At the bottom of this page is a video that Shlomi Lavie of Van Goose made. He made this video in response to a request we sent him. We asked that he make a video that presented the ‘ten sacred elements of Habitual Eater‘. Why would we ask such a thing? Why did Shlomi Lavie of Van Goose offer eleven, not ten sacred elements? Read this review of the album for perspective. Or don’t.
Either way – Van Goose – has made a fantastic video. Ignore this scribble if you like – but definitely don’t miss the video.
Habitual Eater is the name of the album from Brooklyn’s Van Goose. We’ve talked about Shlomi Lavie’s brainchild project before – the singles, ‘Last Bus’ and ‘She’s Not Pressure’ were in heavy rotation. Then came ‘Wildstar’, with accompanying video that offered new dimension to the textures of what we thought should be expected from a band whose frontman was drummer for Marcy Playground.
Those singles were smart selects to tease of the tonal qualities of a dance punk project. There are signature sounds of the genre all the way through this album. Habitual Eater is built of layers of increasing pressure and release. The eight tracks expose sonic references to heroic influence. Some bass work sounds like Tina Weymouth. We dance near the edge. Some synth sequences sound like Donna Summer at her polished best. We dance near the speaker. Then, there are polyrhythmic passages between drum machine and kit that pull the spirit of Hamilton Bohannon. We dance and don’t stop.
Wait – this is not some backward-facing album of retro-sounding novelty. These tunes are all cut with contemporary vibe, modern structure, and a sensibility that leans in on the metamodern. However, there is resonance of classicism too. This is the sound of an album that is made for today, but also kind of timeless. Contemporaries of Lavie typically pursue the tones of LCD Soundsystem, or Hot Chop or !!! – artists seeking to sound like those bands provide something less authentic. Instead, Lavie looks at the colors that bleed from the source – where production techniques were digital, but retained human scale. He polishes, but retains a scattering of glorious human error and glitch.
Lavie employs theatric humor. Throughout the tracks like ‘Wildstar’ and ‘On My Hand’ there is a tangible grace. The artist is reflective and shows a sense of the poetic. At other times he’s demon friend, who makes a passionate plea for one more tequlia, one more dance before we all go home. A characterful vocal track will stagger through one kind of treatment or another, before settling on a sing-song approach to inclusion.
‘My Guy’ offers all the good elements of the album. Damn, it’s hard to escape this groove. It’s hard to make out – are we paying the guy ‘ten times‘ or ‘ten dimes‘ – it’s irrelevant, actually. Just pay the man, and keep moving. This hyperactive excursion through delivers the kind of party conversation we’ve all heard, or been involved in. Sometimes we hear what we need to hear, sometimes we hear what we don’t want to hear. Fuck that noise. Let’s dance.
Once, during a gig of an unnamed band, a friend turned round and smiled to report his impression of the show so far. ‘They’re playing back-to-back hits!’. He was being sarcastic, but also joyous. Sometimes a sequence of tracks simply sounds like hit after hit, and we get swept up. We believe something sacred is happening. Van Goose achieve that joy here, on Habitual Eater. There is compulsion, there is drive, there’s something kinda spiritual happening. Darkness is discussed, but lightness is offered. Camaraderie too. The comfort of this album is not small.
It was with all of this in mind that we spoke with Shlomi Lavie. We entered a kind of spiritual dance punk trance, and asked him to share with us a video that would describe the ‘eleven sacred elements’ of Habitual Eater. Actually, we asked for a video that described that TEN sacred elements of Habitual Eater. However, Shlomi Lavie is hyper active, and his spirit of generosity will not be contained by numbers. So he offered eleven. Imagine that.
HURRY – BUY – VAN GOOSE MUSIC