Download New Album: Drugdealer – Raw Honey
Drugdealer comes through with a brand new smashing hot and dope studio album, packed with 9 amazing and solid tracks entitled “Raw Honey“. The Los Angeles musician Michael Collins used to work under the names Salvia Plath and Run DMT, and now he’s getting ready to release an album under the honestly-just-as-problematic moniker Drugdealer. This time around, Collins is messing around with sunbaked ’70s California folk-rock, and he’s getting some help from some prominent people. Mac DeMarco mixed the album, and guests include people like Dougie Poole and Harley Hill-Richmond. We’ve already posted the early single “Fools,” and today, Collins has shared another jam, and it’s a collaboration with his old buddy Weyes Blood.
Weyes Blood mastermind Natalie Mering sings lead on “Honey,” a gooily pretty country-rock jam that instantly evokes people like Fleetwood Mac and Linda Ronstadt. Mering’s controlled, knowing vocals work nicely with all the languid slide guitars and laid-back in-the-pocket studio-musician stuff that Collins brings to the project. And if you’re going to make straight-up retro-homage music, you might as well make it as lush and gorgeous as this.
Mering, it’s worth mentioning, has her own album coming out. The new Weyes Blood LP Titanic Rising is coming next month, a couple of months before Raw Honey, and she just shared a great new song called “Movies” yesterday. Despite the name, Collins is framing this Drugdealer effort as a new beginning. The title—The End of Comedy—can be read as a way of buttoning up the past, moving onward to sweetness and sincerity. But that is, in a sense, what he’s been doing all along. Hidden underneath titles like Bong Voyage, One Hitter Wonders, and Get Ripped or Die Trying is a serious songwriter who’s more in touch with the world around him than his jokes suggest.
Now that Collins has a few extra sets of hands around, that’s highlighted even further. Ariel Pink, Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering, members of Mac DeMarco’s live band, and the Montreal freaks in Sheer Agony all turn up over the course of The End of Comedy’s 11 tracks. They smooth out some of Collins’ stranger—and occasionally, more grating—tendencies. There’s no rambly spoken word pieces about DMT trips or distended drone works. Instead, there’s things like “Suddenly,” a slowly unravelling pop song about joy, newness, and unexpected realizations. The lyrics—sung by Mering—are loose and abstract, but after meandering in the dark a bit, she sees the rise of the morning sun, and with it comes a wave of comfort: “Now I feel like I’m home again.” Even its lyrics are delirious and psychedelic. It’s the sort of song Collins has been writing, or trying to write, over his whole career, but delivered in a much more clear-headed way.
That lucidity becomes the defining characteristic of The End of Comedy. There’s a newfound focus that was missing even on Salvia Plath’s The Bardo Story and Silk Rhodes’ self-titled—two relatively hi-fi works by Collins’ standards. Previously, Collins has fogged his more produced recordings with dizzy arrangements, but now he’s able to turn even the lazily strummed acoustics and heavy-lidded slide work of “Easy to Forget” into something purposeful. Ariel Pink, also operating in his surprisingly sincere mode, pens an ode to confusion and amnesia, but Collins breathes life into it, stopping and starting the instrumental in ways that propel what should be a stoned, slippery song.
Comedy, in fact, is not necessarily gone. Collins still takes time to use a convoluted metaphor about rolling spliffs during the heatwave plod of “Sea of Nothing.” But what surrounds the peculiar humor is carefully considered in a way that few of his recordings have been. Collins’ work has always had this potential—the untamed electric energy of synapses pushed past their usual operating capacity. Now, with a little help from his friends, he’s finally able to shape and direct it. He’s taken a step back, and instead of aiming for a laugh, a smile will do. This is the kind of song(s) you wouldn’t want to miss on your playlist.
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