The rad track is the third in a series of new solo singles from the Brooklyn artist, and a taste of what you can expect in 2021
There are a lot of ways I could kick off a piece on Alex Chappo.
I could write about how, back when I lived in Austin and had a car and still, like, knew how to drive, I used to disrupt all of downtown blasting CHAPPO’s “Come Home”—from 2012’s Moonwater—and later “I Don’t Need the Sun”—from 2015’s Future Former Self—on my daily commute from home to work (to the Whole Foods wine bar).
I could mention how in 2014, also in Austin, I saw the band indoors at Stubb’s and mid-performance, and as he was grabbing onto a bar on the ceiling, suspended over audience members’ outstretched arms, Alex was cut off mid-chorus by the sound guy warning him, in big buzzkill form, that “if you do that again, you’re done, bro.” (A review I just found of that show called Alex “an eccentric and unpredictable character.” On brand!)
Or, as a third option, I could kick off with the epic CHAPPO set I caught at Music Hall of Williamsburg in 2018, the year the band released “White Noise” and “Cry on Me”), after which I dumped what was probably a full pound of confetti out of my bra in the bathroom.
And WHOOPS! I guess I just did all of those things! But that’s enough livin’ in the paaast, maaaan. The point here is this: I AM A CHAPPO FAN, and almost a decade after my first intro to the band via the hip, underground music discovery method that is XM Radio, I am bustin’ at the bloggin’ seeeeeams to premiere the third (and my favorite) in a three-part series of new singles from the artist behind the project, ahead of tomorrow’s wide release—
This is “BrokenHearted.”
Ahead of the release, Alex sent me the following short and sweet description of the song, which—in true fan form—I’ve had pretty much on repeat since it landed in my inbox:
“It came out of this conscious effort toward moving forward and growing as things around us continue to die and turn into something else.”
“Can’t stop, gonna push much harder
Can’t stop cuz I’m brokenhearted…”
As an expression of persistence and evolution in confusing and tumultuous times, the song could pretty much be an anthem for the last (**checks watch**)… long time. So it makes since that this series of songs has in some ways been in the works for a while, bouncing around the artist’s brain in bits and pieces, in working scraps and even subconscious form, before being fully realized this year.
Over email, the Brooklyn artist, who lives with his wife near Prospect Park, described the process of creating these songs—a return to CHAPPO’s roots as a solo project, the way Alex started when he moved to NYC from Louisiana in 2005—for me over email:
“I started off as a solo artist in NYC and I’m excited to launch out solo again with new music this year! During the pandemic, I collaborated with Zac Colwell (old bandmate and drummer/producer Moonwater, FFS, and our EPs) on three songs. He is a wizard with production and took a demo I was working on and transformed it into a sonic landscape it was hoping to be. I sent him two other songs that had been churning with me for years. It really got me thinking about how art sits outside of time… Sometimes a song comes together quickly and flashes into existence. Sometimes a song keeps whispering in your ear wanting to be made as life edges onward and spirals into itself…”
Along with singing along to the radio, fangirling in the audience and accosting Alex at the MHOW merch table, a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview the artist over Google hangs, during which he not only discussed his NYC beginnings—playing LES spots like Rockwood Music Hall and the now-shuttered Cake Shop with a sound he described to me as “solo guitar, harmonica, folk fusion… almost Beck-inspired… with more of a swamp-rock vibe to it”—but, more importantly, his plans for 2021:
“I’m just getting getting my head back into releasing new music again… It’s fun, it’s good to take a break from it—I think I needed the break—but now that I’m back in the world of doing that, it’s exciting to be trying new things… I think that’s what 2021 is gonna be like for me… I’m just gonna do a bunch of singles, and they might all be in their own little worlds. A few of them might be related… but some of my ideas are so schizophrenic. I have like a really creepy idea; a really like anthemic, fun, party-vibe one; I have like this like chill, Kurt Vile-esque, kind of Bob Dylan, acoustic guitar, harmonica kind of vibe. So this year is going to be like throwing shit at the wall and seeing like how it looks. Not just what sticks, but what fell on the ground… Like, maybe that’s still cool. It didn’t stick, but I still like it.”
If, when we finally reach the end of this long, live music-devoid tunnel, you have an opportunity to see CHAPPO live, take it. I can guarantee I’ll be there next to you…
And afterwards, will probably be fishing confetti out of god only knows where.
+ You can’t confine this man to one medium! Check out Alex’s wire sculptures featuring rad portrayals of rockstars and geniuses and graceful expressions of the female form via Etsy. (One of these pieces sits on my windowsill… funny enough, approximately three feet from a mixed-media piece by Keith Kelly, of BdBK fave Jelly Kelly, who did the art for CHAPPO’s three new singles. WHAT. A. WORLD.)