AURAL FIXATION: Lawrence Rothman

Tucson is like Phoenix’s less popular but naturally prettier, down-to-earth sister. When it comes to attracting national touring musicians, though, her allure is often all for naught. They’re just bands passing through, not suitors looking for love. I adore Tucson, but sometimes I’m embarrassed for her, especially when good artists decide to grace us with their presence and end up playing to a nearly empty room.

Sadly, this was the case when Lawrence Rothman stopped here on his way to support Little Dragon on tour. There was a crowd of no more than ten people, and I’m pretty sure half were club employees. Despite the poor turnout, Rothman did not disappoint.


Opening with his debut 7” single “Montauk Fling,” Rothman’s haunting baritone voice over the 808 beat made me immediately think Goth Rick Astley. I don’t know if he would appreciate this description, but I mean it in the most flattering way possible. Rothman’s sound is distinct though his influences—film scores, R&B, house music and the writings of Charles Bukowski—are evident. Each song has a mysterious, cinematic quality that, coupled with tortured lyrics, creates a disturbingly beautiful meld.

Weeks later, I still can’t stop listening to “Montauk Fling” and “#1 All Time Low.” If you’re ready for a breath of fresh air, check out Lawrence Rothman (and his bizarro videos, directed by award-winning David Bowie/Björk/Marilyn Manson favorite Floria Sigismondi). He’s an entrancing artist who defies expectations, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

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