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Track-by-Track: Shitty Person Dishes on Their Record ‘Dignity’

Shitty Person’s Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy joins us for a track-by-track feature discussing his distinctive and offbeat new record ‘Dignity.’

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Shitty Person, photo by Lauren Rodriguez
Shitty Person, photo by Lauren Rodriguez

Great records are always bolstered by great talent, like with the new Shitty Person EP Dignity. In a sense, this is just the solo project of songwriter Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy. But rather than guide the ship entirely alone, Thomas-Kennedy enlists the services of some true talent to help him write and record. Dignity features contributions from various musicians, most notably Tad Doyle, leader of the influential early grunge rock band TAD. Thomas-Kennedy recorded this album with Doyle at the latter’s home in Seattle. It also features the contributions of members of Master Musicians of Bukkake and Diminished Men. Various talented and reputable session musicians also contributed to this record, creating a handful of songs that meditate on shame and self-judgement.

Dignity is the follow-up to the Shitty Person debut Judgement, released back in 2018. Sonically, it is certainly a different record, but Thomas-Kennedy doesn’t want it to be viewed as a new direction. He has no real intention of etching out a defined sound or style for Shitty Person. He wants it to be a project that has no final form, one that has the freedom to move wherever he so pleases. Although his songwriting for this project tends to lean on the cynical side, there is a dash of hope within this release. After all, Thomas-Kennedy didn’t decide to title it Dignity for no reason.

Joining us today is Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy for an exclusive track-by-track rundown of Dignity, wherein he describes the origins and nature behind each song.

1. “Hedonistic”

Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy: “‘Hedonistic’ is the first new song I’ve written in years and the reason I was compelled to make this EP in the first place. Until vetoed by the rest of the band, it was originally called ‘Hedonistic Party Town,’ but neither title really does much to sum up its themes. My writing style tends to be stream of consciousness, but from what I can gather, the song is the story of a breakup with a phantom deity.

“Our protagonist trades his god for a life of immediate pleasure and in doing so stumbles upon a partner in crime. A love story emerges wherein a pair of lovers work to shed their maladaptive attempts at dopamine and rediscover each other in the process. It’s a heartwarming love story that manages to include the phrase ‘messy old fuck man.’ Classic Shitty Person.”

2. “Maurine”

“‘Maurine’ is one of the last songs I ever recorded with an old band I was in 20 years ago called The Ben Kennedys. Since it was never released, I was excited to tackle it with this crew. I guess it’s a love song too, but with a much sadder ending.

“Stylistically, it comes across as more wholesome than most Shitty Person material. But its acceptance of shame as the rightful victor over love brings that bummer-factor that this project savors so much.”

3. “Just Succeed”

“‘Just Succeed’ is from that same The Ben Kennedys era. It’s about the often misplaced anger brought on by a loved one’s failed suicide attempt. Like so much of this material, it was written from a misinformed part of the self that bypasses cognition and doesn’t have access to the full range of one’s value system. It’s always real, but not always right. It’s really just an attempt to make pain sounds as beautiful as possible. (Guitarist) Jim’s (Davis) solo still stabs me in the heart every time.”

4. “Clowns”

“‘Clowns’ is a cover of a brilliant song by Seattle’s University District legend Casey Snabel. No one else can make ‘dope souls fit’ seem like a perfectly reasonable thing to say. The earnest hope of this track feels eerily out of place on this EP, which I really like. (Cellist) Lori (Goldstone) and (vocalist) Allison (Eltrich) did an incredible job lushing out Casey’s staccato guitar writing style. And Simon (Henneman) honoured the source material’s melodica solo with a unique mastery that only he possesses.”

Shitty Person ‘Dignity’ album artwork

Shitty Person ‘Dignity’ album artwork

5. “Bottomhole”

“‘Bottomhole’ is a reimagining of the song ‘Butthole’ from our full-length debut album Judgement. It’s about the fact that the Judeo-Christian god acts like a dick constantly and everyone is just fine with it because he’s big or whatever. It may be a losing battle to go up against him; but it’s absurd to take that shit lying down. Nicole and (drummer) Dave (Abramson) bring loads of sluggish desperation to this one.”

