Having signed to FatCat in March 2013, His Clancyness is the alias of Jonathan Clancy. Born in Ottawa and raised between Canada and Italy, Clancy moved back and forth between the two countries up until his late teenage years, when he finally settled in Bologna.
Gaining early experience through playing in a number of hardcore / punk bands, and having toured the world in a couple of indie outfits, Jonathan struck out on his own back in 2009 and started to gain some early recognition across internet blogs when he began leaking out a series of bedroom-recorded psych-pop gems. Recording alone at home often late at night, writing and playing everything himself, he produced a steady stream of tracks prodding in different directions and comprising weird pop outbursts, fuzzy guitars, cloudy ambient texturing, warm drum machine pulses, and bitter-sweet chord progressions - all anchored by a particular melodic sensibility and Clancy’s bold, often reverb-drenched vocals.
A collection of these smudged and varied bedroom recordings was eventually compiled together in 2010 under the suitably murky title ‘Always Mist’. Originally self-released as a cassette in a tiny edition of 100 that sold out instantly, the collection was later re-released jointly by both Norwegian label Splendour and Italian label Secret Furry Hole in March 2012, this time re-mastered and expanded with the addition of seven new tracks. Palpable as an adventurous sprawl of sparking ideas, an intriguing if slightly uneven home-baked batch of varying fidelity / density / focus, the original release was picked in Altered Zones ‘Tapes of the Year’ in 2010, described as “a tender, clean, and consoling collection of snug little dream pop blankets to ball up in, marked by gliding harmonies into which Clancy injects his rich, wistful sigh… The simple arrangements and heartbreak hooks bypass the nerd centres, burrowing straight through the chest only to manifest themselves two minutes or so later as lumps in the throat and knots in the stomach.”
Hallmarked by this ability to emotionally affect and anchored in classic indie melodies, his songs deal in a very contemporary currency (home recording aesthetics, nods to peers, ) whilst fitting within/ drawing upon a wider lineage. An avowed rock and pop culture obsessive, Clancy cites a long and varied list of artists as influences - Swell Maps, Can, Bowie, Modern Lovers, Lee Hazlewood, Scott Walker, The Gun Club, Women, Stevie Nicks, Gastr Del Sol, Zombies and “just about every psychedelic pop nugget ever produced.” Listen in and you might also pick out traces of The Beach Boys, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Panda Bear and - especially on the newer material - Deerhunter, Kurt Vile, and Lower Dens. Such melophilia is also evident in a series of covers Jonathan has completed of songs by the likes of Eddie Cochrane, Ariel Pink, El Pierro Del Mar, and Altro.
“I love pop songs that don’t feel right. I like songs that get to the point pretty fast, then add repetition and texture,” he says. Where Those early His Clancyness tracks (conceived as just that - a spurt of individual tracks rather than as parts within the cohesive span of an album) often had a certain airy dreaminess, a kind of blurring of focus and amorphous stretching out, the new album, ‘Vicious’ - scheduled for release in October 2013 - arrives fully formed and immediately stood out as an impressively accomplished and completely self-assured album, a huge step forward.
Recorded in Detroit as a trio (including Paul Pieretto and Jacopo Borazzo on bass and drums) with producer Chris Koltay (Atlas Sound, Lotus Plaza, Akron Family, Dirtbombs, Liars), it is warm and precise, filled with an unfaltering procession of addictive, hook-filled tracks. The softer-edges of those earlier recordings are replaced by a dynamic of real drive and bite, where every part feels perfectly balanced and intended. The songs still stretch out expansively but everything about the record (from the writing to the playing and production) is bolder, more forceful, more cohesive and concise. The guitars are luminous and the whole is powerfully underpinned with a taut, punchy rhythmic spine that fits comfortably within a very modern American take on krautrock’s motorik propulsiveness.
Although the entirety of the music he has recorded to date has been written and played (and up until ‘Vicious’ produced) by himself, whilst on the road His Clancyness becomes a full band with friends Giulia Mazza (synths / keyboards / noise boxes / vocals / percussion), Emanuela Drei (bass, sampler, vocals) and Jacopo Borazzo (drums / percussion) helping out.
‘Vicious’ will be released by FatCat on October 7th, and preceded by the late May release of the 6-track long ‘Charade EP’, a limited edition cassette release which coincides with a short run of tour dates, where the band will support Deerhunter (Europe) and Widowspeak (UK). A full US / UK / EU tour is being planned for the Autumn.