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Enjoy a First Listen to Andrew Delaney’s New Album, ‘The Villain Is Right!’ [Premiere]

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Unconventional is how you may think of musician Andrew Delaney. There are few artists capable of alternating seamlessly between droll and more serious moments, but the singer-songwriter has practically mastered this art on his brand new album The Villain Is Right!. Due out on February 19th, Delaney has no problem indulging in the awkward, nerdy moments of his past, and there is no hesitance from him when it’s time to make light of the serious side of life.

There’s an absurdist tone to the album that’s mended throughout its eleven tracks, which makes for an interesting listen full of unexpected moments. For example’s sake, album closer “Nonsense” is a direct account of Delaney’s battle with the worst of depression. Based on its subject matter, you would assume this is a weighty song for him, but it has a comedic tone to it, with Delaney sounding like he’s having a grand old time over a lighthearted mix of indie and folk-rock.

Explaining the context of The Villain Is Right! and its broader significance, Delaney told us, “I feel like the album is about me coaching myself (and hopefully like-minded others) through tough subjects by breaking them down into smaller elements or examining them through the lens of the things that I love (monsters and horror movies and weird history and wordplay and absurdity). It’s meant to be humorous but not entirely comedic. I’m not a very serious person, but I wear black all the time and walk around with a mostly blank expression and suffer from bouts of depression. I think this album is about me saying to people, ‘See! I’m fun!’ despite all the outward evidence to the contrary.

I love drama in my art. That phrase ‘the villain is right!’ struck me as super melodramatic. I want to say it with wide eyes and flailing limbs. Also, I identify a lot with villain characters. Like Batman’s villains are always more interesting than Batman. So I like stories where the villain is well-defined and has human motivations and is justified in some way in what they’re doing. So their ideas are sound and their intentions are good, but their methods make them the bad guy. Mustache-twirling, evil-for-evil’s sake villains are boring.”

Co-produced by Delaney along with Justin Farren, The Villain Is Right! finds Delaney more openly embracing electric guitars and an alternative sound, as compared to his more twangy, folksy roots that are more apparent on his earlier albums, 2018’s Whatever Still Remains, 2017’s The Escape Artist, and 2015’s Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted. The Villain Is Right! was mostly recorded last summer when the COVID-19 pandemic offered Delaney a lot of free time to write and record. Although they weren’t able to collaborate in person, the record does feature some special guest stars, including Emerald Rae, Josh Blue, and Tracy Walton, who all contributed their parts remotely from their homes.

Heavily inspired by the songwriting and performance styles of Tom Waits and James McMurtry, Delaney comes across as both dynamic, unpredictable, and intelligent. With his wit, candour, and charming eccentricities, there are few artists as fascinating and engaging as Andrew Delaney.

The Villain Is Right! Track Listing:

1. …meanwhile
2. Napoleon (3,000 Measly Dollars)
3. Giallo
4. Astronauts
5. Godzilla vs. King Kong (1962)
6. Feels Like It’s True
7. The Pamphlet Explains It All
8. Home
9. Jim
10. In There Somewhere
11. Nonsense

Artwork for ‘The Villain is Right!’ by Andrew Delaney

Album Review

The Western Civilization – ‘Fractions of a Whole’ [Album Review]

The Western Civilization delivers expressive vocals and a wealth of stylistic aromas with an existential richness on ‘Fractions of a Whole.’

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The Western Civilization ‘Fractions of a Whole’ album artwork
The Western Civilization ‘Fractions of a Whole’ album artwork

It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Applied to Texas-based indie-rock outfit The Western Civilization, the adage refers to the chemistry between Rachel Hansbro and Reggie O’Farrell, a chemistry on display in their recently released album, Fractions of a Whole.

Speaking about the album, Hansbro says, “The new songs were inspired by the amazing people who are part of my chosen family. Reggie has always been good at reminding me of the positive things. (He is) another voice saying, ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay.’”

Reggie O’Farrell and Rachel Hansbro first met while playing in separate bands. A friendship developed, resulting in two albums and performances at the Vans Warped Tour, SXSW, Halifax Pop Explosion, and, most importantly, an artistic alliance that survived a variety of obstacles.

Revolving around Hansbro and O’Farrell, The Western Civilization is a collaborative project with a rotating cast of musicians and collaborators who expose the actuality of Aristotle’s dictum.

The album opens with “Noctambulism,” a floating, folk-rock song with hints of Americana flowing through it. Driven by a sparkling piano topped by the voices of Hansbro and O’Farrell merging, the melody wafts and undulates like drifting clouds across the sky.

