Modern life can be, at times, almost cripplingly complex - especially if you're trying to be a decent person. You could be trying to do something as simple as make some S'mores, only to be hit with the revelation that marshmallows contain horse hooves. You might be trying to drown a hangover with some black coffee and greasy bacon, only to find out your local diner's been mistreating its employee. Nothing is ever simple, or easy.

Being alive in a society in 2018 is sort of like living on quicksand, or maybe just over a trap door. The bottom can drop out any second.

"Information Overload", the debut single from Vermont's Grabbitz, captures this confusing, contradictory life on the edge not only lyrically, but also sonically. Deep, thick EDM sub-bass laps around your ankles like the LeBreia Tar Pits, just waiting to pull you under, while Grabbitz sings a synthetic soul ballad about someone oversharing on the Internet, particularly social media.



Just blending dance music and Pop isn't enough to approximate the complexity of modern life, even if it sounds good. Grabbitz goes one further, building disconnected, seemingly unrelated music genres together in new and unexpected ways. African pianos meets disco beats meets Spanish guitar, sometimes at the same time. It could easily have ended up as a hot mess, like some garbage '90s postmodern rave multiculturalism, but it's not. It all makes sense, even when sounds from different continents are happening simultaneously, dancing together in graceful symmetry instead.

Despite its name, "Information Overload" is pretty much the opposite. Grabbitz and Pierce Fulton are clearly navigating the postmodern waters just fine. They have a thoroughly developed sense of sonic self, which helps to orient them through the confusing world of options and excess. The pair are able to put together sounds in new and beguiling ways, creating kaleidoscopic new tapestries of modern existence. That's what Pop Music's supposed to do. Grabbitz's synthetic soul music is entirely of-the-moment, managing to capture the beat-beat pulse of living over a trap door. Most of us living and loving in the age of the Internet can relate, making "Information Overload" as essential Pop soundtrack for our times.

If you spend any time in, on, or around the Internet (which you likely do if you're reading this on We Are: The Guard), you know you need to rise above the line noise. You need to transcend, to rise above and seek a bird's eye view, to make sense of so many different pieces of at times contradictory information. Grabbitz and Pierce Fulton are really, really good at it, so perhaps there is hope for our distracted world yet!


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.