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Tuff Guy Electronics

by Marijuana Deathsquads

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Brain Injury 02:21
On the last sunny day In the hour, the minute You won’t know Was it all a joke? On the last sunny day Shoulda slopped on all this stuff Just glistened for a while Basking Now we’re out here With the trees and the stones Looking for a fire In the blinding snow On the last sunny day Didn’t take a step outside That was a mistake What a mistake I wish I’d let it burn a hole through my face We didn’t know Can’t say we didn’t know Now we’re out here With the trees and the stones Looking for a fire In the blinding snow Now we’re down here With the slime and the mold Now we’re desperate for light, space, time We got nowhere to go
Blown Pupils 01:02
Ain't been right since that party I never shoulda spent all that money Nobody never did nothin for me That's how it is Been followed by a black cloud always Everything is crumbling all around us Every time you need a little more but there's Never enough Right now it's a sticky situation I know a lot of people ain't gonna make it Gotta find a way to fuck with all these Haters That’s how it is So far we’re play- ing masters of the eons Never had a single bad idea Could be permanently tripping off the freedom it’s the End of the end Time to take back all the wasted hours Hold these assholes down & rip back all the power After that start tearing down the towers That's how it is Probably the last time you’ll ever see us After this we become hallucinations Remember To forget about the whole mess Yesterday’s done ~~~ That’s how it is That’s just how it is We’re just trying to live here But they won’t let us live
O No 03:04
I woke up From a strange and beautiful dream Set a limousine on fire and rolled it down the street The cops came around Broke into my place Smashed up all my things To retaliate I hope my cats got away Oh no I think they’re tapping this phone


Marijuana Deathsquads’ Tuff Guy Electronics is the first new music that the Minneapolis centered collective has released since 2013. It simultaneously sounds like a heavily digitized ride on the motorik highway and a droll stroll through the apocalypse, the kind of music only people with conceptual talent to burn (and an inherent desire to touch that flame) choose to envision. It’s a pop-avant-garde paean to the space between an abstract higher power and the creative open road — full of primal groove and techno subtlety, but beholden to neither. If you claim Marijuana Deathsquads to be the Midwest’s answer to Boredoms (or at least F*ck B*tt*ns), they probably wouldn’t mind the compliment.

Though the Deathsquads line-up on Tuff Guy Electronics is — as has always been the case — a loosely defined and mutating structure, its core consists of long time Marijuaners Ryan Olson, Ben Ivascu and Isaac Gale; with first-time smoker Trever Hagen also heavily involved. These names are constants amidst a blur of bold-faces (Justin Vernon and Alex “Boys Noize” Ridha), secret heroes (drummers Greg Fox, Chris Egan and Freddy Votel, fine artist/ambient guru Eric Timothy Carlson), and a growing army of talented musical thinkers, many of whom play with Bon Iver, Gayngs, Polica, Har Mar Superstar and a host of other bands in Minneapolis’ cross-pollinating musical scene.

The album was predominantly recorded during a residency at Pioneer Works, the artist retreat/studio/gallery/venue located in Brooklyn’s secluded Red Hook neighborhood; at Funkhaus, the legendary recording palace built by the East German government and recently refurbished in Berlin; and throughout Minneapolis. It is a collection of late-night head-nods, comedowns and might-have-beens. Or as one of the song-titles here, puts it pretty succinctly, “Ain't Been Right Since That Party.” Yup, that!

Electronics is also a staggering pastiche of power and glide, and throughout its 32 minutes, it splits that difference – at times track by track, at times within them. “Last Sunny Day” is an epic evolution, opening with a trance-like processional at the end of the world, before exploding into a drum circle that at least contemplates an affirmation of life. If “Party” opens with the noisy, heavily processed heat of faraway suns burning, it descends into a lo-fi, industrial-pop bad trip. “O No” moves on symphonic pop-hymnal chords in the direction its lyrics dictate, from the serenity of “a strange and beautiful dream” to an attack by vengeful cops — and sounds like the best Flaming Lips song in more than 20 years. And the closing “Where That Wild Thing Is?” is another epic, a kitchen-sink approach to rhythm and composition, the kind of track that could have been conceived in one psychedelic sitting or by a thousand cuts over years, and we’ll never know the difference. As expected with this mostly testosterone-fuelled affair, there are also Tuff Guy noise asides throughout.


released October 12, 2018

Album Art: Eric Carlson
Album Design: Daniel Kent

Recorded and Mixed at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn; Funkhaus, Berlin; AB EC; & MPLS 2016/17

Engineer/Mix: Josh Berg

Art: Eric Timothy Carlson

Master'd: Huntley Miller

Gabriel Florenz, Nadine May, Tom Michelberger, Pioneer Works, Dustin Yellin, Joe Mabbot, Sam & Zac Zorch, JoLynn Garnes, Brian McOmber, Andrew Broder


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