A isn't for At the Drive-in nor Kid A

Autolux have made the perfect late-night driving around downtown LA soundtrack.

A isn't for At the Drive-in nor Kid A

Drowned in Sound Newsletter #1: Welcome… this won’t be an A-Z of “The Noughties” but I had to start somewhere special, so…

Pussy’s Dead by Autolux

I’ve been told to never begin a piece of writing at the very start.

“They” say you should intrigue. Perhaps a pout and a smirk. Glance at the landing lights and take a deep breath before falling into the rose petal smudge of that first kiss.

So I’ll start with track two...

The opening beat on Autolux’s ‘Soft Scene’ is just too perfect. Imagine the immaculate sound of Dead Prez booming from the next room whilst being semi-passed out at a house party. Feeling as if you’re momentarily levitating, you become a thick droplet of sound before realising you’re now a kick drum covered in felt. Busted-speaker bass begins to rumble... you tumble... and you’re back in the room!

Pussy’s Dead is all about the textures. A magpies’ nest made of the hair of everyone from Curve to Kanye with twigs from My Bloody Valentine and Blonde Redhead’s forests. Yes, you could say they sound like dEUS, Broadcast and Sonic Youth going through a hip-hop phase if you wanted to be hideously reductive about it. Actually, this record is so much harder to pin down than that... I know this because I’ve been recommending it to anyone who’ll listen to me since it was released on Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records (having previously been signed to DMZ, a record label created by producer T Bone Burnett and the Coen Brothers) back in 2016. It’s become a proper obsession and a recommendation that I’m thrilled to share.

My initial notes for this newsletter read: “Textures, artificial light and silk and smoke and The Kills running for the hills... The aloof kinda cool that’s seemingly not paying a jot of attention to you but secretly hoping you’re feeling me pull you into my orbit... a tornado on a beautiful beach with a cocktail coloured sunset... an amorous robot... it’s one of those albums that feels unsettling and unfamiliar at first but take it for a walk with headphones and it becomes a full service car wash for your brain...” I coulda-shoulda left it at that.

In many ways Autolux have made the perfect late-night driving around downtown LA soundtrack. Plenty of empty spaces to drift into before brutal grooves descend with slabs of sound to crane your neon-lit cheeks into.

It’s a cinematic af album. You’re in a coming of age movie that’s lit in such a way that aliens could land at any time. Beads of sweat from the humid night air seem to only make you look more angelic. Updrafts of AC and gusts of desert air swirl around your wired brain. When the spiral relents you find yourself lost amid a maudlin cloud — it’s that worked too hard to see the sunrise, humming to yourself a little sad shoop-shoop. You could call it a night but something keeps dragging you along...

Take a deep breath. Take a sip. Then another. Allow the toy army drums and twisted mesh of Pussy’s Dead to lead you into the morning twilight. Keep going... lose yourself in the deconstructed beauty of the record.

Meanwhile, I’ll be busy thinking about street tacos I ate at 3am with a flame-kissed slice of pineapple the last time I was in LA. (Also, this definitely won’t be the last mention of tacos in this newsletter!)

This record and that city is a real film set for the mind... It’s a new LA though. Absent of film grain. Glamour’s been replaced by creative grit.

Everyone in LA has a few jobs because it’s an expensive city - especially so for “creatives”. Autolux’s multi-instrumentalist drummer for instance has also starred in Frank alongside Fassbender, whilst her music CV has credits that sprawl from Bright Eyes to UNKLE via Jack White and Polly Jean Harvey & John Parish. Carla Azar was also responsible for introducing a local youngster named Phoebe Bridgers to the music of local hero Elliott Smith, so it’s not an exaggeration to say she’s responsible for opening up a black hole that nobody ever wants closed.

What about the rest of the trio...!? Perhaps I should be more encyclopaedic and journalistic about this assignment, hit ‘selectallcopy’ and delete, get out of my feelings, do some proper research, maybe an interview, and start again...

Actually, I’ll just hit send.

Visit Autolux’s website: https://www.autolux.net

Listen on Spotify

Follow Through

This week’s ‘thing online you should dive into’ is a brilliant new-fangled form of music criticism. You’ve probably seen various visual tweaks like receipts and other things, but there’s something very - errr - wholesome about Nutrition Tracks.

Browse and follow their Insta instagram.com/nutritiontracks.


On the DiS forums any kind of gratuitous self-promotion is known as a JAG! after a band of that name got a bit carried away with spamming.

This week I recorded the latest Unhappy Hour radio show, featuring a mixture of mellow and miserable music aimed to provide an uplifting sigh to these weird days of lockdown. Stream it and previous episodes here.

There’s also an Unhappy Hour newsletter for indulgent lovers of sad b*stard music. Subscribe.

And that’s my first newsletter of the new era of DiS done.

I hope you enjoyed it. Please consider forwarding this on to one music loving friend or sharing the link on your social media.

Plus if you have any feedback about the Autolux record I’d love to hear it.

Until next week,

Sean xo