High points embrace “Bible Verses for Kids,” which reveals elusive Celtic flavors, a bit like The Cranberries. A rolling snare gives the rhythm a galloping motion as layered harmonies infuse the lyrics with choir-like textures verging on grandness.

A personal favorite because of Hansbro’s deliciously casual vocals, “Fool” resembles a child’s nursery rhyme reimagined as indie-rock – dreamy, drawling, almost discordant vocals riding over loose, garage rock harmonics. The imperfect, raggedy feel of the tune makes it wondrously genuine and gratifying.

Proselytism,” the closing track, travels on light, migrant surfaces as Hansbro’s soft, breathy vocals imbue the lyrics with subtle, eccentric whimsy, a kind of didactic reflection.

Expressive vocals, along with a wealth of stylistic aromas, invest Fractions of a Whole with an existential richness.

The Western Civilization in 2022, photo by Jack Potts

The Western Civilization in 2022, photo by Jack Potts

Fractions of a Whole Track Listing:

1. Noctambulism
2. Stitches (read our song review)
3. Bible Verses for Kids
4. She’s by the Sea
5. If You’re Lucky
6. Fool
7. My Mess
8. The Snake and The Saint
9. The Ocean’s on the Rise
10. Proselytism

Run Time: 42:18
Release Date: February 16, 2024
Record Label: Independent

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Alternative/Rock

Lovin’ Life Music Fest Drops First Year Lineup

Lovin’ Life Music Fest dropped their official lineup this week, and it is exceptional. The festival’s will occur on May 3-5th, 2024, in North Carolina.

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Lovin’ Life Music Fest 2024
Lovin’ Life Music Fest 2024

Lovin’ Life Music Fest dropped their official lineup this week, and it is exceptional. The festival’s first-ever installment will occur on May 3-5th, 2024, in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. The star-studded lineup includes headline sets from Post Malone, Noah Kahan, and Stevie Nicks. From headliners alone, we can tell this festival has something for everyone.

The festival will showcase many popular acts spanning various genres and generations. Supporting acts include Maggie Rogers, Dominic Fike, The Fray, The Chainsmokers, Quinn XCII, Mt. Joy, Young the Giant, and NC’s DaBaby and The Avett Brothers. There will also be a local stage to highlight Charlotte’s own artists throughout the weekend. This is one of the most stacked lineups we’ve seen for the 2024 festival season.

Tickets to Lovin’ Life are on sale now! Grab them while you can; this is sure to be an epic weekend!

Lovin’ Life Music Fest 2024 poster

Lovin’ Life Music Fest 2024 poster

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Indie

George Alley Shares Single & Video for “Just Leave Me Dreaming”

George Alley shares his latest single, “Just Leave Me Dreaming,” and it is accompanied by a stunning music video to support.

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George Alley, photo by Adam Peditto
George Alley, photo by Adam Peditto

George Alley is a Philadelphia-based multi-media artist whose music has been the center of his work as a composer, performer, professor, journalist podcaster, choreographer and curator. He is sharing his latest drop single, “Just Leave Me Dreaming,” and it is accompanied by a stunning music video.

First forming a band in high school with Frank Musarra of Hearts of Darknesses, whom he continues to collaborate with on this upcoming album, Alley has been releasing singles, performing and using his original music for performance and dance pieces as part of his company Alley Ink. Performance has informed his work either in his music video collaborations with Adam Peditto or as a curator for 5 years of the Philadelphia Multimedia Arts Festival Collage.

He is a frequent music contributor for the UK-based LGBT pop culture Loverboy Magazine. Interviewing a variety of notable musicians. As well as a podcaster for the top-ten iTunes comedy podcast “I’m Going to Kill You!” And The pandemic cast “Queerona.”

As a professor, he teaches courses on punk and creativity. This work informs his music through an emphasis on the DIY ethos and the philosophies of chance, spontaneity and assemblage.

After the release of a digital-only remade version of his 2017 single, Just Leave Me Dreaming, this February. Alley will be releasing his self-titled debut album, George Alley, this spring. Produced by Ian Romer with additional production from Frank Musarra, it also features musical contributions from Norma Alley (vocals), Eric Coyne (cello), Sasha Ki (violin, viola), Russel Kotchner (violin), Jack Reilly (drums), Alec Spiegelman (saxophone), and Branson Yeast (cello).

To accompany this release, a 5-song concert has been filmed and will be released along with 3 promotional music videos. A collectible run of 500 albums will be available on “transparent root beer” vinyl pressed by Gottagroove Records. Find more information and performance dates on George’s official website.

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