Stream American Pleasure Club A Whole Fucking Lifetime Of This And Read Their Essay About Ditching The Name Teen Suicide

American Pleasure Club released A Whole Fucking Lifetime Of This today. It may be the greatest collection of music band mastermind Sam Ray has ever shared with the world, though his output with this project plus Ricky Eat Acid and Julia Brown is too expansive to say for sure. The claim I will stake is that A Whole Fucking Lifetime Of This is one of the absolute best albums of this young year so far, one you should hear as soon as possible.

In essence, this is a lo-fi indie rock record, but it’s beautifully multi-faceted, demonstrating what a broad range of talents Ray has at his disposal. There are fuzzed-out hallucinations like “This Is Heaven And I’d Do for It” and “New Year’s Eve.” There are gorgeous acoustic ballads á la “All The Lonely Nights In Your Life” and “Before My Telephone Rings.” There are ambient electronic bliss-outs such as “Sycamore” and “Let’s Move To The Desert,” the one with the Frank Ocean sample. “Just A Mistake” rides a ballistic drum’n’bass beat; “Eating Cherries” morphs from ghostly piano to symphonic Auto-Tune and back.

The combined effect of all this is a feeling of traversing through a long, dark night alongside Ray, not in his subconscious but in real life — at home, outdoors under the stars, and in his waking imagination. Even at its dreamiest, the album captures a longing and vulnerability I associate with life after midnight, before the responsibilities of adulthood sunk in. Ray spins visions of his own reference points — “kids fucking in the backseats of cars,” “crying into the kitchen sink,” “[putting] a record on and trying to sleep” — but his songs here evoke some of my own, such as long walks under streetlights, loaded confessions via text message, or staring at a wall basking in heavy emotions. If you’re the type to get lost in melancholy nostalgia, you might take great pleasure in projecting your own feelings and memories on this music.

One subject that recurs throughout A Whole Fucking Lifetime Of This is profound, life-altering affection for another person. I can only speculate how much of it is inspired by Ray’s real-life marriage to Kathryn-Leigh Beckwith, better known as his fellow underground musician Kitty, but whatever passion he’s chronicling courses through this music with powerful immediacy, albeit filtered through bleary eyes and tempered with aching.

Some of it is obviously flashback. “All The Lonely Nights In Your Life” is particularly potent in its depiction of lovestruck adolescent yearning: “I see you smoking out on the lawn/ You must be skipping class today/ My heart stops for a second or two/ All I want is to be near to you.” Elsewhere Ray seems unstuck from time entirely, as when he intones, “Let’s move to the desert/ Every day falling in love/ It’s not so easy to be so sad/ When you can always touch the sun.” The title of the album’s first full-fledged song says a lot: “This Is Heaven And I’d Die For It.” That sensation of getting lost in love, real or imagined, is the album’s driving force. I recommend letting the music wash over you and seeing if you don’t get swept up in a similar heavy-hearted euphoria.

You may recall that American Pleasure Club is a new name for an old band; until recently, this project was known as Teen Suicide. Today, Ray has penned an essay explaining his thought process behind choosing the controversial moniker in 2009, maintaining it for almost a decade, and then discarding it late last year. Early in the piece, he writes:

I named the band Teen Suicide—I want to cop to that right away. Though I’m embarrassed, now, by the old name, I don’t look to excuse it. Nor do I want to shift the blame off myself. I chose it, alone, when I first formed the band. Context is important, for why I chose to use the name in the first place, why I kept using it, and why I changed it. I know, now, that it’s absolutely essential to rename your artistic project when it becomes clear the name has the potential to be harmful, triggering, or damaging to anyone, for any reason. This is an exploration in my experience of doing exactly that.

There’s much more about cynical attempts to gain unearned attention, the way Ray used the Teen Suicide name to disguise his heartfelt confessions as a joke, and his battles with addiction and suicidal depression. You can read the essay in full at Track Record.

A Whole Fucking Lifetime Of This is out now on Run For Cover.