COVID doesn’t care about your damn music. Clint Niosi knows this firsthand. The moody singer-songwriter was about halfway through production of a new EP when the pandemic stopped him cold. He readapted and reworked his pre-COVID record into a surreal, abstract, and hopeful album for Dec. 4.
During this time of uncertainty, Niosi said he can relate to other musicians trying to approach their craft now.
“The tone and the mood of the album may have an intentional hopeful feel to it,” Niosi said. “The loneliness part of the album is real … . I think that is what everyone can tune into now.”
Like most musicians planning gigs and 2020 releases, Niosi finished tracking the EP in December in anticipation of an East Coast tour later on. During the lockdown, Panorama Avenue grew in Niosi’s home studio to a full-length. He will celebrate the release on Saturday, Dec. 5, with a livestreamed full-band performance from MASS. For his fifth studio effort, the singer-songwriter played guitar, lap steel, bass, drums, and various synthesizers.
“COVID has hit musicmakers very hard,” he said. “Live performance and contact in general have been limited. I count myself as one of the more fortunate. I have my wife and close friends to lean on and my own studio to disappear into. Introversion and focus have been my assets.”
Niosi recently released two tracks on Bandcamp, “Dance to the Bottom” and “Alone/Unknown,” and one more is on the way Friday. In addition to CDs, he also plans to release a vinyl version of Panorama Avenue to be sold at local record stores.
Panorama Avenue is a mix of synthy psych-rock and acoustic strumming, everything buoyed by Niosi’s gentle vocal delivery.
“I hope that the themes of impermanence and isolation on Panorama Avenue resonate and provide some escape,” Niosi said. ‘This is a hopeful and lonely album, but the main message is to continue having hope.”
In contrast to Niosi’s earlier, Southern Gothic-inspired work, Panorama Avenue is a bit lighter, a middle finger to the darkness that’s enshrouded us the past several years and several months especially. With the album, the artist hopes to connect with other creatives dealing with many of the same issues he is.
“I guess I would say that I don’t intentionally try to make anything too dark,” he said. “I just try to express my feelings in a song in a way that’s going to relate to other people. I think most music is hopeful.”
For the MASS show, Niosi will be joined by drummer Eddie Dunlap (Rage Out Arkestra) and keyboardist Matt Hansen (Boozy Moods). Tickets are available via MASS’ website and Facebook page.
9pm Sat via Facebook.com/MASSFW. $10.