News Column

Lawrence Rothman (No 1,695)

February 7, 2014

Paul Lester, theguardian.com



Hometown: Los Angeles.

The lineup: Lawrence Rothman (vocals, music).

The background: Lawrence Rothman, a 31-year-old Los Angelino, is a conceptual artist in the body of an R&B singer, but what a body, or should we say, bodies. Cindy Sherman would have a field day with his various guises. In one video, he appears to have been battered and bruised about the face rather badly; in another he's a degenerating, chained prisoner with ghoulish teeth; in a third he's dressed as Elizabeth Taylorat her most seedily glamorous in a grisly seduction scene at LA's Chateau Marmont with two women who may or may not be transsexuals. This is him, but then, so is this. Shape-shifting? He makes '70s Bowie look like '80s Billy Bragg.

Reading on mobile? Click here to listen It could probably be reasonably argued that the new American R&B boys are a tad more experimental than the British ones. Not just the music itself, which they clearly fuck with, but also beyond the music: they use it as a launchpad for all manner of experiments with visuals and image. They are both a creepily beautiful, eerily lush match for each other. Did we say creepy? In one promo Rothman and some females pile on top of one another before he convulses and ODs. Someone's been watching Earl. Rothman is like Ariel Pink if he joined Odd Future. The director of his videos is Floria Sigismondi, responsible for unsettling shorts for Bowie, the White Stripes and Marilyn Manson. Sigismondi was so taken with Rothman that she made him the first signing to her new label, Mamaroma! His next release, the single Fatal Attraction, is spectral, twisted soul with a tremulous vocal, higher than the lower register he uses elsewhere. It is distorted, dislocated R&B, but it does have some commercial potential - if Antony and the Johnsons made a soul record… On previous single Montauk Fling, Rothman reaches deep and low - think Tyler, the Creator if he was an R&B loverman, or Leonard Cohen doing 808s and Heartbreak. #1 All-Time Low opens with a sample of Fonda Rae's '80s boogie classic Tuch Me, only subverted, contorted: disco disfigured. This is musical dysmorphia. "What I try to do during the 14 to 17 hours that I'm awake… is aim to experience shit that blows my mind and rattles the mundane cage of cynical normalcy," Rothman has said. "Why? So that when I finally get chewed up and spit out on the other end I can say, 'Fuck it, that was great, those where the days of my life.' This idea is the theme of my music."

The buzz: "Viewer discretion is advised" - Huffington Post.

The truth: He's the new changeling of pop. Most likely to: Keep swinging.

Least likely to: Crash in the same car.

What to buy: Fatal Attraction is released by Mamaroma! on March 24.

File next to: Ariel Pink, Odd Future, Hercules & Love Affair, How to Dress Well.

Links: facebook.com/lawrencerothmanmusic.

Monday's new band: King Avriel.


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Source: Guardian Web


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