Rarely do you find an artist that feels as if they were plucked from another era. But that’s the case of Los Angeles based artist Nick Flessa – one part Bill Callahan with a hint of vocalist Ellery Roberts. Lyrically rich, with a voice familiar yet all his own and featuring an incredible production work by Valley Queens Neil Wogensen, “Shootin’ The Shit” will have you eagerly awaiting the EP.
You’d think the libertines had arrived, and maybe they have. But make no mistake, they aren’t the ones singing these songs. Nick Flessa’s dolores reach acute levels on his new EP, Shootin the Shit. The symptoms however, appear in four very differently styled songs which range in tone from light crooning to trot-tempo rock. This brief journey doesn’t find its soul amidst a particular sonic thesis, rather in the malaise of its lyrics which take their time in describing a musician who is frankly not-too-down with the goings on around him. Stuck, like most of us, in an era of anomie, male debauchery, and recreational lifestyles which are rewarded for never shutting off, Flessa’s commentary takes aim at a kind of prevalent misfiring of American cultural life. The record assumes the “call out” as its form––an opportunity to push back on the encroaching distribution of bad ideas staining the surface of probity and the greater musical field where serious ideas can be valued as such. These are anti-love songs. These are songs of caustic account. Joining him on the record is producer/Valley Queen bassist Neil Wogensen, J.D. Carrera (pedal steel) and John German (synths). All four tracks were written shortly following a US tour in the fall of 2017. They are a prelude to Flessa’s upcoming, second full-length LP, after 2018’s deft Flyover States.
“Shootin’ The Shit” was written in Los Angeles immediately following Nick Flessa Band’s US tour in 2017. It is the first single from the Shootin’ The Shit EP. It was produced by Neil Wogensen of Valley Queen, who plays bass on the track. J.D. Carrera contributes a lush Pedal Steel arrangement, reprising his role from Flessa’s 2018 LP Flyover States. Contrary to Flessa’s rambunctious live show, the track is minimal – contrasting the mechanical tick of a drum machine with more naturalistic, country-inspired sounds. Lyrically, it’s something of a mix between a French chanson and New-Age American road ballad, combining comical, semi-autobiographical accounts of acute rejection with absurdist vignettes from Trump’s America. Flessa’s lyric persona is something like Norm MacDonald meets Lou Reed, with a bit of Bill Callahan between the lines. Funny yet serious, arriving somewhere between sorrow and hope. The track ends with an unanswered message from Flessa’s father, trying to make his way to a Flessa Band show in his hometown Cincinnati, where it all started.