Posts Tagged ‘Ian Sweet’

“This is the first record that I leave that space for myself,” Jilian explained. “I feel a freedom on this one that I haven’t felt with the others. People always say ‘I put all of me into this,’ but I actually didn’t this time I left space.” With the album announcement comes new single “Drink the Lake.” She says that the track “taps into [her] own twisted logic to try and break away from obsessive thought patterns…it turned into a pop anthem of seemingly silly ways to try and forget someone, like saying their name backwards, but I feel these devices contributed to my healing.”

Jilian Medford will release Show Me How You Disappear, her third album as IAN SWEET, on March 5th via Polyvinyl. New single “Drink the Lake” “”taps into my own twisted logic to try and break away from obsessive thought patterns…it turned into a pop anthem of seemingly silly ways to try and forget someone, like saying their name backwards, but I feel these devices contributed to my healing.”

“Drink The Lake” is taken from IAN SWEET’s new album, Show Me How You Disappear, out March 5th, 2021.

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Reciting mantras is a form of teaching — leaning into the repetition, retraining your brain, learning new realities. For Jilian Medford, it was a way to fight through her anxieties. And here, on “Show Me How You Disappear”, through a haze of tangled, inverted pop, her new truths push their way to the surface.

Mesmeric and kaleidoscopic, shimmering with electrified unease, Show Me How You Disappear is both an exercise in self-forgiveness and an eventual understanding of unresolved trauma. Medford’s third record as IAN SWEET unfolds at an acute juncture in her life, charting from a mental health crisis to an intensive healing process and what comes after. How do you control the thoughts that control you? What does it mean to get better? What does it mean to have a relationship with yourself?

The inklings for the record began slowly. In 2018, Medford wrote “Dumb Driver” on an acoustic guitar while living in a “hobbit hole” back house in Los Angeles. Skeletal, stripped-back versions of the undulating, amorphous “My Favorite Cloud” and “Power” emerged next. Mentally she was in a dark place. By January 2020, following increasingly severe panic attacks, Medford began a two-month intensive outpatient program, including six-hour days of therapy. It yielded an unprecedented level of self-reflection for Medford, who already plumbs the depths of her emotions for her song writing. She took a step back from music to completely immerse herself in the program, and once she felt ready to move on at the end of February, the rest of the songs poured out of her.

Recorded with Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Empress Of), Andy Seltzer (Maggie Rogers), and Daniel Fox, among others, Medford approached this album as a curator. She handpicked the producers that fit each song, which explains the range and experimentation showcased. Medford then recruited Chris Coady to mix and tie everything together into one cohesive piece.

The resulting record envelops both Medford and the listener like water: its ebb and flow, the ease with which it can switch from nourishing to endangering you. Fully immersive, with guitar lines as quick to sound grungy as they are to ascend to astral distortion, it’s a lush cacophony of experimentation. While writing the record, Medford revisited the discography of her forever favourite band, Coldplay and noted inspiration from Young Thug’s bizarre and magical vocal delivery. With these influences and many more, Medford’s pop melodies are inverted by the freak world she builds around them.


The cyclical nature of obsessive thought patterns shapes Show Me How You Disappear. It’s self-referential, each song in conversation with one another, tracing the same relationship and the desire to be an escape artist from your own life. But there’s also the repetition Medford learned to help herself via Emotional Freedom Technique tapping, which involves tapping pressure points on the body and repeating mantras to curb anxiety.

“Since I learned that method in therapy, it has saved my life and seeped into my music,” she says. “Song writing has always been a tool for me to process my emotions. But this technique has allowed me to apply more intention to that practice.”

For her, the refrain of “Get Better” hits that hardest, a sort of emotional thesis of the album. She explains, “This song came from being stuck in an infinite loop of destructive thoughts and the only way to get out of my head was to repeat my goal over and over. By saying ‘I want to get better, better, better’ out loud, I started to feel something.”

Show Me How You Disappear also offered a certain liberation to Medford. As personal as it is — like preceding albums Shapeshifter and Crush Crusher — here, post-therapy, Medford was able to approach her song writing in a new way. She learned how to distance herself from the immediacy of her work, to put space between her personal identity and her art. There was less concern about fitting every piece of her story into the lyrics. Instead, this time, she held back. “I think there’s something to be said for leaving things out,” Medford says. “This is the first record that I leave that space for myself. I feel a freedom on this one that I haven’t felt with the others. People always say ‘I put all of me into this’, but I actually didn’t this time — I left space.”

Dizzying and enthralling, Show Me How You Disappear is the sound of someone coming apart and putting themselves back together  the moment an old mantra, repeated into the mirror time and time again, finally clicks. To look at your reflection, and finally feel seen. 

