Delroy Edwards - Hangin' At The Beach

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  • It's not easy to be a Delroy Edwards fan. In 2012, the imposing Angeleno emerged on L.I.E.S. with 4 Club Use Only, a banging 12-inch with the tossed-off amateurism of ghetto house. He remained in the dance zone for a while, touring Europe, playing Paul Johnson records on Boiler Room and launching his own label, L.A. Club Resource. He then pivoted away from 4/4 music, dabbling in screwed-up rap, noise, hardcore and, most recently, obscure American garage rock. Edwards' most realized album to date, Hangin' At The Beach, is a 30-track blend of disparate sounds, including junk-shop electro, neo-noir soundtrack music and even winsome synth pop. But more than anything else, the record feels like an audio diary about growing up in California. I recently asked Delroy Edwards, AKA Brandon Perlman, what L.A. Club Resource, with its vinyl and cassette rap reissues, has to do with club music in the traditional sense. He said, "It's music for our own club... I don't even know what the place looks like, but it's our club, you know?" The kind of club Hangin' At The Beach brings to mind is like the Foot Clan hideout, Shredder's lair in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The album's brief tracks paint cartoonish images of dripping sewers and shady dealings. "Bad Behavior" sounds like a punk band warming up in a tiny practice space in East LA. "Brothers In Arms" could score the ghetto birds flying over the neighborhood. The odd bits of sampled dialogue that pop up throughout (a man comically screaming, "I'll kill you all!" on "My Promise," a man calling 911 to report a wild animal on "Wild Animal") reflect memories of a youth spent immersed in VHS, cassettes and video games, cultural relics that often depict an LA full of pitch-black alleys and grimacing henchmen. The album's psychogeography spans from the streets of LA to the seaside cliffs alongside the Pacific Coast Highway. Perlman has said, "A lot of [the album] was influenced by Northern California and Monterey and Big Sur. It's called fucking Hangin' At The Beach and that's what it's about." Here, that idyllic paradise is represented by sweet melody, which sounds best when mixed with a crunchy, lo-fi aesthetic. On "Horsing Around," he blends busted, Dance Mania-style percussion with stately synth strings. The awesomely titled "Numbnuts Hymn" uses blown-out techno drums to set the stage for a bouncy synth pop jam. "I Love Sloane," an ode to Perlman's girlfriend, could be an early New Order demo. Like that band, Hangin' At The Beach revels in perpetual adolescence. The pent-up "Empty Pools" refers to the Californian tradition of breaking into abandoned backyards to skate. "Nervous Breakdown" and "Ready To Fight" lift their titles from classic hardcore songs by Black Flag and Negative Approach. Most of these tracks seem like sketches. Perlman's cheap and easy recording method, a Tascam Portastudio, allowed him to get his ideas down quickly, not unlike similar bedroom auteurs Robert Pollard, Edward Ka-Spel and Ariel Pink. In fact, Perlman has a lot in common with the latter savant. The rudimentary drum programming throughout Hangin' At The Beach recalls the mouth percussion of early Ariel Pink records The Doldrums and Worn Copy. The two LA residents are also of a piece thematically speaking: outsiders depicting a life lived on the margins of Hollywood. Many of the tracks on Hangin' At The Beach, much like Pink's low-key classic "Life In LA," grapple with the paradox of feeling lonely and alienated in paradise. Perlman's able to evoke these ideas without lyrics, using a casual, collagist approach to create his most profound work to date.
  • Tracklist
      01. H.A.T.B. 02. My Promise 03. Nervous Breakdown 04. Looking For A Fight 05. Safe Places Pt. 1 06. Trigger Kids Revenge 07. I Love Sloane 08. Wild Animal 09. Bad Behavior 10. Brothers In Arms 11. Tunnel Vision 12. 10th Ave Interlude 13. Moscow Girls 14. Soldier Boy 15. Crime Spree 16. Powerhouse 17. Horsing Around 18. Boiled Blood 19. Born Rebels 20. Surf's Up 21. By Myself 22. The Rocker 23. Trouble Nut 24. Numb Nuts Hymn 25. Empty Pools 26. Safe Places Pt. 2 27. Bixby 28. Ready To Fight 29. Bubble Up 30. Butterflies