It’s a long way from the Coney Island adjacent shores of Jamacia Bay to Manhattan Beach.
Although the two share similarities in naming convention, the recent New York-to-LA transplant, Mac DeMarco seems completely unfazed by the inherent differences while continuing to pump out a new classic album every single year. 2014’s Salad Days, 2015’s Another One and now with the forthcoming This Old Dog, Mac DeMarco shuns the ideals of being a bastion of “slacker rock” simply though his work ethic and consistent body of work.
Hyperbole aside, DeMarco remains really low-key about his success. It could be argued that, outside of people like Father John Misty and Fiest, Mac DeMarco could be one of the brightest and powerful voices in indie rock today. Still he does fairly simple things like telling anybody who listens to the end of his record his (former) home address and inviting them all around for coffee – and doesn’t publicly wig out when people actually show up. This humility is reminiscent of the old baseball player Casey Stengel who famously left his Glendale California home listed in the YellowPages for the entire time he lived there so that anybody could just show up or send some fan mail.
Mac DeMarco isn’t hiding from anybody, nor is he trying to hide behind a persona or his music. It’s this sort of attitude about fame and success that flows into DeMarco’s music. He’s always put out a sort of devil-may-care attitude but it’s his caring for those around him (most notably his girlfriend Kiera McNally) that truly shows up in his most dynamic work. It’s this contradiction that sets Mac apart from his counterparts and sets a through-line between each albums. DeMarco is a modern form of the silly philosopher – intensely funny, loving and smart – his lyrics remain obtuse while still telling a story of sometimes intense pain and sometimes of unimaginable joy.
This contrast in style remains as DeMarco glides seamlessly from over-layered janky synth to acoustic solo work so well that the transition is often missed by an inattentive listen.
As he continues to embark on the release of his next full length album This Old Dog in May, DeMarco is clearly watching himself moving into a different phase in his life. Singles like “My Old Man” strike a late-blooming coming of age story that a lot of people in this generation is grappling with. As the sheen is worn off of dreams and hopes for the future and the gray hairs you despised as a youth begin to pop up on your own head there’s a sad but calming understanding that life moves on and it’s only our own ideals and perception that are changed.
Mac is turning 27 this year, but already he’s speaking with a musical voice of a seasoned veteran. Combining the irreverent, folky storytelling of a Tom Waits and the musical and production ability of a Dan Auerbach, DeMarco can become has the ability to become one of the most beloved indie acts of this generation.
…but ya know, he’s cool about it.
This Old Dog is due out May 5 via Captured Tracks