Lawrence Rothman whips up a seething garage-rock song in “Sunny Place for Shady People” with help from the Philadelphia blues musician Son Little.
Inspired by the nightmare miasma of Donald Trump’s leadership — and particularly of being a gender-fluid person through that stretch of time — “Sunny Place for Shady People” sets the stage with reverb-drenched electric guitars and eerie, wordless harmonies. The drums feel almost too fast, a tambourine-assisted go-go rhythm speeding toward the cliff, which, come to think of it, is actually a pretty sharp metaphor for the period still looming in the rearview.
Rothman mines the swaggering purr of Billy Idol with their verse, vowing an “eye for eye” and that “all poison bones each have a home.” Son Little takes it up an octave, swearing that he’s “gonna take it all with no regret.” The references to the Trump administration are a little obscure here, but both singers evoke an unsettling hunger for justice or vengeance or, as may be the case, eradication. “One by one take out their kind,” they sing together, giving way to a slippery, acid-fried guitar solo in the middle.
“Sunny Place for Shady People” is one of those odd songs that feels considerably longer than it is, despite (or perhaps because of) the breakneck, frenzied energy of it. Credit Rothman’s dynamic arrangement, which twists and turns without ever being allowed to linger in one place for long. It ends just shy of the three-minute mark, but it’ll leave you gasping for breath, like running a marathon through the desert in a leather jacket.
“Sunny Place for Shady People” is a non-album single. Rothman’s upcoming LP, Good Morning, America, arrives July 16th.
Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.