Dawn in Los Angeles and it felt like I was the only person awake in the Hollywood Hills. Far from the comforts of my native Paris, I stretched out in my bed overlooking the morning mist of the city. Below me small homes and tall palms drifted into the fog. The streets seemed empty, and I thought it would make a good time to explore the city by automobile.
I squeezed the leg of Ines, (I can’t be expected to be without all the pleasures of Paris) who had just gotten to sleep, and briefly entertained calling my lovely wife, Coverton, of whom we shall speak no more.
I dismissed the thought, this was a solo mission and I didn’t want to cloud up the old noggin with any matrimonial conversation.
Selecting an A.P.C. blazer, Agnes B striped shirt, and Dries Van Noten slacks, I got dressed, rubbed my eyes, and lit my first Silk Cut of the day. After a few puffs I put it out and picked up a joint from the night that had just barely ended. No better way to stave off the voices in my head telling me to go back to bed…
Once safely ensconced in my silver 1972 Citroen SM, I hit “play” on the in-dash IPOD so I could listen to an album I had caught snippets of the night before and knew would be perfect for my tour.
Frausdots is the creation of Brent Rademaker, who played with L.A. based shoegazer outfit Further, late-‘80s rockers The Tyde and neo-psych folk legends Beachwood Sparks before finally founding his own band and writing his kind of songs. His kind of songs are jagged, 80’s-influenced rock songs with plenty of dreamy interludes and an emphasis on both Television-like guitar leads and subtle yet catchy choruses.
From the opening track I was so happy to have neglected sleep and gone on my dawn tour of the city. Long and low in my Citroen, I lit a slim joint and settled into my leather seat and the song, Dead Wrong. Dead Wrong is a fantastic introduction to the album, with a chilling male-female chorus and a magic interpolation of guitars and synthesizers. The song is dark but incredibly intriguing. It makes you want more, and the rest of the album is happy to deliver.
I arrived at the base of the hills at Hollywood Blvd. Where to turn? The pale, pale blue of the dawn light reflected on the storefronts, and it seemed as though I was alone in the city. I decided to keep heading south, through Hollywood as giant palm trees swayed above. The album was captivating me and it didn’t matter where I drove. The influences that broke through to the surface were Echo and the Bunnymen, Television, the Cure, and Joy Division. All old favorites, and usually when you hear a band influenced by these artists, you get something repetitive and old. Not here. This record draws its strength from the voice and emotions of its Rademaker, with its crisp production and gorgeous melodies that clash with the cutting guitar leads. Songs like Soft Lights and Current Bedding turn up the lush aspects of the sound, while A Go See and Fashion Death Trends emphasize the beat and propulsive energy that’s muted on other songs. The last track, Tomorrow’s Sky oddly references the Cure’s High, but it’s still good. The entire album is romantic in a way that is hard to describe. It’s the romance of driving alone in Los Angeles at dawn, as memories of the night before arrive unexpectedly.
I sat at a red light, somewhere in the city. A freeway was humming behind me, and it seemed as if the Ocean was getting closer. The entire city was bathed in the palest light imaginable as a few denizens started to stir from their homes and go about their lives. Somewhere, high up in the hills, a girl was asleep, waiting for me to open the door… I made a right and headed towards the ocean.
More on Frausdots available at Subpop.com