While Alex Zhang Hungtai’s breakthrough 2011 Badlands LP was most memorable for its greasy rockabilly (by way of Suicide, the Cramps, and David Lynch), he’s been experimenting with sounds and styles long before, and ever since. There was the instrumental “Elizabeth’s Theme” 7″ last year, for instance, and now Hungtai’s gone instrumental again on the touching synth-chordal “Love Is The Devil,” the title track from one-half of the double LP Drifters/Love Is The Devil which he’ll release this May. Apparently it comes from a wounded place. He tweeted its introduction with the note “I’m a rotten piece of shit,” which is well enough, but it’s the YouTube comment Alex left in response to someone saying they were “expecting more than modulated synth chords but i’m sure the album will be interesting enough?” that’s particularly telling. To quote:
i don’t care about pleasing your expectations. i just do what I want to write. you can judge it all you want. modulated synth chords. I was crying my fucking eyes out when i wrote this and punching myself in the face. I don’t give a shit about what peoples expectations are. This is why I’m doing this record. ? its for myself and my life.
That is a rather real YouTube comment. That sentiment (and its accompanying visual) can’t help but add a whole new dimension of pathos and intensity as you hear “Love Is The Devil,” so, be warned. (But also, dig in, it’s very pretty.)
Drifters/Love Is The Devil is out 5/21 via Zoo Music, who say the release is 16 songs and 75 minutes.