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INDIEcent Exposure #33: INTERVIEW —Kevin Connelly of Iron Age Mystics

PLUS: Six other artists you should be listening to.  * EXPLICIT *

Welcome, my INDIEcent legions of new music addicts, to episode number 33 of INDIEcent Exposure. I am you host the mongrel — every bit as INDIEcent on the inside as I am on the out. You may be wondering, ”What the hell have I signed up for with this episode? Is the mongrel going to push some history lesson on us? Nahhh…well, actually yes and no.

What I really have in store for you is the long-awaited conversation with Kevin Connelly, lyricist and lead singer of the Iron Age Mystics — a band that perfectly personifies my own pissed-offedness with the system, except that they manage to channel my rage against the machina into coherent, harmonic anthems of resistance. Genuinely ass-kicking, politically aware Rock ’n’ Roll is so rare these days, you may feel subversive just humming the melodies once they get stuck in your head.

In this Episode

Iron Age Mystics • “Save It for the Revolution” • Pride Before The Fall
Iron Age Mystics • “What Ya Gonna Do about It” • Pride Before The Fall
Tanya Gallagher • “Dark Side” • One Hand On My Heart
Brandon Perry • “Across the Way” • Night and Day
Pilgrim Speakeasy • “Plan D” • Freak Deco
Rad Trads • “My Place” • On Tap
Racoon Racoon • “Dawn Chorus” • The Dodo’s Nest
Marti West • “Give Me Light” • single

You can go back and read my review of their latest release, attached to Episode #29, but you’ll really get more out of hearing Connelly describe, in his own words, why the Iron Age Mystics have put out a collection of tracks almost guaranteed to put a watch order on their activities. The explanation is simple: freedom-loving artists have a responsibility to plant their art on the right side of history.

I’m going to do something kinda weird with this episode. I’ve never done this, but, because there’s kind of a flow to the discussion, instead of selecting some of the most delicious quotes my guest utters and sprinkling throughout the show (and Connelly utters rather a lot of very quotable things), instead of doing that, I’m going to play the first half of my conversation with Connelly during this episode. After you get finished with the episode, you’ll be plenty primed to hear more of our talk. kind of a method to the madness I know you’ll enjoy. I promise you: if our discussions of the military industrial complex and mass surveillance and warmed-over Machiavellian manipulation that we get into during the first half of the interview got your nads tingling, the second half of our discussion will convince you that the underground has returned and our jams are way better than anything oozing out of the MSM feeds. 

Before we take that deep dive down that political rabbit hole of empire and oppression, let’s get into the spirit of dissent with a track I thought about saving for later, but couldn’t muster the willpower, so let’s have a listen to “Save It for the Revolution” right here on INDIEcent Exposure.

Iron Age Mystics

Interview with Kevin Connelly

If you listened to the first half during the episode, continue at 22 minutes.

Remember to go back to listen to Part II of my conversation with Kevin Connelly via the embedded audio player in the show notes. Just look for the embedded player in the shownotes under the bands name. You can pick up right where we left off at just about 22 minutes in.

So…inspiring stuff, right? Kevin’s like a motivational speaker for dissidents. With vocal cords of steel. And there, threaded throughout the conversation is the implied question, “You see what’s at stake, now what are you going to do about it.” Well, the Iron Age Mystics aren’t going to assume that you’re good at taking hints, so here they are again, asking that very question, in this next track, “What Ya Gonna Do about It?”

Ahhh. Man. If I could manage to write an entire album like Pride Before the Fall, I’d be like “Mic Drop! Okay, where’s my check? That was my contribution to saving civilization — Imma go sit on a tropical beach now.”

Seriously though. These songs are food for the rebellion against authoritarianism that is, even now, spreading across the globe. So, yeah, absolutely click the link in the show notes to the Iron Age Mystic’s website. Absolutely pick up a copy of the album. But just as importantly, if these tunes quicken your blood and you find yourself saying, “Yeah. That’s right. Not one inch farther, motherfuckers,” then I urge you — share this music with friends who need an insurrection injection right about now. Remember, when you’re fighting psychological warfare, you need psychological defenses — Pride Before the Fall is like a musical mithril shield of sanity against the hourly onslaught of lies and horror.

