As we approach Christmas, a traditionally family and love orientated holiday, a time of the year when we can get caught up worrying about what we might give to others, what could be better than to take a break from the sleigh bells and mistletoe to listen to an EP that is so beautifully crafted and vocalised, so emotionally invested that it really is the perfect gift to yourself. It’s a record that says:
“if it’s real, I’ll just wait for it, if its real, this could be our story. Everything we want will come true”
David D’Alessio has an interesting relationship with his art and he very much thinks of music as his muse, as a long term affair that he is still learning to understand and love. Like every relationship, it evolves, grows and shapes us. We change within the throes of something that heightens every emotion, every feeling. For David, music is just that. He says:
“music and I are in a long term relationship that I’m never gonna get out of and sometimes music abuses me and sometimes I abuse it. But we keep talking, working through it, learning to communicate. We have hard lines with each other like no violence, no lying, no cheating. But beyond that, I keep growing, discovering, expanding, listening to everything, even the stuff I don’t want to initially. I keep developing my sound because I keep listening, feeling and being open”
With this unashamed and unapologetic look at relationships in general and his marriage in particular, David has created something stunning. It’s his first release since the acoustic 2014 album ‘Some Girls’ which was released to critical acclaim and garnered comparisons like “the Jason Mraz of the southwest” and “the plaintive heights of Damien Rice”, but to confuse the crisp perfect vocals and the masterfully modern pop, folk, soul influenced production of this EP with other artists would be to make a grave mistake. The obvious care an attention given to every turn of the songs on this EP, including a haunting reworking of ‘Some Girls’ song ‘Throw Yourself in Front of It’, very much installs the enigmatic artist in a class of his own.
My personal favourite, and I think everyone will be drawn to one of these songs in particular for different reasons and probably at different times of their lives, is the quite stunningly intimate ‘Crazy Love’, a melancholic ode to leaving behind the madness of a relationship fuelled by superficiality and sex on the surface, but underneath a lament to saying goodbye and how moving on from something that has become comfortable is so difficult to end. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know something is dying but you don’t want to be the one to close the door.
Other songs on the EP find David ‘s infectious lyrics and melody in full swing and it’s a deliciously eclectic, genre defying collection that will become a permanent fixture on your playlist well before you’ve reached the end. It’s an EP that continues to cement the artist’s reputation as a multi-talented singer songwriter and certainly one I can’t wait to hear more from. It’s certainly a while since the debut album ‘Songs to Undress Your Ego’ back in 2007, but extensive touring and a continued and ongoing musical development just seems to improve the output of an artist that describes this new release as a “left turn” from his usual fare as he releases himself from being constrained by conformality and pre conceived ideas of genre or sonic commitment to step slightly away from his acoustic guitar and into something that feels fresh and new and yet firmly seated in the outstanding singer songwriter space he has always inhabited. This EP, that David says lets him “experiment and try on different coats” will not lose him any of his existing fans and audience but it will definitely add to that number because it never fails to deliver in quality, honesty and real emotion and those cornerstones of real musical storytelling are what David D’Alessio has always clung to.
Born in Hawaii, but raised in Arizona, the artist recorded this seven song EP during the pandemic after getting the idea for its title from a sign he saw whilst walking in Central Park that said “Keep This Far Apart”. The last three words of the sign made him start to think, they made him start to examine how we relate to the people in our lives, how those three words could be the mantra for how he feels about relationship’s and so he wrote what could be a love letter to his wife but could also be a love letter to every relationship and how they have shaped us. He says:
“even in the greatest of them, no matter how close you are to each other, there’s always this sort of longing between you, some mystery- like you know the person so well but don’t really know everything. You can support your significant other, but are not always each other’s only means of support”.
The music contained in David’s new release examines all aspects of relationships and moves effortlessly cross genre but always showcases the artist’s wonderful vocals and intimate lyrics. If you decide to buy yourself a gift this Christmas, why not make it this excellent EP, after all the relationship we all need to take care of is the one with ourselves.
Some things in life are inevitable. For a while, that inevitably was a new Shrek movie with an updated pop cover like “I’m a Believer” from Smash Mouth. These days it’s a new Despicable Me movie, this time in the form of spinoff Minions The Rise of Gru. And just as we all predicted, the new Steve Carrell led film comes stacked with a loaded soundtrack headlined by St. Vincent.
For her contribution to the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack, St. Vincent covered “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. Her version was produced by Jack Antonoff and continues a run of luck for the musician that earlier this year saw her win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.
Antonoff also gave St. Vincent a shout-out for her album Daddy’s Home when he won Producer of the Year at the Grammys.
Announcing the release of her funky cover, St. Vincent took to Twitter and wrote, “Excited to say the @Minions (including @jackantonoff) and I have just released our version of ‘Funkytown’ from #TheRiseofGru soundtrack. Shout out to Gru and them…” Included with the post was a graphic of St. Vincent as a minion.
Joining St. Vincent on the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack are Tame Impala, Kali Uchis, Brittany Howard, Thundercat, Caroline Polachek, Diana Ross, and Weyes Blood, just to name a few.
The album will be released on July 1, coinciding with the film’s theatrical release. You can listen to St. Vincent’s cover of Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” below!
