By Megan Pickett
Artist Tal Haslam hails from San Diego, California. He has been playing guitar and writing songs since he was eight years old. Haslam said he feels inspired to write music by artists who don’t hold back, kindness, and “a tall glass of Diet Coke and flavor blasted Goldfish.”
When he attended Brigham Young University in 2014, he formed the alt-rock band Grey Glass which played together until 2018. After they broke up, he played in a heavy rock project called Idiot Kid with local songwriter Eli Pratt.
The rock sounds Haslam created with those bands eventually came together to form his solo album, Kill Me Slower, which has been described as “an indie-rock soliloquy for the common man.” His album, about grief, technology, addiction, and desire was released two days after the government declared COVID-19 a global pandemic – very fitting for the themes of this album. He released the album with help from producer Nate Pyfer.
Haslam’s debut EP will take you on a journey through the ages of rock. It has songs that anyone can enjoy, including the sounds of AC/DC, R.E.M., Radiohead, and even some sounds of The Beach Boys. This album is the definition of vulnerable: it exudes angst while it also makes you want to cry.
My favorite tracks on the album are “Robot Girl” and “Kill Me Slower.” “Robot Girl” is about the struggle of living in a digital age. We are constantly with our phones, our computers, our tablets, and even artificial intelligence-powered speakers (such as Alexa and Google) in some of our homes. It starts with a loud crunchy guitar riff and synthy screech. The verse follows the same vibe, and then Haslam leads you to an ethereal chorus that lifts the song to the next level.
“Kill Me Slower,” the title track, is perhaps the most unique song on the album. It feels like the Beach Boys if they wrote a depressing song. The song similarly reviews the struggle of addiction to technology and processed foods. It feels like the acceptance of addiction, but also the dejection that comes with that. Listen to this song if you want to be h*cking depressed about owning a smart phone.
Haslam has great potential. In my opinion, his music would be even better if he were to lean into those differing sounds and find a way to put them all together. Release more music, please!
Since this EP he has released several covers and a new song entitled “No Surprises” – all of which are worth listening to. Haslam has been in Manhattan writing songs for other artists. He lives there with his beautiful wife McCall (who is a violin performance graduate of Julliard) writing songs and talking about music on his podcast TalCast. Make sure to follow him on Instagram, check out his podcast, and listen to the song “Kill Me Slower” below!