There have always been young stars in the worlds of pop and hip-hop, but it’s not every day that you see a quirky experimental artist in the indie scene generate as much buzz as Jane Remover did when she dropped her debut, Frailty, two years ago at age 18. Originally released under the name dltzk, Remover has racked up quite a few aliases online, many crediting her rapid release pace with creating entire microgenres – the most prominent being dariacore, which, yes, is a nod to the classic 90s cartoon. Labelled as her sophomore project, however, Census Designated takes Remover’s grainy, lo-fi and hyperpop-adjacent sound into heavier, darker territory.
If one thing shines out as stellar on her latest, it’s the production. Dialling things up with a heavy helping of industrial noise, distortion and moody alt-rock guitar noodling, it’s a testament to the mixing that such a chaotic, unsettling sonic world sounds so welcoming and warm. It serves as a fitting companion to Remover’s content and vocal delivery. Inspired by a near-death experience on an icy road that led Remover to rethink some of her more self-destructive tendencies, she paradoxically delivers her melodies with a jubilant pop sensibility while sounding at the same time like she’s drowning under the weight of the world.
Lyrically, Remover takes on the terrifying stages of early intimacy while existing as a trans teenager, the unsettling quiet of middle-of-nowhere America, and the bureaucracy of the music industry at large. It’s certainly a disorienting listen at times, but the magic of Census Designated is the degree to which listeners are able to get incredibly familiar with Remover – and often, this is what her life can sound like.
Experimental, Indie, Punk