Robert DeLong has a thing for tarot, but that shouldn't be too surprising. The rise of the Los Angeles dance-pop provocateur and one-man band seems fated thus far. In 2013, his self-fulfilling "Global Concepts" single became an international hit and he's been following it around the world since, from dives to clubs to nearly every festival you've ever heard of. Now the man returns from the neon wilderness with his most diverse and beat-driven work yet: In the Cards. DeLong's second album boldly swirls electronic strains—techno, house, drum & bass, electro, trip-hop—with rock composition and emotive soul. Each song is an aural world unto itself where DeLong probes a different angle of the record's theme: Is the story of our lives written "in the cards" or are we free to make our destinies? Ultimately, is there a difference?
Our host's narrative begins 25 miles northeast of Seattle, in the woods of Bothell. Mom was a teacher, and dad a drummer-turned-accountant who sat his son down at his old kit at the age of 10. It was there that Father DeLong's love for prog and the younger's solo forays into the punk-addled Tooth & Nail catalog began. In his free time DeLong would dream up sci-fi scenarios and act them out by himself. He'd bring that same creativity to computing at 11, when he taught himself Qbasic programming so he could make his own text-based games. He played drums in pop-punk bands in high school, and experimented with 3D animation too, but it wasn't until DeLong relocated to Southern California that he truly combined his passions for music and technology into a heaving, highly effective whole.
He'd come to L.A. to study music at Azusa Pacific University, joined a chamber-rock sextet called the Denouement, and developed not only a vigorous skepticism for his religious roots but a hunger for new idioms. DeLong was working on a set of indie-pop songs when he was dragged to a rave by his girlfriend. Those rhythms sparked a flame that would become—after a feverish spate of all-hours garage-studio thrashing—2013's Just Movement, his first LP. His love for the earnest likes of Death Cab for Cutie merged with his newfound appreciation for body music, and the result was something else entirely. DeLong quickly earned more attention still for his live sets, which found him lording over a battle-station of keys, drums, pads, pedals, joysticks, and game controllers (I.E. Wii). His intensely high-energy shows were what got him signed to Glassnote in the first place, and now they carry his music (and DeLong with it) around the globe.
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