At the end of 2021, Los Angeles-based Liily released one of the year’s great post-punk albums in TV or Not TV. It was ferocious (“I Am Who I Think You Think I Am”), electrifying (“Odds Are It’s Blue”), piercing (“Early Bopper”), and even solemnly melancholic (“Anvil”). All this came from the minds of four then 22-year olds who sounded like a band with twenty years of experience.
What makes an album great, however, is not just the reaction it elicits on first listening. How it ages and the impact it has weeks, months, and years later are equally important. As such, while TV or Not TV was overlooked by many, it could be an album that is revisited a decade from now and considered Liily’s defining moment. It also may be considered a genre-defining effort. One song that displays the LP’s – and by extension Liily’s – staying power is “Man Listening to Disc”, and we have the privilege to premiere the video.
The song is reminiscent of the unrelenting fire and combustible energy of an in-their-prime Rage Against the Machine. It is all the aforementioned adjectives used above with the exception of solemnly melancholic, unless one considers reverb-drenched guitars, pummeling rhythms, and harsh vocals melancholic. What makes this video impressive, however, is that the quartet recorded it live and unplugged. There aren’t any special bells or whistles – just the raw power and catharsis of Maxx Morando (drums), Sam De La Torre (guitar), Charlie Anastasis (bass), and Dylan Nash (lead vocals). As De La Torre shares:
“If we do a performance video, we’re not going to do it with our instruments unplugged again. The idea revolves around being honest by showing microphones, tripods, photographers, stills, and camera operators. If we would have recorded the album ‘TV or Not TV’ on our own, this is representing what that would’ve been like.”
The video is below as is the studio recording for comparison. Maybe the band doesn’t need a studio to record music that blows one’s mind.
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