Tag: Heart

New Audio: Hembree’s Swooning and Shimmering New Single

Initially formed as the solo recording project of its founding member and primary songwriter Issac Flynn (vocals, guitar), the Kansas City, KS-based indie rock at Hembree expanded to a full-fledged band with the additions of Garrett Childers (bass, vocals), Eric Davis (keys, synth) and siblings Alex (guitar) and Austin Ward (drums). Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that with the release of “Can’t Run Forever,” a shimmering, dance floor friendly track, which amassed well over 500,000 streams on Spotify and YouTube, the Kasabian and Primal Scream-like “Holy Water,” which was featured in an Apple ad campaign, and a self-assured debut EP, the members of the Kansas City-based band quickly established a regional and national profile. Adding to the growing buzz surrounding them, last saw saw the band named as one of the “Best Artists We Saw at SXSW” by Rolling Stone and one of NPR’s “Spotlight Artists of the Year” — and they went on their first headlining tour of the UK.

Building upon a growing number of accolades, the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut House On Fire is slated for an April 26, 2019 release through Thirty Tigers — and the album, which features attention grabbing singles “Almost,” which Earmilk called “contagiously upbeat” and the viral hit “Culture,” which has amassed over 850,000 streams and has landed in the Top 50 of the Alternative Charts may arguably be their breakthrough effort. Interestingly, House On Fire‘s third and latest single is the atmospheric, mid-tempo anthem “Heart.” Centered around an enormous hook, some swooning and deeply earnest songwriting, shimmering synths and guitars and a propulsive rhythm section, the decidedly 80s inspired synth pop/synth rock track, the song as the band’s Issac Flynn says is “about lying awake next to the one you love, and feeling completely at peace in that moment. It’s also about the realization that so many of life’s stresses are somewhat insignificant at the end, and the people we love are what really matter.”

New Video: Mother Feather’s Ass-Kicking Death Match Visuals for “Red Hot Metal”

Comprised of Ann Courtney (vocals), Elizabeth Carena (vocals, keys), Chris Foley (guitar), Gunnar Olsen (drums), and the band’s newest member Seth Ondracek (bass), the Brooklyn-based rock/heavy metal act Mother Feather quickly emerged into the national spotlight with their 2016 self-titled, full-length debut. The Brooklyn-based metal quartet played 41 dates of that year’s Warped Tour, went on a series of sold-out UK dates, which featured a live session for BBC Radio 1 Rock Show, played sets at Rock On The Range and Carolina Rebellion — and they opened for The B52s.

Building upon a growing national and international profile, the Brooklyn-based metal quintet’s sophomore album Constellation Baby will be officially released on Friday through Metal Blade Records and Black Light Media. And interestingly enough, the album finds the band expanding upon their high-energy “pop cock rock” in an ambitious, kicking ass and taking names fashion while retaining the raw, playful and feminine energy that won them attention. Of course, upping the ante isn’t a small feat. As the band’s Ann Courtney says of the album and its writing sessions “All I knew was that I needed the new album to be awesome. ‘Mother Feather’ is such an empowered album, and when I began working on the new material, I was really struggling to feel that way. I knew this album needed to be even better than the first, and to capitalize on its momentum it had to happen quickly. It was a tremendous amount of pressure to put myself under, and it was a dragon I knew I wanted to slay alone – at least at the beginning.” So Courtney locked herself away to write, to face her depression and stare down some deeply uncomfortable feelings. “Truthfully, I went to some very dark and lonely places. But once I let myself go there, that’s when the album started to take shape. There’s a lot of fever and intimacy in those songs. I laid myself bare.”

With her bandmates assisting Courtney to fully-flesh out and realize the album’s material, the end result is reportedly a collection that’s cathartic and exuberant. We are diving way deeper into the question, ‘Who is Mother Feather?'” Courtney says, “and I think that the answer is extremely emotional. It’s eclectic, but it all sounds like Mother Feather. This album will definitely expand what that means.” Adds Courtney, “It definitely wasn’t a given that things would come together though. It was hard won, even back to the writing. Everyone in the band went way out of their way to make it happen because we wanted it to happen. Everyone had something to say. Ideas were pushed to the limit and the result is the collective combination of those forces of energy. We were extremely vigilant about working through ideas. Stuff got worked, and it got worked again. In spite of the challenges — personal, financial, artistic — we all tried really hard to work together and create the thing that everyone meant, collectively.”

