NYC’s alt-rockers Imaginary People pulled the plug on their promotional campaign for the third LP back in February due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Now the band wanted to get out a public service message to encourage fans to get out and vote. Today the New York City-based rockersare pleased to present their their new single “1999 – Just Vote.” The song is Imaginary People’s cover of Prince’s “1999” and the accompanying video stars Leila Rita as the reluctant and uninspired voter.
About the song and video Imaginary People’s Dylan Von Wagner says:
Using an old unused cover of 1999 recorded years and years ago, I thought this song might be appropriate for the moment for election day in the current climate of shit show theatre that we live in. I cast a family member’s niece Leila Rita who seems born for showbiz. This is what was traded on the day of the shoot after she and her parents approved.
This is verbatim by the way on the day.
“Leila we’re gonna do a video to help get out the vote for the election, what do you wanna do? dance, smile?”
She Replied “I don’t know… how I”m gonna play it?”[she’s 4 years old and not an actor…] before I could get a word in She said “I”m gonna be serious.”
I thought great, she’ll be the reluctant uninspired voter who is disenchanted about voting….
She then hopped in the chair with the Vote sign and we’re off..
We ended up with just one take which myself and my wife [The DP] had a tough time keeping a straight face for.
We didn’t count on Leila’s spot on commitment to character and her unwavering sober glare.
After one take, she said “I got it, I’m done with show business,” and walked off…..
In the coming weeks, the band will release additional singles from their forthcoming album Alibi due to be released in 2021. Fans can stream two pre-release singles now, “Hometown” and “Crazy Eight.” “Hometown” was described by PopMatters as “landing somewhere between ’80s stadium rock (The Alarm, War-era U2) and latter day saints such as the War on Drugs.” Both songs are available now to stream and share on streaming services.
Any music worth its salt will reflect the times it’s made in. It’ll absorb the atmosphere of everything around it, hold up a mirror to what’s happening in the lives of the people who made it and also the wider world outside. That’s exactly what Alibi, the band’s third full-length does. It is, as frontman Dylan Von Wagner, explains, a response to the cultural civil war that he sees unfolding all across the USA.
That cultural dystopia bristles through Alibi’s 11 songs. Recorded by Phil Weinrobe (Nick Murphy, Pussy Riot, Stolen Jars) at Rivington 66 in the band’s home of New York City, as well as upstate with Eli Crews at Spillway Sound in the Catskills, and mixed by Eli Crews (Tuneyards, Deerhoof, Xylouris White at Figure 8 in Brooklyn. This is an album that shimmers with a twisted beauty, which feeds off all of that disturbing substance and turns it into something both harrowing and beautiful.
As such, the band – completed by Mark Roth (guitar), Justin Repasky (keys/synth), Kolby Wade (drums), Bryan Percivall (bass/synth), and with additional synth work by Grant Zubritsky – have not just perfectly captured the times in which this record was written, but have managed to turn the nightmare of the modern world into something truly exquisite, pitting emotional vulnerability against an almost resigned stoicism. Just listen to the way that Von Wagner’s voice trembles on opener “It’s Simple” – the tenderly mournful opener written minutes after the singer watched the gun massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School unfold on live television – or the tentative fragility and dark romanticism of “Bronx Girl”, which manages to still be hopeful in a world without hope. Elsewhere, the jittery “Neon Age” rails against a world in which people present a different version of their lives to society in order to impress them.
“It’s a giant sh*t on Instagram,” Von Wagner says matter-of-factly. “I have no problem with people using it, but everybody’s just making up their life to be their own little movie, and I think it’s making a lot of people mentally ill.”
“It’s about what happens when your town is replaced with something that seems to sway on the benign and it kind of leaves you with this dread,” explains Von Wagner. “It’s all spread out in this cookie cutter mold, and the town doesn’t have its own personality – just another brush stroke on the bland canvas of suburbia.”
While there are glimpses of light throughout the darkness that permeates every aspect of Alibi – one that captures the nature of what humanity has become – and while its songs do reflect the harsh, bleak reality of being alive – and of the coldness and meanness of the big city, especially when the world feels like it’s collapsing – it also manages to exist on its own, and on its own terms.
“Imaginary People are just in our own little world,” says Von Wagner. “I don’t think we really participate, we live in New York and it was made here, but we just keep to ourselves. I don’t know where this stuff comes from or why I feel this way and write this shit. I feel like it’s a weird addiction that I can’t shake, and I don’t think any psychoanalysis is going to shed light on it.”