#14. DIIV – ‘Druun II’/’Like A Rolling Stone’

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

Hmm. Captured Tracks. That New York City label that’s full of moody shoegaze/dream pop Pitchfork magnets, and Mac DeMarco. One of the reasons that nobody really gives a shit about The Strokes anymore, which is totally fine with me. The Melbourne/Geelong garage scene of a few years ago already made the early ’00s revival look pretty goofy and insincere anyway.

You’ve heard of DIIV, but probably for the wrong reasons because frontman/bandleader Z. Cole Smith is something of a minor tabloid celebrity due to his relationship with Sky Ferreira. Moreover, he’s a skinny, angsty guitar player, with a somewhat storied history with drugs, who named his band after a Nirvana song (the band changed its name from Dive to DIIV out of respect for the Belgian industrial act of the same name back in 2012). So the Kurt Cobain comparisons are, unfortunately, everywhere. Ignore them.

DIIV are a different beast; the results are mixed in my opinion, moments of brilliance mixed with moments that sound like 10 other recent shoegaze bands. They’re at their best when they get away from the jangly stuff. Cole often speaks of his love of free jazz and Krautrock, the latter of which he has down to a tee on ‘Druun’ and ‘Druun II’. The former feels like a pretty slavish tribute to Neu!, but on the latter, they make it their own, as the video here shows, before segueing into a pretty improbable Bob Dylan cover. Despite the sacred ground they tread there, especially being a New York band, DIIV pull it off.


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