Plenty of artists lay claim or attempt to evoke the otherworldly but Salami Rose Joe Louis does so with potent effortlessness on their latest album Akousmatikous. Fans will also have a chance to see Lindsay Olsen — the singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer behind the project — when they make a stop at Zebulon in Los Angeles on May 28. If this is your first listen to the cosmic wonder that is Salami Rose Joe Louis then buckle in: across 16 stellar tracks, she sends you hurling through sci-fi-inspired soundscapes and woeful post-apocalyptic ruminations.
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The album’s hinted-at narrative follows a keyboard-wielding earthling of the future, offering a prescient lens with which to explore our own world’s calamitous flirtation with the climate crisis. On frenetic bass bumper “Dimensional Collapse,” Olsen gives voice to the fatalism consequently bred when society (or at the very least those with all the money and power) continues to edge the rest of us toward extinction.
Alongside duo Brijean on “Propaganda,” she wrestles with one of many roadblocks that stunt individual action, synced as it is to an equally hypnotic medley of pulsating beats. “Zee Complex” formally introduces what serves as the album’s antagonist against a spacey rhythm, a character of tyrannical power and past romantic interest that our narrator leaves Earth to escape: “Just because I gave you time doesn’t mean you can / Doesn’t mean you can cross lines / Act like you’re entitled to my life.”
Yet few songs carry the weighty bleakness of the album’s sad regret than “Sugar Coating,” a smattering of jazz instrumentals and ghostly sonorous vocals that serve as a message to future generations. “Oh, my child,” Olsen coos. “We started losing when we took more than we need / Now we frantically approach catastrophe.” Eviscerating and lucid the track is a moment of uncompromising honesty, one that attempts to wrangle some pained responsibility for what will be inherited by our children and grandchildren.
The music video for the song, directed by Matt Cowen, applies retro sci-fi animations and aesthetics to soften the blow of this incredibly prescient lament. Viewed through the silvery border of an aged television set scenes flicker rapidly into view, showing Olsen in a spacesuit with her keyboard wandering around the ocean floor and lush forests. The images temper the song’s despair with a vision of a planet flourishing (perhaps a silver lining of our immense absence).
Other standouts on the record include the oceanic and xylophone-laden “The Giddy Aquatic” and the mesmeric “Proof is in the Pudding.” The album ends bittersweetly with the sprawling ballad “Exhaustion and the Open Mind,” a dreamy meander through another celestial-twinkling soundscape that tries to reconcile with the mental hangups that keep us so isolated and at odds with one another.
See Salami Rose Joe Louis at Zebulon in Los Angeles on May 28.
Visit Salami Rose Joe Louis on their Bandcamp and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.
Salami Rose Joe Louis tour
May 23 — Holocene, Portland, OR*
May 25 — Little Saint, Healdsburg, CA*
May 26 — Bandcamp, Oakland, CA*
May 27 — San Jose Jazz Fest, San Jose, CA*
May 28 — Zebulon, Los Angeles, CA*
May 30 — The Loft, San Diego, CA*
June 1 — Elsewhere, Brooklyn, NYC*
June 8 — Bemis Center, Omaha, NE
* with support from Sandra Lawson-Ndu
Words: Steven Ward
Listen to Akousmatikous the new album from Salami Rose Joe Louis below!