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Standout Track: No. 4, “Demonator,” a reverb-drenched nugget of dream-pop ennui that could have been stolen out of Alan McGee’s mailbox in 1989. Singing through a wall of fuzzy chords, 23-year-old guitarist Matthew Taylor ponders such otherworldly stoner quandaries as “Unsure of what I see/Scared of what could be/If we never spoke dead.” The heavy rhythm section of bassist V. Pankaj and drummer Ryan Hicks helps keep the song from ascending into the atmosphere.
Musical Motivation: “When you die, will you see any of the people you see now? That’s basically what that song was about,” says Taylor, who often finds himself contemplating the afterlife. “I just think about it all the time—it’s weird.” So why call it “Demonator”? Taylor credits Pankaj, but Pankaj credits Hicks: “I think it has something to with a scary children’s story he’s been writing.” Hicks declined to comment, though, preserving the tune’s mysterious aura.
TeenBeat Riot: Taylor wasn’t the first person in his family to get into shoegazing. His older brother Damien, who has recently moved to Philadelphia, sings and plays guitar for local psych-rock outfit (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope. The younger Taylor credits much of the sound of “Demonator” to his brother’s collection of dronier indie-rock touchstones. “I was listening to a lot of Daydream Nation and that album Dead Leaves by Versus. That’s the music I grew up on—my brother beat it into my head.” — Aaron Leitko
The Mantras play the Black Cat on Monday, Aug. 20.