Staff pick: Mac DeMarco makes pretty music at odds with his sleazy public persona

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From the July 17, 2014 edition

In public, Mac DeMarco is often content to play the amiable sleazeball, labeling his musical style “jizz jazz,” busting out (sometimes offensive) jokes steeped in middle school toilet humor and generally dressing and acting like a dirtbag ready to post up at a seedy neighborhood strip joint for the afternoon.

On record, however, the Canadian singer-songwriter tends toward low-key, unassuming tunes that owe a heavy debt to songsmiths like Ray Davies. The title track off his latest, Salad Days, for one, comes on like a ragged demo for The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. Fans and critics are taking notice, too. Most recently, DeMarco was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, an award that honors the best album of the year from a Canadian artist, appearing alongside the likes of Arcade Fire, Drake and Jessy Lanza.

Photo courtesy of Mac DeMarco