Album single “Red Hot Metal” is centered around power chord-based riffs, thunderous drumming, enormous, raise-your -beer-to the-sky-and-shout-along, arena rock-friendly hook sand pop belter harmonies delivered by Courtney and Carena. Sonically, the song recalls Heart, Lita Ford and 80s hair metal, complete with the swaggering confidence of old pros, whose songs have a bigger purpose. 

Directed by Michael Thackray, the recently released video for “Red Hot Metal”  stars wrestlers Maria Manic and Matt “The Bulldozer” Tremont grappling in a sweaty and bloody death match. For a significant portion of the match, Manic looks as though she’ll lose — until she gets help from the members of Mother Feather. 

The Brooklyn-based metal quintet is playing a record release show later tonight at The Knitting Factory and it looks like it’ll be a helluva time. 

Initially founded four years ago as Powwers, the Seattle, WA-based indie rock trio Wild Powwers, comprised of Lara Hilgeman (guitar, vocals), Lupe Flores (drums, vocals) and Jordan Gomes (bass), have developed a reputation for specializing in a nuanced take on the classic Pacific Northwest grunge sound as their material routinely nods at psych rock. And with the release of two critically applauded albums, 2014’s Doris Rising and 2016’s Hugs and Kisses and Other Things, both of which were followed by extensive national touring with the likes of The Fall of Troy, Kylesa, Dilly Dally,  Helms Alee and No Age, as well as festival appearances at SXSW and Savannah Stopover, the Seattle-based trio saw a rapidly expanding national profile.

Recored and mixed by Billy Anderson, who has worked with Melvins, Neurosis and Jawbreaker; and mastered by Ed Brooks, who has worked with Pearl Jam, Heart and REM, Wild Powwers’ third full-length album Skin is slated for an October 12, 2018 release through Nadine Records — and the album’s latest single ” Buff Stuff” finds the band furthering their reputation for crafting that familiar and beloved grunge rock sound, complete with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks, chugging power chords and thunderous drumming and an expansive, twisting and turning song structure; but the song to my ears also nods at The Cranberries and others, as the track is centered by Hillman’s belting, powerhouse vocals. As the band says, “‘Buff Stuff’ is about a tsunami (emotionally or literally) — a great natural force that can completely wipe the slate clean, often violently. This song is about watching the chaos and trying to avoid it all and stay above water, but eventually it gets everything.”

 

 

 

New Video: Valley Queen Releases Thoughtful and Cinematic Visuals for “Supergiant”

Currently comprised of founding member Natalie Carol (vocals, guitar) and early lineup member Shawn Morones (guitar, vocals), along with newest members Neil Wogensen (bass, vocals) and Mike DeLuccia (drums), the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock band Valley Queen can trace their origins back to their formation in 2014. With a handful of singles under their belts, the band quickly saw a growing profile, which resulted in a relentless touring schedule and an increasing amount of time away from home — and although the band found their own magical pocket musically, the strain was too much for original lineup members Morones and Doot, who left the band.

Carol continued onward with a series of session musicians and ringers, and while the band continued to play bigger clubs, the chemistry that Carol had felt and began to depend on was missing, With growing buzz surrounding her and her bandmates, the members of Valley Queen landed a record deal — a dream that many bands desperately wish to achiever; however, Carol recognized that the band was much more than her concentrating on lyrics with session musicians being paid to play and record the material as directed; in fact, Carol wanted the band to be about the chemistry and relationships between the members of the band, all of which helped the band land their record deal in the first place.  So before writing and recording the material, which would eventually comprise their Lewis Pesacov-produced full-length debut Supergiant, Carol called Doot, who couldn’t re-join the band; however, Mike DeLuccia joined. Then Carol called Morones, who after a series of lengthy conversations, before decided that re-joining the band would be worth the risks involved.

