I'm a sucker for any aesthetic that veers towards on the psychedelic and druggy, so it's no surprise how much I'm digging Tobacco's new Fucked Up Friends record dropping in October on Anticon, who have gone from ashy to still ashy but classy in my book following recent releases from Why? and Dosh. Add that to the record's Aesop Rock cameo and I'm reasonably certain I constitute the entirety of its target audience. Thanks.
The quasi-front-man for Pittsburgh weirdos Black Moth Super Rainbow, whose Dandelion Gum was my 22nd favorite album of last year, Tobacco's solo debut is a darker, harder-edged affair, beats slightly sclerotic, bearing the brunt of the Rural Pennsylvania isolation it was recorded in. Outwardly anachronistic, Tobacco's nostalgic impulses are rooted deeper than cheap irony. Yes, the above video for “Hawker Boat,” goes for cheap yet satisfying yuks with clips of Richard Simmons mugging Gumby-lipped for the camera, loose-limbed B-boys doing the robot and grainy television commercials featuring a man dressed in a Bart Simpson outfit holding a “Don't Eat Drugs” sign.
But if you listen closely, you detect a conflict rooted in Tobacco's genetics, between a vanished world of Bazooka Joe mellotrons, blinking boardwalk lights and epileptic video arcade clatter and that feeling you get when you older to notice the dust, the clutter and the cracks. Like Dandelion Gum, Fucked Up Friends delivers on the notion of sound as color as well as anyone this side of Dungen and Caribou. And, yeah, it probably sounds much better if you don't follow Bart Simpson's advice.