Thursday, October 18

Bedroom Walls plays on humor to express melancholic irony


It takes a visionary with an ambitious agenda to invent an
entire genre of music. Or maybe it just takes a self-indulgent
art-school graduate with an intelligent sense of humor. Either way,
Adam Goldman and his band Bedroom Walls are turning heads with
their new sound, Romanticore, a style so sincerely melancholy with
a name so intentionally ambiguous it would make listeners either
laugh or cry if they weren’t busy scratching their heads.

“Some people don’t see any humor in it, but
it’s supposed to be a little funny,” said Goldman, who
also writes musical scores for adult movies under the pseudonym
Chuck Bronco. “Sad music fails when there isn’t a
little bit of absurdity to it or black comedy to it. That’s
why most sad music is kind of boring.”

But the music isn’t ironic, explained Goldman. Bedroom
Walls, one of the local bands performing at the Los Feliz Street
Fair this Sunday, genuinely does want to make people sad.

“In the literal sense, it’s ironic to have a sense
of humor in melancholy music,” Goldman admitted. “But
(we avoid) irony in the way it’s been misused since ““
the way my friends and I were just referring to in the bar: the
irony wars of the early ’90s.”

Goldman went on to explain his personal terminology, referring
to past trends in pop culture.

“There was a point (in the early 1990s) when everything
was ironic and sarcastic and everything was in quotes,”
Goldman said. “So after a while, it became hard to figure out
when you were having an authentic experience and when you were
experiencing having the experience self-reflexively. That’s
bad irony.”

In addition to avoiding bad irony, Bedroom Walls abstains from
rock clichés. The sextet’s sound is minimalist and
subtle rather than raucous. Electric piano, violin and glockenspiel
are used instead of falling back on the distorted guitar.
There’s even an attempt to defy the traditional gender
mix.

“I get annoyed at just looking at boys onstage, so we have
four girls and two boys,” said Goldman.

In its origin, the band members sat down for shows and
didn’t sing, in keeping with their “anti-rock band
dogma,” as Goldman explained.

“But then we realized, “˜Either we’re doing a
performance or we’re not.’ There are people here, and
it’s like “˜Well, we’re either going to put on a
show, or we’re going to be navel-gazing and
self-indulgent,’ so we decided to put on a show, which turned
out not to be really a compromise,” Goldman said.
“It’s fun. I wouldn’t go back to sitting down and
not singing.”

This month the band is going into the studio to record its
second album, “This Isn’t the Right Thing to Do,”
in which Goldman promises to “revise the art of the
“˜creepy seduction song.’”

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