Interestingly, Pesacov, who has worked with Best Coast, Fool’s Gold, Nikki Lane, FIDLAR and JOVM mainstays The Orielles, continues to cement his reputation for raw production while focusing on the urgency of the album’s material and the musicians performances — and for the band, the album was about the collective whole exploring and creating together. As for the album’s lead single and opening track, Carol says, derive their names from the most massive, luminous, and yet the fastest burning known stars in the universe. “The song ‘Supergiant’ is about how we’re all made up of the same stuff as stars, and I liked the idea of tying the whole album together with that metaphor,” says  Carol. “It takes all the drama you hear on the record-the aggressive, chaotic moments, and the more beautiful or quieter moments-and puts it all into a more galactic perspective.” As a result, “Supergiant” has a noticeably cinematic air while possessing elements of 80s New Wave and 70s AM rock in a way that will bring to mind the likes of Heart and Linda Ronstadt, if they were covering Concrete Blonde, or Heartless Bastards covering — well, just about anyone, as the seemingly anachronistic single is centered around Carol’s soulful belting, well-crafted songs and exceptional musicianship.

Directed by Matt Bizer, the incredibly cinematic video for “Supergiant” follows a contemplative Natalie Carol, as she starts her day and meets up with her bandmates, who drive around town while listening to the radio, capturing people with nothing much to really do and nowhere to really go that are longing for something — although they don’t quite know what it is. 

 

Currently comprised of founding member Natalie Carol (vocals, guitar) and early lineup member Shawn Morones (guitar, vocals), along with newest members Neil Wogensen (bass, vocals) and Mike DeLuccia (drums), the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock band Valley Queen can trace their origins back to their formation in 2014. With a handful of singles under their belts, the band quickly saw a growing profile, which resulted in a relentless touring schedule and an increasing amount of time away from home — and although the band found their own magical pocket musically, the strain was too much for original lineup members Morones and Doot, who left the band.

Carol continued onward with a series of session musicians and ringers, and while the band continued to play bigger clubs, the chemistry that Carol had felt and began to depend on was missing, With growing buzz surrounding her and her bandmates, the members of Valley Queen landed a record deal — a dream that many bands desperately wish to achiever; however, Carol recognized that the band was much more than her concentrating on lyrics with session musicians being paid to play and record the material as directed; in fact, Carol wanted the band to be about the chemistry and relationships between the members of the band, all of which helped the band land their record deal in the first place.  So before writing and recording the material, which would eventually comprise their Lewis Pesacov-produced full-length debut Supergiant, Carol called Doot, who couldn’t re-join the band; however, Mike DeLuccia joined. Then Carol called Morones, who after a series of lengthy conversations, before decided that re-joining the band would be worth the risks involved.

Interestingly, Pesacov, who has worked with Best Coast, Fool’s Gold, Nikki Lane, FIDLAR and JOVM mainstays The Orielles, continues to cement his reputation for raw production while focusing on the urgency of the album’s material and the musicians performances — and for the band, the album was about the collective whole exploring and creating together. As for the album’s lead single and opening track, Carol says, derive their names from the most massive, luminous, and yet the fastest burning known stars in the universe. “The song ‘Supergiant’ is about how we’re all made up of the same stuff as stars, and I liked the idea of tying the whole album together with that metaphor,” says  Carol. “It takes all the drama you hear on the record-the aggressive, chaotic moments, and the more beautiful or quieter moments-and puts it all into a more galactic perspective.” As a result, “Supergiant” has a noticeably cinematic air while possessing elements of 80s New Wave and 70s AM rock in a way that will bring to mind the likes of Heart and Linda Ronstadt, if they were covering Concrete Blonde, or Heartless Bastards covering — well, just about anyone, as the seemingly anachronistic single is centered around Carol’s soulful belting, well-crafted songs and exceptional musicianship.

Valley Queen will be touring to support their new effort and the initial batch of tour dates are below.

VALLEY QUEEN TOUR DATES
July 5-8 Winnipeg, MB – Winnipeg Folk Festival
July 28 Los Angeles, CA – The Moroccan Lounge
August 01 San Francisco, CA – Cafe du Nord
August 02 Davis, CA – Sophia’s Thai Kitchen
August 03-05 Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon
August 07 Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern
August 08 Spokane, WA – The Bartlett
August 09 Missoula, MT – Top Hat Lounge
August 11 Denver, CO – Lost Lake Lounge
August 12 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
August 15 San Luis Obispo, CA – SLO Brew

