Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Album: Like Dying Stars, We’re Reaching Out, out February 17th via Run For Cover Records
RIYL: Cat Got Your Tongue. Mundane Eerieness. Self-Discovery.
If this column hasn’t made my love of Lynchian “something minor is amiss here” art obvious, let me restate it: give me all the media possible that is one degree off normal. Now, at first, Runnner doesn’t seem to fit that bill. Noah Weinman’s bedroom pop project feels like a timestamp from 2011, with its beautiful blend of indie pop, R&B, electronic, and folk. No two songs sound alike, though Like Dying Stars… is a wonderfully cohesive listen because of that diversity and Weinman’s keen sense of melody. However, careful listens to literally every noise on here illuminate how “haunted” this record sounds. Vocal quirks come and go, parts seem to be coming from everywhere (this really is a 3-D listening experience), and harmonies feel like being possessed by a host of angelic voices.
That sense of disquieting comfort is central to not only my appreciation of the record but also to Weinman’s ethos and recording mantra:
“I’ve always wanted to make songs that feel homemade but in unexpected ways. I don’t have a lot of equipment, and I’m not a very good engineer [editorial: he’s humble and wrong here], but I’m very curious about sound. I’m also quite impatient, which is maybe less kind to myself with regards to what you call ‘spur-of-the-moment,’ so if I have a thought for a melody or a part or texture, I’ll be so eager to have it recorded in some way (like jotting an idea in a notepad) that I’ll use whatever I’ve got handy. On this album i tried to push that a bit more. There are plenty of parts recorded on the internal microphone of my laptop, some on my phone, and some on a little handheld cassette recorder. They all kind of change the sound in random and unexpected ways, and then I just try to follow those threads. On this record I was also making a concerted effort to embrace randomness – to record these things quickly and see how they turn out naturally and kind of letting those things out of my control determine my next steps.”
Thematically, the record works in this mundane eeriness that he conjures up so well musically. Tales of drugstore trips, video game glitches, and rice disasters become Lynch-ian dreamscapes when paired with excellent wordplay. What did you want to talk about with this record?
“I think the biggest thing I wanted to talk about with this record was how much trouble I was having talking about anything. In both my personal life and my career, I was feeling this pressure to perfectly articulate myself to everyone. There was so much i wanted to say on my album and to the people around me (or not around me) that I felt like I was choking on everything as soon as I tried to say it. The pandemic definitely deepened that frustration – without speaking in person all my words held such impossible weight. So I started focusing in on that feeling – how do you communicate what feels beyond communication or language? Obviously that’s a huge and pretty nebulous concept, so I tried to probe my memory for these moments when I would experience this feeling and ground these songs in the mundane moments.”