New Music | Friday Roll Out: Ceschi, The Foreign Correspondents, Chris Connelly

Life takes us on different journeys throughout the years. Sometimes things run concurrently and at other moments it’s one thing right after the other. We never know what lies ahead. But for some, it seems things are calculated, and we always know what we’re going to get from them, although we just don’t know exactly what that might be. This brings me to what we now have in hand.

Scottish musician Chris Connelly has had a long and storied career and with almost 30 solo releases under his proverbial belt, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He’s just released his latest 8-song album, The Lives And Loves Of The Serial Homesick, Vol. 1 (Shipwrecked Industries), filled with songs grasping for breath, on the brink of collapse but always coming back together. His voice has always tettered on the edge, like Bowie and Cale, but the Scotsman has always written clever songs around his guitar(s) and there’s probably no better example than “The “Swords At St. Peter’s.” It’s delicate with Connelly’s quivering voice riding the wave of percussion all around it. It’s sweet and succulent, never holding anything back. The Lives And Loves Of the Serial Homesick, Vol. 1 is a really good release that takes its time. Connelly isn’t in a rush so why should we be?

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything come out Ted Leo, solo or group project, so imagine the surprise of finding him here, a part of The Foreign Correspondents. Not sure if this is going to be a new group that’s going to consistently release material but he, we’ll take it. Also featured are members of Fugazi, Fake Names and Obits Brendan Canty, Michael Hampton, and Sohrab Habibion. Now the release is a double-edged single, a couple of covers originally written and recorded by French-Canadian power-pop artist Michel Pagliaro. “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy” / “We’re Dancin’” (Outer Battery Records) are the tracks at play here and considering the group of musicians willing to take them on, you better bet your ass they’re ditties that are worth their weight in gold. Clever enough, “Lovin’ You Ain’t Easy” leads the way and its pop sensibilities are obvious, infectious, and hypnotic. Backing harmonies throughout along with a melody that just won’t relinquish its hold. Hell yes. “We’re Dancin’” is an over-the-top rocker but with enough pop sensibilities to beat you over the head. These are top-tier cuts from musicians with pedigrees that extend further than the eye can imagine.


Life takes us on different journeys throughout the years. Sometimes things run concurrently and at other moments it’s one thing right after the other. We never know what lies ahead. But for some, it seems things are calculated, and we always know what we’re going to get from them, although we just don’t know exactly what that might be. Which brings me to what we now have in hand.

Ceschi, the moniker of one Julio Francisco Ramos, wears many hats, and we never know what’s going to happen once he heads into the studio. Is it going to be the quick-tongued emcee, the folk-punk artist, the ominous punk, or will we find another amalgamation of everything that he is? It could be a guessing game. His latest release, Bring Us The Head Of Francisco False [Part 1] (Fake Four Inc.) seems to find Ceschi much more comfortable within his own skin and challenging both himself and listeners exploring new ideas and sounds. For this new release, he featured a few artists beginning with the 30-second opener “Let’s Begin,” featuring Penny who waxes poetically over a lightly strummed guitar in the background engulfed in background noise. This right before the Child Actor produced “Fin,” with piano laying the foundation as Ceschi’s voices discontent throughout American culture, and while this may seem politicized, it’s real-life grit and history through both world and street view. It takes on lullaby-like nuances but remains polarizing. It’s “We Are Enough” although, full on with cascading grandeur, that’s filled with melancholy and hope. Ceschi echoes sentiments we tell children when he sings “We will never liver a greater life than this one…please remember that we are enough” and his words ring out powerfully with so much self-reflection as he shares, “Been in love with some people / who loved me less than needles / now I’m approaching 40 / fighting for something real / this is all that we’re given / and there won’t be a sequel.” His way with words is directly captivating, and this, all over Danny T. Levin’s production work.

We find ourselves in more familiar territory when we hear the stylings of frequent collaborator Factor Chandelier, masterfully playing with dynamics on the tense “Beginning Of A New Era.” THIS is just one of the moments on the album where Ceschi is allowed to release angst-filled lyricism over a controlled & melodious chaos that’s unrelenting. Ceschi waxes poetically, blending that aforementioned grit, and influences, while relaying his own story, all at the same time. Here he isn’t self-effacing, opening up as he tells us he’s moving towards something different. Skipping over to the Zavala (Dark Time Sunshine) produced “Victor Jara,” it features R.A.P. Ferreira & the band Zeta. From the get-go, there’s excitement as it opens with the percussive clang of African drum patterns with Zeta & Ceschi volleying their vocal interplay in Spanish before the rhythm shifts altogether. Ferreira joins Ceschi here and they both seem to find a restrained humor in political turmoil and authoritarian constraints. Their words flow seamlessly across Zavala’s spacey beat interplay, never slowing down or falling off the rails. Yeah, this easily finds a meeting place for three artists who couldn’t be any more different from one another to create one unique banger! But it’s the sweet movement of the expansive “Foie Gras” that’s truly captivating with Chandelier behind the boards again here with Ceschi bearing his soul, wearing his heart directly on his sleeve. He doesn’t find complacency in his faults, instead searching for ways to make himself a better human being. Ceschi’s words weigh heavily. We get a quick look into his folk-punk side with “Dumb Quixote,” a song that unexpectedly layers other instruments (percussion, strings, horns) on top of his acoustic guitar. In less than 2 minutes it makes a definitive impact as he directs his attention to someone that isn’t there. This leads us to the closing “Lazarus, Too,” produced by Maker. It doesn’t take long to figure out the sampled or reworked melody considering certain phrases are utilized here as they were within the original. Bowie’s “Space Oddity” plays a large role in the construction here, it’s undeniable but it’s how Ceschi creates something fresh and vital with soaring backing harmonies, and when he sings “Did you feel high above the world?” you can’t help but think if he’s asking for closure. But when he starts singing we realize this might be the eulogy to a friend he was never able to offer. So beautifully done it’s fucking brilliant.

Bring Us The Head Of Francisco False (Part 1) is a diverse mélange of songs that stand on their own individually, but are also cohesive as a complete body of work. This release will leave you with high expectations for (Part 2) considering how it dazzles so brightly. But forget the expectations, it’ll leave you with your mouth watering for more, hoping it comes sooner rather than later.