Drugdealer

“All anyone wants to be is what they can.”

In an era when networked access to information is nearly universal and wearing influences on your sleeve is normalized, it often feels like everything’s been done. Which begs the questions: What’s the point of creating? Does the world need another still life of fruit? Another film about love? Does the world need another melody?

On Raw Honey, his second album as Drugdealer, Michael Collins colors these existential conundrums with lush arrangements, memetic melodies, and a vulnerable tunefulness that tries to make sense of self-doubt and connected loneliness in our shared simulacra.

Collins, who never played an instrument, let alone received musical training in any formal capacity, began experimenting with sounds in 2009 after traversing the US on freight trains. After a few years crafting abstract sampledelia, he decided to forgo his experimental exercises in favor of teaching himself how to write the traditional song. In doing so, he made the decision to approach songwriting from the perspective of a listener, rather than a “musician.”

In 2013, Collins headed west and enmeshed himself in the Los Angeles underground scene. It was then that he began collaborating with players in the orbit of Ariel Pink, slowly over time crafting what would become Drugdealer’s debut album, The End of Comedy, a collection of sunlit songs as indebted to Laurel Canyon psych pop as it is Bacharian orchestration.

Raw Honey continues where The End of Comedy left off, with Collins once again leading an ace crew of collaborators to coalesce the spirit of Drugdealer’s classically modern pop. Built on the foundation of a creative partnership between Collins, Sasha Winn (vocals) and Shags Chamberlain (bass, production), Drugdealer is more a collective than band. Raw Honey features contributions of Josh Da Costa (drums), Jackson MacIntosh (guitar), Danny Garcia (guitar), Michael Long (lead guitar), and Benjamin Schwab (backing vocals, guitar, organ, piano, wurlitzer), as well as guest vocalists like country balladeer Dougie Poole (“Wild Motion”), Harley Hill-Richmond (“Lonely”), and frequent collaborator Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) whose dulcet tones sing low before soaring on “Honey,” a track as silky as the nectar itself.

Throughout Raw Honey, Collins and crew display their influences as a new tapestry, one woven with the recycled fibers from thousands of tapestries that have colored our collective listening histories. As evidenced throughout Raw Honey, Collins has an ear for penning numbers that would sound as at home on Classic Rock radio as they would at Zebulon in Los Angeles, where any of the contributors to Raw Honey could, perhaps, be found on any night of the week, on stage, or in the audience supporting another Angelino’s modern pop aspirations.

Rather than hiding behind a curtain or casually sidestepping AOR tropes, Raw Honey adheres to a modern kind of creation — one that cultivates influences and espouses reverence. An honest totem, Raw Honey isn’t tangled up in social norms, with Collins prefering to air his self-doubt as a northern star to guide like-minded people wherever they need to go.

Drugdealer’s Raw Honey will be released on April 19, 2019 via Mexican Summer.

Jackson MacIntosh

Jackson MacIntosh will be an alien figure to most, but his resume pinpoints him as near the epicenter of the recent explosion in fantastic pop music currently being forged in the city of Montreal and exported the world over. He spent 2016 deploying funky, percolating bass lines on the road for indie pop outfit TOPS. He recorded and engineered the last two albums for labelmate Homeshake at his now-defunct home Montreal studio and venue, Drones Club. He has collaborated with cherished LA weirdo Drugdealer as well as Montreal’s Bernardino Femminielli, all in addition to fronting the masterfully hooky power pop band Sheer Agony. Such is the man’s work ethic that, when catching up with MacIntosh, the question that inevitably springs to your lips is: so what are you working on next?

And so it is that Sinderlyn is proud to introduce listeners to My Dark Side, the debut solo album from Jackson MacIntosh. Recorded over three years and two break-ups, My Dark Side is as confessional as it is casual: a collection of songs that oozed out of necessity.

Launder is the post-punk/shoegaze project of singer-guitarist John Cudlip, a Dana Point native who, after moving to Los Angeles, was introduced to Jackson Phillips of Day Wave. Not long after, the pair began work on Launder’s debut EP, “Pink Cloud,” out March 9. Working out of Phillips’ home studio in Echo Park, the EP took shape with the help of French singer-songwriter Soko, who lends her vocals to four of the five tracks, and guitarist Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV, who takes the lead on two. The debut single is the dreamy “Fade,” whose beautifully detuned melancholy suggests Cudlip is not fading at all, but just getting started.

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