LISTEN TO “MODERN MUSIC” FROM DICK STUSSO’S IN HEAVEN,
OUT MARCH 2nd
Hardly Art is proud to announce its first release of the new year: Dick Stusso’s In Heaven. Lead single “Modern Music” is an apt introduction to Stusso, an existentialist cowboy character inhabited by Bay Area songwriter Nic Russo. You can stream the song or watch a lyric video starring Stusso by clicking the links above. In Heaven is out Friday, March 2nd on LP, CD, digital and cassette, and follows 2015’s acclaimed double EP Nashville Dreams/Sings The Blues. Pre-orders are available now.
STREAM: [Soundcloud] [Spotify] [Apple] [Bandcamp]
ABOUT THE RECORD:
That old blues hound dog Bonnie Raitt probably sang it best and most lucid in her timeless, pedestrian hit “Nick of Time”: “Life gets mighty precious when there’s less of it to waste.” And so now, her wise lyrical turn seems to be ringing true for Oakland muso Dick Stusso. When we last caught up with this Bay Area BBQ gaucho on his debut, Nashville Dreams, he’d hit that special zen layer of loserdom. He’d thrown up his hands into the folly of failure. He was the affable, bumbling red-cheeked drunk lurking around the edges of the cookout — bumming smokes, putting down all the white wine and cocktail shrimp he could get away with. But now, a couple years on, that early-30s existential dread has crept its way into Dick’s purview. With his sophomore long-player In Heaven, Stusso’s numbered human days are on his mind. Without stumbling into pomposity, Dick has taken back the wheel on his life and is doing a bit of hotdogging.
The album sounds so assured, you’d never guess the whole endeavor was almost completely down the tubes. “I was about 75% done with the album and then my apartment got burgled,” Stusso said of In Heaven’s bummer origins. “They took it all.” Having laid it almost exclusively to tape, there weren’t even files to pull from. But what seemed like another sour turn for Dick actually ended up being a little lemon zest in his G&T. He ended up teaming with psych visionary producer Greg Ashley in a defunct old church, making for a leap in fidelity on In Heaven.
The new peacock strut to Dick’s vague longing and malaise suits his countrified T. Rex sound quite well. Exhibit A: album standout “Modern Music,” a sort of State of the Union and State of the Soul all set over a warm, gauzy glam bass line. “Nobody wants to look at the dark heart, I don’t blame you/Nobody wants to look at the dark heart, myself included,” he sings a low-register Orbison sneer. “I’m just looking for a good time and a little cash-uh.” Employing deft songcraft, which includes a wide open ambient midsection to really get you thinking about The Void, Dick manages to take down both capitalism and the bullshit conditions of human mortality without sounding all that put out by either.
“The guy’s voice is beautiful, he’s got an effortless way with writing melodies, and his sentiments are knowable and familiar.” — Pitchfork
“Some songs dip their toes in twang, blues, and grimy garage rock all at once, while others are simply beautiful DIY ballads.” — The Bay Bridged
“Like some sort of psychotic Gram Parsons with a four track and a shitty drum machine, Dick Stusso was made to write bummed out music.” — Noisey
March 2, 2018
01. Well Acquainted
02. The Bullshit Century Pt. 1
03. Up the Stream
04. Modern Music [stream]
06. Phasing Out
07. Getting Loose
08. Terror Management
09. The Big Car Commercial Payout
10. In Heaven