New Jersey’s rock/pop-noir artist Shayfer James released a new EP titled Hope And A Hand Grenade today. A dramatic and diverse mix of captivating tunes, he seamlessly weaves between soft-spoken ballads and uptempo social anthems. Combining dark, poetic lyrics and swaggering melodies, James enamors audiences in an emotional and moving performance.
Hope And A Hand Grenade comes as Shayfer James’ seventh studio release, showcasing his ongoing growth as a singer-songwriter. His music provides a unique blend of catchy unconventionality; bright pop melodies are interwoven with gothic-tinged lyrics and emotive vocals, all delivered with a splash of whiskey humor, smart quip, and air of dark charm. Applauded for his theatrical live performances, James keeps audiences on their feet, with a hint of mystery and surprise.
“I went into the production of this EP with a totally open mind,” James shared. “I worked with producer/mixer/engineer and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Gillespie who has been one of my closest friends for ten years. I trust him with all my heart. Jeremy knows me and understands my artistic approach and arrangements in a way that I think a lot of independent artists can only hope for. He also thinks I’m out of my mind, which is a bonus.” Known for his masterful piano work, James challenged himself on this latest release. “I love the piano but it had started to bore me a bit last year so I shifted my focus toward electric guitar. I recruited Corby Hewson on drums (who performed on all my previous recordings) and Caitlin Gray (Hooray For The Riff Raff) on bass as well as T. Fortuna on percussion. Jeremy and I played everything else, other than the viola on “Crack A Bottle, Run A Bath”, which was performed by Peter Horn.” The EP was mixed and primarily recorded at Mike Ferretti’s Self Titled Studios, with additional tracking at Magic Door Recording and Kaleidoscope Sound. It was mastered by Kim Rosen at Knack Mastering. James concluded, “Recording this EP was a wonderful experience made incredible by working with some of the best friends I’ve ever had.”
Shayfer James’ first single and accompanying music video for “Mercy Down” was released last month, as a powerful social anthem. With a dark cabaret-inspired flair, it takes a critical lens to the negative aspects of humanity and modern America – including references to violence, war, environmental destruction, and a multitude of social and humanitarian crises. Despite the darkness and negativity that is portrayed, he provides listeners with a ray of hope and empowerment, calling for unity, action, and change. James utilities his music to often question and examine the good, bad, and ugly of human nature, across personal and societal levels. A number of additional music videos will be released in the coming weeks. The track “Ophelia,” a ballad written for survivors of abuse, will have an accompanying music video released to coincide with Women’s History Month in March, raising support and donations for a local charity (details to come).
Hope And A Hand Grenade is available on all major digital retailers today, including Spotify, Bandcamp, and Apple Music. Shayfer James will be celebrating his EP release show on Friday, March 8, at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2 in NYC (9pm show, $10, 21+).