Dave Hadden of NYC’s original (+ maybe only) “surf-deprecating loungecore” band offers a track-by-track breakdown of the debut LP, which “rides a wave from neuroticism to shores of lolz”
In the spirit of transparency, when I first came across the term loungecore, I wasn’t exactly sure what that entailed. So naturally, in the pursuit of knowledge, I headed STRAIGHT TO THE SOURCE: Loungecore.com, obviously. Where an expert named ChampionDJ, the internet’s unofficial master of maxin’-and-relaxin’, offers inquiring minds such as mine the following definition:
“Lounge-core is a all-encompassing style that mixes together may genres into one singular groove that is created for a sole purpose – hardcore lounging.” *
Alright, I probably could’ve put two and two together. BUT! Now that we’ve all learned something, I propose you slip into something comfortable (velvet suit? silk robe?), make yourself a morning martini (it’s a lifestyle) and float down a river of smoooooth grooooooves courtesy of Pleasure Island, BK’s primary purveyor of the genre, whose debut full-length LP is out TODAY.
From Pleasure Island, this is Let’s.
You can take your art seriously without taking yourself too seriously, and the NYC trio demonstrate the band’s affinity for laughing as well as lounging. However Pleasure Island isn’t The Lonely Island; and this isn’t all satire. While the lyrics are thoroughly laced with silliness, the concepts seem to be rooted in some sincerity, with frontman Dave Hadden speaking to very human fears and flaws while also being quite frank about his professed personal shortcomings. (That must be the self- or, uh, surf-deprecating part.) I guess while we’re talking about the Andy Samberg projects this doesn’t equate to, I’ll serve up one that from a general ~vibe~ might actually be similar: Palm Springs. Much like the Cali-set sci-fi rom-com, Let’s is a labor of love that’s very fun, strangely sexy and occasionally (endearingly) a little stupid. Mostly, it’s thoroughly fucking enjoyable, a humor- and hyperbole-wrapped snack with some real heart at the center. Plus: palm trees.
But that’s more than enough words from me! Ahead of the release, Pleasure Island’s aforementioned singer and self-dubbed dandy sent over some delightful and predictably hilarious insights on the eleven songs, which encompass and explore a range of ideas, from embracing a sense of vanity to transcending your inner baby and, of course, gettin’ to the bone-zone.
Let’s —TRACK BY TRACK:
“You want to meet at 7? I’m thinking 11 // Cuz it takes a long time for me to get ready!”
I’m a tad vain and superficial. My heroes aren’t tatted bohemians; they’re dandies. Celebrating this feels a teeny bit contrarian in the rock and roll world…let’s all just admit it, we all want to look nice for each other! Hence our gentle campy pop protest against rock frumpiness.
“Bodega in the Rain“
“Who cares? You’ve always been alive // You’ve never been born, you’re never gonna die.”
“On the ugliest rainy day, a shabby ole Bushwick bodega overwhelmed me with feelings of awe and gratitude a la Lao Tzu. I even called my mom. I always recall that bodega when people tell me how much they spend on spiritual wellness retreats. Suckerrrrrrrs!”
“For all my epiphanies, this one’s most profound: Who doesn’t like a pretty gurl around?”
“I enjoy the challenge of writing the catchiest classic saccharine pop possible; I guess I’m more Paul than John. This is a lil tale about transcending your inner baby, and graciously forgiving people from your past; in this case your ex. And then moving on to party and get wild.”
“Skinny dipping underneath the moonlight // Friends tripping pondering the good life // That’s what everybody wants”
“This is the sound of loungecore. Here, we explore the motivations behind your average flexer, which is basically everyone in NYC. When I get overwhelmed by it all, I try to remember that we’re all just middle-children looking for a hug.”
“We’ll move upstate, live in a yurt, and listen to Alice Coltrane.”
“I like songs where you can’t tell if the singer is kidding or not. With this song, I can’t tell and I wrote the damn thing! For real though, If I found a nice lady who could stand me, I’d say something like, “’let’s buy a house in Kingston and go cook stuff. I’m exhausted.’”
“Set me up with your friend, we won’t discuss my past // for the first few months, you know I’ll be a blast!”
“Sad jazz piano aside, I think this is the funniest song on the LP. This couple I know was (rightly) reluctant to set me up with their friend. I mean, I’m a singer; you can’t blame them. Over the course of the song I basically start to agree with them. Life is pretty funny.”
“Come over for dinner“
“…Let’s be best friends…forever.”
“Ya know…It’s a disco song about only having a few friends and having to eat dinner alone all the time. Animal Collective in their prime never dared be this conceptual.”
“Is the world going to hell? We’re gonna need a bigger self-help shelf.”
“A foray into soul, this is our ‘political’ song. But before serving up the ole’ critique of capitalism etc, I thought it would be more interesting and honest to reveal that I don’t know a goddamn thing about how the world works, which is funny because when I was in school for a year or two I knew I’d seen it all. Yes, that was a Dead Kennedys reference.”
“Someone 2B Sweet 2“
“Lonely nights, Guess I’ll try one of those dating sites, and float along the carpal tunnels of love.”
“This track is like if Morrissey and Mark McGrath started a band (which I would definitely listen to). It’s about how soul-grinding it can be trying to find a date – especially if you’re all weird looking and old and whatnot. The first time I performed this I said: ‘It’s NOT autobiographical!’ and likely winked soon after.”
“I’m a homewrecker. Sometimes I wear linen, sometimes I wear leather”
“Here we flirt with chillwave. Considering other songs on this LP, it should be obvious that this song is a joke. For the record, I try not to fornicate with people’s novias or whatever. It’s just fun to write from the perspective of an anti-hero sometimes. They’re everywhere in serial dramas, but less common in pop music. We definitely use the term ‘Bone-Zone’ at the end…sorry.”
“Start Smoking again“
“People should start smoking again // in the buildings, planes, near their kid’s playpens”
“An MTV Beach House funk party jam more about gentrification than smoking. Do you ever just get depressed after looking at a coffee table book of NYC in the 70s? I’ll never know how it feels to be mugged in the LES after dancing to/with Grace Jones, what a bummer.”
In truly ~pleasurable~ fashion, the band—which includes Sean Tucillo on drums and Scott Chasse as not just the bassist but what Dave describes as the “producer and engineer that brought the sound to life”—is playing not one but two release shows: December 11th in Boston and December 18th at Gold Sounds. Mark your cal, don your finest duds and go out and catch this band o’ studs!
Now if you’ll please excuse me. The weekend is here, and I’ve got a lot of lounging to do~
Feature image (provided by the band): Lauren Silberman
* Typos in ChampionDJ’s quote were not edited bc mistakes are chilllll man.