Spiritual guidance…

‘An Overview on Phenomenal Nature’ by Cassandra Jenkins

Cover photograph by Ole Brodersen

Released today, ‘An Overview on Phenomenal Nature’ (Ba Da Bing!) is the stunning new album from native New York songwriter Cassandra Jenkins. In the eight years since the release of her captivating and haunting debut ‘EP’, Jenkins has released a handful of self-released singles and live EP’s, including 2017’s debut album ‘Play Till You Win‘ (Cassandra Complex), which featured a cast of collaborators, including Jenkins’ brother and sister. On her acclaimed debut, Jenkins honed in on the elegantly lush sounds of cosmic Americana, alongside a nod to George Harrison’s 70’s slide guitar sound. The music and songwriting on ‘Play Till You Win’ was accomplished and dreamlike in the arrangements and instrumentation, matched with some lovely southern soul-pop production.    

On ‘An Overview on Phenomenal Nature’, Jenkins took a discerning approach to make her new record, starting with a handful of unfinished song ideas and taking them to multi-instrumentalist producer Josh Kaufman‘s (This Is The Kit, The Hold Steady) studio. In a week of finishing ideas and writing, they produced a captivating album that is understated yet confident and fully realised. The sophomore album opens with the first single, ‘Michelangelo‘ and lyrically, the track sets the bar for the rest of the album, which features some of Jenkins most crushing songwriting to date. The first verse is packed with introspective lyrics, ‘There’s a fly above my head waiting for the day I drop dead’. Jenkins intimate voice is the first instrument to be heard on the album, and it captivates from the start. A brief and collected fuzzy guitar solo sits nicely in the slow-burning indie rock song which has a mellow country feel, similar to ‘Harvest’ era Neil Young.  

On ‘New Bikini’, the laidback shuffling of drums and shimmering saxophone complements a memory of personal mourning. Jenkins’ takes the advice of friends and later advises a friend of ill health to jump in the ocean, ‘the water, it cures everything’. The track is sublime and melancholic but hopeful. ‘Ambiguous Norway‘ is another moving sentiment for anyone who has lost love or a loved one. In this case, as in ‘New Bikini’, David Berman’s passing influences the lyrical content, ‘You’re gone, you’re everywhere’, Jenkins was to go on tour with Berman’s Purple Mountains group before his untimely passing in 2019. The track is meditative and heavenly, as twinkling synths and yearning strings float behind the singer’s whispering vocals.  

The second single, ‘Hard Drive‘, is something of a miniature opus that will undoubtedly be the track that claims the album and makes the best of lists of 2021. A novel and natural spoken word and conversational style of songwriting weave into a track with breezy flourishes of saxophone echoing ‘Kaputt’ era Destroyer. The track is wide open and rich with a cast of characters, including the ‘overview’ of an exhibition from a security guard in red lipstick. The singers perfectly pronounced New York accent fits the storytelling narration as the track drifts along and could go on forever. ‘Crosshairs‘ is a beautiful song that showcases Jenkins’ pop songwriting sensibilities and delicate range, featuring acoustic guitar and piano, with lush instrumentation, which drops in and out, adding to the graceful production. Throughout the album, Jenkins’ expressive voice sits on top and inside each track, maintaining a pace and style that drips gently, singing with a breath.  

On ‘Hailey’ Jenkins sings and celebrates the power of a woman named ‘Hailey’ over a fingerpicking guitar accompanied by a synth drone which builds up slowly in the background. Closing the album is an immersive seven-minute instrumental/ambient sound art piece called ‘The Ramble’, which threads together the sounds featured throughout ‘… Phenomenal Nature’ including saxophone, flutes, synths and field recordings of birds.    

‘… Phenomenal Nature’ arrives just under four years since her debut release. In that time, Jenkins has played across the USA, performing solo and with a revolving band and performing in several line ups such as Lola Kirke, Eleanor Friedberger and Craig Finn. The journey to this second album has been extensive, at times endless and weary. Jenkins has had to play the long game; however, she has knocked it out of the park, and it feels like stars have aligned with this release. With the world in a full-blown existential crisis, ‘An Overview on Phenomenal Nature’ nourishes the soul and resets the dials. On her sophomore release, Jenkins sounds like an artist in the moment, letting creativity and freedom pave the way. ‘… Phenomenal Nature’ is a highly recommended headphone listen. If you have the time to take it in, sit back and absorb the art of reflective emotion. 

For UK Dinked special edition, go here: dinkededition.co.uk/cassandra-jenkins-an-overview-on-phenomenal-nature and visit Bandcamp to stream and/or purchase your copy.

RANCHO RADIO

Subcity 17th February 2021

Artwork by Robin Roche.

Midday. Wednesday. Fortnightly. It’s El Rancho Radio on Subcity. This week is as always stacked with new music. This week we’ve got a heavy tilt on rippin’ guitars and frenzied rhythms, for about a third of the show at least. I’m probably fixing on Beige Banquet, who have released ‘Beta‘ a post-punk, art-rock, Blitzkrieg Bop, sonic assault of a debut. Today you’ll hear ‘Cold Yoghurt’ from the tape release on the show which really kicks! There’s a strong DIY feel through today’s show, with lot’s of the music self recorded and produced. See Silicone Prairie, The Poppermost, Josephine & Hershguy, John Myrtle, Bobby Lee and cool Ghouls!

