About two years ago the band Randsburg approached me about listening to their music. When I asked what they played, they responded, “music to drink to.”
Since then I have repeatedly listened (and indeed drank to) their music, but I can never categorize their style with adequate language, and I think that is because what they play is less about genre and more about a certain feeling for me. From the first note they strike a scene is painted. They set a tone and then let it ride. I find myself completely transported by their albums—senses blissfully disarranged. In short, I get lost. And sometimes there is no greater place to be than lost in sound.
Upon another conversation with the band, we discussed the idea of their genre even further, questioning which bands they were akin to and where their influences were derived. When it came my time to chime in, the only thing I could think of was a passage from Hunter S. Thompson’s, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which reads… “Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only real cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas… with the music at top volume, and at least a pint of ether.”
Randsburg’s latest release, A Note to My Folks, evokes a sense of recklessness within. The album opens with deliberate speed, like someone pushing 100 mph on the highway, fueled by a hell-bent intention of somehow running from and towards the devil at the same damn time.
There is an abandonment of convention that separates these twelve songs from the band’s first and self-titled record, most apparent in the lyrics, which at times diverge into intricately written prose. The content of these songs delves deep into life’s ugliness, with the subjects of suicide, regret, addiction, prostitution and failure all being discussed no-holds-barred.
Randsburg’s music begs to be listened to in a fast car with rolled down windows. It is music that makes you think and cannot necessarily be digested properly the first time around. An actual story arc exists within their latest album that becomes more enjoyable and effective every time you give it another spin. I am an old analogue soul that still wants to hear an album in its entirety regardless of the time in which we live. I want to be whisked away, kidnapped by the sonic experience, and it takes more than one song to achieve that. A Note To My Folks achieves just that. There is a seductively cloaked danger that dances from track to track, which ultimately becomes both familiar and irresistible. I wouldn’t dare leave any such note to my folks, but I think that’s what makes me fall in love with this band even more.