Releases March 5th, 2021

Over the last several months, Jilian Medford’s Ian Sweet project has released a couple new songs. The first, back in May, was “Sword”, which was then followed in August by “Dumb Driver”.” The latter accompanied news that Ian Sweet had signed to Polyvinyl, and presumably a full-length project would be on the horizon sooner than later. While today might not bring clarity about a new Ian Sweet album, it does bring us a new Ian Sweet song called “Power”. It’s her second single release for Polyvinyl. In August Polyvinyl announced her signing and she shared her first single for the label.  

‘Power’ is a manifestation of strength,” Medford said in a statement. “Something I was looking up and looking towards. I wrote this song to try to get closer to trusting the magnitude of myself as a solitary being.” Musically, “Power” is gentler than its title might suggest, with Medford singing over hazy acoustic verses. But for each chorus, a wave of distortion rises up beneath her — making its finale hit all the harder. Medford released her sophomore LP, “Crush Crusher”, in 2018. She is at work on her third LP.


Released October 6th, 2020

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As of this week, Ian Sweet, the project of Jilian Medford has found a new label. “Welcome to the family, Ian Sweet,” tweeted Polyvinyl. And the only way to properly celebrate is with a new song,

In the song, Medford knows her relationship isn’t good for her. “I’m a dumb driver/when I’m in love/I run all the red lights,” she sings over mid-tempo drums and regretful synths. Eventually the music swells as she admits her folly: “I want to stop, I want to,” she sings, engaging the full band for a mini-breakdown.

“‘Dumb Driver’ is an examination and grieving of, both during and after, a broken relationship,” Medford says in a press release. “It describes the toxic cycle of being so overtaken by your love for someone that you put yourself in harm’s way for it—like a car crash you can’t look away from. On ‘Dumb Driver’ I am pleading with myself to stop the car, pull over, and get out of the situation before the damage is irreversible.”

“After pulling myself from some massive wreckage, I want to throw a party and sing about it,” she says


Along with “Dumb Driver,” Medford releases the disco-esque track “Sword” this summer.

released August 20th, 2020

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Ian Sweet has been the source of and solution to many of Jilian Medford’s deepest anxieties. But now, two years after her soul-bearing debut LP Shapeshifter, Medford is confronting that reality with surprising optimism on her new full-length Crush Crusher. After relocating to Los Angeles, Medford has decided to make the project a solo endeavor once again (as it had been in her salad days in the Boston DIY scene) and took the opportunity to compose some of her most self reflective and emotionally analytical songs to date.

In writing Crush Crusher, Medford committed herself to exploring her own issues with self-image, self-respect/worth, and the responsibility she has felt to others. Album opener “Hiding” was one of the first songs she wrote for the record while living in a frigid Brooklyn apartment during a winter break amidst her grueling tour schedule. In the song, Medford reflects on an interpersonal relationship that fell apart because of an inability to feel supreme comfort in sharing all the pieces of herself with someone. Nevertheless, a hopeful demeanor shines through on “Hiding” and in her writing across the album, with lyrics that embrace life’s hurdles and make them feel a little less scary.

Much of Crush Crusher’s songs deal with Medford’s internalized pressure to become a caretaker in many of her close friends’ lives. As a defense mechanism for her own insecurities, Medford projects a sense of invincibility and benevolence to feel more deserving of the love received from others; we hear this on “Holographic Jesus” when she repeats the phrase “the sun built me to shade everybody,” characterizing the sacrifice and responsibility she feels in ways that could easily go unnoticed. “Holographic Jesus” ultimately represents a façade of strength that Medford has clung onto and, in true Taurus fashion, is stubborn to let go of.

Musically, Crush Crusheris full of dissonant open chords and abnormal progressions, finding beauty in a level of conflict not seen on Shapeshifter. To help achieve this expansive-but-focused sound, Medford enlisted the help of someone who was just as ambitiously experimental in their approach, producer and engineer Gabe Wax (Deerhunter, The War on Drugs, Soccer Mommy). Medford and Wax set up shop at Rare Book Room studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and completed the basic tracking with musicians Simon Hanes on bass and Max Almario on drums. “Coming into a space where some of my biggest inspirations like Bjork, Dirty Projectors, and Deerhunter had all once also recorded, I felt determined to push myself and test every boundary that I may have subconsciously created along the way. Gabe made me feel comfortable with attempting anything,” Medford says. By the end of the recording process, Ian Sweet wound up with an unconventional assortment of songs featuring disparate elements of psych-rock, trip-hop, and shoegaze that together forged a sound uniquely her own.

