New Zealand’s Dragan Stojanovic (The Axemen) records lo-fi cough-syrup pop as one-man band Doodle Bugs. Much like beloved local tape maestro Son of Salami, Doodle Bugs trades in displaced individual tracks floating in a “my first Sony” sea.
“Bullen the Fortunate Baby,” off of new cassette Tokes Valley (Doin’ It Right/Snow Clone), is a snapshot of a washed-up arena rock band’s last ride, the one where every member’s ego is so inflated they snort all the pre-show cocaine just so they can see their reflection in the mirror again. Each line is obnoxiously independent – the guitar mindlessly solos the entire time, the bass and drums pursue separate pulses with hairspray flair, the ham-fisted Casio keys clash, and at least three vocalists think they sing lead. It’s one-earring, headband rock that unravels in real time.
Despite its sarcastic exuberance (it is fun to imagine men in plush sweat suits and yellow-tinted sunglasses singing to an empty room), the song leaves me melancholic. Isolation and self-obsession fester in the illusion of the collective. “Leave it to analog allusions and technology to skewer the digital age,” he writes in an empty room.
Stojanovic posts periodic songs to his Facebook page (so I can’t embed them here) – check them out!