Kevin Barnes (of Montreal) Talks Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks’ Enter the Slasher House

critiquing something you love, something complex and nebulous, is a dubious activity — what do you hope to find on closer inspection?

critiquing something you love, something complex and nebulous, is a dubious activity — what do you hope to find on closer inspection? aren’t mysteries more powerful when they are unsolved? in a swamp, probably lost somewhere in the Everglades, and not even necessarily as a reptile with an accidental appreciation for the creative arts, lots of vacuum expressiveness and possibly the innumerable ghost voices of old-school tape-based answering machines reverse-echoing in a practical void, though at times as an instructional trope or companion textbook for preadolescent girls searching for a better self-esteem, in that way it is very positive and affirmative and sweet, occasional frog flatulence and illegal storage space band rehearsals in southeastern Florida, likely in Riviera Beach, and everyone is drinking lukewarm beers in cans and feeling nervous about the uninvited and unwanted pseudo-skinheads in the adjoining unit who act like bored and aggressive and hateful older siblings in spite of, or perhaps because of, their embarrassingly obvious misery-destiny, some drugged-out close-body dancing and actual scorched-earth parachuting depression, but as a wildly swung axe against bamboo forests with a gentle rage, of course lots of being shouted at incomprehensibly and then quickly soothed by kindhearted electronics that only aim to help to evoke a heavenly artificial atmosphere, real people playing corporeal instruments, an instrument of what? like one of those microphones that look just like a black felt mannequin head? every kick drum hit is wry and one can sense the hormones are balanced, the drummer is a gang in the same way that Voltaire was a gang, or that Cervantes secretly wanted one too, a drummer, not a gang.

suddenly brownstones with young Dominicans harassing all from a stoop under janky framed asymmetrical window placements, an architect’s triumphant boner jam! and more missives from a down and out fidelity, because why fight it?? it’s like acne, i mean serious cases, self love is easy as long as no one else exists, and the drummer “fills” and i’m reminded of some lost and forgotten melody line from my childhood, someone i haven’t considered in forever, maybe Corey Hart? doubtful. but anything is possible these days, among those who lurk behind summer curtains until their dirty shoes give them away, dirty giveaways, not much is given away though with this collection of music, lyrics/emotions are murky as fuck, having listened to the album about 20 times now i’m still not sure if there is any kind of discernible message, i get the sense that the person he’s singing to understands very well though. secrets. they are the best. i’ve been trying to imagine what kind of event this album would be perfectly suited for, the soundtrack of what? not that that is really any artist’s desire, to create a soundtrack to anything. but just for the fun of it let’s say it’s the soundtrack for predatory dentist mutilations, the dentist pursues his victims with a pariah’s hunger, but he also truly hopes that the victim gains something as well, some sort of symbiotic exchange, a helpful insight, some wisdom or new perspective that they can carry with them into the next life, pioneers. say what you will about such a dentist.

i keep imagining that Angel Olsen pops into the swampy/reptile-skinned studio from time to time and offers to play something chime-y but is ignored, this thought gives me no pleasure, on and on the pulsing waves, and my memory of once eating dinner with the man in Athens, Georgia, at the only real fancy restaurant here, so fancy it has gingham tablecloths, and just now the album repeats, no recollection of any words exchanged, the sunlight was warm and the acoustics inside were distracting, the first song makes me perceive a doomed animated rat feeling like a pimp and snapping his fingers in a jaunty way, my favorite songs are “A Sender,” “Little Fang” and “Catchy (Was Contagious).” i like how much he sings and how many different words he uses without articulating anything penetrable on any simple human “emotional” level. though it is very emotive, just in a more abstract sort of way. it is as if a policemanhumanshield-constructed garden was viewed by all as pornographic and gained some heavy notoriety. lots of desperation/repetition and shaking of a friend by the shoulders and very little storming off in a huff, virtually no huff to speak of, and i do appreciate that. the gnarly things we might find if pulling up the carpeting in a bathroom during a renovation, a decrepit inner city house being flipped yet enough mountain laughter to make it worth the effort. the outlaw is the future. the future. the future. the future. i’ve always cheered for this man and his wildly talented friends. it’s no surprise to me that this album kicks so much ass.


Kevin Barnes is the frontman and songwriter of the seminal indie-pop band of Montreal, who thrill fans with compelling live performances, delight critics with their constant innovations, and continually showcase their musical evolution by drawing from a different set of influences for each album. You can follow of Montreal on Twitter here and on Facebook here.