Other than there are 3 members, they’re from the Midwest, and they’re elusive/reclusive in a way that makes finding out about them difficult, I know next to nothing about SALEM.
The very few pieces of information I’ve been able to glean come from interview bits on their website from UK and Italian magazines, The Fader, and a couple of blogs…so I DO know that they like “blue raspberry flavor” and “Marvel vs. Capcom 2.” Other than that, they may as well be a digital blob hidden behind a blur, like some famous persons nudie parts on a gossip blog.
This is okay. All you, or I, or anyone of us really needs to know about SALEM is housed within their recently released IAMSOUND debut King Night. Essentially a collected works of bunch of 7″ singles they’d released on Merok and Acephale, plus a couple of new tracks, King Night is a new kind of album for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is the kind that has been eagerly anticipated by bloggers for the last two years, but unlike dozens of other hyped bands that shall go unnamed, this album delivers on the anticipation.
Secondly, although their sound is recognizable as part of an “electronic music formula” we’ve heard before, think of trip-hop’s dreamy ethereal vocalists singing over menacing melodies (Fraser with Massive Attack & Topley-Bird with Tricky). But the music is such a seriously woozy blend of Southern chopped n’ screwed beats and effected vocals, that at times it is nightmarish. And, one look at their artwork and you know they have every intention of scaring the bejeebus out of you.
Thirdly, it is ultimately truly unique and unlike anything else you’ve heard all year.
This album does not want to comfort you or offer pop-platitudes. But, just because it defies you to simply categorize it or entice you into enjoying it, it’s not a hard listen. Granted, at this point, I’ve probably made it sound like work, but I assure you, like eating steak tartare or sucking on a lollipop with a scorpion in the center, or looking at Duchamp’s Etants Donnes, or watching Tod Browning’s “Freaks,” the transgressive pleasure that comes with peering into the darkness and being shocked and horrified frees us for awhile. Y’know, like pop music.
King Night Track List
1. KING NIGHT
5. RELEASE DA BOAR