A Q&A with Hayley Thompson-King

Several months ago, I was invited to be a panelist on a Baby Robot Media hosted panel titled “Your First PR Campaign” at this year’s Mondo.NYC conference in Lower Manhattan, a conference created by some of the original organizers of the beloved and sadly defunct CMJ Marathon. In fact, after speaking at the panel, I along with several colleagues went to a nearby bar, where I watched my beloved Yankees lose a confounding and infuriating heartbreaking Game 2 of the American League Division series against the then-defending League Champion Cleveland Indians. At some point, I went from networking and mingling mode to yelling and cursing at the TV – and I couldn’t tell if these people, who I had worked with in some capacity for  much of JOVM’s history were amused, knowing how much of a Yankee fan I am or if they were horrified. But the postseason when your team is in it is another thing altogether. I’ve frequently told a story about sitting in Clem’s with my dear friend and colleague Natalie Hamingson after watching the New York Rangers lose Game 7 of that year’s Conference Finals to the Tampa Bay Lightning at home, in which I went into a furious 45 minute, expletive laced tirade. About half way through, the bartender at the time said to Natalie, “I don’t think I’ve seen him that angry before.” In my mind, I thought “if I was at home, I would be throwing things at my TV,” but that’s another issue altogether.

Thanks in part to built-in travel days within the postseason schedule, and the weather actually holding up in early October, I was able to squeeze in some live music coverage at this year’s Mondo.NYC. Because I had spoken at Baby Robot Media’s PR campaign panel and worked with them for a good 6-7 years or so, the company’s co-founders had personally invited me to come out to the showcases they were hosting at Piano’s during the weekend. Admittedly, I just wasn’t able to do any research prior to the actual live music, so I went into everything with no expectations and a clear mind as to what I might be seeing – and interestingly enough, I wound up being pleasantly surprised by the variety of the acts I caught throughout that particular weekend. However, in a weekend with several impressive acts – including British folk singer/songwriter Hannah Scott, New York-based Americana singer/songwriter Mieka Pauley, Austin, TX-based Americana act Fairbanks and the Lonesome Light and Kellindo Parker, best known as Janelle Monae’s sideman, there was one decidedly clear champion of the weekend, the classically trained, Sebastian, FL-born, Somerville, MA-based singer/songwriter Hayley Thompson-King.

Thompson-King’s solo debut album Psychotic Melancholia was released earlier this year through Hard to Kill Records, and the album is a “Sodom and Gomorrah concept album” that in some way is an amalgamation of several different sources and wildly disparate sources. The overall concept of the album is largely influenced by her childhood obsession with the stories of the so-called wicked women in the Bible.  “I was the skeptical kid with her hand up in Sunday school,” Thompson-King recalls in press notes. “Also, I spent weekends performing with my church youth group called Clowns for Christ. I guess you could say I was obsessed with getting to the bottom of what exactly would send one to hell. I consider myself agnostic at this point, but I’m still inspired by the questions I had as a kid about disobedience, and about the characters I was taught to believe were evil, like Lot’s Wife and Judas and Lucifer. Upon revisiting these stories, I was inspired by their questioning. I thought they were strong and exciting, and I could put myself in their shoes.” Along with that, the album’s material draws from the Sebastian, FL-born, Somerville, MA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s small. Southern town upbringing, in which her father was a team-roper and trained cutting horses, and she grew up riding and showing American Quarter horses. “I spent a lot of time in the dually listening to country music,” Hayley Thompson-King recalls. “And then I went to opera school.” And lastly, the material which references Romantic period art also draws from her classical training at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she earned a Master’s in Operatic Performance.

And while having an operatic sweep with seemingly larger than life characters with oversized emotions, the album’s songs interestingly enough manage to possess a deeply personal and introspective nature. “I write about real things that have happened in my life,” Thompson-King says in press notes. “My relationships, like with my folks, the people I love, but using the landscape and stories of outside characters. They’re all about me, I guess, but it’s easier to write if I’m looking at a third party. So I look at myself as another character.” But perhaps more important, that voice, man; while there have been some comparisons to operatically trained vocalists like Pat Benatar and Heart‘s Ann Wilson, as well as Linda Ronstadt, which are all pretty damn reasonable, Thompson-King’s vocals throughout the album switch from feral howls and yelps, the sort of defiant, and self-contained resiliency and pride that only women possess, a world weary ache from a messy life, full of bad (if not completely fucked up) decisions, dysfunctional relationships with shitty, irresponsible lovers and good, decent ones – before ending with a gorgeous and sparse rendition of Schumann’s “Wehmut,” which translates in English to “Melancholy” and features Thompson-King singing in operatic German “Ich kann wohl manchmal singen / als ob ich fröhlich sei / Doch heimlich Tränen dringen / Da wird das Herz mir frei” (“Sometimes I may be singing as if I were full of joy, But secretly the tears are flowing and then my heart feels free”).

