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New Music Friday: Alex The Astronaut, How Tragic, Flyte, & Ian Mellencamp

May 15, 2020

By Bella Carles

Alex the Astronaut (Alex Lynn) has always had a supernatural knack for capturing human experience in song. With her heart-swelling, folk-inflected pop, music’s bright-eyed anthropologist uses sprawling narratives and rich vignettes to unravel the joys and struggles of everyday life. Today, Australian singer, songwriter, and storyteller Alex Lynn announces her debut album, The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing. Brought to life with bright melodies, plucked guitar, and Alex’s unmistakable vocals, The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing is the work of a storyteller attuned to the world around her. The album is out August 21 via Nettwerk and, today, she shares her new single “ Lost.

“Lost” is about trying to find your way and fix everything, and the moment where you’ve exhausted all options and have to accept the fact that there is so much that is completely out of your control: sometimes you will just feel lost. “The song is pivoted around a moment of change when someone is walking new ground and they really don’t know what’s to come,” adds Alex. “For me it’s one of those ‘one goes out, one comes in’ times when you lose what you hoped things would be like but you get to move through a different world that maybe will show you something you didn’t know you would see.”

Stream “Lost” everywhere here

The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing explores friendship, love, loss, pain, and change, weaving a constellation of stories about the personal reckonings that come with growing up. “I transitioned out of college, I went through my first break up, I lost a friend, I got into my first proper grown-up relationship, and I started seeing bigger problems in the world,” she explains. “I wanted the songs to mean something to me, to sit in my values, and I also wanted them to be a group of songs that told stories that meant something to the people that heard them,” adds Alex. “I’ve called it The Theory of Absolutely Nothing because I feel like the Einstein quote ‘the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know’ really started to make sense to me during this writing process and a part of that comes through in a different way in each song.”

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There is a quote by author Anais Nin that says: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. For singer, songwriter, and guitarist Paige Campbell of Brooklyn-based post-riot grrrl quartet How Tragic, that fateful time of transformation struck in 2016. Previously, she had been a bedroom musician playing guitar along to Dag Nasty, Distillers, and Misfits records, but shackling shyness and negative voices in her head held her back from sharing her music. Yet pain and a desire to connect spurred her on. Today, she emerges with her band How Tragic and a visceral and vulnerable debut 4-song EP,
Past Lives.

Stream Past Lives here

“I always felt this pull to be onstage. It’s never been an adulation thing; I don’t need superstar attention. I just felt there were things working through me that I needed to share, but I had to fight through a lot of insecurity and fear to open up,” Paige shares.
The name How Tragic is friskily dualistic. “I operate from this melodramatic sensibility,
so the name can be interpreted as eye-rolling emotional, like ‘how f@$#-in’ tragic,’ or it can be like ‘these feelings are really painful and hard for me.’ I’m on the fence about the true meaning of the name,” Paige says with a good-natured laugh. How Tragic songs are tight and tuneful, and teem with cathartic hooks, buzz saw guitars, pummeling drums, and rubbery basslines. As a vocalist, Paige is emotionally dynamic; her range encompasses chilling-but-sensual phrasing, raspy and impassioned singing, gruff punk rock shouting, and powerhouse belting. Her lyrics are couched in personal revelation and empowerment. She writes poetically and playfully, baring her heart with clever turns of phrases, kitschy horror-punk imagery, and brazen sensitivity.
How Tragic tunes would fit comfortably on a Spotify playlist alongside artists such as L7, Lunachicks, Hole, The Distillers, The Gits, The Misfits, and The Descendents.

Directed by Kirsten Bode
Creative Direction Paige Campbell
Vibe Master Amy Van Doran
Video Editing by Sonny Ratcliff

Past Lives is aptly-titled because it contains the first four songs Paige ever wrote—tunes beamed from previous realms. The EP bursts forth with opener, “Deathwish,” a vengeful done-wrong-anthem with a soaring chorus and sweetly viscous B movie thriller imagery, including lyrics such as: Most gorgeous thing I ever sawed/The best love stories have scars and flaws.

