Life can leave a mark. And there’s nothing to do, singer-songwriter Dylan Rodrigue suggests, except “Make It Better.”
Rodrigue’s new song is a crawling, aching rocker. The comi-tragic video — the work of directors Grant Bozigian and Jordan Bush, along with the artist and Matt Hall — is funny but disconcerting. Think of it as “Portrait of the Artist as a Target of Abuse.”
From off camera, two sets of hands all but maim Rodrigue as he sings the song, but it’s “contrasted by themes of childhood: teddy bears and birthday parties,” he says. “In a way I feel like it depicts a loss of innocence as one gets older and copes with the trials and tribulations of adult life. … The song itself is, more or less, about accepting these hardships and finding a way to ultimately rise above them. On the other hand, the song mentions the other extreme of when people deny all their issues and put on a fake smile until all that was bottled up inevitably explodes.”
“Make It Better” comes from Rodrigue’s forthcoming EP “Scrimp,” the latest from a singer-guitarist who was reared in a yoga-based community in Northern California, educated at CalArts (where he earned a degree in songwriting and avante-garde composition) and found inspiration in the work of artists such as the Beatles, Fugazi, the Pixies, Elliott Smith and Vic Chesnutt. He’s played in alt-country, hardcore, experimental rock and even vaudeville bands. There are some gems in his back catalog of stripped-down songs. What musical path might he take next? It could be fun to watch.
||| Watch: The video for “Make It Better”
||| Also: Stream the song here
||| Live: Dylan Rodrigue celebrates his EP release with a show Aug. 14 at Harvard & Stone, joined by Chief White Lightning and Sie Sie Benhoff. He also performs Aug. 23 at the Hi Hat along with Hawk Percival and Friends, Jessi Williams and Bones Muhroni. Tickets.