Hayley Thompson-King [Simon Sinard].jpg
Photo by Simon Sinard. Styled by Rachel Rule Walker. 
Front Cover, Final.jpg

Simply put, it’s a powerful and incredibly self-assured debut but it’s arguably among my favorites released this year. Now, as you can imagine this year has been incredibly busy as I’ve had to manage the responsibilities of an involved day job with that of this blog, but several weeks ago I spoke to the incredibly thoughtful and charming Hayley Thompson-King via email about Psychotic Melancholy, her classical training and how it’s influenced her own creative work, how much the Sun Records sound has influenced her on this album and more in a rather revealing interview. Check it out below.

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WRH: You grew up in the tiny town of Sebastian, Florida near Melbourne and Vero Beach, and as the impressively detailed press notes I was provided mentioned, you spent great deal of your youth riding and showing American Quarter horses and your father was a team roper, who trained cutting horses. It’s understandable that you would have grown up listening to a helluva lot of country music; but I understand that you’re a classically trained opera singer, who went to opera school, which defies the stereotype of the country singer/songwriter. How did you get into opera? Did you have any of your friends or others make fun of you for singing classical opera?  How has your classical training influenced you and your work? When did you realize that you needed to write for yourself? 

Hayley Thompson-King: I’ve always had classical leanings…When I was about 12, I basically woke up one day and my voice had changed…like I hit puberty and all of a sudden I had a ton of vibrato and could speak Italian (just kidding about the second part 🙂  But, ya, it was very natural for me to sing classical music.  No one made fun of me!  (…to my face…At least not for that!)  I feel grateful that I had the opportunity to attend college and then graduate school.  I think besides being able to control my voice and all it’s little nuances, the training has helped me to be able to analyze music.  To dig into what the composer and lyricist are trying to convey and then honoring that…which is great for country music because it’s tradition to sing other people’s songs.  I take every note and every lyric very seriously and when I break from that, it’s intentional…  As a songwriter, it’s sort of a blessing and a curse…it takes me a long time to compose the “right” song because every note and every word have to serve the plot…It’s challenging for me to rattle off something visceral like Louie Louie (one of the greatest songs of all time, in my opinion).

Realizing I wanted to go down this path- what feels like performance art; using my brain, my feelings, experiences, and my body to express something- came about 7 years ago.  I became tired of waiting for someone else to tell me when or whether or not I could make art.  So, I wrote, produced and released my first record (an entirely analog production) called Save The Rats; it was the first release on my label, Hard To Kill Records.

WRH: Who are your influences? 

HTK: Lou Reed, Robert Schumann, Greg Cartwright, Iggy Pop, Waylon [Jennings], Willie [Nelson], Garth Brooks, Patti Smith, Smog, Francisco Goya, Lightnin’ Hopkins….

WRH: Who are you listening to right now?

HTK: Please don’t judge me, but I am LOCKED on Traditional Holiday Favorites: Christmas Music of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s on Sirius XM…I have no excuse.

WRH: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with you and your work? 

HTK: I like to say it’s Psychedelic Country or Alt-Classical.  Some folks have said Garage Country or even Riot Girl.

WRH: Earlier this year, I stopped by both of Baby Robot Media’s Mondo.NYC Showcases at Piano’s without any expectations of anything and honestly without researching any of the artists or anything, and out of all of the very talented artists, you and your backing band blew me away. I’m a jaded New York-based music journalist, so I don’t say that often! One of the things that I noticed that you and your backing band seemed incredibly road tested. How did you meet your backing band and how long have you been playing together? 

HTK: Oh, that is very kind of you to say!  I have about 5 musicians who I work with regularly (2 guitarists, 1 drummer and 2 bass players). Everyone who plays with me has one instruction from me: serve the song.  I don’t need them to be perfect or play it like the record, I just want to play together in the moment and serve the song.

