By Christopher Treacy
We’ve got music from the UK and from Tokyo this week, the former being the Song of the Week and the latter being an exclusive premiere that was written in the spirit of suicide prevention. We’ve also got a punchy new song from Tik-Tok celeb Addison Grace and a moving tribute from NYC’s Jim Andralis, alongside Angel Olsen’s delightfully humid country foray and the suggestion of space travel from Chris McGinnis. It’s all queer, so what’s not to love? Chow Down!
Song of the Week: Rhiannon Scutt – “Audrey”
“Living up to a ghost can weigh heavy,” Sheffield, UK based singer-songwriter Rhiannon Scutt laments on this tale of familial admiration. While it’s unclear if the story is being told through her own eyes of those of someone else, “Audrey” captures a sense of deep respect inspired by the image of an elder relative in a photo. Coupled with some sparse details of her life, Scutt manages to grab our attention and captivate our imaginations, crooning the lines “I have strangers for ancestors, I have nameless great grandchildren, of all of those I wish I could know you.” Musically, the track shuffles along at an appealing pace that’s got just enough get-up-and-go to form a passive little hook in the chorus.
“Audrey” is a taken from “Facets 2/3,” the second in a trilogy of EP’s released late last month. We asked Scutt about both the song and the trilogy in a brief Q&A that will run tomorrow.
Exclusive Video Premiere: Nature Airliner – “Letting Go”
New queer Americana from… Tokyo! Built from a haunting, spidery guitar lick, “Letting Go” speaks to the despair of deteriorating mental health. Cases of attempted suicide are increasing worldwide, so the duo Nature Airliner is releasing “Letting Go” this Friday, May 6th, as a suicide-prevention single. You’re hearing it here first, exclusively, a couple days early. Since the duo’s lead guitarist, Tiernan, struggled with suicidal tendencies for twelve years and statistics show that rates of suicide tend to rise this time of year, they decided to release this single in spring alongside a video by award-winning indie production company, Tokyo Cowboys. The video walks us through a multifaceted personal crisis, but ends on a very hopeful note.
May 6 is also the release date for their new album, Cardinal, which they recorded at the former Columbia Studio A, in good ol’ Nashville.
Exclusive Song Premiere: Jim Andralis – “Soloflex”
A mournful ode to a past love or friendship (or both), NYC’s Jim Andralis is highly evocative on this new track—premiering here a couple days early—featuring frequent collaborator Julie DeLano and husband Larry Krone on harmony vocals. Starting with an acoustic strum, the expression of loss intensifies as the song builds musically, adding piano, brushed drums, and electric guitar along the way. The result is an emotional wallop as Andralis provides quick, cinematic snapshots of the relationship in progress.
Angel Olson – “Big Time”
Olson’s latest—the title track from her new album, due June 3rd on Jagjaguar—is a love song that slowly waltzes us back in time, complete with an eerie video and a couple fun costume changes. Frankly, she’s never sounded more at home than in this reverb-drenched, pedal-steel-tinged, vintage country setting. Welcome Home, Angel Olson.
Addison Grace – “Getting Used To”
“I’ve been kinda stressed and depressed, but you know I’m getting used to it.” Grace informs us on one of the lead tracks from their forthcoming debut EP, Immaturing, out this Friday. The song glimpses the less-than-ideal new normal of teens struggling with mental health issues, undoubtedly made worse by the pandemic. Grace is now 20, non-binary, and based out of Salt Lake City. Having built a huge following on Tik-Tok, their tunes are unapologetically straightforward (check out “I Wanna Be a Boy”). It’s the angsty breath of fresh air you didn’t know you needed.
Chris McGinnis – “What If We Went to the Moon?”
“When space gets too small, why, we’ll run from it too,” North Carolina’s Chris McGinnis muses in this new tune that plans the perfect getaway from our earthly mess. The song projects a tongue-in-cheek sweetness, almost implying a romantic sojourn as he sings the title’s question in his lower register. As it progresses, however, we’re left wondering if we’ll just keep creating the same mess over and over—first the moon, then where else? The song builds to a noisy crescendo, suggesting chaos. McGinnis offers no tangible answers, but perhaps the implication is that we should stay right here and clean up our shit. Food for thought.
Christopher Treacy has been writing about music and the music industry for 20 years. He’s contributed to The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Herald, Nashville Scene, and Berklee College of Music’s quarterly journal, as well as myriad LGBTQ+ outlets including the Edge Media Network, Between the Lines/Pride Source, Bay Windows and In Newsweekly. He lives in Buffalo, NY.
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