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coverpic flag US - Mississippi - Full Moon 204 - 04/25/13

Dead Gaze
Dead Gaze
Palmist Records/FatCat Records

Dead Gaze is actually R. Cole Furlow. Furlow has been releasing cassettes and singles (on DIY labels like such as Group Tightener, Fire Talk, and Clan Destine) under the moniker Dead Gaze since 2009. His project (which has become a five-piece live band) has been tagged a 'scuzzy, grungy, noisy, but also a poppy band' from the hills of North Mississippi.

Dead Gaze is part of a co-op called the Cats Purring Collective (featuring artists like Dent May, Bass Drum of Death and Flight), and the album Dead Gaze is a compilation album presenting some of the best tracks from Dead Gaze's back catalogue (recordings/releases which are mostly out of print), plus some additional new material. Furlow says that he records songs '...wherever I can be alone...', while he's trying to '...capture a very memorable moment.' He focuses on spontaneity and intensity while writing quick and easy pop songs, being home recordings of the DIY style. He is also concerned with the physical composition or structure of music, like the 'size', 'shape', or 'arrangement' of a song. To quote Furlow: 'I think texture is something that is just as important as writing nice melodies and recording big songs.'

Dead Gaze sounds a bit like Daniel Johnston, but with a lot rawer expression and attitude, sounding less, eh... innocent or naive. That said Dead Gaze holds some hidden and camouflaged pop gems, such as "Glory Days For Sure", "I Found The Ending", and "Fight Til It's Dead". British lo-fi pop band Beatnik Filmstars is another reference that springs to mind, f.i. with "Remember What Brought Us Here" or "There's a Time to be Stupid". Or, imagine Nirvana mashed with Neutral Milk Hotel run through a dirty distortion filter. Furlow's voice almost sound like some over-fuzzed Cobain vocals, blended with the wildest possible voice of Jeff Mangum you can dream of. Just check "This Big World", or "You'll Carry On Real nice". Some have also mentioned the sound of some of Flaming Lips' records to describe something sounding like Dead Gaze. Or, maybe you could file Dead Gaze under 'Beck at his wildest'?

The overall picture after spinning Dead Gaze is lo-fi done without compromising with a lot of compression as an effect. The FatCat label sums up the core of Dead Gaze's approach to music when they underline the opening track ("Remember What Brought Us Here") as a perfect description of Furlow's manifesto: '... [the song] announces itself with the bleeps and blips of an analog synthesizer as the song crashes into life with distorted drums, euphoric guitars and lyrics that reflect both youthful angst and a timeless wisdom.' Go check out 12 songs, 45 minutes of fuzzed and distorted pop and judge for yourself. Dead Gaze is a smashing record. It's like the sound of sugar-coated barbed wire.

Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Dead Gaze article/review: Brain Holiday.

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