Unicycle Loves You… And Hates the Current State of Being an Artist

I first became smitten with Unicycle Loves You upon the release of their sophomore LP, 2010’s Mirror, Mirror, a fuzzy and glammy take on indie pop. However, I must...

I first became smitten with Unicycle Loves You upon the release of their sophomore LP, 2010’s Mirror, Mirror, a fuzzy and glammy take on indie pop. However, I must admit that I became over the moon about the trio earlier this month, with the unveiling of their latest music video, “Falling Off.” The music video has the band performing while clips from some of their favorite films are projected over them, including three of the arguably most brilliant, although not-exactly mass-appealing films of all-time: Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth, a morbidly hilarious take on the Utopic/Dystopic and the traditional family. William Klein’s Mr. Freedom, a hyper-comic commentary on global imperialism in the age of the spectacle. And Sweet Movie, which has Dusan Makavejev deconstructing the problems with both capitalism and communism, in addition to the notion of relatively shallow things, like sugar and spice, being used to sell the masses relatively significant things, like political ideologies. Although it might be a bit shallow to champion a band solely for their taste in film, they also continue to kick exponentially more brilliantly bad ass jams.

Since their self-titled 2008 debut, Unicycle Loves You have managed to churn out a new full-length every two years. And while each album might not find us in an entirely new sonic realm, they would each seem to signify a new era in the band’s sonic palette. June 10th will see the release of the band’s fourth album, The Dead Age, Unicycle Loves You’s best and most accomplished effort yet. It has the group producing their most popular and aggressive sounds to date. Its influences would seem to range from psych rock to post-punk to the earliest and best stages of alt rock. They also get chaotically danceable (swayable may be a better adjective) at times. To be honest, I could see them sharing stages with pretty much any and every intriguingly progressive act to make their way onto the popular radar in the past thirty years. Unicycle Loves You are about to kick off their latest tour and while there’s not current date in the 215, I’m assured there are more dates in the works and in a recent discussion with singer/guitarist Jim Carroll about the band’s latest sounds, he tells me that playing a finally-good show in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection is a priority.

Izzy Cihak: So since this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I have to ask: What are your thoughts on the city? Any favorite memories? You’ve played here a handful of times.
Jim Carroll: We have some friends in Philly and stay in Fishtown when we come through. We love Fishtown! My most vivid memory of Philly is busting my hand trying to punch a hole in the ceiling on stage at some horrible show we played in 2012. We have yet to have played a good show in Philly, but we’re determined to change that this summer.

Izzy: Your upcoming album, The Dead Age, seems to be quite an evolution from previous releases. How would you characterize this evolution?
Jim: Completely natural.

Izzy: Was the writing and recording process any different?
Jim: We approached the songwriting process exactly the same as our last album, where I would record crude demos and then bring them to the band to build upon. This way, any first take luck that might have happened is preserved on the recording. Two of the tracks on The Dead Age (“Falling Off” and “Any Daydreaming Morning”) were actually some of the first demos recorded for our previous album, Failure. So there are some guitars on there that were recorded back in January/February 2011.

[youtube http://youtu.be/Mkk04ZgYxUY]

Izzy: What do you consider to be the album’s most significant influences?
Jim: I consider this album to be particularly special because it conveys our struggle as artists to live in New York while battling the bullshit. There’s so much bullshit and this is our response. I really poured my hate into the guitar work this time around.

Izzy: Do you have an album track that you’re most fond of? I fucking love “JAWS.” It reminds me of Placebo at their earliest/best (I hope that’s not insulting.)
Jim: Thanks! I don’t really know what Placebo sounds like, but I think the songs work together more as a whole other entity. It’s impossible for me to name a favorite.


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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.