The Rock God Says: Amen Dunes, Julian Casablancas, and The Doors
Amen Dunes Releases New Album
After spending the last decade hiding in the shadows of the NYC indie scene, Amen Dunes finally revealed the window into their darker and more personal vulnerabilities. Freedom, the band’s fourth studio album, is deeply personal and intense. The portrait album cover speaks numbers to the growing confidence of the group’s singer and lead songwriter, Damon McMahon, who seems to have found his voice on Freedom. The cover is a simple photo of McMahon glaring towards the ground, drawing similarities to Frank Ocean’s Blonde cover. Freedom’s cover is an open invitation to listeners. From the very beginning, McMahon wants you to know that he is finally opening up.
McMahon’s attitude takes full form in the song, “Miki Dora,” which is about a famous Malibu surfer from the 1960s. At the height of his fame, he fled the U.S. after a warrant was issued against him for credit and check fraud. The song meditates with the feelings of pride and fear, using Dora’s fraudulent behavior as a symbol for the ways in which McMahon deals with his own personal struggles. He began recording the album after his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Instead of fleeing his darkest and most pressing issues, McMahon confronted them directly through his voice.
The Harsh Reality of Julian Casablancas
People love giving Julian Casablancas shit. I love giving Julian Casablancas shit. His garage rock persona, drug abuse, media scandals, experimental style and extreme talent all open the door for piles of shit getting tossed on him every single day. This is what happens when you create some of the most influential punk rock in the 21st century. So, when Casablancas teams up with his new band The Voidz, you can guarantee the biggest dumpster of crap is coming his way. Sadly, it’s unavoidable. Strokes fans are some of the harshest and most critical people in the world.
Casablancas is aware of this vicious spotlight, so he runs as far from it as possible. Ever since the Strokes stopped writing new music, Casablancas shifted his attention towards The Voidz, a group of musicians he met throughout his solo career. The band represents every possible crevice of explorable rock n’ roll. It is random, loud, and sometimes so rough that you have to rip your headphones out instantaneously upon starting the song. Thankfully, Casablancas is aware that he should never come close to sounding like The Strokes in his new material. The Voidz released Virtue earlier this week. Although there are some songs, like “Lazy Boy,” that resemble older material, the album as a whole is vastly different from anything we’ve heard from him. Even if you don’t like the new sounds, you have to give the band credit for not caring about your opinion. I’m sure their label, RCA, would love another Strokes album, but I’m sure writing more Strokes music would actually kill Julian Casablancas.
Tales from the Rock God
Before Venice Beach was smothered in expensive boutique shops and calorie conscious restaurants, a man by the name of Jim Morrison wreaked havoc on the neighborhood. He would spend his days eating table scraps from various homes, and tripping LSD on rooftops looking out over the ocean. It was a rock n’ roll dream until you discovered the intense furry that rested deep inside his soul. One night he’d be the life of the party, and the next he’d try to burn your house to the ground. His lifestyle was reckless, but so was his music. That type of courage no longer exists in rock, instead we see rap music as the vessel for that type of expression. That begs the question, are the boundaries of rock defined by the style of music or the style of expression? Is rap the new rock?
-The Rock God