PREMIERE: Slowriter (feat. Johnny Polygon) – “Gold Mannequin”


Although the press release for Slowriter’s upcoming fourth LP, King of the Void, describes it as “a dark but happy ending to the madness,” don’t be fooled into thinking band mastermind Bryan Taylor is calling it quits. “This will not be the last Slowriter album,” Taylor confirms via email. “It’s just the end of this era, I suppose.”

And with the end of any era, generally comes resolution. Whereas Taylor’s last experimental pop effort, Trailblazer, had him exploring themes of loss and loneliness, the new record finds him overcoming those feelings of grief and isolation and turning them into something exuberant and triumphant. Lead single “Gold Mannequin,” which we’re excited to premiere for you today, virtually crackles with playful mirth as Taylor successfully turns bubbling synths, cut-up samples and scattershot beats into a rich and textured soundtrack that’s equal parts arty indie pop and uplifting head-nodder. But dig a little deeper into the cracks and crevices and you’ll find some of the old darkness lurking beneath.

The track features smooth R&B vocals courtesy of Johnny Polygon, a Tulsa-based rapper and singer who’s worked with such high-profile artists as Yelawolf, Nas and Kid Cudi. His verse is about dealing with the impact of a lost lover and while there is certainly a tinge of yearning in his voice, there’s also a willingness to let go and embrace the “sweet sadness.” It’s not overtly dramatic, but, still, you’d think this generous bit of vulnerability would be a drag on Taylor’s exultant production. Yet, somehow it works.

When asked how the collaboration came to pass, Taylor responds: “I heard Johnny Polygon on a Kid Cudi mixtape a while ago and started listening to his music. I think on Twitter or something he posted that he was in the studio and wanted to do some features. I hit him up and sent the song with the blank verse. He liked it and sent me his verse in about a week. [I'm] glad I got to work with him!” Whatever the circumstances, it’s a fortuitous pairing, and “Gold Mannequin,” bold and distinctive, is one of the better local singles of the year.

King of the Void arrives October 28 via Autumn + Colour Records. Pre-orders are available here.

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