Photo: Danny Lane
Magic. It is the central theme which Brooklyn indie band Slothrust constructed their forthcoming album, The Pact, around. Not the hackneyed sorcery of a cloaked magician pulling a rabbit from a hat type of magic, but the mysterious and mystical forces behind the world's natural elements and principles. A sense of the all-enveloping cosmic and unexplainable can already be felt in the singles that have led up to the release of The Pact, particularly in the thrilling powerhouse that is "Double Down."
In anticipation of Slothrust releasing their musical sorcery to the world at large, we spoke with frontwoman Leah Wellbaum about a very specific type of magic: the all-encompassing and much sought after magic of surviving grade school. For anyone who has already started school, is preparing to return to school, or is keen on reliving those awkward yet cherished days, these are five of Wellbaum's essentials for going back to school.
"There is nothing in this world that could get me more in the mood to go back to school than Degrassi High. Let me start by saying that nearly all of it is on YouTube - and there is a LOT of it. This delightful Canadian program has had a ton of iterations spanning almost thirty years, and all of them are strong. Give or take the episode where high school sophomore Manny Sanchez gets an abortion (it goes well and everyone moves on), it is a very publicly available show. This is why I love Degrassi. It tells the lesser told story respectfully and with just the right amount of suspense to leave the viewer eager for more, but not stressed out. Exactly the right mentality for getting deep into drawing googly eyes on your Five Star binder during fourth period Math."
The Doom Generation
"Welcome to the punk rock hyper-sexual parallel-reality teen-world that is Gregg Araki's The Doom Generation. This movie has a little something for everyone, but especially queer people who love the 90's. Hello! It's a pretty dark movie (lots of hailing Satan and watered-down blood), but I was still turned for the majority of it by the aesthetic alone. However, James Duval and Johnathan Schaech lacing fingers is one point worth a mention. After watching this film, you will be inspired to meet new classmates and be your bad, strange self."
Mac Miller - Swimming
"This album is not about going back to school, but it is a record that shows a type of self-reflection that is really valuable in starting anything new. Acknowledging your weaknesses and trying to figure out how to work with them instead of pretending they don't exist can lead to tremendous growth. Mac Miller was a true artist. I hope that this record can inspire people to start up their school year with the goal to make honest work that takes risks."
Donna Missal - This Time
"Slothrust performed with this artist at a record store convention in New Orleans this summer, and I was blown away. Donna writes accessibly emotive songs that make your heart do complicated things, and her vocal absolutely rips. Her debut album, This Time, came out on September 7, and you can hear the work that went into it. She pairs vintage production choices and tons of real instruments (thank glob), with a contemporary delivery and edge that feels theatrical in the best way. I heard that our old label mate Sharon Van Etten did some of this co-writing so, you can expect depth-aplenty. This record makes me feel present and motivated - a strong choice for a new year."
The Harry Potter Series
"Read them, watch them, live them, breathe them. Wingardium Leviosa forever. That is all."
Slothrust's The Pact is due out Friday, September 13, and they will be on tour throughout North America this fall.