The last time we heard from Shehzaad Jiwani was in 2016 upon the arrival of his band Greys’ new album Warm Shadow, a sister release to their sophomore outing Outer Heaven. Warm Shadow found the Toronto punk outfit — a Stereogum Band To Watch from way back in 2012 — expanding their horizons, experimenting with sound collages and pushing their music into blearier and more abstract forms. Now, Jiwani’s back with a new project called Golden Drag, and he’s departed even further from the aggressive roots of Greys.
Jiwani’s unveiled Golden Drag with a debut standalone single, amusingly entitled “Aphex Jim.” Don’t be fooled by the fact that “Golden Drag” falls on a very different point in the color spectrum than Jiwani’s other band: “Aphex Jim” is a song that exists in washed-out greyscale electronics, like Jiwani’s indulging a love of Britpop’s heroin phase. Or, it’s a haze of the more medicinal variety, modern ennui and pill fog — “Eat a five-star meal/ For aesthetic appeal,” Jiwani quips with narcotized despondence.
The stylistic distance from Greys is rooted in a songwriting challenge Jiwani gave himself as the genesis of Golden Drag: to write “short, economical tunes and deconstruct them in the studio,” with “Aphex Jim” specifically being his attempt at writing without guitar or live drums. The atmosphere of the composition captures its themes well. “The song’s unchanging pulse evokes that claustrophobic lurch you feel when you’ve spent too much time staring at your phone on public transit,” Jiwani says. “Just some everyday lighthearted stuff!” Check it out below.
“Aphex Jim” is out now via Buzz Records. Listen here.