LO-FI: Free First Friday feat. Josie Dunne, The Hecks
About Josie Dunne
It almost feels inevitable that Josie Dunne would become an artist of some kind. Although the musician and songwriter now calls Nashville home, she grew up in the suburbs of Chicago in an art-loving family. Everyone in Josie’s family creates. Her sister is a dancer, her older brother is a painter and her younger brother is a graphic designer and actor. For Josie, expression comes in the form of sincere, fun-loving pop music.
Songs have always been part of Josie’s life. Her parents raised the kids on Stevie Wonder, Etta James and Ray Charles, the songs blaring through the stereo alongside Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Josie learned piano and taught herself guitar, and took singing lessons from her cousin. She knew early on that music was the right career path for her to pursue, and she began flying to Nashville every month during high school for writing sessions with various producers and co-writers. It was through these sessions that Josie began to understand what sorts of songs were right for her.
There’s a nerdy vibe embedded into the tunes, too, and Josie’s the first to admit that. She’s passionate about what she loves and she cares about things unabashedly. She loves learning, in any form, and that sensibility comes out in the lyrics. Her music isn’t just about being cool; it’s about being yourself and being authentic. Watching documentaries, movies and TV shows, and listening to podcasts has helped Josie understand that it’s essential to create an immersive feeling with her art. She brings in a lot of visual components onstage (as well as a live trumpet she’s been learning to play) and she hopes her music takes you somewhere special.
“Learning, to me, is really exciting,” Josie says. “That might be the ultimate nerdy thing to say, but that’s what I do for fun. In a lot of ways, movies and videos and podcasts really influence what I do. I get inspired by a world that is created in a visual way, whether it’s watching a movie or going to an aquarium and being surrounded by a tank of fish. It’s a world in itself. That’s something I try to do. I want to put the listener in this story and this other world.”
It’s a world you’ll want to hang out in.
About The Hecks
Chicago quartet The Hecks have been at it since 2012, starting out as the duo of guitarist Andy Mosiman & Zach Hebert. The band drafted guitarist Dave Vettraino into the fold, a recording engineer who was recording the band’s s/t debut (Trouble In Mind, 2016) & ended up joining the band In 2017. The band’s journey to the end result of “My Star” – their second album – has taken them nearly three years.
After recording an initial version of the album in 2017, The Hecks started gigging with new fourth member & keyboardist Jeff Graupner, whose synthesized squiggles added some welcome heft & swagger to the band’s tunes. After reworking & rearranging much of the new material to integrate Graupner, the band scrapped the recordings & rebuilt them from the ground up, incorporating Graupner’s skills at the keys. The results speak for themselves, as “My Star” is a gigantic leap forward for the band, absorbing everything from “Manscape”-era Wire to Paisley Park nu-funk to abstract new wave & art rock plucked straight from the Cold Storage playbook. Much of “My Star”s ten tracks are designed to bewilder; the production is intentionally disorienting, with the mix tipped toward the treble, alternating from sparse to confoundingly dense at times, but never at a disservice to the songs themselves. Opener “Zipper”s intertwining guitar jabs &synth lines herk & jerk so rapidly it’s liable to break your neck, while lead track “So 4 Real”s neon-laced dayglo soul ratchets up the mutant funk throb so tightly that the lilting, melodic guitar break at the chorus is a welcome dose of ear-candy. “Heat Wave” dials it back, reveling in romantic washes of synth and flange & its yearning refrain of “It’s tearing me apart, ripping out my heart again”; a captivating, slow burning ballad unlike anything the band has done before. Meanwhile album closer (and title track) “My Star” is so cinematic, it feels like the lost end credits scene to a heartfelt teen drama, with its end coda taking up the bulk of the song’s near-eight minute run time. “My Star” is designed to move you and make you move, you just have to let it.