Mike Sniper (aka Blank Dogs) has been spending a lot of time in his bedroom this year. And I’m not about to tell a rude joke. Sniper - the misleadingly solo Brooklynite - it turns out is a musical machine of real pedigree, whose dedication to all things drum machine, analogue synth and reverb guitar has sent Blank Dogs and his side project, The Mayfair Set, leaping into New Ears’ sweaty lap.
As he freely admits to being "an avid conspiracy theory junkie" you'd be forgiven for thinking he was barking mad. But he can explain damn it, "they're pure entertainment, I don't believe any of it...I also love documentaries that freak me out”. Hence why his enchanting bicoastal collaboration with LA’s Dum Dum Girls is named after an Adam Curtis documentary series about a sinister group of capitalists in 1960's London. The Mayfair Set’s output thus far has combined Blank Dogs' dark baritone with DDG's bright, shimmering melodies to striking effect; a sound they've coined “sad prom music”.
His Blank Dogs material occupies similar ground to the L Train scene’s other leading lights, see Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts (some of the members of which appear on the excellent recently released LP, Under and Under). Synth and guitar melodies like that of The Cure dominate, albeit filtered through a smorgasbord of grinding fuzz; it's too arresting to be inaccessible, but far too filthy to be labelled plain old pop.
I recommend you lap this up. Wow, managed to do all that without once mentioning Joy Divis...
Blank Dogs - 'No compass'.mp3 (YSI)
The Mayfair Set - 'Desert fun'.mp3 (YSI)
Words: Jake Richards