Basement shows are sometimes a mixed bag. When you’re half-cocked, sweaty, rubbing against a few dozen doing the same, any grunge-y blast of noise coming at you can be just as entertaining as the last. Amidst this blur often comes a hotbed of new ideas where people get ballsier than they would had they been playing for a more broad audience above ground. This can be a powerful force, although some musicians can get too comfortable in that reassuring cul de sac. It pleases me, then, whenever I hear an artist who has the potential to break free of that which they may not want to break free from. They are the ones who stand out from the pack as the alpha dog, although they may come in the form of any archetype at all, including the depressed, the lonely, and the frustrated.
Dylan Ewen seems to be a man who is nothing short of honest. Take a look at his tumblr and you’ll find comics and drawings about insecurities most men would take in silence to their grave. Yet through his art, and especially his music, he turns these would be destructive forces into the driving power of his work. This is never more apparent then on Bufu Records Alt 2013
Alt 2013 is a four song statement articulate in its brevity. Initially we get a fuzzy summation of the existential dread and philosophical confusion that comes with the early 20’s. “Ego Trip” can be a song in which you identify in the frustration of feeling nihilistic in the face of the zealous and blindly faithful, or a reminiscence of a former life lived in chaos depending on your point of view.
Even though the lyrics can seem negative at times, the fuzzy surf rock nature of Dylan’s aesthetic makes it all fun and worthwhile even if you don’t agree with his ethos. In “You’re a bitch Part 2 (still a bitch)” Dylan makes an antagonistic declaration which could have come off in a totally different way if it didn’t sound like he was standing up for himself and the bitch in question didn’t actually sound like a total bitch.
Musician and artist types, as well as those who rejoice in social media, will likely find “I live in public” to be an anthem for them. Once again its possible to read the song multiple ways, as an attack or an admittance, in this case I would say both. To me its admission of being an attention whore, and loving it, and hating it. Where to place the blame? Was I born like this? Or did my idols and lovers twist me into this? All of this is put to music in a simply effective way.
Of all the underground kids who lived and died by the basement house show, Dylan Ewen has what it takes to break out, if he wants to that is. I would be overjoyed to see him headlining clubs and making a living out of his work. At the very least there are hundreds of basements around the US and abroad who would be honored to have the chance to get drunk and sweaty near him, even if they don’t know it yet.