Two of my favourite artists releasing singles on consecutive days is making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Pretty sure they didn’t do it specifically for me (although, maybe?), but following Gia Margaret’s surprise drop yesterday, here come Nation of Language marching in with another melancholy banger that builds to a crescendo of snaking, shimmering synth lines and crystalline drums.
The US synth-pop bands’s Ian Devaney kicks off our new series by waxing lyrical about The Beach Boys.
Over the past decade or so of interviewing artists, one thing I’ve found is that it’s often difficult for them to talk about their own music. After all, music is the great communicator: if you need to explain the story behind its creation, or the meaning behind its lyrical content, then you’re in danger of missing the point. Conversely – given the chance – they more often that not love being effusive about other people’s work. One Track Mind is an opportunity for them to do just that.
The premise is pretty simple: I ask artists to pick one track that means a lot to them – either something they’ve discovered recently, something that’s been with them for years, or one that reminds them of a specific time in their life or career – and tell me what makes it so special to them. I get to talk to the artists I love, and they get to talk about the artists they love. Love all round!
Kicking off the series is Ian Devaney from Nation of Language, who are arguably my favourite new musical discovery of 2020. Their album Introduction, Presence has brought me an inordinate amount of joy this year, and I’m extremely grateful to Ian for taking the time to speak to me.
For his selection, Ian chose a late-era Beach Boys song that deals in melancholy and nostalgia, themes that are also present in much of Nation of Language’s music.
Nation of Language may well be my favourite musical discovery of 2020. Their album Introduction, Presence is a toweringly brilliant record, and their latest single A Different Kind of Life is equally strong. Like a lot of their music it has a yearning, nostalgic quality to it that gets me right in the feels every time, and reminds me of emotional, synthy 80s bangers like When In Rome’s The Promise. In fact, stick A Different Kind of Life at the end of Napoleon Dynamite when they’re walloping that swingball around, and I’d be a very happy chap indeed.
Brooklyn-based synth enthusiasts Nation of Language have just released their latest album Introduction, Presence, which sounds exactly like the soundtrack of your favourite offbeat 80s drama where the protagonists embark on nihilistic but ultimately seductive adventures until someone dies of a drug overdose and they have to question their behaviour but ultimately just end up lighting yet another cigarette and saying “fuck it… where’s the party?”. If that sounds like the kind of film you’d enjoy, then you’ll probably really like lead single September Again.