NYC-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonny Polonsky presents ‘Sign in The Window’, an upbeat and sanguine offering from his new ‘Kingdom of Sleep’ LP with video directed by photographylegend Paul Elledge (Rolling Stone, Forbes) and edited by Neal Ostrovsky. This follows Polonsky’s earlier-released singles ‘The Weeping Souls’ and ‘Ghost Like Soul’ featuring Cedric Bixler-Zavala (The Mars Volta/ At The Drive-In).
With a rich history collaborating with the likes of Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine) and Donovan, he is back with new original material as a solo artist. Self-produced by Polonsky, this LP was mixed and mastered by Mike Tholen (Chris Connelly, Revolting Cocks).
“The song itself was originally written several years ago when I was living in LA. It’s a nocturnal number, a small, moody epic in the vein of Arcade Fire or the Pixies. It reminds me of what it felt like to be going down Mulholland Drive late at night in the summer with the windows rolled down, smelling the jasmine,” says Polonsky.
“Some songs take a lot of coaxing and utilization of craft, even some (gasp!) planning or forethought. For this one though, I was playing guitar in bed one night and it just appeared. The song is a kind of yearning for transcendence, that feeling of knowing you’re on the threshold of new beginnings or a new way of being. It’s a thrilling and terrifying place to be. The world you were familiar with is no longer and the new one has yet to appear. You’re floating in space, feeling rootless and vulnerable, but you know deep in your core that everything will be okay if you can just relax and surrender to what’s happening.”
Originally hailing from Chicago, Polonsky writes interstellar anthems for a new generation of mindfreaks. Songs of sex and death and love…hymns of despair and transcendence. A celebration of what it feels like to be human; from the exalted, grandest moments of euphoria and bliss, to the universal pain of loss and letting go. Beauty at every turn.
Over his storied and dynamic career, Jonny Polonsky has released six full-length records over 23 years. His early DIY demos led to support from many music luminaries, including Reeves Gabrels (David Bowie, Tin Machine), Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), Zander Schloss (Joe Strummer, Circle Jerks) and John Zorn, who invited him to play CBGB’s Gallery with his band with Marc Ribot on guitar, Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing) on bass, and Sim Cain (Rollins Band) on drums.
Reeves Gabrels’ introduction led to Frank Black support, representation by Pixies manager Ken Goes, and Frank Black producing a demo recording, which led iconic record producer Rick Rubin to sign Polonsky to American Recordings.
The instrumentation on ‘Kingdom of Sleep’ ranges beyond the standard guitar, bass and drums: 1980’s Blade Runner-like synthesizer soundscapes, Middle Eastern finger cymbals, gongs, bass clarinets, piccolos, harmonica, bass fiddles, and a children’s choir.
“The video for ‘Sign In The Window’ was directed by my old friend Paul Elledge. He’s done videos, album art and photos for Smashing Pumpkins, Ministry, and countless other bands. He also directed the video for my song Ghost Like Soul, as well as other videos of mine, plus lots of my album covers. We made the video last November in Chicago, back when you could go anywhere. It was 35 degrees and the heater in the car didn’t work. It was brutal in a first world kinda way, and we had fun regardless of the weather,” says Polonsky.
“This album came together as most of my records – gradually. I’m always writing and recording, and after awhile, I notice a unifying theme or atmosphere kind of pokes its head up. The songs that want to be grouped together raise their hands and volunteer for service, nothing is very consciously calculated on my end. I was listening to a lot of Cocteau Twins, I got heavily into them while writing and recording these songs.”
The ‘Kingdom of Sleep’ LP follows ‘Fresh Flesh’ (2018), which was recorded at Rick Rubin’s studio and features guest performances by Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age) and drummer Kevin Haskins of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, and Tones on Tail. ‘UNRELEASHED: Demos and Rarities 1996-2018’was also issued as a limited-edition colored-vinyl Record Store Day gatefold edition (also available digitally and on CD).
Polonsky’s 1996 debut album ‘Hi My Name is Jonny’ was met with great critical reception from The New York Times, MTV and internationally. After touring with Frank Black for several months and the Lollapalooza summer tour, Polonsky took a hiatus.He resurfaced in 2004 with ‘The Power of Sound’ LPand supported Audioslave on their 2005 American tour. In 2006, Polonsky formed the short-lived Big Nose with Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave), and collaborated with Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle) for Puscifer, with whom Polonsky wrote, recorded and toured in 2007-2010.
Polonsky’s 2012 album ‘Intergalactic Messenger of Divine Light and Love’was recorded at Rick Rubin’s recording studio in Malibu and Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research, and mixed by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Slayer). The 2015 album ‘The Other Side of Midnight’followed, mixed by Dean Hurley at David Lynch’s Asymmetrical Studios.
