Tom Recommends: “Gangs in the Garden” by Black Moth Super Rainbow

My last four internet searches were: Clayton Plaza Hotel, Baby Jessica, antiquated intercom systems, and etymology of bae. If this information was plumbed and then sculpted into a sonic portrait, I am confident a Black Moth Super Rainbow song would result.

Stay with me here…

We live in a world that treats information like it is knowledge. And we wrap that information in code and blast it through the massive pipes of the internet so we can all grab whatever pieces of it we seek. So we are an intensely informed people, but this doesn’t mean we actually know anything. In fact, it remains incumbent upon the individual to put these infinite pieces of information together, to think through what they actually mean, what is truthful and what is not, what is real and what is false, what is relevant to our existence and what is just fodder, filler, and amusement.

The journey to make meaning out of information is what Black Moth Super Rainbow’s music sounds like to me. Like they took my entire internet search history and spliced it together, mining deeper connections than I can see and translating these sympathies into layers of sound, mixing the whole thing together into shockingly catchy songs.

“Gangs in the Garden” from the 2012 album Cobra Juicy layers an over-processed, distorted bass groove with partially intelligible lyrics, a drum machine, synths, slide guitars, heavy breathing, and God only knows what else to make something gorgeous and fun and — most salient to my point — cohesively pop-ish. I don’t know what the song means and I don’t care because it is an exercise in finding the beauty that comes from sonically mining modern surfaces for deeper relevance, unearthing unexpected connections that exist even when information is tidal, building a grammar out of these digital junkyard scraps to craft something articulate. “Gangs in the Garden” is a demonstration of how to think in a world of digital glitches and over-processed everything. And this is a good space for people to spend some time in, especially if you cannot remember an internet-less world. Like a cleanse of sorts, so when you open up your browser again, maybe you’ll see things more clearly, like you did the first time you realized you live in an infinite urban sprawl of information. In this way, Black Moth Super Rainbow’s music sets us on a quest to know… And it just sounds really good, too.

(Song recommendation by Tom Stern)

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