THE MIX | Some Kind of Lunatic
05.07.18 | It's a melodramatic, white-hot, stormy summer's night. Maybe you've just had your heart broken. Maybe you just feel like being alone. Like dancing alone and yelling into the night. Maybe you and your best friend or lover know each other well enough to drink endless wine and just listen. Whatever your freedom—you're alive and unbridled and euphoric and alone, flying through the rain. This is the soundtrack.
"Champion of Love" is the title track from Nyssa's debut EP. The accompanying video is a "bizarro Dionysian exultation—a puckish takedown of sterile adulthood" that serves as a preview of what's to come on the EP.
Champion of Love evades classification inhabiting a place where power-pop, punk, soul, glam, disco, and country all combined, to create a glitter-soaked explosion. Nyssa helmed the production and arrangements, while enlisting AL-P (MSTRKRFT) for co-production, Ben Reinhartz (Dilly Dally) on drums, and Jeff McMurrich (Idée Fixe Records) to mix.
- Host: "LUK"
- Suicide: "JOHNNY"
- Gino Washington: "PUPPET ON A STRING"
- Sinead O'Connor: "TROY"
- The Psychedelic Furs: "LOVE MY WAY"
- Lisa Dal Bello: "GONNA GET CLOSE TO YOU"
- Ice Cream: "DRESS ME UP"
- Bruce Springsteen: "BORN IN THE USA (demo version)"
- U.S Girls: "L-OVER"
- ABBA: "FERNANDO"
Host is the musical endeavor of my partner's old hometown friend, Alex Maddalena. He's operating way under the radar at the moment and it's a crying shame. This song sounds like flight. I feel like I'm whipping over mountains at break-neck speed while I'm listening to it—like an untouchable witch on the way to a bonfire half-way across the world.
The biggest thing I look for when I'm listening to music is the suggestion of setting. Where does the music take place? What does it look like there? Who's there? With Suicide it's a dungeon-party where the space/time continuum has collapsed. de Sade and Lou Reed and Link Wray are all hanging out and it's Paris in the 1890's and it's New York in the 70's and it's the South in the 50's and Alan Vega is the leather-masked architect behind the whole subterranean enchantment.
"PUPPET ON A STRING"
I was introduced to Gino Washington via the Detroit Cobras back in high school. Gino is an underrated soul legend and this is one of his standout beauties—singularly eerie and unsettling. I'm also super into tracks that pile on the percussion—and this one's king.
Hands down, this is my favourite song of all time. The love I have for this song is on par with the way I love my favourite books and movies—Sinead somehow manages to create an entire world of hurt and fantasy and rain/rage-drenched scenery in a span of under 7 minutes. I can't imagine a song ever hitting me in quite the same way again.
"LOVE MY WAY"
Soundtracks have always played a defining role in my musical tastes. There's nothing quite like the magic stirred up when song and onscreen moment perfectly synthesize sound, meaning, and vision. I inherited the Psychedelic Furs as a favourite band from my mom. 'Heaven' was always my favourite track of theirs until i saw Call Me By Your Name and it all shifted. The meaning that this song has for the characters in the movie, and the depiction of two beautiful summer nights made more beautiful by this song's impromptu appearance, have led me to a whole new euphoric appreciation of it.
"GONNA GET CLOSE TO YOU"
This song develops just like my favourite kind of movie—it's a full on erotic thriller-style portrait of a uniquely feminine descent into paranoia/hysteria/madness. Dal Bello is an unsung Canadian hero(ine) that deserves rediscovery. The production and performance on this are completely insane. Think unhinged Prince meets Single White Female. Massive track.
"DRESS ME UP"
Ice Cream are one of my favourite local bands. They're world-builders and their world is weird and cold and metallic and robotic while also feeling sexually liberating. This song is like some kind of alternate future of the 1980's that saw the uprising of female androids and their subsequent world domination. Oh, and I'm playing with them May 17 at The Baby G Toronto, opening up for Negative Gemini!
"BORN IN THE USA" (demo version)
It's a classic music snob move—"have you HEARD the unreleased demo version, though??"—but, in this case, it's well worth the risk of appearing highfalutin'. This acoustic 'Nebraska'-era version of the gargantuan hit is one of the most haunting tracks in the Boss-cannon. Listen to it on the highway at night with only the headlights and a one-track-mind to light yr way.
U.S. girls are my favourite current band—I'm truly obsessed with the latest album. Every song feels like a portal into a world where the female-driven pop narrative of the past 50 years was actually given the free rein to explore and tell the stories it was forced to shy away from—no matter how dark or scandalous or thorny or twisted. Meg Remy is one of the most important songwriters working today. She's just about unparalleled for nailing quiet, biting rage and synthesizing it into pop-mastery. This is my favourite track on the album.
ABBA are making a comeback this year. It seems weird to call it a comeback, though, since they're so ingrained in my daily existence (and that of just about everybody), it's like they're part of me on a molecular level. I picked this GOLD nugget because I'm a sucker for tin whistle and Celtic flavour, and it was my favourite to compose elaborate bedroom choreography to as a kid. Also, melodramatic delivery/content in pop has become solely underrated. ABBA 4ever.
Nyssa - Champion of Love
Dan Victor is editor of Popdust and producer of Popdust Presents. He is also a music producer, bassist for Low Profile (live hip hop) & The Coldpress (indie rap) and front-man for Ductape Halo (indie rock). Follow on Youtube.
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