The Mystery Plan (Charlotte, North Carolina) have announced their fifth album ‘Zsa Zsa‘, which will be released in early April via boutique label Ten Millimeter Omega Recordings. Ahead of this, they present the lead single ‘Ballad of JC Quinn’, following up their recently-released infectious Massive Attack-esque single ‘Al Gore Rhythms’.
The band is comprised of Jason Herring, Amy Herring, Jeff Chester, Otis Hughes and Patty McLaughlin. Since forming in 2010, they’ve managed to release 10 EPs and LPs combined. Our guests always present notable records of sophisticated music which is all in the streams of the alternative wing, and for once again, they managed to surpise us with the complexity of their choices.
Produced by the legendary John Fryer and Jason Herring, this record also features such notable guests as Micah Gaugh (The Veldt / Apollo Heights), Ian Masters, That Guy Smitty and Snap Nation. This is not the first time The Mystery Plan has worked with Fryer, having previously collaborated on their fourth full-length release ‘Queensland Ballroom’, released in late 2017, and the ‘Electric Love’ single.
And although the first single ‘Al Gore Rhythms’ sounds like an indeed trip-hop tune with catchy and beautiful melodies like from the old-firm 90s Bristol school of trip-hop, the second one is another ‘episode’ in all. The ‘Ballad Of JC Quinn’ is a gorgeous dedication to their famous actor and friend.
The story goes like this; “JC Quinn was an actor from NYC with many film and television credits, including “Barfly”, “the Abyss”, “Visionquest” and countless others. He moved to Charlotte in the late 1990s to be closer to his grandchildren. We met at a downtown watering hole called Cafe 521, owned and operated by his good friend from New York, Peter Herrero. JC and I struck up a nice friendship. He was a fan of ours and would come to shows and stand right up front so we could see him. A very lovely man indeed. Sadly, JC died in Mexico while shooting a film a few years ago. I’ve always wanted to pay tribute to him, and we have finally done so with this song. The lyrics are a blend of what we would do with him now if he were still here, and iconic lines from some of his films.” These are the words of Jason Herring himself that I found in the press release and I just couldn’t ignore or try to put them in my own words.
Very touching thoughts which led Jason and Amy Herring in composing a glory for their friend. As for the song itself, it is the sort of an ultimate celebration of friendship in its own groove and style. It is funky, with dream pop vocals and the band plays oceans of techniques with outstanding, and an utmost commitment to their purpose; to groove again for, and with JC Quinn. Check this brilliant song, please!
Now, a few credits on the album ‘Zsa Zsa’; The album finds the quintet moving further afield of its earlier psych-folk leaning to land on something more akin to the down-tempo approach of trip-hop, mixed with early 4AD action. That later is in no small part due to the return of band collaborator, producer John Fryer (too many A-list credits to list here), and new Mystery Plan friend Ian Masters, former bassist-vocalist of influential British shoegazers Pale Saints.
As of March 6, ‘Ballad of JC Quinn’ will be available digitally across streaming platforms. The full ‘Zsa Zsa’ album will be released on April 4, both on CD and digitally.
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Written by Mike D.