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Press Releases For December: Here Are The Artists

Press Releases For December
Cover painting by Speck Mellencamp

Kristeen Young, Blonde Diamond, WizTheMc, Carleigh Aikins, Ben Auld, Safety Town, John Mellencamp are among these last press releases for December.

Kristeen Young – “Life Kills”: A strange and percussive pop song with dissonance, surprising shifts in the melody, and wild vocals. “Life Kills” is the first song and single from the upcoming Kristeen Young’s album, “The Beauty Shop,” due March 2022 via The Record Label. “The Beauty Shop” is a song cycle based on the life of a serial killer, with each song taking on one major emotion. But, really, it’s about how life can kill our emotions and asserts that everyone is part-victim and part-perpetrator. “Life Kills” is based on the emotion of rage. Young wrote, arranged, produced, co-mixed, and played almost every instrument on the album, as well as designed and made the album art and visuals (including clothing). Young wrote, arranged, produced and co-mixed (co-mixer was Tony Visconti) “Life Kills.” She played every instrument except guitar which was played by renowned Avant-guitarist, Don DeVore (Collapsing Scenery). The bass was played by legendary producer/bassist, Tony Visconti. The song eschews genres but features her signature dissonant piano bashing, operatic vocals, tribal beats, and incisive lyrics. Young shot and edited the video herself, and designed/made all props and wardrobe. Kristeen Young has always been the very definition of D.I.Y.: most of the video was shot at real locations, Renditions (beauty salon) on Highway 66 in St. Louis, Missouri in October 2021. Some footage was also shot at Magic Touch Auto Spa in Lodi, New Jersey.

Blonde Diamond – “Red Flags”: Sensual vocals over a vibrant pop song with a big hook delivering all the drama of a dancefloor hit. The Vancouver-based dream-pop band has shared the single’s accompanying horror-inspired music video, which was directed by Brandon William Fletcher. “Red Flags is the ease of which we ignore the blaring warning sounds around us, here represented as classic horror movie tropes,” said Fletcher. “Borrowed visual shorthand from familiar titles like the original Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street set up typical boo-scares that this team leaves us hanging. We wanted to build a sense of tension for three and a half minutes, similar to that uncomfortable warning deep inside that we continuously ignore when we’re doing something bad for us. A whole video of edging that never quite comes to completion.” Lead singer Alexis Young continued, “For this music video, we wanted to find a way to subliminally convey the emotional and physical toll of abuse as an ominous presence lurking from the shadows. In the push/pull of tension-building moments, we never reach the climax due to the ignorance of our main character.”

WizTheMc – “Stoned Nights”:  A super catchy pop song ready to conquer all the airwaves, written by South African-born, Germany-raised, and Toronto-based singer, songwriter, and producer WizTheMc. This is a single from his upcoming EP, “Where Silence Feels Good,” out on February 4. “Stoned Nights is a reflection on a past relationship,” the 22-year-old singer, rapper, and producer explains. “It reminisces on moments that led to the first butterflies and condemns memories of pain and grief that followed after the heartbreak. Another crucial chapter of ‘Where Silence Feels Good,’ an EP that takes you through all the highs and lows of a romantic relationship.” The project will also feature recent singles “Do It Over,” “Break” and “Everything” which have amassed millions of streams and received praise from the likes of PAPER Magazine, Notion, and HotNewHipHop. WizTheMc, who describes his sound as “borderless music,” uses songwriting for emotional excavation but maintains that what matters more to him is not what he gets out of a song, but what you do. He says introspective rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole have inspired him to pour more of himself than ever before into the music he’s writing, “It’s been my goal to be able to put down my emotions as accurately as possible onto paper to the point that I feel moved by my own words because they feel so true to me.” He continues, “I feel like these songs are the closest to my real experience. These are the most vulnerable songs I’ve written to date.” Alongside the release of the upcoming EP, Wiz also announces three live shows – February 3 in Los Angeles at The Moroccan Lounge, February 7 at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right, and February 9 at Drake Underground in Toronto.

Carleigh Aikins – “Good Book”: A fun and very upbeat track with Carleigh’s elastic vocal range and a large touch of ‘80s pop-rock. This is a single from the Canadian singer-songwriter’s long-awaited debut solo album, “Junk Jewelry,”  and the song comes alongside a lyric video designed and edited by Carleigh, with title graphics by Brandyn Aikins and photos by Stefan Foerster. On the single, Carleigh wrote: “I wrote ‘Good Book’ after exiting a relationship that was torn apart by restrictions, repression, and indoctrination of Christianity imposed upon my partner in their early home-school days. Their upbringing in the Church caused them to suppress their true identity, which manifested in addiction, secrets, and lies. I was attempting to manage its effects on my life and relationship. It caused me to reflect on my own upbringing in the Catholic School System, my Catholic Guilt, and what actually defines a ‘Sinner’ or bad person. I, too, was struggling with addiction, but my ‘misbehavior’ wasn’t deemed by society as ‘sinful’ as what my partner was secretly getting into But in the bible, there are myriad of ways one could behave to be damned. So, who was the real ‘damned’ person in this situation anyway? ‘I’m not a Sinner, I’m just working on my Halo,’ I proclaim. I’m making mistakes, but I’m not looked upon as a bad person. ‘Now you’re the Sinner, ’cause the Good Book said so.’ You’re breaking the conventional rules, the relationship contracts we made. Hiding who you truly are. So you’re worse. We are all equal parts ‘good and bad.’ People make mistakes and can also be really good people at the same time. Making missteps and breaking antiquated rules does not mean we should go to hell.”