6. “Dumbshit”

“‘Dumbshit’ is another reworking of a song from the full-length. Like ‘Hedonistic,’ it’s a study in self destruction as coping. This version removes the fun factor that the rock version has so that there can be room for more suffering. The song ends the EP with field recordings of actual suffering captured while I was getting my head stapled back together in the ER.”

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.

Alternative/Rock

Blueprint Music Studios Announces Rockstar Master Class with Simon Wright and Robert Sarzo

Musicians of all levels welcome Blueprint Music Studios, which is turning it up to 11 with experience in mastering the music industry.

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Blueprint Music Studios Master Clinic with Simon Wright (AC/DC) And Robert Sarzo (Queensrÿche)
Blueprint Music Studios Master Clinic with Simon Wright (AC/DC) And Robert Sarzo (Queensrÿche)

Musicians of all levels should mark their calendars. Blueprint Music Studios is turning it up to 11 with an electrifying, educational, and memorable experience in mastering the music industry. Join them for the highly anticipated Blueprint Master Clinic featuring legendary musicians Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio) and Robert Sarzo (Queensrÿche, Hurricane). RSVP today on Eventbrite

Blueprint Music Studios, known for its vibrant, rockstar clientele of musicians around Ventura and Los Angeles counties, is thrilled to introduce the Blueprint Master Classes series at its Westlake Village studio. Serving as the ultimate hub for artists of all genres and ages to nurture their creativity, Blueprint is kicking off its inaugural clinic on Sunday, March 3rd, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. This not-to-be-missed event will feature an intimate panel-format session led by music industry veterans Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio) and Robert “The VuDu Man” Sarzo (Ozzy, Hurricane, Interscope/Universal). The event is a collaboration between Blueprint Music Studios, Radford Media Group, and ReTune Wellness.

Dubbed the Blueprint “Rockstar” Master Class, this event promises attendees an immersive experience as Wright and Sarzo share invaluable insights gleaned from their illustrious careers. Hosted by Blueprint Studios owners Jasan Radford (ONESIDEZERO, CENTERSHIFT) and Ted Wenri (Bemus, CENTERSHIFT), the 5-hour class will delve into the essential elements of thriving in today’s music landscape, drawing from the mentors’ rich tapestry of successes and setbacks. With Wright’s four decades of drumming expertise and Sarzo’s iconic guitar prowess, participants are positioned to gain invaluable knowledge and inspiration to elevate their craft.

Blueprint Music Studios Master Clinic with Simon Wright (AC/DC) And Robert Sarzo (Queensrÿche)

Blueprint Music Studios Master Clinic with Simon Wright (AC/DC) And Robert Sarzo (Queensrÿche)

Event Co-partner, The Radford Media Group, is an all-inclusive music management and artist development company based out of Westlake Village. ReTune Wellness was founded by professional musicians, scientists, and board-certified doctors to provide specialized products for musicians. Since its inception in 2023, Blueprint Music Studios has emerged as a premier destination for musicians across various genres, providing a nurturing environment for practice and recording. From aspiring students to established artists, Blueprint’s dedicated team stands ready to support projects of all sizes, ensuring every artist’s vision comes to life.

Rockstar Master Class Itinerary:

– Attracting A&R and labels in today’s climate
– Best practice techniques
– Securing studio gigs
– Networking
– Marketing
– The dos and don’ts in 2024 for musicians
– How to excel at guitar and drums

Purchase Master Clinic tickets via Eventbrite

When – March 3rd, 2024
Where – Blueprint Studios
Time – 11:30 am – 4:30 pm PST
Cost – $299.99
Address – 31143 Via Colinas ##506 Westlake Village, CA 91362
Phone – 818.874.3090

Blueprint Music Studios Master Class flyer

Blueprint Music Studios Master Class flyer

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Album News

Three Second Kiss Releasing First LP in Twelve Years via Overdrive Records

Three Second Kiss is back after 12 years, the band sets out to release their newest LP, From Fire I Save The Flame later this year.

