A couple of years ago, Minneapolis resident James Brooks came to our attention for making sparkling, theoretical, internet-addled pop music under the name Elite Gymnastics. (It started out as a duo, but it was really Brooks’s baby.) Brooks is still making music, but he’s changed his project’s name, and its focus. He’s now releasing music as Dead Girlfriends, and he’s putting his voice and his lyrics at front-and-center, not hiding them in the mix — which makes a difference, considering how personal and political those lyrics are.
In a great Tumblr post, Brooks explains the new name by quoting the feminist icon Andrea Dworkin: “We have been asked, by many people in the societies in which we live, to accept that we women are making progress. You see, because you see our presence in these places that we weren’t before. And those of us who are berated for being radical have said: that is not the way we measure progress. You see, we count the dead bodies. We count the numbers of rapes. We count the women who are being battered. We keep track of the children who are being raped by their fathers. And when *those* numbers start to change in a way that is meaningful, we will then talk to you about whether or not we can measure progress.”
The first release under the Dead Girlfriends name is a brand-new four-song EP called Stop Pretending. On first listen, it sounds amazing. Stream the whole thing, and watch a video for the track “On Fraternity,” below:
Buy the EP at the Dead Girlfriends Bandcamp. Brooks’s living girlfriend Grimes did the drawing on the cover.