That show, I had my original bass player (who played on the record) Chris Maclachlan. Chris is a classically trained singer and bassist for seminal Boston band from the 80’s called Human Sexual Response.  He’s been with me the longest…we started as a duo and that was when we began incorporating classical repertoire.  I had Rob Motes on drums and Nick Mercado on guitar.  My other Bass player Ben Voskeritchian is in a band along with Rob and Nick called These Wild Plains from Boston. Their whole band approached me with the idea to go on the road opening me and then backing me up. They are fantastic musicians, they listen to everything I do and respond…I feel really lucky to have them in the band.  And my other guitar player (who played on the record and also engineered and co-produced) is Pete Weiss.

WRH: I’ve listened the album a number of times and sonically it’s like you and your backing band manage to bridge honky tonk country with the Sun Records/early rock sound — I can’t help but think of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and so on because the album’s material has this raw, feral quality to me. Was that intentional? And how much has that particular period influenced you? 

HTK: It’s funny you bring that up…and I’m so glad you pulled that thread.  I’m also a college professor on the side 🙂  And I’m preparing for a course right now in Rock and Roll History so listening to A LOT of Elvis.  I think ‘feral’ is the perfect term.  That music was highly intelligent the way Nature is… and I think results from a feeling of being bound.  There is a release and it doesn’t feel contrived, but rather instinctive.  AND, most exciting, the audience was effected that way!  In my music, I’m working completely instinct-driven, so, yes, I’d say those artists have influenced me.

WRH: The album reportedly stems from your childhood obsessions with the Bible’s wicked women, doubters and questioners, questioning what exactly made them “evil,” and in some way viewing them in a very different, empathetic prism in which you put yourself in the shoes of Lot’s wife, Judas and Luficer among others while tying that together with your own personal experiences. When I read that in the very detailed press notes about you and the album, my immediate thought was “holy shit, that’s pretty heady — for anything these days.” When you began writing the material for the album, did you begin with that overarching theme, crafting material so that it would hew to it — or was it something that came about subconsciously and organically as you were writing?  

HTK: As far as the concept for the record, one day as Pete (Weiss) and I were working on pre-production, he said jokingly, “this sounds like a Sodom and Gommorah concept album”. So, that kind of stuck because it was a way to talk to people about what the hell is going on in this body of work.  But, truly this was not something that I was in control of… I was guided and sensed it was divine intervention.  My entire life, I’ve been haunted by these characters because, it seems to me, they were pawns in a game… Isn’t Judas the real martyr? I realize that this might come across as blaspheme, but I’m resigned to burning in whatever hell being a reasonable person gets you sent to.

WRH: You and your backing band spent the closing months of 2016 and the early months of this year writing and then obsessively revising and then recording the material that wound up comprising Psychotic Melancholia. How much revising and tweaking went into the writing sessions? And when did you know that you had finished, fully-fleshed out songs?

HTK: Pete (Weiss) and I got together in little pre-production sessions before we went into the studio and tweaked some of the songs… those sessions involved adding a chord here or there, some arrangement choices, and our plan of attack for mic-ing/live recording/vocals.  Most of the songs were fully formed at that point. Then we went to the studio and a lot of what you hear is live with some minimal editing/overdubs. BUT, a couple of the more kinetic pieces (Lot’s Wife and No Room) needed to be played live in order for us to get the feel… so we booked a couple things and then went back and recorded those… they are mainly live, but what you are hearing is probably the 3rd version of both of those.  I just get a feeling when something is right and the band trusts that… so that’s how we work.

“Dopesick,” and “Old Flames” are among my favorite songs on the album. What can I say, a sad song sometimes just works, you know? In any case, there’s a deep and visceral ache to them that comes from very real, lived-in experience, while drawing from some of the country songs I’d expect to hear while in some beer and whiskey soaked honky tonk. What is the story behind those two? 

HTK: “Old Flames” is actually a cover song.  It was written around 1978 by Hugh Moffatt and Pebe Sebert (Sebert is the mother of Ke$ha!).  I only add a cover if I feel a deep connection to it and if I feel I can bring something new to the table…for that one, I had been trying to write about being in love with my partner…I found it VERY challenging to write about joy.  I started playing that song and it said the things that I wanted to say about my love.  (I’m still trying to write originals about this topic and getting much better at expressing this these days)

“Dopesick” is an old song.  I probably wrote it about 5 years ago.  It’s also about someone very close to me who was struggling…but, in hindsight, it’s also about me.  It’s my favorite song.

