Listening to Edmonton-born Mac DeMarco’s latest album, Rock and Roll Nightclub, one might feel the need to pop a painkiller and slither into the couch. One might even be so inclined as to ring a booty call for a raunchy hot make-out. That’s just what DeMarco’s crooning, Chris Isaak-like songs do to a person. I know the talented little pervert would be happy to know his listeners get inspired to hump with his music.
DeMarco was raised in Edmonton and like most intelligent, girl-hungry boys who weren’t into being jocks, DeMarco opted to learn the guitar to get attention from the opposite sex. In high school he toyed around with music, creating a band called The Sound of Love where he sang songs about debauchery and awkward high school sex, hymen’s breaking on parents beds and girls who had “blow job eyes.”
“The Sound of Love basically just wrote mean songs for girls at my high school,” says DeMarco, who admits that his favorite song was directed at a particular girl. “I used to call [said girl] all the time and say, ‘I love you’ and she wanted nothing to do with me. I went to a high school with a lot of hockey players. I was an indie rocker nerd.”
After high school, DeMarco shuffled himself west to Vancouver and started a new band called Makeout Videotape. Removing some of the obvious sexuality from the lyrics, DeMarco and his then bandmate Alex Calden created a roster of hits that gained them international attention. This is when I first discovered Mac DeMarco. I saw his band Makeout Videotape play and I immediately knew he was going somewhere. I think I actually blogged the phrase, “This kid is going to be famous in about ten minutes.” Sometimes, I’m just psychic like that.
After recording a few songs, Pitchfork darlings Japandroids asked Makeout Videotape to go on the road with them. The stories from this tour are legendary tales of repulsive behaviour that only few know about, but I like to spread these stories around. It is alleged that DeMarco jerked off in a car full of people. He also shit in a bag while driving. He got scabies from a girl and, instead of treating them, took hot showers all tour to relieve the pain and then slept with said girl again to give back the bugs she had infected him with.
The success of Makeout Videotape grew and DeMarco grew with it. After putting up with extremely high rent and expensive living in Vancouver, he left for Montreal where the shows were “buck” and the cost of living was cheap. Once landing in Montreal, DeMarco dropped Makeout Videotape and started performing under his own given name. He recorded Rock and Roll Nightclub at Jizz Jazz Studios (which is what he calls his bedroom) earlier this year and caught the attention of Brooklyn indie label Captured Tracks, who scooped the little pervert up in a hot minute.
Since then, DeMarco has blown up like his scabies infection. Everyone from Pitchfork to Vice was praising the songwriter for his latest sonic effort, and rightfully so. Even though Rock and Roll Nightclub may be a bit of a meta-joke for DeMarco (and trust me, it is) the songs are great. The release is a pop-infused, power chord dream with meaningless lyrics about jeans, love and tears. He quickly lined up a back-up band (his buddies and ex-members of Vancouver band Walter T.V.) and started playing shows again. Unlike the happy-go-lucky Jonathan Richmond vibe he put forth with Makeout Videotape, Mac DeMarco as Mac DeMarco could finally be his raunchy, perverted self. Nudity is ever-present in his acts. He sings like Elvis but acts like G.G. Allin, often swinging from the ceilings with his own fingers up his asshole, throwing drum sticks and grabbing his junk. DeMarco can get away with this. It’s the paradox that makes him such a gem. He’s a brilliant pop writer with a childish, perverted attitude and the audience loves it.
So, find some painkillers and a sexy partner to hang with and do not miss DeMarco’s Calgary set at Broken City on Thursday, July 26. Rock ’n’ roll has a new face and it’s actually DeMarco’s bare asshole.