I go long stretches without running into Dougie Poole, a friend of a friend of a friend. A couple years ago I saw him a handful of times playing at Palisades alongside Jerry Paper and Tonstartssbandht. A few months later I ran into him at a bar, but he couldn't stay because he had to get back to leaf-littered Providence, where he went to school and resided on-and-off for long stretches ever since. His personal Facebook page is wonderfully erratic and will offer up shiny, amusing updates: on June 14th, "I ate 4 plums." But despite knowing him, I can't say I know him.
Isolation, and the fragmentary process of trying to learn someone, are motifs in Poole's music. "Loneliness is the big theme in everybody's life, I think," Poole, who currently lives in Brooklyn, writes over email to The FADER. "We feel and don’t feel lots of different types, but I think they all stem from the impossible-to-break habit we all have of perceiving ourselves as separate from other people. I feel like that particular thought trap is like this big obvious banana peel that everybody’s been pointing at and talking about for thousands of years, but I just keep slipping on it over and over again anyways."
The sparse, metallic drums that drive Dougie Poole's "Don't You Think I'm Funny Anymore?" anchor the song at an even keel, but it still takes weird detours. Choir-like harmonizing, a lilting guitar solo, and flowery synth crescendoes are made all the more surreal by Poole's ability to snap the song back to its skeleton every time. That strangeness is multiplied by the accompanying Rose Schlossberg-directed video: a green-screen skitters across a vast, empty expanse while five Poole clones, all dressed in a Dennis Graham-worthy maroon suit, play out the mournful little tune.
The song and clip are definitely country, but the aesthetic is explored from the perspective of an outsider. "I think loneliness can be just as silly as it is hopeless and painful, and country music has a really cool way of bringing out that weird connection between those feelings," Poole explains. "I’m trying to write songs that can express loneliness in that way that only country songs can, but for people who, like me, also feel totally alienated by the world of country music." Watch the video below, read an in-depth making-of interview here, and then download the single for free over at Poole's Bandcamp page.