WRH: I’ve mentioned this to a number of artists I’ve interviewed but I think that the one of the keys to an exceptional album is when the song order is so perfect that it creates a very specific mood, and if you were to rearrange the songs, it would be a different album with a wildly different mood — closing the album with a rendition of Schumann’s “Wehmut” is an eccentric yet gorgeous and fitting way to close out an album with a huge, operatic sensibility. Did you have any difficulties in arranging the material as it appears on the album or was it something that you always knew? 

HTK: It took me about 3 days to do the song order…which, to me, felt long.  I was taking into consideration the tempi, flow of the keys and lyrical arch…but really, this was the only way it could be.  On the vinyl (which I’m planning to release this spring, but am hoping to get some label support for), each side will end with a Schumann piece….I think the whole thing works beautifully for a record where you listen to one side and then flip:

 

Side A:

Large Hall, Slow Decay

Dopesick

No Room For Jesus

Soul Kisser

Mondnacht (music -Schumann / poem – Eichendorff)

 

Mondnacht (Moon Night):

It seemed as if the sky

Had silently kissed the earth,

That she in the shimmer of blossoms

Could only dream of him.

The breeze blew over the fields,

The grain stalks gently surged,

The forests rustled softly,

So starbright was the night.

And my soul unfolded

It’s pinions so wide,

Flew over the silent lands,

As if it were flying home

 

Side B:

Lot’s Wife

Melencolia I

Teratoma

Old Flames

Wehmut

 

Wehmut (Melancholy):

Sometimes I may be singing

As if I were full of joy,

But secretly tears are flowing,

And then my heart feels free.

The nightingales will sing,

When spring breezes play outside,

Their melody of yearning

Out of their prison’s tomb.

Then all the hearts are listening,

And everyone is glad,

But none can feel the sorrows,

The bitter grief in song.

WRH: What’s next for you?

Well, we are home working on a couple videos and doing some writing and light recording in January…and teaching my R&R History course at the college of course.  We’ll be doing about 3 weeks east of the Rockies in March.  I turn in my grades for \ on May 14 and on May 15 we leave for a month long tour in Scandinavia which ends at the Stockholm Americana Festival.  I’m pretty excited about spring.  I’m hoping to get back to NYC a few times in the next couple months…we’ve had such exciting crowds there (including yourself 🙂  It feels like the audiences really get what we’re doing and like the artistic aspect of it.  So, that’s the plan.

 

Comprised of long-time friends and collaborators, the Sydney, Australia-born, Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist production duo Intergalactix have a long-held reputation behind the scenes producing material for a number of renowned artists including Jason Mraz, Heart, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Kelis, Allen Stone, Ariana Grande, The Fugees‘ Pras MichelCool & Dre, fellow countrymen Jimmy Barnes and PNAU, as well as  Cash Money Records.

Last year, the production duo began to establish themselves as artists  with the release of their debut EP I.W.S.O.M, which featured the single “Tuesday.” Building upon an already growing national profile, the duo toured extensively to support the EP — and it included a set at Firefly Music Festival. (Interestingly, the festival may have had one of the biggest and most star-studded lineups of this past year’s festival season as Intergalactix played a bill that included Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, Snoop Dogg, The Killers, Morrissey, and several others.)

Thursday marks the release of the Australian-born, Los Angeles-based duo’s sophomore EP S.T.S. – R.N.D.  and the EP’s latest single “Right Next Door” featuring Capital Cities‘ Spencer Ludwig will further cement Intergalactix’s reputation for sleek, retro-futuristic synth pop that channels The Gap Band‘s “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” and “Outstanding,Rick James and The TemptationsStanding On The TopThe WhispersAnd The Beat Goes On” and “Rock Steady,” and Cameo‘s “Word Up,”as well as more contemporary fare including Dam-Funk, Rene Lopez‘s most recent return to all things funk, Boulevards, ISHI, and a growing list of others.

Growing up listening to a ton of synth funk back in the 80s, it isn’t surprising that a number of contemporary artists have revived that sound — both eras specialize in slick production based around sinuous bass lines, shimmering arpeggio synths, four-on-the-floor drumming (or drum programming), anthemic hooks paired with an incredible sense of memorable melody and sensual vocals. You can’t help but recognize how sexy the song is — but it’s also a certified club banger, that should make you get up out of your seat and to the dance floor.

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