I’ve realized I probably shouldn’t over-promise, when it comes to these posts. Whenever I say I’m going to be upping the output, I end up vanishing in the ether of otherworld busy-ness. And when I choose to take a break, I can’t seem to not post. Anyway, I wanted to get that off my conscious, since I really believed I’d be authoring more entries this month … a sentiment I’ve echoed more than once in previous write-ups.
So in the holiday spirit of giving, I’ll start the night by gifting a solid performance from Los Angeles’ own darkly synthwave duo Drab Majesty. These guys actually embody a few genres beyond that convenient label, tending to veer more towards an electronically-slanted coldwave take on jangly dream pop delay and ’80s neo-goth whispered nostalgia. But I figured synthwave is a safe entry point, particularly for the uninitiated.
To commemorate their third and latest LP, “Modern Mirror,” Drab Majesty performed at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery earlier this month on 12.06.19. It’s a fitting venue for these shadowy synth-infused sonic subliminalities from one of the City of Angels’ more respectable underground outfits. It’s also the night I managed to avoid an annual company holiday party I typically attend. Alas, I wasn’t booked on any projects during said festivities, so I remained ineligible for attendance. Their loss, my gain, since I landed at Drab’s sonic digs.
But like I was saying, Drab Majesty are a curious pair, comprised of Deb Demure and Mona D. That’s not their real names of course. That would be Andrew Clinco and Alex Nicolaou, respectively. But those names don’t sound nearly as cool or mysterious. Curiously, the former and founder was once the drummer in a band called Marriages, which featured vocalist/guitarist Emma Ruth Rundle, who’s another underdog indie fav of mine … totally different style, though.
On stage, Clinco a.k.a. Demure plays guitar while D handles the keys and sequences. Both trade vocals, heavily affected, and when paired, offer a chilly, spatially cavernous, mesmeric tone, one which defines and mystifies, all at once.
Drab Majesty generate a lot of sound in the live spectrum, full of wall of sound-ish reverb, decked out in strange echo-chambers of tragic dream-popped comfort and sensation. For two guys, it comes as a bit of a welcomed surprise, since the percussion is drum machine sequenced, as are some of the melodies. But the pair still play a fair amount. And the all-enveloping sound of these “tragic” tunes (their words, not mine) fill in all the gaps you might be missing.
That’s not to mention that Demure and D look like they could’ve stormed Area 51 at the head of the line … or at the very least, headlined the almost music-fest, had it taken place. They’ve got that space-alien vibe in their matching glitter-white costumes, bleached blond bobs, and men in black shades. And their presence exudes alien-like theatricality, even though they’re sipping wine like regular guys between takes.
Admittedly, I like Drab Majesty a lot. But I have a friend who absolutely loves them, so I figured I’d check out their live show for myself. Plus, no holiday party invite. So that sealed the deal. And in re-watching some of this footage and re-visiting the setlist, I honestly do feel a lot closer to the sound and spirit of Drag Majesty. In other words, I get it now. Plus, they play to my reminiscent love of all that great vintage electronic, alternative, and goth-styled music, while smoothing out the kinks, adding a bit of melody, and polishing it up to contemporary standards.
Below are five tracks from Drab Majesty’s Masonic Lodge performance, divided unevenly between the latest “Modern Mirror” LP, and the previous 2017 release, “The Demonstration.” From the former comes the spirited “The Other Side,” the practically optimistic sounding “Long Division,” and the melancholic “Noise of the Void.” From the latter are two popular entries, “Cold Souls,” and the first song I ever heard from them, “39 by Design,” which incidentally, was one of my earliest postings from when I first started this blog. You can read that freshman entry here.
Enjoy these fine footage selections from Drab Majesty. And after that, check out the setlist that I’ve embedded at the tail end of all this. It’s a fairly comprehensive selection for fans and newcomers alike.
Until the next one …
Drab Majesty perform “The Other Side” at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on 12.06.19.
Drab Majesty perform “Long Division” at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on 12.06.19.
Drab Majesty perform “Noise of the Void” at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on 12.06.19.
Drab Majesty perform “Cold Souls” at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on 12.06.19.
Drab Majesty perform “39 by Design” at the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on 12.06.19.