Cleveland, Ohio’s Ray Flanagan is a journeyman songwriter that has taken it upon himself to create unfiltered and honest music that reflects his thoughtful perspective on modern times.
Releasing two new singles today, “Wanted Better (Stop Me From Dreaming)” and “I Love The Nighttime,” Flanagan introduces his audience to a bit of a bluesy indie rock sound that in its rawness, has a charismatic simplicity that is easy to get lost in. And most impressive of all, he does just about all the heavy lifting heard.
“Wanted Better” is a groovy footstomper that is equal parts confident as it is longing. The chugging groove and steady beat drills into your memory and leaves you strutting and feeling good long after the song ends. The bridge, where Flanagan sings in a higher register, is a vulnerable part of the song where the longing nature of the lyrics really shines. There’s definitely a Black Keys essence heard in this tune.
The B-side, “I Love The Nighttime,” is a straight ahead ode to the wonders and mysteries of the night, where Flanagan retreats into the depths of his mind. The chorus consists of a great dual harmony that drives home the line, “I keep howling at the moon,” and thus begins Flanagan’s delightful howl in the song. Keeping up with its straightforward message, it’s a great sing-a-long track and displays a message many can relate to, and does so in a way that easily resonates. “I Love The Nighttime” has a very T-Rex feel in the simple yet effective and electric instrumentation.
In regards to the inception of these tracks Flanagan says, “I started self-producing music for the first time due to the pandemic in late 2020. I’ve been putting out two songs on the first Friday of every month for the better part of two years. On these tracks, I played all the instruments, except I got my brother Russ to come play drums on ‘Wanted Better’ because it needed his feel. Everything was recorded at my rehearsal spot in Cleveland. My great friend and bandmate David Alan Shaw and I mixed the track together out in Painesville, OH, at Suma Recording Studio. The stories about the songs are in the songs.”
With these two new singles, Flanagan demonstrates his innate ability for introspective lyrics and doesn’t try too hard on his instrumentation. The result is two new earworm songs that the average indie rock fan can surely enjoy. Keep an eye out for his gigs, shows, and whatnot that are largely in the Cleveland area- for now.