London O’Connor – “Nobody Hangs Out Anymore” (Stereogum Premiere)

At first it seems like information about London O’Connor is sparse, but really, it isn’t. There was his initial stunt, “A Song By London O’Connor” that mimicked a hostage situation before revealing the kidnapper to be O’Connor himself. Complex caught him in all his skateboarding-in-a-dress glory, and then he dropped a video game visual featuring a tentacled television to accompany “Oatmeal,” a song about a fictional, gluttonous uncle.

“Fronting as if you have no vulnerability is lame, and I want people to know that before I even speak,” the New York-based artist told Mass Appeal in one of his only interviews, and watching the video for “Love Song” does reveal a character who is deeply vulnerable and open with the world. It’s the fact that we’re not used to seeing artists behave like this that makes us think we don’t know O’Connor well. Like the rest of his peers, the 24-year-old is taken by things like Wes Anderson’s surrealism and Lou Reed’s songwriting, but he’s able to see past the towering egos and legacies of other artists and assert his own with equal force. It’s easy to call him disillusioned given the way he refuses to play by the rules, but maybe we’re the ones that are disillusioned; why are we so uneasy that this artist won’t let us force him to fit into a broken system?

Today we’re premiering a brand new song from O’Connor called “Nobody Hangs Out Anymore.” It’s a lonely, MIDI-loop that bemoans our lack of physical interaction — not such an uncommon topic these days. He translates his digital malaise from ones and zeroes into a stretched-out falsetto that misses a few notes here and there, that mourns an inexplicably loss of hanging out “in the real.” We know there’s something empty about avatars and Gchats, something that leaves us feeling sucked even deeper into loneliness than when we logged on to fill that void in the first place — this song is O’Connor confronting that anxiety head-on. “All my friends are on the net/ And all my friends are in the net/ All of us are out of it/ And none of us are into it,” he raps with tight-lipped ennui, before spilling into a lamenting, syrupy falsetto on the chorus.

This track is just an initial taste of O’Connor’s full debut album, which is coming 6/23. Here’s London’s statement on his album:

I am putting out my first album June 23rd. It is titled: O∆. If when you hear it, you feel like its talking about where you live, then I want you to leave.

His thoughts on the song:

There are over 5,986,000,000,000,000 square feet of land on earth. O∆.

This album was written, produced, and performed entirely by London O’Connor, and while his defiance, dead-eye rapping, and internet savvy will surely evoke Odd Future comparisons, he’s already well past the L.A. crew. O∆ contains all the same carnivorous personalities and unruly creativity, sure, but they’re contained within a single person. Listen.

O∆. is out 6/23 as a free download.