by Andrew Hertzberg (@and_hertz)
Whether playing with punk group Ego or fronting the Prince tribute-band Purple Pain, Chicago musician Dan Rico is always making the most of a performance. In 2016, he released Endless Love, twelve tracks about love won and lost, of built and broken hearts. Though the lyrics are often down-trodden, there’s a sturdy foundation of power-pop hooks to make you dance the heartbreak away. Rico is now ready to release his second album, Dreamy. Having recently spent some time in New Orleans and Atlanta, Rico’s new sound builds on his garage- and punk-rock past with hints of doo-wop, soul, funk, and roots rock. His songs will just as easily take you for a spin on the dance floor as they will cradle an arm around you on the couch.
We’ve got the premiere for the music video for ‘Hot To Please,’ a soulful number with nods to the Rolling Stones and Thin Lizzy, a mix of swaggering drums, melancholy lyrics, and duel guitar solos during the bridge. The video itself is simple, with Rico taking over the corner of Manhattan and Nassau in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, throwing out unself-conscious dance moves, as other people pass by around him un-noticing. “I showed up at the director’s (Jimmy Giannopoulos from LOLAWOLF) place with pretty much no idea what we’re gonna shoot,” Rico wrote in an email. “We met and he told me, ‘I have an idea— can you DANCE...?’ An hour later we were on the street in Greenpoint shooting this video. This song itself is about breaking through a threshold from emotional pain to acceptance. The video demonstrates it by alternating stillness and movement, tension and release, and finally the intensified dancing as a raw, true representation of soul.”
At the beginning of the video, you’ll notice the flags from Mexico and the USA, which is particularly striking given the recent events in this country. “So far while releasing my music I’ve never really talked about my cultural background,” Rico wrote. “I’m half Mexican, half Russian and German and a bunch of other things. Getting in depth about my Latino heritage publicly has never really been easy because I wasn’t raised speaking Spanish.” And the two flags side by side don’t have just one meaning. “Flashing these two images in tandem creates a powerful and suggestive message. For me it’s about embracing my lineage. For someone else it could be about reuniting families, or tearing down walls, or world peace.”
Dreamy is out on cassette and CD on Friday June 22nd from The Minimal Beat. Check out the video for ‘Hot to Please’ below.