Flashpot Moments make a fine mess, Prince Johnny sings for his supper, Sleepspent sound off, David Quinn hits the trail and Actor make a scene in today’s offerings from SubmitHub, the site where artists pay a small fee to send songs to reviewers like me. If you’d like to try to get in on that action, my page is here. But I warn you: The lineup is pretty long.
1 Flashpot Moments
Let’s be honest: Almost nobody has their act together. Not me, that’s for sure. And certainly not the couple of amateur drunken chefs who star in this video for Flashpot Moments’ indie firecracker Messy. In fact, the only person involved in this whole affair who really seems to know what their doing is singer-guitarist Tim Cawley, who capably combines a solid beat, a crunchy riff and a strong melody into a standout pop-rocker that balances brawn, brains and beauty. Plus, it’s way tastier than that cake every could be.
2 Prince Johnny
I’ve seen my share of subway performers over the decades. But I don’t remember any of them having either the skills, talent or personality that Prince Johnny — a.k.a. Soviet-born glam troubadour Victor Kholod — shows in the subterranean video for his bouncy, boisterous gypsy jazz-meets-cabaret folk gem Gullible. And let’s not even get into the wardrobe changes and backing band. I’d definitely put some change into his guitar case if I were you. Fun fact: The clip was filmed on the exact spot where he first busked in the Big Apple. So you can go home again.
One man’s noise is another man’s music. But it’s impossible to imagine anyone describing Sleepspent’s Noise as, well, noise. The El Paso trio’s dynamic, driving and passionate track owes far more to the ’90s Brit-rock of The Cure and Smiths than it does to anything coming out of the Lone Star State. It arrives grounded by a solid yet serpentine dance-rock groove and a post-punky bassline that bolster guitars that toggle between glistening and angry, while frontman Austin North’s vocals evolve from restrained to soaring, moving in synch with his achingly personal lyrics about life in and out of the closet as a gay man. They keep this up, they’ll be making a big noise in more ways than one. And in more places than Texas.
4 David Quinn
David Quinn has been everywhere, man. Born near Chicago but based in California, the singer-songwriter has followed in the footsteps of countless folk troubadours by roaming the countryside in search of magic. He finds it in the road-trip/train-song tale Grassy Trails, a home-brewed slug of boom-chikka two-step country sweetened with steel guitar and topped with his warm, dusty drawl. All aboard.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Who better to put together an experimental musical collage called Actors than the Chicago collective known as Actor? But make no mistake: This is no amateur production. The low-grade fever-dream cut is creatively and carefully assembled from fame-centric interview quotes by thespians like Dave Chapelle, Michael Caine and others— all set to a low-rolling tom-tom groove, a melodic bassline, lightly serrated guitars and atmospheric synths. Enjoy the show.