Dead Rider, “Weird Summer”

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.03.14 in Listen to This

Todd Rittmann is perhaps best known for his time in bludgeoning sludgecore act U.S. Maple; while his new project, Dead Rider, minimizes guitar in favor of angrily-shrieking electronics, the result is no less abrasive. Witness “Weird Summer.” Like a club hit from the Isle of Styx, the song heaves and kicks. Ghostly backing vocals drift in and dissolve, a weird razor-wall of digital noise bisects the song at the center, and Rittman’s deranged beat-poet delivers free-verse omens (“more towers going up now, now birds touch the ground…another neighbor disappears”) against queasy neon synths. It’s a bracing snapshot of a future that’s not just dystopic but violent — looters and punks kicking in abandoned cars between barrels of burning refuse, beneath a sky lit by LED billboards.