Debut Album Strangers Like Us out tomorrow on Royal Mountain Records
TORONTO, ON., Oct. 14, 2020 — Today, singer-songwriter Mav Karlo (the solo project from Toronto’s Menno Versteeg of Hollerado), is sharing “Wirewalker“, the final single from his upcoming debut album, Strangers Like Us, out tomorrow on Royal Mountain Records.
Menno elaborated on the meaning behind the track: “Relationships are hard. We all know that. Sometimes, when a person you are close to is experiencing pain, it’s a battle they must fight on their own and there is nothing you can say or do to help them win it. Still, it can be excruciating to watch from a distance. It takes a certain kind of bravery to give them the space they need and have faith that they will come out the other side,” said Versteeg.
WATCH: Mav Karlo’s “Wirewalker” on YouTube
“I like to imagine Philippe Petit on that grey and cloudy day that he set up his tightrope between the Twin Towers. This song is about the desire to achieve that kind of calm belief in oneself. That ability to push forward, unflinching and confident, knowing that to fear the storm is human, but no human can change the weather,” adds Versteeg.
“Wirewalker” follows “Elevator,” which Exclaim called “a fitting exploration of mental health”, the Honest Ed’s tribute “Dig A Hole“, as well as last month’s “Detonator” which Clash declared as “unadorned and affecting…from-the-heart”. As part of their Next Big Thing feature, HMV said “his gift for melody is phenomenal” and Mystic Sons made Mav Karlo their Artist Of The Week saying: “With a smooth and laid-back aesthetic that channels retro crooners as much as more contemporary names, his latest material is quickly becoming a must-hear listen.”
His first full-length, Strangers Like Us closely documents an especially tough period in Versteeg’s life, and ultimately arrives at an undeniable courage in its commitment to truth-telling and unsparing self-examination. Produced by Chris Coady (Amen Dunes, Beach House, Future Islands) and recorded at two iconic studios (Sunset Sound in L.A. and Sonic Ranch in the Texas border town of Tornillo), Strangers Like Us features gracefully sparse arrangements and centres on Versteeg’s lyrical storytelling, revealing a narrative voice deeply attuned to the beauty in the ordinary and routinely overlooked. Despite a stripped-back approach, Strangers Like Us draws incredibly rich texture from Versteeg’s delicate melodies and warm vocal work, and from the spirited performances of guest musicians Katy Goodman of Vivian Girls (on vocals), Charlie Spencer of Dizzy (keys, drums), and Versteeg’s Hollerado bandmate Nixon Boyd (guitar, bass).
Naming Tom Petty and John Prine among his inspirations, Versteeg first began creating as Mav Karlo last year in the midst of constant upheaval, equally driven by an urge to expand his horizons as a songwriter and a need for the raw catharsis of unfettered expression. An album elegantly steeped in memory, Strangers Like Us navigates the often painful act of looking back with grit and clarity and unbridled imagination. Versteeg says, “A lot of the record is about looking within and trying to find the source of your pain, trying to figure out why you behave the way you do, but by the end there’s a sense of starting to trust yourself. So even though there might still be self-doubt, it’s a confident kind of self-doubt—an understanding that everyone feels this way sometimes, and you’ve got to just keep pushing on.”
Mav Karlo’s Strangers Like Us is out tomorrow (October 16th) through Royal Mountain Records.
You can pre-order it here.
2. Dig A Hole
4. Record High
5. Strangers Like Us
6. Nurses And Priests