Bickle, with a B. Known to his friends as “Thrift Store Prince” with the leopard prints. 

Bickle like Travis Bickle. Kinda. Robert De Niro’s lone-wolf Taxi Driver antihero inspired the artist’s original moniker when he started making music in 2016. An SEO clusterfuck, fuzzy trademark implications, and Bickle’s mounting disdain for “Travis” ultimately deaded the first name. So now he’s just Bickle. 

“I’ve since picked better idols,” he tells us, smiling over a transatlantic FaceTime. Listen to his new song “Naked” and the severed connection makes sense. How could a tormented ‘70s character have ever influenced a kid making songs with enough audio euphoria to rocket a dog to the moon, Mars, and beyond?

Although Bickle arrived this week with his first "official" release, the 21-year-old is far from a new artist, having publicly stockpiled years of experiments on SoundCloud and Bandcamp. Some of the best songs you’ve never heard are (still) waiting for you there, between his @bickle and @bickleboy accounts. Cross the peak output of mid-2000s punk-pop with Digimon synths and lunar chords and, if you’re lucky, you’ll end up with something as disarming as his loosie twosome, “Joan of Arc” / “Human Being.” 

“SoundCloud was dying for long enough that everyone just assumes it’s dead now, but things are moving there,” Bickle says. “You can slip through the crevices and do well. I’ll never delete my shit off there. I was trying to make an album so bad, and I still want to when I’m ready, but I realized I was being a hypocrite. I love songs more than artists, always. That’s the quote. Building my leverage up, single by single." [Laughs

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