“This album covers a lot of emotionally heavy stuff like mental health, addiction, existence, and relationships”
Jay Allen Sanford 2 p.m., Nov. 21
RIYL: Elliott Smith
Influences: Elliott Smith, Morrisey, Joy Division, Peter Murphy, Elton John, the Beatles
John Helix is an acoustic singer-songwriter who describes his sound with the German term "Weltschmerz," which essentially translates to romantic sadness, or a feeling of generalized sentimental pessimism. It's a theme and vibe that has informed his live performances from day one.
"The first gig I ever played was back at Twiggs on Park in 2003," he told the Reader. "This drunk lady had wandered into the showroom from one of the bars down the street and started causing all kinds of obscene commotion in the crowd, taking off her clothes and asking me to sign parts of her body. It was awkward because some of my family were there. It just kind of brought some really awkward tension to the performance, because I was new to the scene and didn't really know how to handle it."
"I remember that the manager in charge of booking the acts there came up to me afterward and said 'Welcome to show business.'"
His 2014 album I Fell in Love with a Memory was followed the next year by Chronic Happiness.
A third full-length, Tune Out, Turn Off, Disconnect, was released in March 2016. "The title of my album is a play on Timothy Leary's famous line, 'Tune in, Turn On, Drop Out.' I was feeling a bit lost and depressed during the writing and recording, so a lot of the songs have to do with anger and alienation. The album cover art was shot in downtown San Diego near little Italy. I was trying to get the background to look like a Rothko painting - I was heavily into Rothko while writing and recording the album - and a friend suggested that building had that quality I was looking for."