Animal Feelings, Animal Thoughts

Rafter Roberts (Photo by Lizeth Santos)

Photo by Lizeth Santos.

Going to see Rafter live is a real treat. If you’re lucky enough to be in San Diego on April 17th you’ll get a chance to cap off Record Store Day by doing exactly that, with bonus sets from local rising artists Cuckoo Chaos, Lion Cut, and Smile Now Cry Later (aka the dancey, Banda-sampling music project of photographer Lizeth Santos, wife and frequent artistic collaborator of Rafter). Get ready to smile, laugh, dance, jump for joy, and just plain have fun, because this is exactly what virtually every act on this line-up fervently inspires.

In fact, this show is being specifically held in celebration of the release of Rafter’s new record, the bright and bubbly Animal Feelings. Completely unpretentious, his approach here and elsewhere is seemingly straight-forward at heart, but always playful and delightfully weird, unfailingly united by subtle overarching concepts and themes. Many of the tunes on his latest album — like the intimate, homemade mixtape-esque meanderings of Sex Death Cassette and the bedroom booty-bass of Sweaty Magic — reflect the accompanying title, delving into carnal desires, emotions, and thoughts through breezy, infectious, and often funk-leaning pop. Expect vocoded declarations of praise and respect, earnest encouragements, and lots of carpe diem-embracing love-jams. But I guess Rafter is just a stream-of-consciousness, honest-expression-of-intimate-joys-and-pains kinda guy. After all, not too long ago he cranked out two dozen or so free songs for the Asthmatic Kitty site in his ambitious “A Song a Week” column and according to his blog he’s already “nips deep in the next 3 albums”; this kind of primal mind mapping must come naturally.

A handful of those “Song a Week” tracks have been re-recorded for albums, including Animal Feelings stand-out “Paper”. Classic rhythms and chord progressions abound, Rafter exudes irresistible charm in this proclamation of annoyance at losing ideas and thoughts in the recesses of your brain: “You motherfuckers, you motherfuckers where did you go!?”. Luckily a solution is quickly realized in the song’s namesake and catchy chorus, “I need paper, I need paper / I need paper, yes I do / To keep my thoughts from goin’ away / To keep my thoughts from goin’ away”. These days, even when he’s bugged by something, Rafter Roberts prefers to express himself through lovable, dancey, hook-laden pop gems. It doesn’t really seem like the guy even has a choice; he’s a whirlwind of ideas, energy, and enthusiasm that knows better than to do anything but keep riding that wave to its unending conclusions.

Check out the details for the must-attend Animal Feelings record release show down below and the album’s cover art and full tracklist after the jump. You can also see a complete list of Rafter’s tour dates here.

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Download: Rafter – Paper
Buy: Pre-order Animal Feelings from Asthmatic Kitty Records. Stream the entire record at MBV.


Animal Feelings Record Release Party
Saturday, April 17th @ 9pm. $5.

Smile Now Cry Later
Lion Cut
Cuckoo Chaos

Color-your-own animal masks!
Dance contests with rad giveaways!
Photos by Lizeth Santos!

Tin Can Alehouse (21+)
1863 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101


Rafter - Animal Feelings

1. No Fucking Around
2. A Frame
3. Timeless Form, Formless Time
4. Fruit
5. Feels Good
6. Animal Feelings
7. Paper
8. Never Gonna Die
9. Only You
10. Love Makes You Happy (When It’s Not Making You Sad)
11. Beauty, Beauty