The Intelligence: Still geniuses after all these beers.
The Intelligence: Still geniuses after all these beers. In the Red Records

It’s been three years since Seattle/Los Angeles band the Intelligence released their last whip-smart garage-rock album, Everybody's Got It Easy But Me, and the world only has gotten grimmer and Trump-ier in the interim. Which means we need new music from Lars Finberg and company more than ever. Enter Vintage Future, the ninth full-length from the 2011 Stranger music Genius band. In the Red Records will release it September 25. Yesterday Brooklyn Vegan premiered the title track, which you can hear here. Featuring ex-Thee Oh Sees singer/keyboardist Brigid Dawson on backing vocals, “Vintage Future” starts with a retro-futurist alien vibe—perhaps what minimal techno would sound like to someone in 1961—before it springs into vibrant life via a warped, slowed, skank-rhythm guitar as Finberg darkly speculates about that aforementioned vintage future. (Spoiler alert: It’s kind of a bummer.)

Some choice lines:

All that I want is a vintage future/Where people get gutted and refuse the suture/All that I want is a vintage future/Where everything’s neu-neu-neu-neutered/All that I want is a vintage future/Where the world just wiggles and it keeps getting looser

Four-fifths of the way through the song, there’s a quote from John Barry’s immortal “Midnight Cowboy Theme” "You Only Live Twice" that adds another luscious layer of poignancy before it saunters to the run-off groove with that same eerie minimal-techno motif and a robot lamenting, “But I was just learning how to loooooove.” The song’s a beautiful summary of Finberg’s mordant worldview and hints at higher production values for the Intelligence.

I conducted an email interview with Finberg to find out what makes Vintage Future the best Intelligence album ever. "Some of our records are more of a toothbrush poking out your eye, but this time the band really whittled down the handle into a stabby, shanky point," he says. "I left a lot of things open for the band to help fix and they contributed a lot of my favorite ideas rather than have everything mapped out in demos. Basically, I didn't study: If we flunk we're going to flunk as a family."

And who is that family this time? (The Intelligence notoriously change personnel at an alarming rate.) Dave Hernandez (guitar), Drew Church (bass), and Pete Capponi and Chris Woodhouse (drums). There are also cameos by Thee Oh Sees' Dawson and Petey Dammit, Sic Alps' Mike Donovan, Wounded Lion's Brad Eberhard, and Mallard's K. Dylan Edrich on violin/viola/cello.

So, has LA adjusted to your presence yet, Lars? "You mean did it triple the rent to permanently Airbnb our house? Yes, it did. Heading to Bakersfield..."

The Intelligence - Vintage Future tracklist:
#1 Sex
#2 Nocturnal Admissions
#3 Cleaning Lady
#4 Whip My Valet
#5 We Refuse to Pay the Dues
#6 Platinum Janitor
#7 Tourists
#8 Dieu Merci Pour La Fixation De La Machine A Coudre
#9 Romans
#10 Vintage Future