What does it mean, exactly, to be “taken to church?” As a black trans person whose ontology is inextricably linked to the history of the Baptist church, a black trans person who is very much still struggling to define the nature of their relationship to organized religion generally & Christianity specifically, Atlanta-based artist Demo Taped’s most recent EP (Momentary) is one that’s left me stumbling. ‘Insecure,’ a track that echoes many of my own anxieties about love & intimacy (“But can I be candid / I worry sometimes”) in straight-forward, unaffected language, is made all the more poignant because it’s rooted in the sounds of a distinctly Southern black religiosity; the nostalgic sense-memories that accompany the organ are ones that freeze me in time, forcing me into the corporeal uncertainty of my body at ten, twelve, fifteen—but in a way that’s not entirely unbearable.
While ‘Pack of Gum’ was written with romantic love in mind, I hear it first & foremost as a desperate letter-to-self, a shameless plea for the self to return home. Here, in the church of Implausibility, of Intangibility, I confront my own duality: simultaneously chained to the back pew & levitating fifteen feet above my own outstretched arms, lungs heavy with albuterol sulfate & self-imposed desolation, I am just barely tethered to hands that fall through hands, but always reaching. The magic of this EP is in the heartfelt divergences it commits to as a self-contained terrarium of sound. The memories that color Demo Taped’s tiny world are at once painstakingly hand-colored & unabashedly open about their imperfections, & I find no shame in tracing the contours of their indelicate grace. In the end, I know that I will probably be fine. The songs remind me that the fallibility of these nostalgias, this body, is something I can slow-dance with—preferably under warm lighting, & always in the mirror.