Populuxe have released their new and sixth album titled ‘Uneasy Listening’. First off; why does all the good sh*t come out when I’m on holiday break? Oh well, it’s still worth putting out there that this album is a jam-band fan/indie music fan’s dream. Wet dream, even. Yeah, gross, I know. And personal. Like ‘Uneasy Listening’.
This album reminds me of those glory days when MTV actually played videos and had this awesome show called ‘120 Minutes’. It played the best and most varied in the underground and ‘post-modern’ (now called alternative) scenes. This is a musically magical album that must be played from start to finish. Don’t believe me? Hit that stupid Spotify preview and listen to the castrated versions of each song. I’ll wait. Done? Feel incomplete inside? Now give it a proper listen.
Definitively defined and righteously reflective. Like all futures classics should sound.
The modern art-pop Populuxe have always been restless in nature, finding new ways to reinvent themselves with each subsequent release.
It’s fitting that the term “Populuxe” was coined to denote the demand for inventive design between the end of WWII and the assassination of Kennedy. It also sounds a bit like ‘deluxe pop’ which certainly reflects the bands aesthetic; mashing Piper-era Pink Floyd with 60’s garage pop and late 70’s Bowie. “We were a bunch of inquisitive kids who were steeped in the wide-ranging radio of the 1970’s, fed a steady diet of crass commercialism and experienced a slew of emotionally confusing events” band spearhead Rob Shapiro reflects.
The band started as a trio in 1995 in Brooklyn, NY, and have since released five full-length LP’s and one mini-opera EP. Now a quintet, the collective thirty five plus years of playing the scene has led to notable stints in bands and noteworthy associations, including Nada Surf and Imperial Drag. Suffice to say the combined experience of the players extends from the biggest stages in the country to a broken strippers’ runway in a Northeast Minneapolis biker bar.
Their uncompromising 6th full length LP, Uneasy Listening, is a post-pandemic arrival at reality. These grown men don’t operate under any false pretenses or empty dreams; their sole interest at this point is in making new work that captures an honest and challenging artistic vision. With the assistance of co-producer Aaron Tap, the band deliver their restless melodic ideas wrapped in bent time signatures, dense chords and angular guitars.
Reflecting on their prolific output and the fluctuating musical identities, Rob wisely remarks, “…the themes apparently don’t change but the understanding of them, as I age, does.”