S/T by Seth Bogart
Favorite Tracks: “Eating Makeup (featuring Kathleen Hanna)
Brilliantly coining a sound that can be described as John Waters kitsch synthpop, Seth Bogart, your neighborhood Paul Ruebens turned AVON-man, swaggers to his own brand of glamour sleazeball beats on his self-titled solo debut SETH BOGART. Bogart’s blend of 80s club melancholia and commodity infatuation shares the scrappy and textured new wave meanderings of Germanic avant-garde goddess Nina Hagen, seamlessly shattering all attempts to construct a pop album void of dissonant artifice. Ditching his bratty punk persona as Hunx of the fried-garage rock outfit Hunx and his Punx, Bogart unfastens the spiked zebra body suit and neon bondage and cakes on an electro foundation of tunes inspired by demented, indie-pop contemporaries Le Tigre!, Gossip, and CSS.
Inspired by both an episode of TLC’s MY STRANGE ADDICTION and riot grrl godmother Kathleen Hanna’s professed predilection, “Eating Makeup” is the shrill pop jam that kicks off with Hanna’s trademark infantile whine: “What kind of color looks good on my face?/What kind of makeup am I gonna get to taste?” The act of consuming beauty products is an unflinching, gut-wrenching feat, and coats your gastronomic lining with that 45 dollar Urban Decay glitter liner you’ve been saving up for. What starts as an innocent lipstick lick can escalate into a intense hankering for the cotton-candy scented product. The track, produced by Cole MGN, producer for many of Ariel Pink and Julia Holter’s albums, bears the same weirdo glam rhythmic interplay, studded with a looped drum beat.
“Forgotten Fantazy” is a gloomy post-clubbing sermon. Assembled from a sparse midi-melody reminiscent of an 80s arcade game, Bogart reflects upon how his dolled up and flamboyant persona has consumed his actual self: “Your desires seem out of touch/I’m surrounded by your thoughts/It’s hard for me to know what you need/I’m your forgotten fantasy.” The tendency for many entertainers to get wrapped up in the needs of their admirers’ personal fantasies detaches them from their own sense of self-command. The track is a testament to SETH BOGART’s attempt to showcase a synthpop album layered with sincerity.
“Nina Hagen-Daaz,” a gem of a Hagen homage, asks the million dollar question: What the hell happened to Nina Hagen?? Bogart’s scuzzy vocals reminiscent of Julian Casablancas are delightfully paired with Clementine Creevy’s (of LA’s Cherry Glazzer) cherubic chords. “Oh Nina, I can’t find her/I want to know where did she go/Maybe the UFOs took her/I don’t think I’ll ever know.”
Hidden beneath the cartooned, munching makeup compacts and glitterati that groove with Bogart’s gaudy guise are lyrical spanx; suggestive verses that contour cheerleader rally tunes and emphasize the suffocating vulnerability associated with a dolled up veneer. Bogart’s awareness of the toxic effects of the bombastic culture he idolizes allows for an album that both shamelessly indulges in plastic fantasy and sinks into hollowed neurosis. SETH BOGART flawlessly constructs the outrageously fun and glamorized club album we have all been waiting for, complete with Nintendo-synth melodies, urbane autotune, and degradation.