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๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ - this week: New Normal - Enlightenment Saloon

Welcome all to ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of ๐™‰๐™š๐™ฌ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ playlists.

Charles pinches himself...

Isnโ€™t it funny, the way we are these days. The things we do, and the way we do them. Yet I believe most of us donโ€™t think about it. At all. Letโ€™s look at how an average person starts an average day. Were you awoken by an alarm clock? It almost certainly was your phone - and yet no one rang you. In getting up on a cold morning, the house is cold. But it isnโ€™t. On account of the automatic heating that switches on at your desired time. Do we then grind the coffee beans in order to wake up? Why bother when at the press of a button it can all be done for you! A โ€œpodโ€ is all that is required. Or maybe you have that on a timer too? Perhaps the machine even senses you being awake and starts the whole process while youโ€™re busy attempting to open your eyesโ€ฆ While sipping black goodness, you read the news. In a newspaper? Itโ€™s doubtful. Your screen will be scrolled as you squint more and more like Lennon every day. Then you have to start the laborious task of replying to letters from the previous dayโ€™s post - or todayโ€™s post, if youโ€™re that efficient. But in fact, you have to tap the โ€œmailโ€ icon and reply to emails instead. That little (or large) rectangle rarely leaves your hands from the moment you leave your cosy bed. Now comes ACTUAL work. Got to dress yourself in โ€œwork gearโ€ and drive to the office - if you remembered to fill the tank. Or maybe your company is fine with you wearing jeans and a tartan shirt. Did you remember to charge the car? Perhaps you donโ€™t really need to โ€œgoโ€ to work at all. Just pop on a top of some sort, donโ€™t bother with the bottoms, and start up the laptop. With a fresh flagon of coffee, youโ€™re basically โ€œat workโ€. Seeing and chatting with your colleagues and your clients in an instant. No traffic, no rush, no abysmal weather. Or rather, it is all avoided. No tie, no trousers. What bliss! Itโ€™s all so funny how things change so smoothly without you really noticing. Fluid autonomy. This, is the new normal.

Howโ€™s about musicians? Well letโ€™s look at how we in the New Artist Spotlight have come to exist. We send messages over the internet to people from all over the world. We have live video chats through social media. We have fans in each and every continent. We make our music not by going into a studio and having professionals set up a lot of gear for hours while you patiently pay, but by using our โ€œemail machineโ€ switched to โ€œstudio modeโ€. Hell, some even use their phone! We have done collaborations with people we have never even met. We have close friendships with people in different time zones, where we donโ€™t know if we tower above them or crane our necks to catch their gaze. How can you know someone so well without even having shaken their hand?? It seems impossible when looking at it like this. It seems absurd and almost creepy! But it is so utterly normal to us. This is what we do. This, is the new normal.

Selling records is a thing of the past, because there is no place to buy them! It is all about listening now. Not owning. It is interaction. In fact, we have never โ€œinteractedโ€ so much, I have no doubt. And yet, it sometimes feels like something is missing. Almost like the whole thing is a very vivid dream. Being older than 20 and of an observant persuasion, I noticed how we have all changed and therefore wanted to pinch myself just to make sure it was real. In order to do this, I felt the urge to organise a little shindig in London at a place called The Hawley Arms (my old favourite haunt). A gathering. A get-together. It was to involve Rich Allen (who was in London for a week, fresh from Florida), Dom Piper and CHVRLI BLVCK (both living just outside London). All of whom are NAS members I have mixed, mastered or produced. I knew we all knew each other and got on well, and I knew that no one was doing it just out of politeness or because they felt they should. The question was, would it work in real life? Or was it best left on the internet? The plan did - rather amazingly - actually work. We did all meet up around a week ago, despite the 50mph wind that day. So was it a success? Were there any shocks, surprises or disappointments? Was it boring? Was it awkward? Well, what happens in the pub, stays in the pub. But let me just say this: it was the best evening I have had in years. Fact. And I would strongly advise as many NAS meet-ups as possible. Do it! It will truly make the internet feel real, as it is supposed to. Donโ€™t stick on a VR headset and wave, before tripping and breaking your nose on the thing. Meet up with those nearest you (who you get on well with) and shake that hand of theirs (one or both - up to you)!

And so, we move from The Hawley Arms to another enlightenment saloon. One which also has a keen sense of observation and has noticed the change. Enlightenment Saloon has a brand new gift for us, in the form of an album. โ€˜Scott DLโ€™s Enlightenment Saloonโ€™ is an 11 track smile. I have settled on track one of the album to introduce it, โ€˜New Normalโ€™ (but do have a listen to the whole LP). Scott has been making music in America since the late 90s. His sound is fully drenched in 60s positivity and vibe, and 90s lighthearted fun. Imagine Paul Weller, The Who, Dodgy, Kula Shaker, The Beatles, Os Mutantes, The Lightning Seeds and even our very own Vix 20. But within all these fond, nostalgic sounds, Scottโ€™s lyrics are really what makes this new and refreshing. An observer of all that goes around, with a glimpse of the present and a glimmer of the near future. How everything about our current lives would have seemed so queer and absurd in the relatively recent past. And yet we never really noticed the switch. Classic Beatle chords played by jangly guitars reminiscent of The Smiths and The Byrds, as Ringo bangs his skins (actually more like the drummer of The Rutles). Scott casually welcomes us to the New Normal. I was actually astounded to learn that he is American, as I would have sworn he was from England, in terms of music, accent and understated, polite manner.

Scott has had quite a life of music so far, having released 6 LPs and somehow sounding just as youthful as when he started. In 2013 he had the opportunity to record in the studio (a real one) with none other than Bruce Swedien. Now, this name might not ring many bells for any of you (for me it was only a faint ding-a-ling), but Bruce is the man behind the mixing desk when Quincy Jones is in town. Meaning he is the man behind the ever fresh sound of Michael Jackson. Doesnโ€™t get much better than that. Now, 10 years later and after the passing of Bruce Swedien, Scott is evidently compelled to just keep going and make more music. It is what true artists do. The second the art needs to be drawn out as opposed to spilling over, it is perhaps time to find something else. Art should not be a chore. It should be a joy, and it should feel like an urge. Scottโ€™s urge is strong and evidently still free-flowing.

If you donโ€™t have time to listen to the whole LP (please do though), I would suggest a bonus star track of Industry of Leisure.

It turns out that pinching myself has left its mark but didnโ€™t hurt a bit.

Listen to ๐™‰๐™š๐™ฌ ๐™‰๐™ค๐™ง๐™ข๐™–๐™ก on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Spotify playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™‰๐™š๐™ฌ ๐™‰๐™ค๐™ง๐™ข๐™–๐™ก on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Apple Music playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™ฉ ๐˜ฟ๐™‡โ€™๐™จ ๐™€๐™ฃ๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™–๐™ก๐™ค๐™ค๐™ฃ on Spotify HERE!

Listen to ๐™Ž๐™˜๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™ฉ ๐˜ฟ๐™‡โ€™๐™จ ๐™€๐™ฃ๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™–๐™ก๐™ค๐™ค๐™ฃ on Apple Music HERE!

Follow ๐™€๐™ฃ๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™–๐™ก๐™ค๐™ค๐™ฃ on Instagram HERE!

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