A terrific lo-fi burnout
The following statement may not be well received: DIY music scenes for all their self-promoting comradery and positive attitudes are still cesspools of drugs and alcohol, questionable influences and questionable talents. Once in a while, an individual who cuts their teeth in these scenes can rise above the mosh-pit of sounds and begin a sprint toward national recognition. Justus Proffit’s debut album L.A.’s Got Me Down is the singer-songwriter’s finish line, and he seems tired.
The record’s “Intro” sets the mood with a display of distorted and ominous sounds that are also scattered throughout the long play. Also, they contrast surprisingly well with the relaxed guitar strums that prevail in the songs “Painted In The Sound” and “Hole.” The gloomy lyrics demand the deformity of guitar signals and popping of drums that reign over the choruses of “Shadow Of The Cross” and even the faint harmonies in the album’s closing track, “Closed View,” seem perfectly in place. So why, then, does this debut album feel so dim?
To produce a full-length debut album is every bedroom rocker’s dream, and you would think that it would be charged with loads of energy, but the truth is that DIY music is draining. And, Justus Proffit’s first solo effort is the perfect example of an artist burned out by the journey. Justus Proffit has been grinding in the L.A. DIY scene since the age of thirteen, playing in punk bands, recording his music, promoting it and distributing it. Last year, Justus even met fellow bedroom rocker Melina Duterte, better known by her stage name Jay Som, and saw tons of success with their collaborative effort “Nothing’s Changed.”
Now after a long road to a record label-produced debut album, Justus Proffit—who should be a young, energetic and promising artist riding a wave of momentum—seems tired and unable to deliver his full potential. Tracks like “Laughing On The Inside” and “Split Into” are wonderfully imagined, structured and produced with true grit but still lack certain oomph to them; they miss a type of magic that catapults a debuting artist onto everyone’s lips.
On the Bar/None Record’s Website, Justin Proffit’s biography describes his struggles with bad influences, drugs, alcohol and the late-night recording sessions for the album that he admits were taxing. Perhaps the album is just a consequence of his talent and exhaustion, a reminder of the long road that lies ahead for all bedroom musicians out there. Let’s hope that Justus’ newfound desire to separate from dubious friendships and illicit substances in light of his recent success yield a better entry next time, he is undoubtedly capable of it.