"As I'm getting older, chip up on my shoulder..." is the opening line from Mac DeMarco's second full-length LP Salad Days, the follow up to 2012's lauded Mac DeMarco 2. Amongst that familiar croon and lilting guitar, that initial line from the title track sets the tone for an LP of a maturing singer/songwriter/producer. Someone strangely self-aware of the positives and negatives of their current situation at the ripe old age of 23.
Written and recorded around a relentless touring schedule, Salad Days gives the listener a very personal insight into what it's all about to be Mac amidst the craziness of a rising career in a very public format. The lead single, "Passing Out Pieces," set to huge overdriven organ chords, contains lines like "...never been reluctant to share, passing out pieces of me..." Clearly, this isn't the same record that breezily gave us "Dreamin" and "Ode to Viceroy," but the result of what comes from their success. "Chamber of Reflection," a track featuring icy synth stabs and soulful crooning, wouldn't be out of place on a fantasy Shuggie Otis and Prince collaboration. Standout tracks like these show Mac's widening sound, whether insights into future directions or even just welcome one-off forays into new territory.
Still, this is musically, lyrically and melodically good old Mac DeMarco, through and through. The crisp John Lennon/Phil Spector era homegrown lush production that could have come off Geoff Emerick's mixing board in 1972 with that peculiar Mac touch that's completely right now is still present. "Brother," a complete future classic, is Mac at his most soulful and easygoing but with that distinct weirdness and bite that can only come from Mr. DeMarco. "Treat Her Better" is rife with Mac-isms, heavily chorused slinky lead guitar, swooning vocal melodies, effortless chords that come along only after years of effort, and the other elements seriously lacking in independent music: sentiment and heartfelt sincerity.
We're only in Part 2 1/2 (one EP and two LP's in) of Mac's career. As you read this and as you hear the album on April Fool's Day of this year, he'll probably be on tour, or preparing for one... or maybe already writing new music. A relentless work ethic is something to be admired in today's indie music scene, but when it's of the quality Mac is giving us time and time again, it starts to turn from admiration to awe.
Mac DeMarco Salad Days (Captured Tracks) April 1, 2014
1. Salad Days
2. Blue Boy
4. Let Her Go
5. Goodbye Weekend
6. Let My Baby Stay
7. Passing Out Pieces
8. Treat Her Better
9. Chamber Of Reflection
10. Go Easy
11. Jonny's Odyssey
01-29 Los Angeles, CA- Echo &
03-14 Santiago, Chile - Ex OZ
03-15 Buenos Aires Argentina - Vorterix
03-19 São Paulo, Brazil - TBA
03-20 São Paulo, Brazil - TBA
03-21 Porto Alegre, Brazil - Beco 203
03-23 Santa Ana, CA- Burgerama at The Observatory
03-31 Cleveland, OH- Beachland Ballroom *
04-01 Oberlin, OH- Dionysus Club (the 'Sco) at Oberlin #
04-02 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle + (early show)
04-02 Chicago, IL- Empty Bottle # (late show)
04-03 Detroit, MI- Magic Stick *
04-04 Wakefield, QC-Blacksheep- *
04-05 Sherbrooke, QC- Boquébierè *
04-06 Montreal, QC- Societe des Arts Technologiques *
04-07 Cambridge, MA- Middle East Downstairs *
04-09 New York, NY- Webster Hall !
04-10 Durham, NC- Duke University Coffeehouse +
04-11 Atlanta, GA- Goat Farm Arts Center +
04-12 Baton Rouge, LA- Mud and Water +
04-13 Austin, TX- Mohawk Outside +
04-14 Fort Worth, TX - Lola's Saloon +
04-15 Oxford, MS- Proud Larry's +^
04-16 Nashville, TN- Exit / In +
04-17 Asheville, NC- Grey Eagle Tavern +
04-18 Philadelphia, PA- Underground Arts +
04-25 New Orleans, LA- Tulane University
04-26 Bronxville, NY- Sarah Lawrence College (Solo Set)
05-15 Amsterdam, AN- Melkweg
05-16 Paris, FR- Trabendo
05-17 Nantes, FR- Stereolux
05-18 Brussels, BE- Nuits Botanique at Botanical Cultural Center
05-19 Brighton, UK- The Old Market
05-20 Glasgow, SCT- Mono
05-21 Manchester, UK- Sound Control
05-22 London, UK- Koko
05-23 Cologne, DK- Electronic Beats @ E Werks
05-24 Berlin, DK- Bi Nuu
06-20 Toronto, ON- NXNE Festival
06-21 Toronto, ON- NXNE Festival
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