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Unscripted Moments: A Podcast About Propagandhi

Dec 13, 2023

Zack of Del Paxton joins me to discuss Del Paxton's history, their record "Auto Locator," and his love of Duplicate Keys Icaro, Note to Self, and Things I Like from Failed States.

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Buffalo’s Del Paxton recorded their second full length Auto Locator straight to tape over three cloudy days in a solar powered barn, somewhere in New York’s Finger Lakes. Named for the rewind mechanism on the reel to reel tape machine on which the band tracked the album, Auto Locator coils up the chemical trails of ribbon binding old places and head spaces to our consciousness. Static and hiss leach between analog track layers, blurring the normal and paranormal to remind us that no memory is totally separate from a fiction – just like no drum track is totally separate from bass.

Over Auto Locator’s ten songs, Del Paxton rip shit like a band entering their second decade of existence. On-the-nose opener “Freight Train Metaphor” throws listeners face first into the band’s first album since 2017, with a syncopated pulse and arpeggiating guitar foreshadowing a record replete with punkish, serpentine composition. “Up With a Twist,” the album’s lead track, deals in Del Paxton’s crashing punk vibrance, through which the band explores and laments the uninspired architecture of American sprawl.

Second single “Chart Reader”, whose origins trace back to a psychedelic dream inspired by Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music, sees the trio dabbling in emo Americana, even featuring a nod to John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Such unashamed references abound throughout Auto Locator, which takes further inspiration from bands like Mock Orange, Third Eye Blind, and Jimmy Eat World, all of whose influence is clear on “Palpitations” and third single “Spiritual Gymnastics.”

Del Paxton’s mix of nostalgic references aims to serve as their primary tool for exploring the contemporary, resulting in a post mortem of the American Empire. Whether intentional or otherwise, it’s an appropriate result for the Upstate NY trio, whose self-awareness feels like a main component of Auto Locator, a feature as crucial to the band as the eponymous tool they used to record their music.

text by Joe McGrath and William Osiecki