Check out the album below and pick up the digital copy to support the artist. Unfortunately the tape has sold out, but stay tuned surely someone is going to pick up on Beige Banquet.

Listen live today or listen back later https://www.subcity.org/shows/elrancho/

On today’s show…

Psymon Spine – Jumprope
Beige Banquet – Cold Yoghurt
Pom Poko – Andy Go To School
The Gorls – Tracie
Pushups – So Let Down
Josephine & Hershguy – Let’s Jet
Jake Elijah – I Knew Then
Silicone Prairie – Silicone Prairie
John Myrtle – Get Her Off My Mind
Holiday Ghosts – Mr. Herandi
Count Florida – HOT THINGS
The Poppermost – Well I Will
Bobby Lee – Fire Medicine Man
Cassandra Jenkins – Hard Drive
Lean Logic – Mother Machine
Ryley Walker – Rang Dizzy
Cool Ghouls – The Way I Made You Cry

THE WINTER’S ALMOST GONE…

‘Get Her Off My Mind’ by John Myrtle

Artwork by Caio Wheelhouse

Birmingham born, bedroom pop whizz-kid John Myrtle is back with snow melting new single ‘Get Her Off My Mind‘ (Sad Club Records). The single is a sweet 60’s psych-pop nugget that bounces along like the best, with great melodies and a charmingly catchy chorus. Recorded on a home tape recorder, the lo-fi process and vintage equipment is there in feel but its quality is sonically hi-fi. Like all the best singles, it’s joyfully over in 3 minutes, no filler. There’s a Merseybeat vibe, with Myrtles’ signing sounding upbeat even if he is weary in love. Who’s up for signing the petition to get the John Myrtle vaccine? A dose of this straight in the arm will sort out our winter blues, flues and boogaloos. Keep those long, sunny summer days and melting ice creams in sight, they’re only a few months away!

You can listen and purchase the new single ‘Get Her Off My Mind‘ on Bandcamp today.

Watch the video below

POP MUTATIONS 2021

Artwork by Raissa Pardini

Pop Mutations are dusting down and getting back in the ring for 2021! On Saturday 20th March 2021 we are going virtual again, hosting an eclectic mix of local and international artists, bands and DJs as well as talks, art, food and yoga.

@popmutations are excited to unveil exclusive performance streams from… Al White,​ ​Apostille, Bobby Kakouris, Cabbage Arts, Cassandra Jenkins, Chizu Nnnamdi, Constant Bop, Count Florida, Edwin Stevens, Fast Muzik, Fiona Moonchild, Fuse (feat. Dija, Kleft, Plantainchipps & Vaj.Power), Gavin Thomson, GLARC, Glove, Holiday Ghosts, Jolan Lewis, Junglehussi, Lilith Ai, Michal Turtle, Miss Grit, Nightshift, Pearl Charles, Pleasure Pool, Poisonous Relationship, Rachel Lena, Bonner (Shoot Yr Shot), Spang Sisters, Third Ear, The Orielles DJ Set, The Pink Pound, The Space Lady, Trasho Biblio, U.S. Highball, Vivarium Sounds, WomenSaid, 16 Years: Gigs In Scotland 1974-1990 Q&A w/ Chris Brickley & Fiona Shepard.

This event will only be accessible with a ticket. Tickets are £8 (+bf) and available now from popmutations.com. Pop Mutations operates as a not for profit, with all ticket sales going directly to the artists. The event will only broadcast via popmutations.com

GLAM, BAM, THANK YOU MA’AM!

‘Let’s Jet’/’Futz’ by Josephine & Hershguy

“Mother and Daughter with Ice Cream” by Yuri Krasny

From the glammy, powerpop, rock n’ roll world of DIG! Records come Josephine & Hershguy. The pair are known for their involvement in NYC DIY groups; Brower, Dirty Fences and Velveteen Rabbit (add Kansas City’s The Whiffs and Chicago’s The Rubs and we’ve got our dream gig. How about a Union Pool Covid comeback gig 2022?!). ‘Let’s Jet’ is the first track to drop from the forthcoming album ‘Stocky Tunes’, and it’s a socially distanced, good time stomper. It’s two and a half minutes of strutting Milk ‘n’ Cookies glam pop, with riffing guitars and sugar candy camp vocals. The other available track to stream ahead of the album release is ‘Futz’, a miniature lo-fi opus à la The Quick doing nursery rhyme Ramones. The album promises “a celebratory rock’n’roll smorgasbord of far-reaching sounds and sonic bedlam”, which sounds like a helluva lot of fun and we’re ready!

Check out ‘Let’s Jet’ and ‘Futz’ below and preorder from Bandcamp

ALSO, Check out the pop gems that is Josephine’s album ‘Music Is Easy‘ and Hershguy’s ‘Poprocks‘ EP both released in 2020. These will kill you with classic brill building to Beach Boys pop, vintage sounding 60’s and 70’s AOR FM/AM hits, snappy, lo-fi drum machines, pop hooks and nonsense fun, and that’s what you need even if you don’t know it!