The ‘Kingdom of Sleep’ LP is out now, available everywhere digitally, as well as on CD and clear vinyl with gatefold sleeve. It can be ordered at https://www.jonnypolonsky.com/music
Produced, engineered, arranged and composed by Jonny Polonsky
‘Sign in the Window’ recorded by Josiah Mazzaschi at Cave Studios, Los Angeles
Everything else recorded by Jonny Polonsky at Ground Round Sound, Brooklyn
Mixed and mastered by Mike Tholen
Performed by Jonny Polonsky
‘Sign In the Window’ features Katie Burden on bass and Matt Hankle on drums
‘You Turn Me On’ features Matt Walker (Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, Filter, Morrissey) on drums
‘Ghost Like Soul’ features Cedric Bixler-Zavala (At the Drive-In, The Mars Volta) on spoken word
Cover artwork by Jorge Castillo
No1 Showcase: The Art Of David Hicks
David Hicks is a photographer who is just as interested in the behind-the-scenes stories as he is in the stories themselves. A true photojournalist, Hicks aims to capture every aspect of waking life.
Whether that be everyday activities on the streets of Cuba to the passionate and dynamic tango culture in Buenos Aries, Hicks will be there to experience it and share it. He says of his tango collection: “The Tango, a now-popular dance between a man and a woman, started in its current form in the mid-1800s, after a massive migration to Argentina, mostly by men. Because men outnumbered women by quite some number, the only way for a man to get close to a woman was via a brothel or by dance. The men practiced together, as you’d have to be a great dancer to get a woman’s attention. So, this very sexual dance you see now was born out of the reality for men in those old days. Nowadays, you see it performed often, usually on the street corners of Buenos Aires, with live musicians or a pre-recorded soundtrack, and they do it for the tips!”
Follow David’s work down below: HiXposure (@hixposure) / Twitter HiXposure | Facebook HiXposure Photography (@hixposure) • Instagram photos and videos
Website: HiXPOSURE | Travel Photography
No1 News: The Mad Game Embark On Their Latest Rage Against The Machine
It can always be a struggle when you music possesses such a crucial and pertinent message and yet you’re blocked by the damning limitations of ‘going under the radar’ – electronic animated anarchists ‘The Mad Game’ know this all too well.
The band’s debut EP, ‘Player One’, is a righteous middle finger to what they describe as ‘The Mad Game’ – the absurdities in society that have been integrated as the status quo – after tangling with governments, security services and local mafia. Their message of outrage and vitriol is a potent one found across the EPs five tracks – a mere morsel of their true potential – and is certainly enough to make listeners pay attention.
The trio’s soundscape is an eclectic one: the righteous indignation of the best punk music married beautifully to the jarring and skittish landscapes of the best electronica. The lead track, ‘Game Over ‘, in particular makes a phenomenal first impression to the animated anarchists with members Sonu, Karla and Sonya giving their respective inputs to this chilling three-pronged attack. What these newcomers nail best is their sincerity.
It’s hard to take such a venomous assault from someone you don’t genuinely believe has lived through the horrors that they detail – The Mad Game give off no such illusion. What you hear is authentic and those unaware of the band’s craft will soon learn to such things. It makes for a truly gripping and inspiring experience.
This is not a project that anyone should overlook regardless of their tastes; thoughtful, well crafted and genuine music. Not something 2021 receives in surplus.
Follow The Mad Game below: Twitter: https://twitter.com/MadGameOfficial Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/madgameofficial/ Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/25Aqc6ubzXLDlNUw6qYV35 Bandcamp: https://madgameofficial.bandcamp.com/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUhBz3vBndOL6fV__qTn-qQ
No1 Finds: Tunetables – A Stylish Solution To Music Storage
“The Tunetables idea was borne,” says Rob Chappelhow, the man behind a range of ingenious new storage solutions, “out of a personal desire to have my music collection around me once again.”
That’s something all of us record-collector’s can empathise with. Now, I’ve banged on before about how, for many of us, digital streaming doesn’t cut it. Streaming services are great, but for a large number of us hard-core music fans, we want something we can hold in our sweaty hands, right? But, once you have all those lovely records, where do you put them?
Flat-pack shelving is fine, but it’s hardly inspiring. That’s where the Tunetables range comes into its own. More words from Rob Chappelhow, who explains that the idea came to him during a visit to the Joe Strummer Archive exhibition in the basement of Fred Perry’s flagship store in Covent Garden – “Set out under an acrylic plinth was Strummer’s personal tape cassette collection…his musical heritage and inspiration perfectly showcased.”
It was totally spellbinding. I soon started to conceptualise how I could create my own version of this…a personal time capsule of life-affirming music. I wanted something that could be inherently useful, something that I would see and use every day, and that would be a talking point for like-minded music enthusiasts.”
And lo! Tunetables was born… What Chappelhow has done is to take brand new music-equipment flight-cases (the type we are well-used to seeing lugged around by roadies and musicians) and turn them into hand-crafted storage solutions for your CDs, tapes and vinyl. It’s a wonderful idea and, most importantly, they look great. As mentioned, each case is built by hand, and can be personalised with your own initials (or whatever you fancy). Storage ranges from 100 – 500 for CDs, 30 – 60 for tapes, and 75 for vinyl. That’s not a bad amount at all. I can see a lot of people going for this, from pro and semi-pro musicians to plain music-lovers such as myself. This is modern design with an old-school aesthetic. Check them out for yourself!
Check out Tunetables below:
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