Canadian-born songsmith, Mac DeMarco approaches his career with the relaxed, self-assured demeanor that only someone with dual citizenship could afford in 2017. Sure, he’s relocated from New York to the Los Angeles area where his current state is enduring one horrific wildfire after the other, and he lives in the United States where the president is an ever blazing garbage fire in his own right, but someone has to keep a level head in all this chaos and Mac seems to be up to the task. His meteoric rise in popularity has been fascinating to witness, but his output has been just as consistent. Some may ask if this man can do no wrong, but an equally relevant question to ask may be about what exactly he’s done right. First of all, he dresses like someone’s father might have in the late 80s-early 90s, the type of fashion which might compel a child to ask to be dropped a few blocks away from their school house. But rather than lose cool points for his slack getup of Keds; beaten down adjustable caps; high water overalls; and bacon-necked tees; he’s actually started a fashion trend with his looks instead. He chainsmokes, has a gap in his teeth, and never brushes his hair, and while I can also claim 2 out of the 3 (I quit smoking 9 years ago) he has been widely accepted by the masses for his lack of interest in the more typical aesthetic qualities associated with being a rock star, while simultaneously transforming these “setbacks” into something worth celebrating. I met the guy years ago, not to mention that I know someone who is friends with him, and he genuinely seems to have retained the same attitude and — I would assume — casual mindset, even though he’s continued to grow in notoriety. He could always grab the attention and control of his crowds from the beginning and, regardless of what anyone may think about this guy, a specific demographic of dude bros in his fanbase, or even the nature of the smooth jams that his catalog consists of, the fact of the matter is that he’s a talented mulit-instrumentalist that writes all of his own tunes and the reason that nothing can really fuck with him is that he’s a musician making music, and he’d be doing it whether or not anybody was listening or otherwise. He’s genuine and he’s succeeded by being that way. A Canadian in a frumpy coat crooning out neo-AM Gold tunes is killing it right now and openly enjoying himself, while so many others with carefully crafted identities are failing. That alone is going to piss certain people off, but it’s also a pleasant sigh of relief for so many others who are tired of everybody trying in the wrong ways and all of the goddamn negativity.
DeMarco has a fanclub that folks can join which is run by his mother. For the paying “disciple” membership, there are particular perks and last year’s involved a lathe-cut picture disc single featuring him covering Billie Joel‘s “Just The Way You Are,” which was cut by my friend Carlos Valdez from Analog Ghost records. The year before ended with a more holiday themed surprise for the fans, as the king of Jizz Jazz quietly dropped a cover of “White Christmas” on youtube. It was accompanied by an image of of Jar Jar Binks in a Santa hat with lights around his neck. Released on December 26th of all dates, it arrived slightly after the festivities has ended for most. This time around, the Edmonton export has done slightly better, with a track that is both a cover from a beloved songwriter and a holiday themed tune. Plus, it’s actually arrived on Christmas day, so while it’s still might could have shown up a bit sooner, at least he didn’t miss it altogether.
if you’re the type to celebrate by cooking a box of dramamine into your sugar cookies and/or dripping a little promethazine into your Lean Nog, then Mackie‘s version of Macca‘s “Wonderful Christmas Time” could be just the jam you’re looking for today. This sizzurupy, mutated rendition of the classic McCartney gem features a rendering of Mac and the Paul seated side-by-side on a fly-infested couch with their flesh melded together; a piles of beer cans and an overflowing ashtray at their feet. Above them reads, “It was a Christmas miracle. We had become one, we melded.” The bottom of the drawing, which was created by frequent Demarco artist, Matthew Volz, continues, “Paul’s thoughts became mine and mine became his. Flies had gathered to feed on all the beauty of Christmas that seeped from our pores.”
If his covers continue in this direction, I’d be down with hearing a full-on holiday album from the guy at some point. Check out Mac‘s “Wonderful Christmas Time” below, followed by his take on “White Christmas” from 2 years ago. As you’ll find, the latter has got a nice warbly “Midnight At The Oasis” vibe to it. Enjoy!