Over the weekend it was announced that Justin Timberlake will be the Super Bowl’s half time act. Yawn. It should’ve been John Maus. Just look at the synth-pop brooder’s just-released video for “Touchdown,” the new single off his album Screen Memories, out this Friday. In the lo-fi short, directed by Jennifer Juniper Stratford, Coach Maus tells himself to “go for the touchdown” in his usual Ian Curtis/Darth Vader drawl, making “touchdown” sound like a euphemism for an opium high. Seriously, watch the video; it’s like the health goth answer to “Are You Ready For Some Football?”
Screen Memories, Maus’s fourth album and his first in six years, made Vulture’s list of “48 New Albums to Listen to This Fall”; they called it “outsider synth pop at its weirdo best from a musician-academic with a theatrical baritone and an uncanny sense of melody.” The first single off the album to get a video was “The Combine,” below. I’m guessing the refrain “I see the combine coming” is a reference to the grim reaper writ large; Maus’s trademark blend of Medieval chords and ’80s synth sure makes it seem like it.
“Teenage Witch,” the video for which was released earlier this month and shows Maus as a teenager, is a Halloween-appropriate number that doubles as a goth anti-anthem.
You won’t be surprised to hear that Maus recorded the album at home in oft-gloomy Minnesota, but he’s getting some air and going on tour. On Feb. 14 he’ll play Elsewhere, the East Williamsburg venue from team Glasslands that opens on Halloween. Tickets for the Maus show go on sale Oct. 27 at 10am.
In addition to the new album, which will be available in limited-edition colored vinyl, Maus is set to release a career-spanning box set that also includes new material. It’s out in April, but pre-orders are already sold out.