Happy Monday again, internet. We’re back with another fistful of songs to help get you through the week.
Last week, we looked at a few songs that came from MCU soundtracks as a way to recognize the release of Endgame. Due to a sudden attack of the flu, I was unable to complete the last couple of posts. But don’t worry. We’ll return to Marvel soundtracks soon enough.
This week, however, we’ll be looking at songs that come from side projects of already well-known artists. I recently took a trip to Cincinnati to visit a good friend, and during the visit, we of course talked music. We swapped some recommendations, and listened to some of the side projects of artists we both liked. This week, I’ll be trying to recreate some of those conversations from memory.
Our song today, “Leave It In My Dreams”, comes from The Voidz. But before diving into the song itself, let’s look at who exactly The Voidz are, and how they came to be.
The Voidz are an experimental rock band formed in part by Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. Other members of the band include Jeramy “Beardo” Gritter (guitar), Amir Yaghmai (guitar), Jacob “Jake” Bercovici (bass, synthesizers), Alex Carapetis (drums), and Jeff Kite (keyboards).
When Julian Casablancas was touring for his solo album, “Phrazes for the Young”, Kite and Carpetis were members of the Sick Six live backing band that played with him. Shortly after, the other members were brought on, and the group started writing together.
Originally known as Julian Casablancas and The Voidz, the group changed their name after the release of their debut album, “Tyranny”, in 2014. The group signed onto Julian Casablancas’ record label, Cult before signing with RCA to release their second album, “Virtue” in 2018.
Wildly experimental, it seems like The Voidz are after making music that’s as weird as possible. When it seems like all contemporary music recycles the same old progressions and sounds, it’s actually refreshing to hear something wholeheartedly and unapologetically different.
While “Tyranny” made a respectable place in the charts at No. 39 on the US chart, and No. 2 on the US Alt chart, “Virtue” saw a slight dip. The 2018 album peaked at No. 151 on the US chart, and No. 8 on the US Alt.
Our song today, “Leave It In My Dreams” was the lead single of the album “Virtue”.
Leave It In My Dreams
On first impression, “Leave It In My Dreams” sounds just like another Strokes song. It’s got a similar kind of progression, and of course Julian Casablancas’ voice makes the comparison easy to make.
Once the song passes the midpoint it starts to diverge from a typical Strokes tune. You can hear this in the arrangement and addition of squealing keyboards. But the solo is where the song hits its weirdest point. The plucky, clear tone of the scrambling guitar seems to not know exactly what it wants to do. And following it is an even weirder, distorted phrase, that jerks the tone and mood of the song in a hard left turn, but only for a moment.
These small moments of divergence are what separates The Voidz from their contemporaries. They’re willing to take the risks to write music that deliberately sounds off, unexpected, and leaving the audience wondering why they made the choices they did. And that’s a quality that I personally prefer more than the same old thing. At the very least, it’s interesting.
There aren’t many final frontiers left in the world of contemporary music. A lot of what’s possible has been done, and unfortunately the radio is mostly interested in pushing easy-to-like pop songs that all sound the same. But when hasn’t that been the case?
I see The Voidz as harbingers of a new wave of contemporary music. Eventually, people have to get tired of the same old thing, right? And when that happens, then those who want to continue to listen to new music will look to something that stands out from the pack. And The Voidz definitely stand out.