Dignified Patriot: Lo-Fi Legend (Sandy) Alex G Goes With His Gut

Tonje Thilesen

For many, (Sandy) Alex G is a beloved bedroom rock superstar, who’s just released his eighth“studio” album to warm acclaim. To some members of right wing and conservative Facebook pages, he is also known as a college-age Beto O’Rouke, who’s just peed his jeans – he was misidentified as such in a photo posted to a Facebook group titled “Dignified Patriot.” 

To clarify, Alex had only spilled a beer onto himself. The last person I’d ever expect to be in the media, let alone for something political, this hiccup seems to be the most visible he’s ever been in the press. 

Because of his muted online presence, besides the Bandcamp where he grew his reputation, many regard Alex, and his music, like a secret. His sound is dreamy, distinct and sometimes bizarre. His slow and still-shielded presence grew softly – you had to know the right people or read the right blogs to come across his music. When I first began to see Alex G’s music pop up on blogs I followed as a teenager, the idiosyncrasy of his music felt largely ahead of its time and yet simple, not unlike the late icon Daniel Johnston.

There’s the charm of being known but still unknown…

When asked if he ever missed his days of being unsigned, he says, “there’s the charm of being known but still unknown. I can put out this music without having pictures of myself. I enjoy talking to you, but it can take away from the music sometimes,” he assures me. 

His new album, House of Sugar, is darling and gossamer. What I find enchants his admirers is his ability to remain largely consistent throughout each album, and his effortless yet artful approach is the key to maintaining this quality. “I was thinking about everything I normally think about,” he tells me over the phone. This album, much like the rest, is a hum of gauzy and intimate sounds. His girlfriend, Molly Germer, plays violin throughout the album. “The only tricky part is because I’m so comfortable with her, I’ll be more direct about what I’m thinking.”

When I asked if any visuals inspired his music, he refers to Alex Garland’s Annihilation (2018). “It does a really good job of mixing really beautiful visuals with really grotesque visuals. I like that a lot.” House of Sugar, with its bitter inflections, is another masterful invitation into his friendly surreality. 

Between the conservative bathroom-humour blunder and his uncomplicated technique to writing and recording, it seems like these things really do write themselves. He has few contemporaries or artists that could easily fit a touring bill based on sound alone. “Music is 100% instinct. I don’t know any technical theory about music or anything, I have to refer to my gut.”