I could go on, but seriously, listen to the rest of the interview, grab your copy of of the album, and experience it for yourself.

We turn now in the bottom half of the show to more music, and quite a bit of new music. We’ll hear a track off Brandon Perry’s new release, Night and Day, titled “Across the Way.”

Tanya Gallagher

First though, I am so happy to report that just this week, the good news showed up in my inbox that Tanya Gallagher has just dropped her second album, One Hand on My Heart. If you listen to our American Roots music podcast, the Cornbread Cafe, you’ve enjoyed some of her delicious songwriting and singing already in Episode #1 and Episode #8. No reason some of those tracks wouldn’t fit on INDIEcent Exposure, really, but with this album, I knew instantly that I had to spin a couple of songs here. A native of the Florida Panhandle, Gallagher moved to Vancouver, BC where she got her PhD in Forestry. We ran across her debut album, Virginia, right about the time she was getting ready to move back down South. 

And how time flies. Her time back home seems to have been good to her. The poetry of her new tunes are every bit as delectable, and some of them possess a clear-eyed edginess that suits her voice and guitar work really well. Let’s have a listen right now to “Dark Side” off One Hand on My Heart, from Tanya Gallagher.

Again, that was Tanya Gallagher, with “Dark Side” from her new album, One Hand on My Heart. Before that we heard “Across the Way” from Brandon Perry. We’ll be hearing more from both artists I can just about guarantee.

Brandon Perry

Details about him are pretty slim beyond the note “I hope you like guitars” in his press kit. He also runs Wandering Robot Studios in Austin, Texas, so if we have any listeners in that music epicenter, maybe you can give us a shout and doxx him a little for us. In a good way, though — we don’t want to know about any sordid dirt you may have on him. Again, that was Tanya Gallagher, with “Dark Side” from her new album, One Hand on My Heart. Before that we heard “Across the Way” from Brandon Perry. We’ll be hearing more from both artists I can just about guarantee.

In this next set, we’ll be hearing from one of my very best discoveries of 2018, the Rad Trads, who bring us “My Place” from their 2018 release, On Tap. And I’ll share some very exciting news for Indie music lovers in the Northeast this week after I spin that track.

Up next, though, we’ll hear from Pilgrim Speakeasy, a band that seems like it may have gone into hibernation since their 2016 release, Freak Deco. Billing themselves as “the World’s Foremost Eclecto-Funk-World-Rock-Electro-Folk-Anomaly,” Pilgrim Speakeasy hails from Finland and London and consists of Roger Roge, Panu Mölsä [Muhrlseh] (Bass, Ukulele), Markus Mulkahainen (Drums & Percussion). I think I’ve said it before — I’d need a daily podcast to cover all the amazing Indie music new that comes across my desk, but this band is really a delight the deserves to be heard. We’ll start with the track, “Plan D,” from Freak Deco and see if we can’t work in more tunes from them in upcoming episodes.

Pilgrim Speakeasy

Billing themselves as “the World’s Foremost Eclecto-Funk-World-Rock-Electro-Folk-Anomaly,” Pilgrim Speakeasy hails from Finland and London and consists of Roger Roge, Panu Mölsä [Muhrlseh] (Bass, Ukulele), Markus Mulkahainen (Drums & Percussion). I think I’ve said it before — I’d need a daily podcast to cover all the amazing Indie music new that comes across my desk, but this band is really a delight the deserves to be heard. We’ll start with the track, “Plan D,” from Freak Deco and see if we can’t work in more tunes from them in upcoming episodes.

“My Place” from the Rad Trads, off this past Autumn’s LP OnTap, released by Hornblow Recordings, a label that might ring a bell if you’re fan of Moon Hooch, whom  we’ve featured in the past. 

As they describe their music, it’s “rock n’ roll mixe[d] with punk rock energy, horn drenched soul, and jazz precision, all with a lighthearted but sincere delivery.”

Rad Trads

The Rad Trads explain in their bio that, “meeting at New York University in 2012 as conservatory-trained instrumentalists looking to play with NYC’s best musicians, twin brothers John (Drums, Vocals) and Michael Fatum (Trumpet, Vocals), Michael Harlen (Bass, Vocals), Alden Harris-McCoy (Guitar, Vocals), and Patrick Sargent (Keys, Saxophone, Vocals). They were, according to John Fatum, just “a bunch of buds looking to play the bars and drink for free,” at the time, according to John Fatum. “The Rad Trads,” he said, “started off with a bastardized jazz repertoire that was modified, on stage, into whatever seemed to get the audience moving.”

