in turn, garnered a steadfast following. Despite their ability to self-produce, Claud signed to Saddest Factory Records, the new Dead Oceans subsidiary led by the indispensable Phoebe Bridgers.