The Sweethearts

“This album, the Dream Big EP, was recorded a decade ago underneath a bunkbed in a crowded apartment we shared in Brooklyn. At the time, ​‘The Sweethearts’​ was just another anonymous moniker among many, intended as a pop-minded musical outlet between primary contributors myself Tyler Thacker, Zak Mering and Sam Mehran, featuring whatever friends happened to be passing through that day including but not limited to ​Morgan Whirledge, James Ferraro, Zak Davis, Aaron Frankle, Ian Drennan, Ariel Pink, Ryan Howe​ etc., there was nearly always someone sleeping on the living room couch. All of those projects from ​Greatest Hits, Happy Healthy Boyz, Raw Thrills, Gunk T.V. t​o​ OLR ​and beyond were recorded fast n loose on a minimum amount of low tech gear with zero budget, and it’s a mystery to me how we even afforded the intoxicants to make it through (the food was largely stolen). Like so many of the collaborations from those years, these songs and many more floated to the wayside as we each barreled through various other configurative projects, eventually retired to failing hard drives. But the specter of this specific catalogue always haunted me despite shifting primary focus to painting shortly thereafter. Two years ago in July, the world lost one of its most fearless creators, ​Sam Mehran​, and I lost one of my best friends who oozed melody as effortless as breath. In my bacchanal youth, I rarely collaborated with another whose infectious joy and multi instrumental prowess consistently resulted in such prolific recordings, videos, belly laughs and weird, weird conversations.

Sam’s passing left a chasm that was swiftly filled with anger at a culture seemingly incapable of accommodating his suspiciously extraterrestrial disposition. This winter, our world was compounded by a Covid-19 themed quarantine, and while I’ve grown accustomed to batting away all nostalgia/backwards thinking like my life depends on it (it often does), I, like you perhaps, found myself flanked by introspection. Instinctually I set out to rescue and reorganize the rotting project files from said failing hard drives, arguably the most tedious task in putting this collection of songs together. Sorting through the isolated tracks was nothing short of time travel, hearing the tiny room filled with laughter and cigarette smoke, competing for who could sing in the funnier voice or write the more ludicrous lyric. These songs are letter bombs to adolescence in the information age: reterritorializing the tropes of heteronormative psycho-sexuality proliferated throughout western pop music on top of self-deprecation, heartbreak, disappointment, indulgence, and loss of innocence. This style of work in the face of a musical landscape decaying into relentlessly meretricious content economy felt subversive at the time, but more importantly, was very fun to make. Flash forward to the present, things haven’t exactly improved, and our project to me feels as out of time as ever. At one point, I caught myself singing harmony to Zak and Sam on a song called ‘Tonight’s the Night’ and it was in that meeting place between the metaphysical and the spirit world, that I finally got to say goodbye to Sam.

I no longer have any skin in the music game, so the oppressive compulsion to take this set of songs to fruition came as a surprise to me, and I’m grateful. Making lyric videos for YouTube​ with mutual friends we had previously worked with like ​Alice Cohen​ and ​Chris Slater ​seemed a creative way to bypass avenues of modern distribution and celebrate that particular cultural orbit. Videos had always served as a good way to playfully engage shared bedroom fantasy with a world we could rarely afford (see ​20 Dollar Bill, Julie, Burnin’ thru the Night, Funky Dame, I Need My T.V., Silhouette…)​ . The joy it brought to recently share these songs with our friends, coupled by the artists who have generously lent their creative contribution to these videos has been reaffirming. That this effort was able to happen quickly at a time of crisis with zero budget reinforces to me the spirit that runs throughout these songs.

Thank you to all that contributed, influenced and supported the making of this collection, Domino Records, and the good folk at ​Taxi Gauche Records​ for taking on a boutique run of vinyl.

All proceeds from the sale of this album will be donated to ​MusiCares​, an organization that helped myself, Sam and many other artist friends receive ​assistance during times of financial or emotional hardship.”

Tyler Thacker, July 2020