‘Collector’ is just fine

“Plugged in, something’s wrong,” sings Disq frontman Isaac DeBroux-Slone on “D19,” the fourth track off of the alt-indie band’s debut album Collector. Against the backdrop of a trebly acoustic rhythm guitar, DeBroux-Slone’s aching vocals sound wistful as he sings of a brief but torrid affair with a faulty D19 microphone. “D19 could have been my queen/ Prettiest mic I’d ever seen,” he howls during the  chorus, while the instrumentals swell behind him in an appropriately maudlin fashion.

Released on March 6, to Saddle Creek records, Collector was received by a small but loyal fanbase who had eagerly awaited the Wisconsin natives’ first LP. Adapted from a handful of demos written by all five members of the band over the course of several years, the songs are eclectic yet cohesive as a collection. Working within a long-established and much revered tradition of quirky, midwestern, DIY, folk-rock, Disq’s sound feels classic. The album has inspired comparisons to many of the 23-35 year-old white, male, guitar-based indie musicians that came to define the genre in the early 2000s—early Beck or late Stephen Malkmus, to name a couple.

Lyrically, however, the band have updated  familiar songwriting tropes to suit the current decade. On “Daily Routine,” DeBroux-Slone sings of a technological ennui, brought on by hours of scrolling and staring at screens—a familiar breed of melancholy for many a modern listener. To their credit, as well, the band seems quick to poke fun at their own doldrums. “Drum in my head/ Fill up on bread/ What do I need/ To make it complete?” goes the second verse of “Drum In.” Indeed, those artists who deign to write guitar-based music about nothing much at all in the year 2020 should all take a page out of Disq’s book and approach their craft with a sense of humour. 

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