The fact that young shoegaze bands are being accepted onto the rosters of major labels en masse for the first time since the genre’s initial peak in the ’90s probably indicates that the current wave of interest in the craze is about to die down. It almost feels like MX Lonely was formed to ensure that this doesn’t happen, with their vicious take on reverb-heavy rock pushing against the sanitized and aestheticized versions making their way up the rock charts as they instead prod into extremely dark lyrical territory with their pummeling instrumentals aptly setting the scene.
At the top of the week, the Brooklyn-based unit released their latest collection, the Spit EP, which follows the lead of early single “Papercuts”—a zoned-out recitation of an unsettling dream about a small wound that won’t stop bleeding. Meanwhile, the release’s four other tracks weave in and out of more aggressive alt-rock subgenres with punk and grunge riffs abounding from angst-ridden opener “Connection” to the headbanging, dissociative conclusion, “Someone Who Isn’t Me.”
With the EP out now via Candlepin Records, we asked the band to take us track by track through the release, explaining callbacks to previous material and elucidating on the intentionally purgatorial feel several of the songs embody. Check it out below.
“Connection” is about opportunities with friends/collaborations that could have been. The metaphor used is an astronaut circling the Earth as they watch it become engulfed in flames. The inspiration was a song called “Astronaut” from an older project that for a long time felt like the best song I was ever going to write—or at least the one that people asked about the most—and feeling equally terrified and sick of the song. The line “Fuck, marry, kill the astronaut” sums it up pretty well, I think.
2. “Rest in Salt”
“Rest in Salt” is about being trapped in purgatory, pure and simple. About being ridden with anxiety and stuck to the couch. It’s that feeling of jealousy for the dead and the twinge of guilt that follows. When you lie so still you think you can almost remember the freedom of being nothing at all.
“Papercuts” is a pretty literal song. Rae had a horrible dream that someone close to them had this papercut and it just wouldn’t stop bleeding, and there was nothing they could do but kill them to take away the pain. The song structure reflects the structure of the dream. One moment you’re seeing “your body from the outside in” stabbing your friend to death, and the next you're speeding out of control down your hometown highways.
4. “Too Many Pwr Chords”
“Too Many Pwr Chords” is about shame and dysphoria. It’s the feeling of looking at yourself in the mirror and not recognizing yourself. The layered distorted vocals recording represent a metaphor for feeling like you’re running away from something inside of you.
5. “Someone Who Isn’t Me”
This song is about loss of innocence. The “no one/number one” wordplay refers to the song “A-Team (No. 1)” from [our Cadonia LP]. There’s also an interpolation of the Elliott Smith song “Christian Brothers,” which is a nod to the influence Elliott has had on our songwriting (most of what we play is in one of his tunings).