Music Reviews

Discussing the Sun’s FEEL IT ALL Has Too Many Striking Moments For One Review


Genre: Emo

Favorite Tracks: “It’s Just Like Bleeding,” “Protectors of Protectors of Pr-,” “Vessels of God”

If you spend too many hours scrolling for context on callout posts and notes app apologies, it’s easy to forget the freeing potential of internet-born DIY culture. In spite of all the ways it can go wrong, there’s still something magical in building virtual spaces where you can say the things you just couldn’t in real life. I think about that when I hear “Still Frame”—the centerpiece of FEEL IT ALL, the debut album by dark pop duo Discussing the Sun. “I hate every single second when I’m back home,” sings Mars Rodriguez, autotuned to the point of distortion, over arpeggiated synths and crunchy drums produced by Nelson Brodhead. “I hate everyone I love just a little.”

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Think of it as The Postal Service for the age of the Discord vent channel. Chicago-based Rodriguez (of Holy Kerouac) and Cleveland-based Brodhead (aka (leave) nelson b) met via their shared label Lonely Ghost Records, striking up a friendship and long-distance collaboration manifested itself in the ragged expressionism and dance beats of FEEL IT ALL–a record that doesn’t fit neatly into emo on the one side or trip-hop on the other, but somehow makes perfect sense as the culmination of each artist’s respective work. (Also, if you let the album run through to the end on a streaming service, the algorithm might follow it up with Charli XCX, or Unknown Mortal Orchestra remixing Soccer Mommy, which aren’t bad points of reference.)

As the songs on FEEL IT ALL trace the process of grief, the chilly, exposed feeling of Brodhead’s beatcraft brings out the turbulent emotion of Rodriguez’ toplines, and vice-versa. On opener “Shades,” a trademark nelson b tambourine rhythm pierces the mix with hungover, head-aching harshness as Rodriguez deals with post-traumatic stress in a post-acid haze. On “It’s Just Like Bleeding,” an almost-too-delicate piano melody drops its final note off-key with the music, but exactly in tune with the vulnerability of Rodriguez’ lyrics about struggling to feel secure: “I come apart, and it’s not ‘cause you don’t love me/it’s just hard to feel worthy/to feel enough, to know safety.”

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I could go on listing best Discussing the Sun moments (for example, the synths and guitars on “Protectors of Protectors of Pr” just slap) and there’s a whole other review worth writing about Brodhead’s growth as a producer (over the course of three major projects and assorted remix EPs for artists like GET TUFF and Oux). More than any one element, though, FEEL IT ALL triumphs in the safe space for emotional honesty its creators build together. By the end, on “Hold the Space,” Rodriguez sounds relieved to have made it from denial all the way to acceptance, calling back to “Shades” with the benefit of hindsight and catharsis: “Alright, I’m done with running, in all my fear/I’d rather be present and FEEL IT ALL.”

Taylor Ruckle
Hailing from Northern Virginia, Taylor Ruckle is a first-gen prototype for a machine that converts MTN DEW Kickstart into music writing at a sometimes-alarming rate. Stubbornly committed to spicy foods, black coffee, From Software games, and albums that will make you confiscate the aux cable. We’ve been made aware of the issue and we’re working on it for the Mk II.

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