Ben Auld – “D4A”: A folksy pretty song mixing melancholia with an upbeat melody and beautiful vocal harmonies. This is a single from Ben Auld’s forthcoming debut album, “Lemongrass,” due February 15 via Earth Libraries. Speaking of the track, Ben wrote: “This song is a folky jaunt. It’s pretty jolly sounding which I think mostly comes from the high-strung guitar and quick pace. The narrative is a classic tale of infatuation and I suppose this is just an earnest account of what that feels like while trying to avoid being too cringe-y or uninspired. I guess that’s why I wanted it to sound quite merry. These sorts of feelings are intense and difficult to navigate in the moment but they’re kinda inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. I also like people being able to imprint a broad range of feelings or experiences on the music and making something happy-sad-personal-ambiguous is a good way to achieve that haha. As with the other songs on the album, I wanted the song to sound dense and full despite the brevity. Most of the instruments are double or triple tracked and it somehow ended up creating these swells in the music which mimicked the different turns the lyrics take throughout. I spent a fair bit of time figuring out arrangements for the vocal harmonies on other songs but this was the first time it felt like they came together naturally which was cool. ” Composed of sessions captured at his apartment, his parents’ home in Norwich, and the delightfully cozy Canyon Sound Studio, the record shows no sign of patchworking, but is instead unified effortlessly via the songwriter’s beguiling presence. A self-taught musician, engineer, and producer, Auld carved the layered tracks out over four years, writing and rewriting, teaching himself drums, and developing new recording techniques. “I gigged around in bands for a while, but this record came together after I started getting dragged along to open mics after University,” Auld explains.

Safety Town – “Only A Dream”: An electro-pop piece that lifts off with an entrancing synth-pop palette grabbing all your attention with dreamy colors in the vocals, multi-synth textures, and a sort of Postal Service flare. This is the last track off Safety Town’s “Fake It” LP released via Earth Libraries. Speaking on his brand new album, Jackson Davis wrote: “This album was mostly inspired by my experiences in my 20s, processing stress, change, and the loss of individuals in my life. While I often found myself getting down thinking about a lot of this, by trying to package these feelings into accessible and at times pop-inspired songs, it really helped me process things and feel proud of an ability to package darker subject matter in a light-hearted way. Musically, I had been listening to a large number of artists, but Animal Collective, LCD Soundsystem, New Order, MGMT, Washed Out, and many others were key influences. Aside from some mixing help from Chris Mathien, drums on ‘Sunshine’ from Jake Besen, and guitar parts by Duncan Reilly on ‘Fake It’ and ‘Sunshine,’ this album was written and produced by myself in my Chicago apartment. I had slowly become more and more obsessed with the world of modular synthesizers and unique sound design as I was writing this, which leads to many songs having a more traditional structure but with added textural and ambient elements from synths. Recording this taught me so much about ways to push my recording techniques, get more confident with vocals, and put together many seemingly disparate styles. The album felt very disjointed at first, with me writing a ton of songs and choosing between them. But when I picked out the songs I liked most, I realized they all had this common theme of expressing how I’ve generally felt navigating my 20s. We are confronted by so much change and it really gets hammered in how our reactions to events influence our lives. We are really in control of what we do and it is up to us to figure out how to process the world and find meaning. The album was definitely a cathartic experience and writing it allowed me to process a lot of the feelings I’ve had lately. On one hand, I tried to present a very melodic album with a large number of instruments and synthesizer tones in a way that still lies in the indie-pop realm. When listening to the lyrics, there is definitely a lot of darker subject matter, but I wanted to show people that it’s ok to and even necessary to at times to constantly strive for that idealistic state we all are seeking. Sometimes, we need to feign happiness for our own sake and progress, and oftentimes in doing so, we actually get closer to that ideal state.”

John Mellencamp – “Chasing Rainbows”: A brand new Mellencamp song with his signature graveling vocals, a familiar campfire guitar/strings ambiance, and choral-like harmonies. This is a heartwarming track from John Mellencamp’s highly anticipated new album “Strictly A One-Eyed Jack,” set for release on January 21 on Republic Records. The album features the previously released Bruce Springsteen duet “Wasted Days” (watch the official music video HERE) which continues to receive widespread critical acclaim: “carries an implicit message about making the most of the years, months and minutes we’ve got left.” Watch the video for “Chasing Rainbows” while you can pre-order “Strictly A One-Eyed Jack” HERE.



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