Eat My Heart Out
Chicks on Speed Records
istening to Kevin Blechdom is a walk on the quivering line between morbid fascination and self-abuse, like taking the safety off of a machine gun and throwing it into a bouncy castle. In an XY world of electronic music whose masters’ movements culminate in the occasional squeeze of a mouse button or the slightest nudge of the glasses, decidedly XX Kevy B. is a graceless, bouncing monstrosity, spilling generous amounts of Tab on innocent keyboards. While everyone else delicately rocks the latest in circuitry, she spends her late night hours teasing cartoon clarinets out of max/msp synthesis exercises with homemade mash-ups of Stephen Sondheim, Kidz Bop, and the Grease soundtrack blasting in the background.
(*Sigh*), still, no amount of goofy laptop fuckery or gifted-program accolades can mend a broken heart, a perpetual problem in the Blechdom body. Instead, she documents her cranked-up insecurities in mid-catharsis without any trace of apology. On Eat My Heart Out, her third album, the former Mills “How are Edgar Varèse and Morton Subotnick for fearless electronic music pioneers on our former faculty?” College student has continued to refine her manic, restless creativity, crafting off-off-Broadway spectaculars as often near-transcendent as they are insanely irritating. As good as her best material is (kind of amazing, actually), her rainbow beret-and-pigtail wackiness sometimes seems excessive; density is preferable to filler, but with 19 tracks each divided into several parts, quantity sometimes wins out over quality, making this an album whose hysterical peaks can make up for deep valleys, but can’t mask them. Despite the glaring imperfections of Eat My Heart Out, it’s hard to hold back the urge to shout “REQUIRED LISTENING” with all of my mortal breath and power, because her musical perspective is so ruthlessly bonkers, truly fun, and refreshingly uninhibited (especially in the field of electronic music where “poppy” and “playful” get thrown around like the embarrassed adjectives they are). Also, it’s an album that balances really effective novelty with longer-lasting impressions; to a certain extent, the degree to which a listener might like Kevy B. will rely on how long the shtick lasts.
Kevin forgoes the academic sterility approach to Extreme Musical Density in favor of a bright irreverence, ramming aborted showtunes with farting electro-skronk, and mere seconds later flipping to self-conscious micro-melodrama complete with fanfare to Raffi in an acid bath of blast beats. Emotionally, she’s a certifiable mess, confidently claiming “I’ve hung up on my hang ups today” not long before stumbling into weird-ass existential bogs—“it’s funny, being yourself is making as joke as self”—and incredibly eerie fits of whimpering. Sadly, all her electro-schlock therapy is in vain, and all that’s left after the kaleidoscopic, overdriven storm is a strange landscape of scattered solitudes. In a way, Kevy’s subservience to her heart is a lot more challenging and exciting than some of the x-rated humor of past Blechdom burners like “Mister Miguel” and “Boob-a-cue,” whose narratives pale in comparison to the uncensored diary of Eat My Heart Out.
Kevin Blechdom isn’t for everyone, but in some shameless and beautiful universe, she would be. With endless workouts of heartache and confusion resulting in bland musico-self-help exercises that weirdly abstract and generalize emotions rather than personalize them, she makes music as indecisive, neurotic, and thrilling as her own addled feelings.