Photo By Kirsten Bode

Paige co-produced the Past Lives EP alongside producer, engineer, and mixer Matt Chiaravelle (Courtney Love, Debbie Harry, Warren Zevon) at Flux Studios and Mercy Sound Studios. It was mastered by Grammy-nominated mastering engineer Joe Lambert. Up next, Paige will be releasing videos and singles, and playing shows and writing music with a newly-formed quartet of musicians that are now How Tragic. How Tragic is currently unsigned and looking for a label.

Find How Tragic

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The UK’s Flyte are excited to release a new single “Easy Tiger,” out today via Island Records. It marks the first bit of new music from the band since last fall’s White Roses EP. Recorded in Los Angeles, “Easy Tiger” feels timeless while rooted in the now it punctuates Flyte’s old school approach to songwriting with modern touches. It was written during a particularly raw period of time; lead singer of Flyte Will Taylor recorded a 20-minute voice-note about a painful breakup, as a warning to himself to “buckle up and get ready for a really shit time.” A startlingly frank yet beautifully poignant song, “Easy Tiger” was recorded with producer Justin Raisen (Angel Olsen, Ariel Pink) and Ali Chant(Aldous Harding) on mixing duties. The single immediately caught the attention of Mark Jenkin, the BAFTA-winning British director (Bait). During quarantine, Will and Mark started work on a music video, Mark’s trademark use of hand-processed and physically edited film serving as the perfect solution to the current limitations of film making during COVID

Of the video Jenkin says, “The challenge was to make something that felt amorphous – to create something that has a tactile feel to it, is a single artifact, something that feels like a found film and something that is timeless, abstract and unidentifiable in some ways. For me, what’s exciting is those limitations – this is where my strength is, the great unknown.” Will notes, “When I wrote ‘Easy Tiger’ I was exorcising shame, heartbreak, jealously; almost impossible emotions to process, I almost regretted writing it. There’s a darkness and an emotional brashness to Mark’s work that suited the song perfectly. It would have been hard to trust anyone else with it.”

Flyte is Taylor (vox, guitar), Jon Supran (drums, vox) and Nicolas Hill (bass, vox). “Easy Tiger, ”an ethereal and serene track, includes an eerie ambient backdrop and string accompaniment via Derek Stein (Grammy-nominated Wild Up, Yves Tumor) who adds a layer of depth.

In late 2018 Flyte were riding high off a successful US tour and a string of well received releases including their breakthrough LP The Loved Ones. The band began the process of writing a follow-up, which became the White Roses EP. Following that release Flyte embarked on an extensive US tour with Jade Bird, where the band recorded covers from artists linked to American cities from Nashville to Chicago; Judy Collins to Elliot Smith, which they have reposted as odes to live music during quarantine; “Almost every state had an artist we truly loved who was from there,” Will said in a recent interview with Evening Standard.

Photo By: Sequoia Ziff

Despite that success, the months following were wrought with behind-the-scenes turmoil including personal issues, break-ups and even the exit of founding keyboardist/guitarist Sam Berridge. After some retooling and reflection Flyte refocused their efforts on a new batch of material that would channel those recent feelings of loss, regret and catharsis towards the studio in early 2020.

The decision to record the new material in Los Angeles was born from a desire for a fresh start and self-imposed “musical rehab.” Will notes, “We had been in London for all of our life and with all the recent changes, we wanted a new start somewhere. We felt that a lot of our favorite music was coming out of New York and LA lately, and I think there was an edge and slight darkness about the songs because Los Angeles is sort of alienating in so many ways. There’s also something very restful and retrospective about being in a new city that we didn’t know.”

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Ian Mellencamp releases a new single from quarantine called “Love in the Afternoon.” The singer-songwriter/producer reaches back into the electronic realm with thick bass synths and swirling pads atop brooding drums, guitar, and piano. 

“Love in the Afternoon” blurs the line between the romantic and the erotic with a longing for the human touch. It is a dark yet hopeful motto for these unique times. Ian asks us to take a break from our stresses and anxieties and to release our overworked, overstimulated selves. He encourages us to take advantage of our isolation and connect intimately with our partners and lovers; to drop everything once in a while and just “make love in the afternoon.”

Tonight 5/15 at 6:25 pm ET Ian Mellencamp performs Live with special guest Jazmin Grace Grimaldi⁠ on our own Alice Tea Party!

Bands play 20-minute sets + a “virtual” tip jar so you can support our musicians

10% goes to Music Cares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Register now using the link below or Catch us On Twitch !

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