Welcome to The Verge: a column dedicated to music on the edge of a breakthrough. Last week, this space featured a French band that has mastered 70s yacht rock. Now it’s time for an artist whose influences go even farther back.
The most significant aspect of last weekend’s Mad Decent Block Party is the continued dominance of the zeitgeist by Diplo. The entire line-up was a tribute to Wes Gully’s commitment to popularizing regional sounds from around the country and the world. Club music (DJ Sega and the Brick Bandits), moombahton (Nadastrom), electro-mambo (Maluca), and dubstep (Flufftronix) were just a few of the genres on display, the type of eclectic exuberance that makes Mad Decent an underground phenomenon.
Also performing in Philly was one of the most recent signees to Mad Decent, Bosco Delrey, who, like his Mad Decent family, promises to break new ground. Bosco Delrey is a Memphis by way of Jersey singer-songwriter. His music is best described as rockabilly with a dancehall flair (hallbilly?). Like Jack White before him, Delrey looks and sounds like a relic of a place and time that never truly existed.
Delrey croons like Elvis while strumming wavy riffs over programmed beats and chirps of electronic noise. As a genre, rockabilly refuses to ever die, as there are always musicians and audiences that crave the sound and fury of proto rock and roll, that truly American relic. “Space Junky” is typical of his output (of which there are only five songs), with a throwback melody and modern dance elements.
The sinister sounding “Evil Lives” is fueled by chilling organ chords and a trap music beat. The refrain of “Devil’s gonna cut you up” is a flip on Johnny Cash’s “God’s gonna cut you down.” The song – and Delrey’s sound – owe much to the man in black. Plus, “Evil Lives” is an anagram for “Elvis Live.” Spooky.
Like all Mad Decent artists, Bosco Delrey has free reign to develop organically. Even if that means lo-fi reworking of Gucci Mane songs. Trust in Diplo, and trust in Bosco Delrey.