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Three Second Kiss, photo courtesy of Three Second Kiss
Three Second Kiss, photo courtesy of Three Second Kiss

This is not a self-celebratory message. This is not a reunion. This is not even a proper press kit. These lines are just to communicate details related to the production of a record. Because Three Second Kiss is back after 12 years with a new work. An infinite amount of time when compared to the times of the contemporary music market. A chasm. But what was up to Three Second Kiss?

“In fact, we never stopped.” comments the band, talking about what is about to become the new chapter in their career. Twelve years between their previous: “Nine tracks that do not pick up the band’s musical discourse where it was left off. At least to our ears it doesn’t sound the way we were.” stress the members of Three Second Kiss.

As active as the trio was initially, in 1993, Three Second Kiss is happy to share the details of their signing announcement:

“We are happy that this album is coming out on Overdrive Records. We believe that the people who work there are driven by a sincere passion for the most direct and incisive music. We got to know some members of this family and we think we share the same musical history; we grew up with the same sounds and a sincere and unmediated attitude towards the musical world.”

After all, the time issue has never been a concern for Three Second Kiss, who has always operated autonomously and independently. This time, however, time has run fast. And there is not much to say about that. The members stress:

“These are the pains (many) and joys of adult life. We stopped when life forced us to stop. We regained purpose and cohesion when environmental circumstances and harmony got flowing again. And from the chasm, we have risen again.”

Three Second Kiss would release their newest LP, From Fire I Save The Flame later this year. Follow the band on social media and subscribe to Overdrive Records to get all the newest details.

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Alternative/Rock

Sean Lafontaine Releases Electrifying Single “Sliver”

Sean Lafontaine, continues to carve his path through the rock landscape with the release of his electrifying single “Sliver.”

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Sean Lafontaine, photo by Sean Lafontaine
Sean Lafontaine, photo by Sean Lafontaine

Sean Lafontaine, the Detroit-born, Duluth-raised powerhouse musician, continues to carve his path through the rock landscape by releasing his electrifying single, “Sliver.” Serving as the second installment from his highly anticipated EP, Thorn, Sliver, Smolder, Lafontaine once again proves his prowess in delivering hard-hitting, adrenaline-pumping rock music that resonates with listeners across generations.

“Sliver” wastes no time in making its presence known, opening with the primal roar of a thunderstorm before erupting into a relentless torrent of driving hard rock. Seamlessly blending elements of classic rock with a contemporary edge, Lafontaine navigates through the song’s labyrinthine grooves, exuding a palpable sense of power and confidence with every chord struck and every beat hammered.

Following the success of his previous single “Thorn,” which made waves with its premiere on Canadian Beats, Lafontaine solidified his position as a force to be reckoned with in the rock scene. Drawing on his diverse musical influences and experiences, Lafontaine crafts a sonic journey that captivates the senses and leaves an indelible mark on the listener’s psyche.

“Sliver” is not merely a song; it’s a sonic tempest, a raw manifestation of Lafontaine’s unbridled passion and unwavering dedication to his craft. From its thunderous opening to its climactic conclusion, “Sliver” is a testament to Lafontaine’s ability to harness the raw energy of guitar-driven rock music and channel it into a transcendent auditory experience.

As Lafontaine teases audiences with glimpses of what’s to come from Thorn, Sliver, Smolder, anticipation reaches a fever pitch. With each release, Lafontaine proves himself to be a true rock maestro, forging ahead with an unyielding spirit and an insatiable hunger for musical innovation.

Sean Lafontaine "Sliver" single artwork

Sean Lafontaine “Sliver” single artwork

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