Posts Tagged ‘Nick Mitchell Maiato’

Favorite Albums of 2020

Here’s the year end list. I’m not gonna wax on about how this year was rough, we all know it was a shit year and even more so for artists. It was, however, a great year for recorded music, and I had a hard time not making this list about twice as long to show love for all the albums that lifted me this year. I’ve long been against the whole idea of numbered lists, so once again things are presented in quasi-alphabetical style (I always mess one or two up in creating this, but you get the point). I’ve included Bandcamp embeds where they exist, so if you have the means and find something new, please reach out and support the artists here. Looking forward to 2021 as another year that music makes getting through easier.

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Nick Mitchell Maiato

There’s joy and sadness in the new solo LP from Nick Mitchell Maiato. The joy is always inherent in his works — it’s a feeling that bubbles under his songwriting these days and one that explodes into waves of color when he lets fly guitar parts that shift and shimmer as much as they burn incandescently. The sadness comes, as most seems to of late, with the knowledge of what could have been had we all not been set adrift due to disease. The songs on this album were to be the beginning sketches of the lineup for a third One Eleven Heavy album that, at least in this form, will likely never be. The band was set to convene and combine these with works by Toth and Chew that would have carved themselves into their latest love letter to classic rock cyphers and cosmic choogle. That third album will come, but not as it was originally conceived.

Still, the feelings of joy should win out in this struggle of the senses and sentiments, as we cannot lament forever what might have been and instead have to embrace what Pino Carrasco has become. Those sketches were worked into full flight songs that embrace Nick’s half of the Heavies — the buoyant tangle of guitar that’s rooted in Crazy Horse’s grit, Canned Heat’s heartbeat boogie, and Satana’s playful willingness to experiment with rhythm. That Nick’s able to channel the push/pull feeling of testing one another that a full band can attain is impressive to say the least, for an artist alone. While the Heavies have an ecstatic dynamic, Maiato’s able to create his own imaginary ensemble in the studio, adopting amiably the instruments of his peers and creating a whiskey-rubbed Brill Building of one with cosmic ambitions. The dynamic comes to a head on the album’s anchor pieces “Show Yourself” and “Ode To What,” the latter an impressive feat of time-change gymnastics that tumbles the listener through more than a few hairpin highs. Don’t lament the loss, just let Pino Carrasco lift up your heart during the dour months. Its a sunshine-scrubbed delight that keeps the listener on their toes.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE (UK) or HERE. (US)


Nick Mitchell Maiato – “Show Yourself”

Global pandemic has caused no shortage of disappointments — between cancelled tours, loss of revenue stream for musicians, and shaky ground for venues across the world — but hearing that it’s derailed a third One Eleven Heavy that was on its way to being recorded in Nashville this year definitely lands with a certain pang in the heart. The band’s Nick Mitchel Maiato had a full crop of songs written that he’d been passing between himself and band members in the run up, but rather than sit on them and stew Nick’s decided to swerve from this being a 111H record into a solo jaunt that retains the same spirit that’s blossomed in the band over the past few years. It’s always a bold move to lead with a 9+ minute single but those who’ve seen the band live and in their element know that this is just the kind of deep vibe dive that exemplifies what Nick, James, Dan, and Hans have been brewing when they stretch out.

“Show Yourself” pounces on the classic jam aesthetic that Nick’s been gnawing at with the Heavies, corralling New Riders and Mighty Baby into a sunshine-swathed tangle that’s pushing Crazy Horse into the creek to cool off. The song works through time changes so easily they barely register, not neck snapping into new gears but subtly mutating into grooves that grow in all directions. The accompanying video is a delightful barrage of imagery that’s just as malleable and kaleidoscopic in its own sepia soaked way. While I’m wistful thinking how these songs might have had a few three part harmonies and the plunk of Chew’s piano threaded through them, I’m happy to see Nick get his due on the solo slate. Plus, I know that a third album is still on the horizon, making this kind of a bonus Heavy in its own way. Those chasing the tail of Cosmic Americana would do well to pick this up when it lands on Was Its Das? October 2nd.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.


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