KennyHoopla is one of the most exciting acts I have heard in a long time, and I do not say those words lightly. The Los Angeles–based alternative artist first struck up that sentiment when I was tasked to cover his 2019 single “Lost Cause //” an intoxicating bout of new wave nostalgia. Now, with his latest single, the feeling has become all the more pronounced. KennyHoopla is without a doubt the next wave.
“how will i rest in peace if i’m buried by a highway? //” is more than just a mouthful or a passing philosophical statement on the notion of eternal rest in the context of a capitalist society self-expanding to its own demise; it is a cathartic explosion of sound and inspiration.
The very opening moments of “how will i rest in peace if i’m buried by a highway? //” call to mind the guitar and synth-driven euphoria of ‘80s new wave, the pain and beauty of Joy Division. Yet, once KennyHoopla’s pained vocals come into focus, there is a lingering sentiment of dance-punk and early Bloc Party to be found. And while Joy Division (well, in all honesty, New Order moreso), Bloc Party, and a constantly reinventing new wave built the foundation for most of my musical taste, KennyHoopla is more than just borrowed nostalgia.
The Los Angeles artist captures all the joy and hopelessness of his predecessors and reinvents it in a wholly new rapturous package. The inspiration is evident but the execution is transcendent. I have said it before, and I will say it again, KennyHoopla is the next wave.
Watch the transfixing “how will i rest in peace if i’m buried by a highway? //” video below: