Tiffany, The Steens, Christian Leave, Skinshape, Jude Flannery, The Mortal Prophets, and Pony Girl are the artists among these press releases for November.
Tiffany – “I Like The Rain”: A pulsing hard rocking number delivered with wild and soaring vocals, borrowing as much from Pat Benatar as from Sleater-Kinney. This is the single from Tiffany’s first record since her 2018 album “Piece of Me.” “Shadows,” just released yesterday via Deko Entertainment, was described as a cathartic comeback LP on which Tiffany bares her soul and invites listeners to walk with her into the light. “‘I Like The Rain’ is about owning your own dysfunction and the people who benefit from it,” she says. Speaking on her LP, she continued: “Shadows is about the light and dark of my life, the heartbreak that nobody knows about when you’re trying to be fabulous onstage. My life has never been perfect. But maybe all those things are meant to be. And what helps me more than anything is writing songs.” “Shadows” includes 11 brand new songs, including the new single, as well as stand-out tracks “My Everything,” “Bed of Nails,” and a rocking cover of the Rival Sons track “Keep On Swinging.” Multidisciplinary British artist Stuart Semple, who created the pop-up album artwork, states, “It’s been really exciting to be able to make some new art with Tiffany. Her music was a big part of my childhood. The new record is amazing and I’m so glad to have been able to come up with a visual way to bring it to life. It feels like the whole project is an artwork in its own right.”
The Steens – “Heaven”: If they do not reinvent garage rock, their gritty, raw, fuzzy rock formula is powerful and feels to be theirs at the first listening. The Steens, two brothers from Orange County, formed their band in 2021 using their surname. Naming the band was an easy decision with the duo’s sound and vision being firmly planted in their roots. At an early age, their father was actively working in the music industry as an A&R/ artist manager while their mother was pursuing a promising career as a stylist. This all changed when their dad was arrested and went on to serve a 10-year prison sentence. The Steen’s “future rock n’ roll” sound picks up where their fate dropped them off. Feeding back and buzzing like gleaming gold through a distorted lens, the brothers have woven a sound very much in tune with their childhood. Blown-out 808s clip your speakers while fuzz-injected guitars and vocals invite ancestors like Little Richard to perhaps take some more uppers. Someone suggested their band was like “the Black Strokes or something.” The Steens weren’t offended by the comparison but later stated, “The Strokes are great, but they’re a little polite, no? If we were gonna be the “black anything” and not “the Black Beatles” can’t we at least be “the Black Iggy Pops.” Their EP, “Life One,” is out now.
Christian Leave – “Pull”: Bedroom pop with symphonic envy and soothing vocals while the vivid storytelling effortlessly unpacks the bittersweetness and poignancy of youth. Speaking on his newest single, Christian Leave wrote: “‘Pull’ is an empathetic letter to the development and change inside or outside of a relationship. As hectic as it may be to feel and experience on the receiving end, we’re all constantly facing transition. I had to learn to take a step back and allow myself to grow in tandem rather than fight against things outside of my own control. This is me reconciling with my own changes.” On the orchestral track (produced, engineered, and recorded by Yves Rothman; mastered by Mike Bozzi; and mixed by Collin Dupuis), Christian is at his melancholic best — packaging the heartache of youth in a late-night drive soundtrack. The song comes from his last EP, “Superstar” released this month via Warner Records. Over a year in the making, the project lampoons fame while narrating the nuances of power imbalances and “finding your people,” while additionally exhibiting Christian at his most honest.
Skinshape – “Turn Away”: A melancholic, soft ballad filled with orchestral plucks, percussive beats, and dreamy vocal harmonies, then the song morphs into something completely different. Will Dorey aka Skinshape recently released his seventh solo album, “Nostalgia” (via Lewis Recordings), on which he taps into motives and motifs. “‘Turn Away’ is a song in two parts,” explains Will Dorey. “The front section is intended to be classic songwriter style, with a focus on the chord progression and lyrics. The second half perhaps represents a curious epiphany, a realization of something profound.” As the plot develops, Dorey’s clandestine charisma creates an alchemic, and most gentlemanly, cleansing of the soul. “Nostalgia” finds Dorey continuing to explore sounds, textures, and filmic set pieces drawing from the works of Quincy Jones and Ennio Morricone, infused with the sights and sounds of his hometown of Swanage in Dorset while adopting a London mindset as per his residence during the recording process. Expanding and retuning the classic Skinshape sound, Nostalgia looks back and moves forward in the same breath as contemporaries Khruangbin, Quantic, Tame Impala, Bonobo, Morcheeba, and Madlib. “I spent a while thinking about the title for this album,” Dorey says. “It was quite hard to pin down the feeling I felt it represented. At a certain point, I realized it was nostalgia, for everything; our life passed by, childhood, moments of happiness and sadness, where we grew up.” “Nostalgia is meant to embody a journey through life, its ups and downs, ebbs and flows” – and who better to help steer you through such sentiment?
Jude Flannery – “Stars”: A gentle ballad with discreet but emotional boy-girl harmonies, the track is heartfelt and soothing before a few tempestuous moments, reflecting the ups and downs of Flannery’s narrative. The song comes from “Quiet By Your Side,” Jude Flannery’s solo debut released last month. “This song considers the moment(s), in which we choose to keep loving someone, even when confronted with their faults, and ours, too,” he wrote. Joined by primary collaborators Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Muzz) on drums/percussion and Quentin Stoltzfus (Mazarin, Light Heat) on bass and guitar, the record has a psychedelic folk-rock vibe. Additional collaborators include Robbie Bennett (The War on Drugs) on keyboards, Keir Neuringer (The Irreversible Entanglements) on saxophone, Zena Kay on pedal steel, and Annie Nero on backing vocals, the album explores the themes of connection and expectation. The overall mix is warm and dynamic, a credit to the craft and production contributions of Barrick, who recorded and mixed the record, and Stoltzfus, who mastered the record at Philadelphia’s Silent Partner recording studio. Directed by Marc Zajack and filmed by Alexandra Golden Flannery, the video for ‘Stars’ is a series of moments accentuated by an abstract narrative that reflects upon the ideas of journey, relationship, and connection. Intertwined with each other, these moments emphasize the intimate human experiences that keep us coming back to the connections we make with others over time.”
The Mortal Prophets -“Me and the Devil”: A bluesy track that immediately builds a dark atmosphere, mixing elements of experimental German electronica, pre-war blues, classic rock, and even Americana, even evoking Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at their grittiest moments. On the origins of the track, Beckmann said: “‘Me and the Devil Blues’ is a blues song by Robert Johnson. It tells the story of the singer’s waking up one morning to the devil knocking on the door, telling him that ‘it’s time to go.’ The lyrics concluded with the lines ‘You may bury my body down by the highway side/So my old evil spirit can catch a Greyhound bus and ride.’ Johnson recorded the song, among others, in a warehouse in Dallas, that served as a makeshift recording studio, on June 19, 1937. It was his final recording session.” This is a song from The Mortal Prophets’ forthcoming album, “Me and the Devil,” out December 9. On the record, frontman John Beckmann joined forces with Irish musician and producer William Declan Lucey (Rubyhorse, Leftbank), with whom he developed the record’s atmospheric, noisy sound. Additionally, it features collaborations with Morphine’s Dana Colley, vocalist Aoibheann Carey-Philpott, and more, making this record a practice in masterclass musicianship. Beckmann continued on the holistic record: “These songs are the essence of America’s primal scream, they are chilling, and profound in their austere beauty and directness, they are so full of tragedy and hope, lost loves, and personal and societal struggles, not much has changed in a hundred years. They are all songs that I find deeply moving and poignant. My versions are not covers, in the true sense; they are contemporary reinterpretations, it’s a poetic attempt that hopefully, people will appreciate, and I’m very proud of it.”
Pony Girl – “King of The Country Club”: Between shimmering indie-pop and modern electronics, the slowly spreading song experiments with voices and distortion while examining the feeble hierarchies of privilege. Speaking on the song, the Ottawa-Hull-based indie-rock band wrote: “‘King of the Country Club’ confronts privilege through a surreal golf nightmare. Our friend, songwriter Gianna Lauren, once dreamed she had to whack someone in the throat with a golf club, which inspired us to think about relationships to power. Pascal’s auto-tuned snark is as insincere as these social hierarchies.” This is a song from their brand new LP, “Enny One Wil Love You,” out now via Paper Bag Records. It also comes alongside a part-animation music video directed by Yanran Zhu and animated by Shiyi Li and Stephanie Kuse, featuring a synthetic and surreal metaverse in the form of a cyberspace country club (not without a dystopian prison, ruled by the ‘king of the country club’ himself, portrayed both in life and later death by bandleader Pascal Huot).
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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – December 1982 (Volume 14, Number 7)
“If you’re black you have to play a certain type of music”
“I can’t think of a better way to spend my 90th birthday”
What better gift for a Baby Boomer loved one?