Frank Maston is out to have himself placed amongst Southern California’s elite studio autéurs on “Messages.” He’s got the texture of Spector shaken among the western twang of Morricone. It’s a style that sounds like isolation and desolation in a dystopian future, which is exactly what we get from the “Messages” video. A traveler with not much time lost in a desert experiencing a nuclear winter.
Brass, woodwinds, organs and piano mix with haunting melodies and eerie guitar lines on Shadows and Pitchfork premiered the first single, “Young Hearts.” Maston announces a run of US tour dates including a pass through this years’ SXSW Festival.
More info and tour dates below!
Maston Tour Dates
Feb 12 – The Smell – LA, CA
w/ Charlyne Yi, Norse Horse, Jung Bouquet
Feb 16 – Origami Vinyl – LA, CA
March 9 – Pehrspace – LA, CA
March 12 – TLMS – Tucson, AZ
w/ Resonars, Peach Kelli Pop
March 13 – Trainyard – Las Cruces, NM
March 15 – Spring Break Boogie – Austin, TX
Trouble in Mind Party
March 18 – Stone Fox – Nashville, TN
March 19 – Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH
March 20 – Garden Bowl – Detroit, MI
March 21 – Quarters – Milwaukee, WI
March 22 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
March 23 – Replay Lounge – Lawrence, KS
Praise for Maston
On “Young Hearts,” he seamlessly moves from spooky organ jabs to sweet harpsichord melodies while singing an unsettling love song. Throughout the track, he’s constantly altering dozens of layers– changing volumes, textures, and overall moods to craft an erratic, unpredictable composition with a sentimental pop song at its core.
A ( seeming ) one-man band project incorporating everything from vintage psychedelic pop to exotica, sixties space pop and Ennio Morricone style soundscapes, Frank Maston offers a uniquely cinematic take on psychedelia that should appeal to fans of Pepe Deluxe, Broadcast and Spindrift without really sounding a jot like any of them.
Their jangly yet fluid pop had no lacking of hooks pulling you in but it also had a dreamy and experimental cut to it. Add to that Frank Maston’s gentle, almost familial feeling vocals and it could be a pretty blissful soundtrack to a warm evening spent on the porch with a friend or two. I was pretty blown away by the performance and I’ve been a hard and fast fan ever since.
More on Maston
The sun-soaked hills of Southern California have inspired many a studio autéur – from Brian WIlson to Phil Spector to Harry Nilsson, each having paid tribute to California in song and craft. Frank Maston knows a little bit about craft (and Southern Cali to boot), having spent his youth in The Valley, absorbing the meticulously crafted discography of Msrs. Spector, Wilson, Bacharach and Morricone, all the while mentally re-scoring the music to old Prisoner episodes & other filmography from the sixties and seventies. Shadows is his first proper offering, having produced two solo cassette EPs since 2011 & coalesces the ideas sketched out in those releases with stunning results.
Imagine if David Lynch had set Twin Peaks in Malibu instead of the Northwest and you’ll start to peek inside the world of Maston. Brass, woodwinds, organs and piano mix with haunting melodies and eerie guitar lines that seem to spring forth from the very fingers of Alessandro Alessandroni himself. There are no artificial sounds on this record, and Maston plays them all himself (save the harp, played by Ana Caravelle), capturing the sounds naturally thru the warm embrace of true analog gear. From the sauntering “Young Hearts”, to slinky instrumentals like “King Conrad” and “Strange Rituals,” to urgent pop clatter of “Mirror” the album works as a whole because Frank Maston appreciates the historical musical tradition of 1960’s Los Angeles and the music succeeds without irony or pastiche. These songs are not reflections, but shadows. The first pressing of Shadows is pressed on 150gm, randomly mixed vinyl, includes a full-color insert and download code.
RIYL: Brian Wilson, Harry Nilsson, Animal Collective, Van Dyke Parks, Broadcast
More from Trouble in Mind
Started in Chicago in 2009 as a way to release 7″s with perfect pop songs, Trouble in Mind expanded their catalog of releases in 2011 with LPs from Mikal Cronin, Night Beats, The Wax Museums, The Paperhead and The Wrong Words! Check out this playlist with a track from each release plus a bonus track from the Apache Dropout 7″.
In 2012, Trouble in Mind’s exciting release schedule continues with new music from Apache Dropout, MMOSS, Woollen Kits, Estrogen Highs, Hollows, the Resonars, Fuzz, The Limiñanas and the return of the SXSW/Record Store Day 4-way covers split 7″ featuring exclusive cover songs performed by Mikal Cronin, The Liminanas, The Paperhead and Apache Dropout.
Trouble in Mind has releases in excellent record stores near you from Jeffrey Novak (Cheap Time), Alex Cuervo, The Limiñanas, Vermillion Sands, Wounded Lion, Personal & the Pizzas, The Wrong Words, Tropical Sleep, Sticks N Stones, Night Beats, The Hex Dispensers, The Mean Jeans, The Limiñanas, Hollows, Ty Segall, Tyler Jon Tyler, Wheels on Fire, Sonic Chicken 4, Charlie & the Moonhearts, The Fresh & Onlys and The White Wires delivering on their mission to put “the emphasis back on the music and prove that the 2 1/2 minute pop song is alive and well.”