Back in October of 2021, Parmalee released ‘Take My Name’ as the second single from their third studio album. It was written with and produced by David Fanning, producer of the massive hit ‘Carolina’ that introduced me to the band back in 2008, Ashley Gorley and Ben Johnson. Robyn Collins of ‘Taste of Country’ described the song as “a musical marriage proposal” and lead singer of the band, Matt Thomas, says it was inspired by the marriage of brother Scott; he says “it made me think about what I would want to say to my future wife.”
Some songs almost become bigger than themselves when they tap into the lives and moods of everyone and this is very much one of those songs. It’s not difficult to see why this song has been adopted by fans all over the world irrespective of their taste in music; its words conjure all the romance and love that you’d hope to feel when you ask someone to marry you. It’s lyrically a shopping list of everything you feel at the moment you realise you’ve met the one, even if that’s after only a short time. I remember proposing to my wife after just 8 weeks and if I try to remember what I was feeling at the point I proposed and tried to put it into words I would hope it was very similar to this song. Now over 31 years later and still happily married I listen to this song and it brings all those feelings back in a rush so why wouldn’t it be the perfect song to overlay a proposal, sing at the wedding or just be part of the moment; it’s how I’d love my sons to feel when they propose to their partners.
Parmalee are very aware of their fans needs and were quick to record a wedding version for such occasions with a less catchy percussion and a softer piano focussed vibe than the original version. There have even been brilliant occasions where the band has turned up to “crash” a wedding and sing this song to the happy couple reminiscent of Maroon 5 and their song ‘Sugar’. None of those guests will forget that wedding in a hurry!
With all the interest in the song and the brilliant videos and messages the band have received, they felt the time was right to make their own narrative video to accompany the song as an addition to the previously released visualizer. The ‘Wedding Version’ video of the romantic song was filmed in Gallatin, TN and directed by Shane Drake. The heart-warming story follows the journey of the protagonist through middle school and all the way to adulthood featuring kids from a local school, an original 1968 Mustang Shelby GT350 and appearances from the band with the lead being played by frontman Matt Thomas.
“From the jump, the fans have really latched onto this song in such an amazing, life changing way- our fans have been the reason for so many of our own major milestones, so it means that much more to us that folks are using our song for their proposals and weddings and allowing us to be a part of those major moments in their lives. We wanted to pay tribute to the fans who have been on this journey with us since the beginning so in the music video you’ll see a story of love and loyalty unfold across the years-but don’t expect to see any weddings or proposals – the fan created videos far exceed anything we could depict. We love watching them.”
With over 135 million global on demand streams, the song has raced up the Country charts, outpacing the band’s previous single, the multinational Number 1 smash ‘Just The Way’ with Blanco Brown and has been popping up all over TikTok with creators playing the song over proposal and wedding videos and even sparking a trend of using the sound of the song and writing “if your man doesn’t make you feel this way then what are you doing?” over the video.
Coming from their recently released album ‘For You’, an album that has garnered critical acclaim with American Songwriter calling it “authentically real, genuinely inspired” and Billboard saying that “Parmalee find itself in the enviable position of being able to tap into multiple audiences”. What is very clear is that Country music is slowly starting to find a new, younger audience in the UK to stand alongside the existing fans of the genre. Zack Bryan has recently found himself high on the Spotify album charts and UK stars like Ed Sheeran have appeared alongside Country stars like Luke Combs at the Country2Country festival. Even Tom Odell has found himself headlining the British Country Music Festival in the Summer. Parmalee may be the band to really break down the barriers between Country music and the UK Charts with this song as the musical genre of this release is far less important than the honesty and emotion of the lyrics and Romance will always break down all of the barriers, or at least I would hope it would.
‘For You’ is out now and can be streamed and downloaded here. Find out more about Parmalee and their music online on their official website.
This Copenhagen DIY pop artist has managed the difficult task of mixing her soulful voice with vibrant dreamy production and lyrics with real streetwise attitude. The result is something that has given her the hit single ‘Obvious’ which Danish radio loved and the internationally acclaimed single ‘Back to Business’. Now she is releasing the excellent lead single ‘Summer’s Already Gone’ which sounds very modern Bond in its lo fi production but tells an unusual love story. Not a story about falling in love with a person, but about the love affair that always ends; the affair with Summer.
“I wanted to write a song that could represent both the fearlessness of the magical Summer days and the truly blue sadness of the re occuring love story it actually is when Summer eventually comes to an end. I know it’s a heartbreaking, melancholy feeling but it’s also everything I love about Summer.”
The song was written in Mercedess’ living room with Danish indie superstar Goss and the guitarist Søren Breum and is produced by the critically acclaimed artist Vera. It allows the velvet of the artist’s voice to tumble over the muted trumpets, break beats and flirty acoustic guitars and strings bringing to life the seasonal heartbreak.
The fact that it is about the love and anticipation felt for Summer is almost more poignant this year as we embark upon the first free Summer for a few years. The affair with Summer this year promises to be a torrid passionate affair as we’ve been apart so long but the heartbreak of its end will be felt more keenly. This song will be the soundtrack to the affair for sure.
The single is released on the same day as the debut album from this exciting new talent. Mercedess says of the album: “Casa Fantasia is an album about longing for closeness and honesty. These songs are an escape from reality-a place to feel free and be yourself. Writing it was a personal journey and process to me that hopefully will make space for creativity, art and emotions for others too”
The album promises to do just that with the artist’s melancholy and yet warm and dreamy vocals and marks an exciting new chapter for an artist destined to find international acclaim with this collection of music. Summer may come and go but I’m sure the appeal of Mercedess will be perennial.