Viva L'American Death Ray Music
Miles of Smiles / Towns of FrownsDecember 2, 2010 Mexican Summer
Memphis-to-Brooklyn transplant Nicholas Ray has been pushing the moniker of Viva L’American Death Ray Music for close to fifteen years, as musical trends have come and gone around him. Nobody wants to hear about “the best band you haven’t heard of” anymore, but truthfully you’d have to stay pretty low to the ground to discover any of the albums and countless singles and EPs he’s made under this name in that time. When you do find it, you’ll realize that you’re down on the ground because your home is literally ON FIRE from the excitement this guy’s music has generated all around you.
Miles of Smiles, Towns of Frowns is VLADRM’s sixth full-length, following releases on Sympathy for the Record Industry, Misprint, New York Night Train, Shattered, and Ray’s own Sangre Libre label. Though the band’s entire output is uniformly recommended for you to check out at once, you would do well to start here, with twelve songs that capture a lost-in-time paean to glam rock, the Fall, the Velvet Underground, Britpop and dub reggae: earworms burrowing in, effortless cool breezing across the room, and a set of songs that will define your day/month/year/rest of life. It’s hard to describe “total music” but it’s also difficult to categorize VLADRM in modern terms without bringing up lofty comparisons to Roxy Music or Bowie. And yet ”¦ here we are. It’ll have to make do. This cup will never run dry and never spill over, and no amount of clichés could do this music justice. Just get yourself a copy and try to prove us wrong.