Mapache share a video for single "What A Summer" - "a reflection on the times we are living through, and the sweet but aching trip back to flashes of life, the half waking half dreaming state in the early morning when memories bubble up unprompted in vivid detail - the sidewalks and houses on your walk to school, the inside of your dad's car, your first love."
"What A Summer" comes from the new and upcoming album Swinging Stars arriving August 18, 2023 an LP of calm, second-nature swagger - the natural result of a band that’s existed in one form or another for its founders’ entire adult lives.
Ahead of Sam Blasucci's forthcoming debut solo album, Off My Stars, the artist releases a video for the final album single "Every Night On the Farm." Blasucci says, "some words that come to mind are outdoors, tear, persona, queen, veins, and crescent. This song feels important to where I feel we are going."
Off My Stars arrives June 2, the LP is infused with an honest, personal perspective about settling into adult life—about developing as a person and a partner and a family member—it's a record with classic songbook sparkle inspired just as much by the music of Ronnie Wood and Sade as the films of Ingmar Bergman and writing of Brian Doyle.
Sam Blasucci, best known as one half of Mapache, a rock duo just as instantly recognizable for their elegant, intertwined guitar parts as they are for their devoted, Nudie-Suit wearing fanbase, shares a new video for second single "Sha La La" off his forthcoming debut solo LP Off My Stars.
Blasucci explains, "this song, originally entitled "Drag," was written in New Orleans in 2020 in our house on Napoleon right before hurricane Zeta. Major social issues were pounding at our doors at the same time as heavy wind and rain. Duct tape hanging from the ceiling and windows. It was a time of terror and bliss not unlike where the world hangs now. Some words that make me think of "Sha La La" are orange, willow, sweet-potato, strut, flame, and storm.
He continues about the video, "living in Ventura County, it seemed only natural that the band would roll into Skating Plus to give our new single "Sha La La" some wheels. Dan Horne and Molly Bremner grace us with surprise visits as well. Thank god nobody broke anything." The video was shot by Bryce Makela, edited by Sam Blasucci and features Dan Horne and Molly Bremner on skates, Bubba McNamara on sax, Rayla Johnson on bass, Steve Didelot on drums, and Stew Forgey on the Rhodes.
Sam Blasucci, best known as one half of Mapache, a duo just as instantly recognizable for their elegant, intertwined guitar parts as they are for their devoted, Nudie-Suit wearing fanbase, shares a new video for first single "Turn Yourself Around" off forthcoming debut solo LP Off My Stars (due out June 2, 2023).
Blasucci explains, "I wrote this song in January 2019 at the home of fellow LA musicians Anna Pomerantz and Colby Buddlemyer. It is about my curiosity at the beginning stages of romance. Years later, this song became a sort of theme song for our dear friend Roman, featured in the music video, and his late husband Al (1936-2022). Roman and Al were to be in the video together when Al rather suddenly passed, so we decided to make it a tribute to him. Some words that feel like "Turn Yourself Around" to me are water, intoxicated, glow, cold, mercy, fog, and blue. Al moves about and we stay put and here is ‘Turn Yourself Around’ for now."
When Blasucci was writing the songs that would become Off My Stars, he found himself less focused on the guitar and more gravitated toward a different instrument: piano. The mother of Clay Finch, his Mapache bandmate, was getting rid of one, and so Blasucci took the piano, carefully transporting it to his home in Ojai, California, with the help of a few strong friends, including Farmer Dave Scher of Beachwood Sparks (and a Mapache collaborator). “Farmer Dave wasn’t even wearing shoes,” Blasucci remembers, laughing. Once the piano was safely in there, he became deeply attached, playing on it multiple hours a day: “It’s changed the way I think about music, having all the keys laid out in front of me,” he explains. “Having that sort of changed everything.”
Also inspired by his recent time riding out the pandemic in New Orleans, where the clubs may have closed but the music never stopped, Blasucci used that piano to start writing one of the most inspired batches of songs of his career thus far. New gems like “Turn Yourself Around” and “Sha La La” were developing with a Southern swing and classic songbook sparkle, and when assessing the growing stack of music he was working on, Blasucci realized that there was something about these tunes that wasn’t quite suited for a Mapache record.
Infused with an honest, personal perspective about settling into adult life—about developing as a person and a partner and a family member—these songs were straight from the heart, a clear window, recently Windexed, into the life of one of the most talented members of the L.A.-area underground rock scene. Using just as much inspiration from the music of Ronnie Wood and Sade as the films of Ingmar Bergman and the writing of Brian Doyle, Blasucci started to see a vision of songs that are all “fully autobiographical.”
Blasucci reached out to songwriter and producer Johnny Payne, and the two decamped to Dan Horne’s Lone Palm Studio, the home/studio where Mapache has in the past both recorded and abided in. Blasucci’s direction to Payne—acting as producer and as multi-instrumentalist, performing on everything from shaker to “guitar pancake”—was simple: no pretense, no affect, no Mr. Cool. This approach is most evident through covers on the record—like a stripped-down, achingly beautiful version of Dido’s ubiquitous “Thank You,” or a New Orleans-porch-worthy version of the Cranberries’ classic “Linger.” “There was nothing ironic or gimmicky about wanting to do those,” notes Blasucci. “I just really, really love those songs.”
Also covered on Off My Stars is a raw take on Jimmy Fontana’s timeless ballad “Il Mondo,” sung in its original Italian by Blasucci, who belts it in a performance that ends with him giving it all he has, his voice cracking as he reaches the song’s epic finale. “Il Mondo” is a song that Blasucci particularly wanted to do as a means to get more in touch with his Italian roots—and this wouldn’t be the only way he’d tap into family on the album.
On “Proud of You Dad,” Blasucci dug into his archives for a song that’s he had for some time, originally having written and recorded it just for his father, David Blasucci, a musician who was at one time a touring member in the band Toto, and who has performed and acted in Christopher Guest movies like A Mighty Wind. “If I ever told you this while we were in the same room / I know you would cover your ears and run,” Sam sings over a rustic, campfire acoustic progression. As Sam explains, David was a crucial influence on his taste: “A lot of the underlying styles that influenced the rest of the songs on the record definitely come from what he introduced me to,” Sam says. But Sam is his own man now, writing the new chapters of his own life with an aw-shucks tone that belies his prolific workload. Even through the pandemic—and even with the ongoing backlogs at pressing plants—Blasucci has still managed to put out beloved Mapache records in each of the last three years, and he and the band have no plans to slow down anytime soon. “I’m definitely the type of artist that is constantly creating,” Sam says, matter of fact. “And I can’t seem to really stop.”
"...the Southwestern cowboy, who hums songs of simpler times. A storyteller at heart, the Americana multi-instrumentalist’s music hits you right in the feels" - Buzzbands
"...latest dusty ballad “The Clock’s Never Wrong” is perfectly apt for a song that feels wrong to listen to outside of the wide-open spaces of rural America" - Flood
"Mournful pedal steel pairs with Tim Hill's perfectly exhausted delivery... I’m a sucker for an album that’s pushing aside serenity in favor of simply finding solace and “Calico” hints that Giant is just that kind of record" - Raven Sings the Blues
"Hill's adoration of the likes of Neil Young (as well as classic Americana and singer-songwriter country) is as clar as day, just smoothed out by the California sun and good doses of campfire-friendly placidity. Giant is well written and expertly played...." Shindig
Tim Hill releases the single "The Irish Sea" from the forthcoming LP Giant (due out February 10th). According to Hill, the single "was written in proximity to the sea in a pub in Ireland on a napkin. The music came sometime later."