And here’s the great news — They’re on tour promoting On Tap right now, and if you’re in the Northeast, you have a few great chances to see them in mid-August (now I realize this is a podcast, and you may be listening to this show years from now, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s Summer of 2019 at the moment. If you’re listening much later than that, well, get your flux capacitor fixed and come back and join us). 

The closest show to you folks in our local audience is actually right at the edge of Greylock Nation in Athens, New York, which is just across the river from Hudson. Friday, August 16 finds the Rad Trads at the gorgeous Athens Riverfront Park playing a FREE show. That’s right, just show up. Honestly, a town with a river of any real size at all that doesn’t have a riverfront park is just missing the boat, amiright?

For a complete list of tour dates, links to their music, merch, and more, click the link in the show notes to get to the Rad Trads website. Oh, and for all you vinyl fans out there, a limited edition blue LP is available. And just an FYI, if you loved “My Place,” I might just be playing another track or two in the next episode, since I just happen to have an interview with the Rad Trads on deck and ready to go. 

The Rad Trads, LIVE in concert

Athens Riverfront Park
Athens, New York
Friday, August 16
FREE

That’s right you sassy high priestess, you! It IS just about time for a little attunuation. Maybe some attenuation, too, actually. This next artist came up on our radar by a stroke of serendipity. As I was arranging to feature a track from Anna Stine on Episode #14 of the Cornbread Cafe, I made the acquaintance of Léa Courty, together with her partner of 8 years, Léonard Bremond, perform as the chamber Folk duo, Raccoon Raccoon.

Racoon Racoon

This French couple have racked up an amazing collection of singles and EPs since they began composing together just three years ago. Their music falls within the Folk genre, but the Indie/Alternative sensibilities that weave in an out make them a perfect fit within the INDIEcent Exposure continuum.

I’ve got the tittle track to their second EP, “Dawn Chorus”, written in the heart of the Italian Alps and recorded in 2018 in Belgium with musicians from Brussels’ Philharmonic orchestra Thomas Fiorini (double bass) and Emile Verstraeten (violins and mandolin). I believe Raccoon Raccoon is based out of Los Angeles, Calif., these days, but whether that’s true or not, I haven’t come across a tour schedule, so I’ll have to shoot them an e-mail and ask if they have any dates coming up or if they’re going to wait until the release of their upcoming album.

We’ll wrap up this episode with Marti West, another Indie folk artist who’s really hard to shoehorn into a predefined sub-genre. Born in Massa Marittima, near Siena in Tuscany, the Italian-English songwriter spent his early years living in Italy where he was first exposed to music through local opera performances in the town piazza. 

Marti West

In 2016, West released his debut EP, Istanbul, and embarked on a UK tour, playing a string of venues across the south of England. He describes the songs as having been born out of an early exposure to the 1960’s folk tradition, with strong vocal harmony at the forefront. In 2017, West left England resettled in Gothenburg, Sweden and released the singles “Under the Weight” and “Feels Like Home,” which, he says, resonate with the northern landscapes and minimalist aesthetic of the Scandinavian lifestyle. In 2018, West’s mini-album, “VIII,” has steadily been expanding his reach within the folk world amassing over half a million streams to date.

This week, West releases his latest single “Give Me Light.” At once spare and sophisticated, this track has a classical, measured restraint that swells and surges with an emotional oscillation that feels vulnerable and true.

“I wrote this song about an early love – a dichotomy of excitement for what could be, and fear of somehow losing it. 

I’ll play you this track, “Give Me Light,” the day before it officially drops, but first, let’s hear “Dawn Chorus” from Raccoon Raccoon/

Is that not a perfect pair of new Folk tunes to end the show with? Delicious stuff.  Thank you all for tuning in once again. You can do us a huge favor by subscribing through Apple Music, Google Play: Music, and by leaving us five-star reviews and ratings everywhere you go. Until next time, why not buy yourself some INDIEcent music? You deserve it, and so do the artists.

Stay safe, be good to each other, and go easy on yourself.

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