By Nathan Smith
If The Beach Boys wrote “In My Room” today, it’d be about a lonely boy with his laptop. These days, it only takes some software and a few sheets hung in your bathroom to make a high-quality song. Our collective cloud of sounds waits to burst with sonic rain from legions of shy guys and kid sisters seeing what cool stuff they can make in Audacity. But only so many Macbook magicians reach greatness. For every XXYYXX, there’s a dozen kids just discovering paulstretch; for every Grimes, there’s a gaggle of yung’uns who only know the Garageband presets. While I have no idea if the 19-year old Las Vegas musician Shamir actually got started secluded in his bedroom, it’s hard not to assume that, in this day and age, any young electronic musician did any differently. But unlike so many others, Shamir already seems to know what he’s doing, and he’s arrived with a sound all his own . It’s a little like LCD Soundsystem, but with a greater focus on straight-up love. I could hear his music over a “riding-the-bus-in-a-big-city” montage, but it doesn’t fade into the background or forsake your attention. I’d like to think that if James Murphy had his way, this would be the music he’d program subway tolls to play. On tracks like “If It Wasn’t True,” Shamir demonstrates enormous talent for creating a tight, catchy, and irresistible melody. He knows exactly where his talents lie. The song buzzes and loops with bits of house, R&B, and even some of Reggie Watts’ more serious flair, but it captures, energy-wise, something so fresh that I feel a little guilty assigning the song any genre. “If It Wasn’t True” is “dance music” in the best sense, infectious and untamed but buttoned-up just enough for where it counts. It always makes me incredibly excited when someone my age can make music like this. There are a million talented young musicians out there on the internet, but only a select few come prepared. Shamir is one of those few.
Shamir’s debut, the Northtown EP, is available now via GODMODE.