Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Midweek Three: Sinnet - Peppermint Heaven - Justin Sawicki

Sinnet - Houdini Hands.

Background - Aaron Spransy knows a thing or two about Midwest Manners. The Wisconsin native has been settled in Boston for some time now, playing around town as guitarist for indie-pop melody makers The Fatal Flaw, but his own musical vision recently crystallised with Sinnet. His two-mikes-and-a-laptop bedroom project now evolved into a full-fledged band. That fleshing out of sound nicely augments songs like Castlevania, a smooth-as-f66k electronic pop soul-sucker that's the lead single off, an eclectic collection of lush sounds and lively spirits on their e.p. Midwest Manners. - Mike Marotta / Boston Phoenix.

Sinnet brings to mind the dusty, stoic Midwest of Steinbeck and the "The Last Picture Show". This Boston group rips its way through a very studious, carefully arranged, and sometimes cathartic slew of inventive indie rock. - Matt Parish / Boston Globe. Sinnet has received airplay on Boston's WFNX and WMBR radio as well as features in the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, The Noise and The Weekly Dig! 

'Houdini Hands' is we are told, about indecision and the mysterious magic of love and commitment. Musically it is quite distinctive, the keyboards are a little reminiscent of The Doors, but there comparisons end. The video for this has a 'spooky, tongue in cheek' theme, however I just feel the song on it's own is something quite special.


Peppermint Heaven - I'll Be There For You.

Background - After cutting their teeth playing the Chicago indie club scene several years back, Peppermint Heaven aka Juno (Vocals, Keyboards) and Spark (Vocals, Bass, Drums) separately made the long trek from Chicago to LA eventually winding up together in the summer of 2011 when they began creating their own tasty brand of 80s-influenced indie pop, replete with heavenly harmonies, Juno’s delicious keyboard hooks and Spark’s inventive bass ‘n’ beats.

Taking their name from an obscure pre-Smiths Morrissey song, Peppermint Heaven found a home at indie band playground The Bedrock in LA’s storied Echo Park area and several months of playing, writing, recording, mixing, and honing their sound followed.  After a wintry trip to London in early 2013, the boys decided that the UK would be the perfect launching pad for the band. This made perfect sense, as many of their influences hail from the UK (Tears For Fears, Pet Shop Boys, Simple Minds, New Order, Howard Jones, Psychedelic Furs to name a few). 

Having unveiled their debut EP, the aptly titled The Delicious EP, last year, the band were thrilled with the loving response the record received, including a Top 10 placing on Music Week’s dance chart. Building on their earlier efforts, the band returned to the studio impassioned by the response.

With echoes of David Bowie, Morrissey, Erasure and Pet Shop Boys, but also boasting a distinctive Peppermint Heaven edge, the duo return with their ambitious debut album Precious Things. Hypnotic album opener Stranger Than Fiction is a clear demonstration of how the boys have raised their game. An intriguing dancefloor filler which sees Duran Duran meeting New Order, Spark and Juno show that they are plenty capable of reaching the arena highs of their musical idols. Journeying through the social comment of tantric The Cage That We Live In through to the uplifting breeze of The Girl I Used To Know and the irrepressible earworm Foreign Feeling (think Heaven 17), Precious Things is an ambitious debut that delivers what the duo have always promised – a big nostalgic 80s driven, contemporary pop record.

Unfortunately I cannot share anything from the forthcoming debut album as yet, however 'I'll Be There For You' is a reasonable introduction, for those new to the duo. What I will say is the album really builds on earlier work, and the comments above are pretty spot on music wise. Due for release on 29th January, I have a feeling they may well be in for a considerable amount of attention.


Justin Sawicki - Upsala Trees.

Background - Justin Sawicki has been active in the Hamilton Music Scene since 2003. In that time he has shared the stage with such acts as Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), Selina Martin, Tomi Swick, Tom Wilson, Terra Lightfoot, and Max Kerman (Arkells). In 2007 he recorded in Daniel Lanois’ legendary Grant Avenue Studio. In 2009 he won the Committee Award at the Hamilton Film and Music Festival, and in 2011 released his LP. The offering, Nothing For No One, has been described as "a portrait of an artist who loves to explore" and as being "eerily romantic and playful".  In 2012 the recording was nominated for Independent Album of the Year at the Hamilton Music Awards.

In December of 2015, Justin Sawicki, the songwriter's self-titled second album is set to be released. The most recent effort is more honed and mature with a strong focus on traditional roots rhythms and arrangements. This time, Sawicki offers uptempo numbers (Louise, Honey Bee), songs with humorous insight (I've Never Been a Farmer, The Polar Bear Song), and songs referencing obscure Canadian Geography (Upsala Trees). The album will have it's physical release on December 11 at the Artword Artbar in Hamilton, ON.

Taken from the new self titled album, the song 'Upsala Trees' really is just a glimpse, of some varied and very pleasing songs. There has been a considerable amount going on in Justin's life of recent times, however as an independent artist, the vast majority of delivering this album has been on his shoulders. That said musically and lyrically this is a mature piece of work, that in my opinion deserves to get noticed. Website here.


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