MXMS is tired of taking crap and isn’t taking it any more on “I Revenge.”



The followers of Jesus always advocate turning the other cheek, following some sage (and idealistic) words from the Book Of Matthew. The Book Of Matthew also promises that “The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth,” however, but we’re all still waiting. As far as we can tell, at We Are: The Guard, bullies are running the show; the loud overpower the quiet, more often than not; and cheek-turning saints and martyrs are constantly overshadowed by squeaky wheels and shrill hysterics.

It can all get a little too much. Seeing as how the jury is still out, whether or not there is a life after this one (we’ve made inquiries with our Ouija Board, but we’re still waiting on a response) - there might come a time when we stop taking things lying down - when we stand up for ourselves and say “No More.”

This protesting yowl serves as the tingleworthy narrative behind ‘funeral pop’ outfit MXMS, a new project from electronic producer/pianist Jeremy Dawson, of the band Shiny Toy Guys, featuring singer Ariel Levitan. Levitan is following the “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission” school of getting things done, supplicating to some “Father” (whether that’s God or a priest is uncertain) with the deadpan chorus “Father forgive me I have sinned against my man/I revenge/I revenge.” Levitan never comes out and says what she’s done, but the cover for “I Revenge” shows the singer in a bathtub full of red and lilac rosebuds, white porcelain dripping with gore from Elitas’ exquisitely manicured hands - a cross behind Hamlet’s Ophelia and the suicide scene from The Royal Tennenbaums. It’s a troubling, vaguely unsettling image, that makes us wonder if MXMS are doing okay, if perhaps they might want to talk about it.

In a world where it’s all too easy to direct our frustrations and aggressions outward, to project instead of reflect, sensitive souls, like MXMS, often have a tendency to take on that harm, doing unto themselves rather than others. We hurt ourselves, instead of the ones that have hurt us. We certainly understand, but we here at We Are: The Guard would like to say, “Girl, forget him! Ain’t no scrub worth it!” Rather than taking Jesus’ or Shakespeare’s or Elliott Smith’s advice, we say listen to Oscar Wilde instead: “The best revenge is to live well.”

We Are: The Guard are choosing to believe “I Revenge” is emotional catharsis rather than a cry for help. It’s good - get it out, girl! For those who dig the emotional autre art pop of Trent Reznor’s How To Destroy Angels; the big room soulsplosion of Sia; or whoever wished than the gothic melodrama of Evanescence could have sweet beats and chilled bass instead of emo goth guitars, prepare to take comfort and commiserate.  


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.