Imaginary People has released their new video for the track titled ‘Bronx Girl’ from their upcoming album ‘Alibi’, releasing this spring. As eloquent as it is beautifully haunting, ‘Bronx Girl’ gives a glimpse of the music that is the album ‘Alibi’. A unique and subtle style set to lucid visuals, the song and the video stream with an artistic marriage meant to mesmerize and inspire with it’s ghostly uniqueness. ‘Bronx Girl’ will quietly come up to you and stay with you long after you’ve taken it in.
Speaking about the video for ‘Bronx Girl’, filmed in Central Park, lead singer Von Wagner says, “As I remember it, in early April 1999 a man I knew was on a film shoot and all day he was mesmerized by this woman. She was playing an extra in this period piece, sort of a 1960s piece with lots of fashion flavor for costumes. Well after he was done, he decided to take a stroll through central park and luck would have it he stumbled on this beautiful woman a little while later sitting on a bench. As she tells it, things became quite surreal as they stared at each other for a few minutes she got up and he followed. After a long adventure around the park they eventually began to walk next to each other and at this point, they still haven’t said one word, nothing. So she finally broke the ice and said, “if we still feel the same way, let’s meet again same day next year at 2pm, same spot.” She then kissed him on the cheek and as she walked away she said “Actually, make it ever year, shit happens.”
He goes on to add: “Later that night the man went out with some friends to see the Arthur Miller play Death of a Salesman on Broadway, while she ended up seeing a late showing of the film The Matrix after being stood up on a date. On her way back home, fate would have it she was struck by a car that ran a red light and after a week in critical condition and a brief coma she awoke (she healed up fine). Now, when one awakes from a brief coma, The Matrix isn’t the greatest film to see right before a traumatic, confusing event. As she began talking to her mother she mentioned she wasn’t sure if she had this encounter with this man in the park or if it was a dream, but she did remember the details, date time etc. So a year later she went back to the bench at 2pm and he never showed, and she wondered was it true? The next year again, and still he was a no show. Was it a glitch in The Matrix or maybe he met someone else? Then in 2002 she went again and before she sat down on the bench, she heard “Fuck me, It’s true. 3rd times a charm.” And yes, they’re still together, they live on the west side of central park with two dogs and one crazy Iguana named Ralph or maybe it’s Rodolfo. I can’t recall. So in homage to their little romantic cinema, I decided to do a Matrix reenactment cause maybe there was a glitch.”
“Bronx Girl” follows up the album’s pre-release singles, “Soft Token”, “It’s Simple” “Hometown” “Renegade” and “Crazy Eight” which caught the ears of NPR, Under The Radar, PopMatters, C Heads Maga and more.
After beginning the promotional campaign of their third album in February 2020, Imaginary People had to hit the pause button due to the Pandemic. Now the band is starting back up with singles from their new album Alibi. Any music worth its salt will reflect the times it’s made in. It’ll absorb the atmosphere of everything around it, hold up a mirror to what’s happening in the lives of the people who made it and also the wider world outside. That’s exactly what Alibi, the band’s third full-length does. It is, as frontman Dylan Von Wagner, explains, a response to the cultural civil war that he sees unfolding all across the USA.
That cultural dystopia bristles through Alibi’s 11 songs. Recorded by Phil Weinrobe (Nick Murphy, Pussy Riot, Stolen Jars) at Rivington 66 in the band’s home of New York City, as well as upstate with Eli Crews at Spillway Sound in the Catskills, and mixed by Eli Crews (Tuneyards, Deerhoof, Xylouris White at Figure 8 in Brooklyn. This is an album that shimmers with a twisted beauty, which feeds off all of that disturbing substance and turns it into something both harrowing and beautiful.
As such, the band – completed by Mark Roth (guitar), Justin Repasky (keys/synth), Kolby Wade (drums), Bryan Percivall (bass/synth), and with additional synth work by Grant Zubritsky – have not just perfectly captured the times in which this record was written, but have managed to turn the nightmare of the modern world into something truly exquisite, pitting emotional vulnerability against an almost resigned stoicism. Just listen to the way that Von Wagner’s voice trembles on opener “It’s Simple” – the tenderly mournful opener written minutes after the singer watched the gun massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School unfold on live television – or the tentative fragility and dark romanticism of “Bronx Girl”, which manages to still be hopeful in a world without hope. Elsewhere, the jittery “Neon Age” rails against a world in which people present a different version of their lives to society in order to impress them.
“It’s a giant sh*t on Instagram,” Von Wagner says matter-of-factly. “I have no problem with people using it, but everybody’s just making up their life to be their own little movie, and I think it’s making a lot of people mentally ill.”
“It’s about what happens when your town is replaced with something that seems to sway on the benign and it kind of leaves you with this dread,” explains Von Wagner. “It’s all spread out in this cookie cutter mold, and the town doesn’t have its own personality – just another brush stroke on the bland canvas of suburbia.”
While there are glimpses of light throughout the darkness that permeates every aspect of Alibi – one that captures the nature of what humanity has become – and while its songs do reflect the harsh, bleak reality of being alive – and of the coldness and meanness of the big city, especially when the world feels like it’s collapsing – it also manages to exist on its own, and on its own terms.
“Imaginary People are just in our own little world,” says Von Wagner. “I don’t think we really participate, we live in New York and it was made here, but we just keep to ourselves. I don’t know where this stuff comes from or why I feel this way and write this shit. I feel like it’s a weird addiction that I can’t shake, and I don’t think any psychoanalysis is going to shed light on it.”
Featured image by Rina Khadivi.
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