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Diamond Jubilee by Cindy Lee: An Entrancing Night Drive Down a Dusty Southwest Highway

Album: Diamond Jubilee

Artist: Cindy Lee

Genre: Hypnagogic Pop, Psychedelic Pop,

Sub-Genres: Brill Building, Slacker Rock, Noise Pop, Doo-Wop

Label: Realistik Studios

Non-Airable Tracks: Demon B*tch


My Uncle texted me last week saying that I should check this new project from Canadian musician Patrick Flegel, (who I through their association with the group “Women”, a different great band) and that it was one of the best things he’d heard in a while. I took a look at the details around the album and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Not only was this album not on streaming services, you could only get it through a download link on the artists website, with a suggested donation of 30 dollars. On top of that, it was over 2 hours long, 32 tracks, and two separate discs! It was so daunting I didn’t even know where to begin. I found a link on youtube and started listening while working on some homework. And I slowly lost my focus, slipped out of my chair, and started to dance around the room, until I realized I had finished the whole first disc of the album. Despite the association with Women, this album broke so far from that group’s work that I can’t even believe they were made by the same person. In fact, they might not really be. I’ll avoid speculation, but Cindy Lee is seemingly the drag performer name for the artist behind this project, which I think is really awesome. While "Women" were known for their noisy post-punk, this album is almost on the other side of the continent. I sat down and grabbed the download file from the artist’s website, converting WAV into MP3, importing album art, saving it to my local files until I had it imported on my Spotify. I would do whatever it took to listen to the back half of this album. And listen I did. When I finished it, I started it again. It was dark outside now, and I started walking around campus for no particular reason. I walked back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth and back. I kept listening to the album. I loved the way it combined 60s doo-wop vocals with noisy guitars, hypnagogic/jangle pop, slacker rock, and sharp bursts of noise on some key tracks. I went to sleep that night as the last few tracks faded out in my headphones. I woke up the next day a little sick and decided to skip my morning Spanish class so I could lay on the couch and listen to the album (I have since returned to Spanish class, though I do wish I could listen to this project all day instead). I started talking about it to my friends, to anyone who had heard it, to anyone who would listen. It was such a dreamscape of an album, each track fading into the next until I just had to listen to it again. To this day, since learning about the album earlier this week, I’ve listened to it about 9 times. That’s around 18 hours of nothing but Diamond Jubilee. Maybe a little bit too much. Let’s talk about some key tracks on this album! I really like the title track, which serves as an awesome introduction to the album, as well as the group vocals on “All I Want Is You”, the thrumming beat behind “Flesh and Blood”, and the closer to the first side “Realistik Heaven”. And that was just the first CD! The haunting vocals on “Stone Faces”, the heart wrenching lyrics in “Government Cheque”, and my personal favorite moment on the album, the shrieked out guitar on the climax of “If You Hear Me Crying”. I played the entire first side of this album on my radio show last week, and likely will play the second half this week! (7pm AZ time, Tuesday on KAMP Student Radio) I highly recommend this album if you like 60s doo-wop group vocals, ambient steel guitar (a la: Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk”), and drag queens! I really highly recommend checking this album out, even if you can just throw the first few tracks on! It’s a stunning album, and one of my favorites of the decade so far. I think I'm gonna keep coming back to it and finding more to love. I’ve attached a link to both the download site and youtube link below. Hope y’all like it!

Sounds Like

  1. The Zombies

  2. Dean Blunt

  3. Lil Ugly Mane

  4. Beach Boys

  5. Mid-Air Thief

  6. Duster

Recommended Tracks

  1. ​All I Want Is You

  2. Flesh And Blood

  3. If You Hear Me Crying

Reviewer’s Name: Micah Dalton

Date of Review: 4/18/24

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