A possessed typewriter flutters. Sampled shuffling of drawers closing and faded ancestral ties linger in the background. Lewis Del Mar’s latest track “Puerto Cabezas, NI” is electric, literally — “In the streets without the streets and no power lines/ I am electric, I am electrical/ I finally found the rest of me” — a short-circuit combustion that ignites overexposed bass and textured vocals.
Danny Miller exposes his familial connections (“fresh fish and sticky plantains/ I am bound to you by the mystery of my own name”) and references photographs of his roots in Nicaragua, where his family resides today. Sounding somewhere between Anthony Kiedis and Alt-J, Miller and drummer Max Harwood experiment with varied Latin American gradients and layered percussive segments that rain amongst Miller’s voice as he foretells of melting colors and self-reflection.
Miller shared further background on the track:
Puerto Cabezas is the small town on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua where my parents met. My mother moved there from the States in 1975 to work in one of the region’s first public health clinics, and my father is from a nearby town called Bluefields. They lived together in Nicaragua until the revolution ended in 1979, when they moved to Mexico.
This song came together after I visited Puerto Cabezas for the first time last year. Although Max and I have travelled frequently to Latin America since we were young, I’d always waited for the right time to explore that town. Growing up, the history of my parents relationship was vague to me. Shortly after I was born my father was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and I was raised by mother. The stories I heard from their initial time in Nicaragua were always thin and sparsely detailed.
Finally going to Puerto Cabezas was lifting a blindfold. I stayed with family and met some of my parents’ first friends. In a predictable but poignant way it connected me to parts of my identity that I never fully understood. But, it was also strange: the sentiment of being 25, of believing you finally know yourself, and then suddenly discovering an entirely new dimension of your identity. It was an experience that felt both unique and universal in the same instant.
Max recorded it in an empty basement, and its texture is very barebones and fitting for the nature of the song. It’s about piecing together you’re puzzle, and turning the next corner.
The track is a fascinating portal into Miller’s life and the Rockaway Beach duo’s self-titled debut album. Take your own trip to Puerto Cabezas below.
01 “Such Small Scenes”
03 “14 Faces”
04 “Painting (Masterpiece)”
05 “Puerto Cabezas, NI”
06 “Tap Water Drinking”
07 “Malt Liquor”
10 “Live That Long”
Lewis Del Mar is out 10/7 on Columbia. Pre-order it here.