100 Gecs Is Your New Favorite Band
The band that answers the question: what if you put the 2010's in a blender and then made music out of the whole thing?
1000 Gecs, the debut record from Chicago’s Laura Les and Los Angeles’ Dylan Brady’s 100 Gecs project, is bad. Not bad in that it’s uninspired, boring, or devoid of substance. It’s bad in that it is an absolutely outrageous 23 minute whippet-high of a record that sounds ridiculous and borderline unlistenable. There is no roadmap or sensibility involved in these ten songs, instead, it’s all pure hedonism. 1000 Gecs is a pleasure-obsessed record that borrows from literally every culture movement born out of the 2010s. It is a zeitgeist-defining object that in taking from everything, sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before. It is first and foremost the direct product of coming of age at the beginning of the 2010's and watching the world around you jolt into crystalline focus.
The 2010's were weird because things online were starting to accelerate in ways that they never had before. Largely text-based Livejournal melted into the immersive visual platform that was Tumblr at the height of its powers. Social media transformed from status updates on Facebook, to blink and you’ll miss it Vines that featured run of the mill teenage maleficence rejiggered into synapse burning ultra-short-form videos. This is the territory that serves as the flashpoint birth of 100 Gecs. Life sped up in the ten years that just passed. '90s babies started to fuck and learned how to use ProTools and Logic. The Scandinavian tech bros of Spotify started to chip away at the way we listen to music; transforming it into something that for most is simply padded background noise. In the process our attention spans shrunk and rotted like a piece of fruit left out on mom and dad’s kitchen counter.
1000 Gecs highlight “Stupid Horse,” gets at this notion of shrinking attention spans and the Internet’s hand in how listening has changed. “Stupid Horse,” is a manic rush of energy that is about betting on horses at “the derby.” Arguably the catchiest song and most clear-cut banger on the record, it’s about a dude who punches a jockey because the horse did not win big. The song is a terrible chopped up miasma of pop punk hooks and sugared pitch-shifts that skyrocket Les’ vocals to a Tasmanian Devil-esque computerized soprano. An insane Glam rock guitar riff jackhammers its way through everything at the song’s midpoint, only to slow down and somehow finish off as a ska track. Hearing this song feels the same as coming home after drinking 7 bottles of blue flavored Smirnoff Ice, then binging on TikTok videos until you fall asleep on the couch. Like everything the convergence of Internet based subcultures has lead up to thus far, It is a deeply Gen Z feeling.
On “Money Machine,” which is probably a love song, the Gecs refer to the paramour in question as a “lil piss baby,” and someone with arms that are “so fucking cute/they look like lil cigarettes.” Here, the song flips through sparks of nu-metal, Warped Tour machismo, and Soundcloud nihilism like a game of Internet Solitaire. Most importantly, “Money Machine,” kind of sounds like the song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” by Skrillex, that Odyssean epic of excess and bass drops that felt like a revelation for anyone who was a teenager circa 2010, who then ended up interested in techno as “adults.” The song absolutely does not take itself seriously. It’s goofy for the sake of being goofy. In an era where so much of what we consume on the Internet has origins nefarious at best, the song feels disruptive. If streaming culture has attempted to turn everything into one commodifiable lull, the song’s erratic noisiness is in direct opposition.
100 Gecs has become hugely popular in an incredibly short period of time. The duo sold out a show in New York at the end of 2019, and a friend told me that remaining tickets on Stubhub were going for over $100. On an episode of Jon Caramanica’s Popcast, the New York Times critic recalls seeing the duo play a student show at NYU. “It was rowdy,” he says, “These kids was wilding, this was in a rec room at the Kimmel Center...allegedly the tiles on the ceiling underneath the floor started falling off.” The reason for this band’s success feels pretty clearcut; in deliberately not trying to make sense, 100 Gecs makes so much sense. Their music emulates all of the urgency this current generation have come to know so well. The band is a culmination of our shortened attention spans. It captures the resentment young people have towards capitalism, for among other things, making music more readymade and less punk. 100 Gecs is everything this current iteration of counterculture has been striving towards thus far. 100 Gecs sucks. 100 Gecs is your favorite band.