The erudite and inventive singer-songwriter-producer John Vanderslice doesn’t get enough respect as one of the architects of 21st century indie rock. But real heads know he’s been holding it down since the late ’90s, producing for the likes of Death Cab For Cutie, Sleater-Kinney, and the Magnetic Fields out of his Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco and releasing a slew of great records of his own. (Cellar Door is my favorite, though Life And Death Of An American Fourtracker goes nearly as hard.) Last year’s The Cedars and this year’s Dollar Hits proved Vanderslice is still going strong. And under lockdown, he’s trying his hand at something new.
Vanderslice’s upcoming Eeeeeeeep EP is his first foray into recording entirely on a computer, a choice he was more or less forced into by the recent pandemic. “What blew me away was how terrible my first stabs at digital recording were. It simply wasn’t believable. My benchmarks are modeselektor, JPEGMAFIA, autechre… digital shit that sounds really really good. I wasn’t even in the same galaxy,” Vanderslice told Brooklyn Vegan. “Because of COVID I had more time to fuck around than I’ve had since I was 12. I went to work!”
Our first preview of the EP is “Lure Mice Condemn Erase,” which, despite its somewhat blippy and deconstructed production, is a classic Vanderslice jam. “David Berman sent me this formula for writing lyrics and creating titles,” he told BV. “It’s from his methods. RIP. The song is about creating and enforcing a cult on land that I partially own in West Sonoma. I always thought I would have been an effective cult leader.”
Eeeeeeeep is out 8/21.