Jokers Of The Scene Remix SALEM (Stereogum Premiere)

I was pretty clear regarding my thoughts on Salem when we premiered “King Night” in June: “I love Salem’s King Night,” etc. A few months later I started another post about the band on a different note because the anti-Salem strain was getting pretty loud: “People hate Salem. Are shrill about it,” etc. Of course, I think the reasons to like the band outweigh whatever it is that piss people off about them. This is now I described my interest at the beginning of the summer:

You get Screw fueled by twice the cough syrup (and a Dennis Cooper novel). Starless deep-South mythologies filtered through Traverse City/Chicago street culture. They establish an elegant, pristine goth shoegaze that now and then drops out weird, introverted dance anthems. Or deep, bowel-shaking bass rumbles accompanied by warping atmospherics. A real sense of dirt. (The songs come off like field recordings for the back alleys in Trash Humpers.) … They tap a darkness and a romantic bleakness, the kind of thing I’ve found so attractive, in a different guise, via black metal or deathrock.

After writing that, I had about 1,000 Twitter wars. Or I quoted others: “Salem sincerely don’t give a fuck, and unlike Vampire Weekend, are at least forthcoming with their universal disdain.” A kind of virtual high-five. And, truth is, after all the spent energy and tossed barbs, each time I return to King Night I still feel the pull of that weird dark romanticism. Extending the Salem landscape, you get a bleak techno twitch via this groggy, danceable remix of “Asia” by Ottawa DJ/producers Jokers Of The Scene.

Remember, we’ve also heard oOoOO’s tweak of it. A refresher:


Check out Salem live:

11/24 – London, UK @ Shoreditch Church (SOLD OUT)
11/26 – Manchester, UK @ Islington Mill
11/27 – Leeds, UK @ Nation Of Shopkeepers
11/29 – Nottingham, UK @ Bodega
11/30 – Bristol, UK @ Thekla
12/02 – Ghent, Belgium @ Charlatan
12/03 – Berlin, Germany @ Festsaal Kreuzberg
12/04 – Hamburg, Germany @ Mondal Club @ SILBER
12/06 – Rome, Italy @ Keep It Yours (Init)
12/07 – Milan, Italy @ Indierocket (Rocket)
12/09 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Dunkel
12/10 – Paris, France @ Transmusicales Festival

[Photo by Jimmy Limit]

Comments (7)
  1. I’m glad someplace on the Internet is championing this record. Seems you and CMG are the only ones taking the time to describe this album’s greatness instead of most people’s position which is dismissing it for the all too obvious reasons (“Why is he rapping?” “Why are the drum clicks all the same?” “It sucks” etc.)

    It’s nice to listen to an album that requires you to meet it on its own terms. And honestly, who else this year has had a more cohesive and solid debut record?

  2. love the record!! BTW Royal Trux and RTX FOREVER!!!!!!!!!

  3. I too am glad someone will stand up for the record. I stopped and questioned myself once it got so many bad reviews, but then I listen to “Babydaddy,” or “Asia,” and … I don’t know … it gets me in the gut. Actually, “Redlight,” the most mainstreamed-approved song on the album is my least favorite. I’m glad the band doesn’t give a shit. They wouldn’t be making the music that those of us who love it LOVE it, if they did.

  4. The Jokers of the scene remix smooths the rough edges of the original. I like it, but I think it loses the original’s agressiveness, unlike oOoOO’s more faithful remix.

  5. SALEM were cool to me until I saw them live stoned and incoherent.Ditto for the dubious occultist shout outs.

  6. But their record has some seriously great songs and their sound is truly shattershot unique and I think its great.

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