The Hearts & Plugs Redux Residency hosted its first concert last Wednesday with featured artists The Lovely Few and Michael Flynn. This show is the first in a five-part series—brought to Charleston by indie record label Hearts & Plugs and local venue Redux Contemporary Art Center—highlighting the South Carolina music scene, with shows to be held on Wednesdays from March 18 through April 15. Michael Flynn and The Lovely Few both fall into the electro-pop genre, and although their sounds are vastly different, their individual styles complement each other in an interesting way, creating an incredible atmosphere for the premier show.
Dan McCurry, founder and director of Hearts & Plugs and co-organizer of the residency, has had the idea for a large-scale concert series since last summer. "After the successful Hearts & Plugs Summer Shindig last June, I had been wanting to do another Hearts & Plugs branded event," he mentions during our conversation. "I had been thinking about how great residencies are for artists who are trying to build their fan base, and [residencies] are pretty common in major music cities like New York City and Nashville. Between [Hearts & Plugs's] roster of 13 artists—including the three new additions for 2015—I saw that we were at a point [in Charleston] where we could pull this sort of thing off. I think we've got a really great community thing going on. Everyone supports everyone and hangs out...and I figured the residency at Redux would be great for the artists involved as it ties everyone together even more so and helps make that connection that they're all part of this greater entity of quality music." Dan says that event organizers picked Wednesdays "since that's traditionally hump day, and we know everyone can use a little help getting over the hump." #preach
The Lovely Few, from L to R: Alan Davis, Mike Mewborne, and Kate Mewborne, c/o H+P website
Electronic folk-pop trio The Lovely Few took the stage first. Comprised of husband and wife Mike and Kate Mewborne and Alan Davis, The Lovely Few joined the Hearts & Plugs family in 2012. Lead singer Mike, sporting a beard that would make the Greek gods green with envy, regaled the crowd with astronomical anecdotes and indicated that "a lot of [The Lovely Few's] songs are about space." With albums like 2010's The Limited Abilities of a Man and the subsequent The Perseids (2011), they often use the universe as an allegory of the human experience while incorporating both haunting instrumental tracks and cerebral lyric-driven pieces. By fusing elements like acoustic guitar with soothing vocals and heavy synth, their set blends slightly folk roots with experimental neo-pop elements, and the band succeeds in perpetuating spage-age culture in an absolutely dreamy way.
(above) Michael Flynn photographed by Mishka Pretlow
After a brief intermission with a performance by Mr. Bonetangles, Michael Flynn was the next and final act to play. Michael Flynn originally gained notoriety as a member of the band Slow Runner and has won a plethora of awards in his career. Slow Runner boasts international tours with large acts, such as Built to Spill and The Avett Brothers, as well as having music featured in TV shows and commercials. A seasoned musician for more than a decade, Michael Flynn decided to branch out as a solo artist and released the album Face in the Cloud in 2014. Flynn's set showcases organic dance beats and crooning-yet-otherworldly vocal stylings among a backdrop of experimental noise pop, including brass and keys, all executed brilliantly in a live setting. Flynn continues to receive exceeding praise on his polished sound, and listeners eagerly anticipate what he has in store for the future with H+P.
One down, four to go! The next show of the residency is Wednesday, March 25, featuring Elim Bolt and ET Anderson, with other shows following on April 1, April 8, and April 15, including two album releases. All five shows start at 9 p.m., with doors at 8 p.m. Although it's too late to qualify for the bundle deal, you can still get tickets for each show for $7 in advance or $8 at the door. More information as well as merch can be found on the Hearts & Plugs website or on the Redux site.