The Stargazer Lillies
If you haven’t panicked lately, you’re either blissfully ignorant or have gone completely clear. For the rest of us attempting to navigate the political, economical, and cultural carnage, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” succinctly captures the statue of psychic dislocation. Or N.W.A.’s “The Panic Zone.” Or Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Panic Blooms, the latest disorienting dystopian masterpiece from the experimental pop arsonists that haunt the black-leaved Pennsylvania woods.
For the last decade, BMSR and frontman TOBACCO have explored the periphery of evil and extreme color, alternating between absurdly bright beauty and the slashed throat sinister. A sound impossible to replicate, as though it burst fully formed from a paisley-painted fire hydrant stationed in hell. They combine the aesthetically gorgeous with the hideously ugly to create a psychedelic uneasiness usually only seen in old oil paintings. What if Goya or Bosch made ravaged vocoder pop? Or a neo-impressionist painter committed himself to creating slow woozy earworms so iridian and vivid you’d think he sliced off an ear in the process.
We know scarcely anything personal about TOBACCO. There’s his government name, Tom Fec. A few photos if you want to Google, most of them in a mask. He’s done enough interviews where he patiently breaks down the creative process and the ideas espoused, but has mostly resisted the soul-snuffing admissions expected from contemporary musicians. In that vein, he’s closer to a Boards of Canada, DOOM, or Aphex Twin—periodically visible but opaque—emotional but unwilling to exploit the self-mythology and cult that cropped up around him.
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