HDLSS shares the disorientingly beautiful “BILL$” via Stereogum
HDLSS (pronounced Headless) is a “nocturnal pop” duo from Ridgewood, NY, consisting of Far and Wolfy. Selections from DUMB is the new album the band is releasing in August—their 1st release since going on hiatus in 2012 and changing their name from Headless Horseman (formerly on Greedhead Entertainment).
The album was recorded/produced by HDLSS and mastered by Yale Yng-Wong (Grizzly Bear, Chairlift) and Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts). Today the duo shares the third single from the album, “BILL$” via Stereogum. Be sure to also check out the previous two singles; “Colonizer,” via Noisey which tackles the subject of culturual appropriation, and “False Flag,” an ode to whistle blowers, via The FADER.
Some words on “BILL$” from the artist:
“BILL$” was the first song written for the LP. I had just hit the reset button on my life; I moved into a new apt., divorced myself from friendships and a relationship that were unhealthy, quit my job and cut out any toxic indulgences. I was alone in my new bedroom, and all I had was this early 90’s Yamaha keyboard with 4 presets from childhood. I knew I was going to make a record, as that was the only thing left to do, to somehow claw my way back to myself, or to some reconstructed new self. I sat down, chose the organ setting, picked a tempo and turned the metronome to act as the beat (that later became part of the beat in the recording), and played these 3 chords. 2 chords felt hopeful and the 3rd one was minor which was the ‘turnaround’. The chorus vocal melody and words immediately manifested, “I keep giving away / oh, I keep giving away / oh, I keep giving away / my love.” I was terribly broke at the time, and felt very confused and fragmented, but this lyric and falsetto melody came out neatly packaged together (which is rare for me), and it felt so good and cathartic. It was honest, because I had not been living my life for myself. I lived aimlessly for other people, paycheck to paycheck, selling myself to shortsighted ephemeral dopamine flooded experiences, to mindless culture waste… I felt like I owed so much to these external things, that there wasn’t any love left in my reserve for myself.
That is really what “BILL$” is about: debt. The concept of ‘owing’ something. Debt is a ghost that follows you wherever you go. It is a phantom presence; it’s something you don’t have but owe. Whether it’s financial debt or emotional debt, it’s all the same. We carry people from the past with us. People we wish we could erase live on in our brains consuming our emotions, time and love communicating to us as memories or voices or words are triggered. A part of you still wants their validation. Parts of yourself are devoted to paying them in dividends with each memory recalled, whether it’s time spent in regret, hate or perhaps unrequited love. The lonely part is all of this happening internally, as being South Asian, we are raised to not talk about these things. Mental health issues are taboo. My parents were tough though, as immigrants have to be. There isn’t time for existential crises. But of course being a 1st gen American, I grew up seeing the opposite in my millennial overly sensitive “snowflake” generation.
The ending lyric to the song goes, “Lately / I’ll dream / I have / nothing inside me. / I’m left / destitute. / But I’m not violent / I can’t bring a change.” Just like with financial destitution, systemic racism and generational poverty, violent change is sometimes the only recourse to break the cycle. An aspect to all of this comes down to self love, which is something I had very little at the time of writing this song. It’s hard as it can take quite a bit of self love or courage to say enough is enough, kill everything in your life and hit the reset button, and violently amputate these phantom limbs, these memories that become extensions of you as they continue lingering. Reclaim your love, don’t just give it away.
6/17 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bazaar (main support for A-Wa)