Crush Crusher’s closing track “Your Arms Are Water” serves as a thematic reprise for the whole album, telling the story of an inspiring relationship in Medford’s life that was drowning in doubt. The song’s nuanced perspective captures the record’s thesis—that to escape your misery sometimes requires accepting your imperfections. Such compassionate and densely-realized observations make Crush Crusher more nourishing food for thought for fans of Ian Sweet.

Trip out to the digital dimensions of “Holographic Jesus” from Ian Sweet’s 2018 album Crush Crusher.

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In writing Crush Crusher, Ian Sweet’s Jilian Medford committed herself to exploring her own issues with self-image, self-respect/worth, and the responsibility she has felt to others. Recorded at Rare Book Room studios with producer/engineer Gabe Wax (Deerhunter, The War on Drugs, Soccer Mommy), Crush Crusher is full of dissonant open chords and abnormal progressions, finding beauty in a level of conflict not seen on the trio’s 2016 Shapeshifter. By the end of the recording process, Ian Sweet wound up with an unconventional assortment of songs featuring disparate elements of psych-rock, trip-hop, and shoegaze that together forged a sound uniquely Medford’s own. “Spit” is the second single from Ian Sweet’s 2018 album Crush Crusher.


Winter is finally here, which means the aphrodisiac aromas of christmassy spiced latte, wet leaves, and Christmas decorations are also in full swell in the stores. In a parallel sensory universe, listeners are cozying up with dense-yet-palatable guitar-driven rock songs—and that’s where Ian Sweet comes in.

The project of LA-based songwriter Jilian Medford have just released its second collection of such wooly rock songs, “Crush Crusher” and while Medford’s singing voice sometimes gets swallowed by her shred-woven Autumn sweater, the record’s audible lyrics tend to swirl around the topic of romantic interests. Neither a rueful breakup album nor a sappy meet-cute, Crusher is an intricate look at relationships in the past, present, and future tenses, channeling vague existentialism (“I never believed in dying / Until I met you”), gross-out poetry (“You’ll go, and I’ll get swallowed / By someone else’s spit”), and literal recollection (“Did I ever ask what you thought / About that day we fucked in the parking lot?”) under Medford’s pristine, bleacher-reaching guitar.

“Spit” is the second single from IAN SWEET’s 2018 album Crush Crusher.

Believe it or not, though, Ian Sweet isn’t the first artist to write songs about crushes.


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Ian Sweet, the recording project of Jilian Medford, has announced a new album titled Crush Crusher, with a video for its lead single “Hiding.”

Of the song, Medford says “Hiding is a song I wrote for myself to be reminded to never get consumed with anything to the point of forgetting about my own needs. This song is a projection of a sanctuary in which I feel safe and strong in my own desires. It is something I long for, to be confident in the things that make me, me. The song opens with convincing myself that it is ok to hide/shy away from situations when really I should never have to convince myself of anything other than what, just…feels good. This is my admittance to losing and forgetting something to someone else, but demanding to take it back.”

Crush Crusher is due to be released October 26th on all formats.

Additionally, Ian Sweet has announced a Fall tour with Young Jesus that includes dates with Sean Henry.

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Brooklyn’s Ian Sweet have a new video for “Slime Time Live” which is off last year’s Shapeshifer . Director Ryan Baxley takes the song’s title literally, evoking shades of Eraserhead‘s classic dinner scene, though the shade here is slime-green. Singer Jillian Medford tells us a little more about the video:

I have always dreamed about getting slimed/pied in the face…this video is an example that dreams really do come true…just maybe not quite as you’d expect.
Ryan Baxley (director), Danny Noguieras and Brandon Schwartzel created props out of unlikely materials for the Double Dare/pie in the face dream scene. That was personal my favorite scene. We did at least 10 pies to the face.

The video portrays a dream I had and how it abruptly becomes a deep, dark, twisted reality. My actual mom plays the super freaky role of my “evil” mom trying to poison me with slime! She actually committed to her character so much that she ate the slime! We were all shocked! Shit tastes nasty. The last shot we did was me going under in a bathtub full of slime. As soon as I went under I felt stripped of my senses, like I was in a sensory deprivation chamber because of how thick and dark the slime was. I still have freaky daydreams about it. But I highly recommend getting slimed at least once in your life.

The “Slime Time Live” video below,


With the addition of drummer Tim Cheney and bassist Damien Scalise, Jilian Medford’s solo project Ian has evolved into the full band Ian Sweet. But it’s still Medford’s bruised, beating heart that lies at the center of Shapeshifters  twitchy tangles of guitar-rock, and it’s her voice we hear cracking into a strained yelp time again and again. Shapeshifter is a brutal album, an album about anxiety and self-destruction and giving yourself up for someone who only makes you feel more alone. But it’s also a hopeful album about going through the wringer and coming out on the other side with a smile.