L’Rain — aka Brooklyn-based experimental singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and curator Taja Cheek — has announced her third album, the confrontationally titled I Killed Your Dog (Oct. 13, Mexican Summer). Our second preview of the “anti-break-up” record after June’s standalone single (and, it turns out, I Killed Your Dog’s closer) “New Year’s UnResolution” is the technicolor “Pet Rock,” out now alongside a miniature-centric music video.
After “New Year’s UnResolution” took L’Rain’s soulful, fluid sound in an especially ethereal direction, “Pet Rock” dives into playful psychedelia, asserting itself as the most explosive rock song in her catalog. Distorted guitar and synths (including one identified in the song credits as the “Human Synthtipede”) are tangled together from its opening moments, with Cheek’s vocal melody evoking The Strokes with a wink. She sings from the perspective of someone rife with inner conflict and longing for transformation: “Make me something else / Why would you go without me? / Nothing’s really changed,” she croons, before giving way to a guitar break that would make Kevin Parker blush. Like the Pet Rock itself, these musical tropes Cheek is toying with mean nothing on their own — it’s through her engagement with them that meaning is made.
Cheek’s thrumming bass line brings the song’s insistent groove up a notch in its back half, and it’s here that she sets the scene at its conceptual core: “Like a dead girl with shades on, propped up by captors, I’m fine / I’ve got no one to talk to, it’s all my fault, I know.” This acknowledgement seems to set her narrator free somehow — from this point on, “Pet Rock” launches into psych-rock nirvana, no less cathartic for the tongue in its cheek. The colorful, retro music video (dir. Josie Keefe and Jonny Campolo’s Studio Jojo) takes its visual cues from its namesake’s era, with Cheek seizing control of the miniature world at her fingertips.
Cheek said of her new single in a statement, “The song is based around an old story I’d been told about a woman who was riding the train but looked strange, and the reader eventually figures out that she’s dead, with glasses on, being propped up by the people that seem to have harmed her.” She added of the “Pet Rock” visual, “As a lifelong collector of tchotchkes, the music video is based on a concept I came up with featuring miniatures.”
- Stream “Pet Rock”
The follow-up to 2021’s universally acclaimed Fatigue, I Killed Your Dog features 16 tracks produced by Cheek and her returning collaborators Andrew Lappin and Ben Chapoteau-Katz. The album “consider[s] what it means to hurt the people you love the most,” per press notes, looking at love through the lens of a conversation between Cheek and her younger self.
Following recent tours with Animal Collective, black midi and LCD Soundsystem, L’Rain will tour North America this fall, with nine headlining shows including a hometown performance at New York City’s Pioneer Works, and stops at Los Angeles’ Zebulon and El Rey, the latter of which will also feature Cate Le Bon and Mega Bog. Tickets go on sale Friday, Aug. 25, at 10 a.m. local.
You can hear new music from L’Rain, and music from local, regional, national and international artists on our music discovery station The Independent 89.9 HD4. And you can follow our Fresh Squeeze playlist on Spotify to stream all the best new music, updated every month.