by Augie Voss
“You will leave this earth for a while.”
This promise can be found on the websites of nearly every theater and music hall to be visited by indie “dream pop” sensation Gus Dapperton on his upcoming Polly People tour.
Born in Warwick, New York in 1997, Brendan Rice began writing music in his teens – and is largely self-taught. After a brief stint at Drexel University reinforced his propensity for individualistic learning, he returned home, where he continued to develop the Gus Dapperton persona. His music is dreamy, ethereal, and raw; Dapperton often eschews the growing popularity of electronic production by sticking mostly to analog instruments. If a song sounds too clean or sterile he’ll filter it through a radio, and the resulting feel is reminiscent of the 80s and 90s.
His 2016 releases “Ditch” and “Moodna, Once With Grace” remain among his most-streamed songs on Spotify, but Dapperton’s 2017 single “I’m Just Snacking” and its accompanying off-beat mini-movie boasted an appearance in Vogue and propelled him into the spotlight. Since then, Dapperton has released three EPs, a number of singles, and – in April of 2019 – his full-length debut album, “Where Polly People Go To Read.”
Gus Dapperton has mastered the creation of a holistic, unique, and addicting identity. Going beyond music, his style consists largely of thrifted blouses and 70s flood pants complemented by an extensive collection of footwear – ranging from Air Force 1s to Capezio dance shoes – and an impeccable bowlcut. His eclectic wardrobe, colorful makeup, and ever-changing hairstyles, all reminiscent of self-professed style icon David Bowie, stand out in his videos and make for an audiovisual experience most artists can only dream of.
A lively pairing with his crooning vocals and bouncy synth grooves, Dapperton’s passion for film and visuals has led to the creation of numerous music videos that can only be described as works of art. Collectively boasting tens of millions of views, his videos feature seafaring adventures, dancing donuts, plentiful bowl cuts, and a brief venture into Hollywood – all amid larger themes of love and relationships.
The video for “Coax and Botany,” off of his most recent album, sees an alien-like Dapperton crash-landing in a wooded clearing before venturing into a nearby home. Framed by moody tones and shadows galore, space-Dapperton seems to be fascinated by his earthly surroundings and his own pulsing, luminescent body. The song, which explores the idea of being coaxed into a relationship before becoming aware of its complexity (and potential toxicity), is simultaneously its own experience and an integral part of “Where Polly People Go To Read” – which, in chronological order, reflects the love and heartbreak encountered during its one-year-long inception.
“Where Polly People Go To Read” has been praised by Pitchfork, Ones to Watch, High Snobiety, and more – but don’t take their word for it! Catch Gus Dapperton this Sunday, October 6th, at the Bluebird Theater in Denver – and check back next week for our review of the show.