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Lightheaded’s Debut Album ‘Combustible Gems’: A Fresh Take on Classic Pop

  • April 25, 2024
  • 3 min read
Lightheaded’s Debut Album ‘Combustible Gems’: A Fresh Take on Classic Pop

Lightheaded, indie pop, bright happy girls

Lightheaded is a standout pop group. Their music is rich with melodious tunes and harmonious arrangements that strike a balance between sweet and poignant, both familiar and innovative. Their sound is characterized by the delightful blend of Sara Abdlebarry’s dynamic and artful lead guitar on a Gretsch, complemented by the bell-like tones of Stephen Stec’s Rickenbacker, all grounded by Cynthia Rickenbach’s Hofner Violin bass, reminiscent of the bass tones on Michel Polnareff’s debut album.

Cynthia and Stephen craft pop songs with a timeless appeal, drawing from a deep appreciation of classic influences. Cynthia’s attire often includes a Gene Clark T-shirt, signaling her admiration for Dusty Springfield, The Aislers Set, and Joan Jett. Stephen, on the other hand, is heavily influenced by Big Star, The Clientele, and The Go-Betweens. Their music, much like that of The Aislers Set and Belle & Sebastian, presents a rich tapestry of pop history and top-tier rock and roll.

Their first album, Combustible Gems, explores their musical identity through intricate melodies and chords, producing exceptionally captivating music. The debut single “Dawn Hush Lullaby” blends electric folk-pop with a waltz-like start, transitioning into a vibe akin to Greenwich Village pop, reminiscent of a Norma Tanega song. “Moments Notice” is an irresistibly rhythmic track that starts with a Motown or The Jam feel before Sara’s mesmerizing guitar riff elevates it into a sublime pop realm.

“Hugging Horizons” could be described as the sound of young New Jersey, a soulful track that ventures into innovative pop territories. The album concludes with “Because of You,” which features a Johnny Marr-style guitar and lush strings, capturing a tone that is sophisticated yet earnest, and endearingly sincere. Check out “Bright Happy Girls” below:

May 24 Somerville, MA – Union Tavern w/Little Oso
May 25 Providence, RI – Lost Bag w/Little Oso
May 26 Brooklyn, NY – 18th Ward w/Little Oso
May 28 Asbury Park, NJ – Johnny & June’s w/Little Oso
May 29 Philadelphia, PA – Abyssinia w/Little Oso
May 31 Brooklyn, NY – Market Hotel w/Heavenly
Jun 06 Oakland, CA – Oakland Weekender at Thee Stork Club
Jun 08 Los Angeles, CA – Permanent Records Roadhouse w/Uni Boys & The Smashing Times
Jun 14 NYC, NY – The Broadway w/The Umbrellas & The Smashing Times
Jul 19 Brighton, UK – Rossi Bar w/Mt Misery
Jul 20 Cardiff, UK – The Moon w/Mt Misery
Jul 21 Oxford, UK – Tap Social w/Mt Misery
Jul 22 Leeds, UK – Royal Park Cellars w/Mt Misery
Jul 23 Sheffield, UK – The Delicious Clam w/Mt Misery
Jul 24 London, UK – SLR Showcase at The Lexington w/Birdie & Tony Molina
Jul 25 Manchester, UK – Gulliver’s w/Mt Misery
Jul 26 Glasgow, UK – Glas-Goes Pop! festival
Jul 28 Glasgow, UK – Monorail Music

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About Author

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan is an accomplished promoter, event planner, producer, activist, counselor, poet and blogger. Within the course of two and a half years Chris Ryan has worked with some of NYC's most established promoters/event planners, been named 2007′s GaySocialite of the year, granted a promoter of the year award from NYC's most famous gay establishment, Splash. He's worked in some of NYC's top venues including; Avalon, Capitale, Cipriani, Cielo, Pacha, Element, Le Poisson Rouge, XL, G Lounge, Plumm, Hilton Hotel, Indigo Hotel, Spirit, Myst/Quo, Splash, The Ritz, Vlada, Roseland Ballroom, Heaven, etc. In 2008, Chris Ryan has begun to unveil some of the most innovative & unique parties New York City has ever seen. The Fusion events "fuse" together all disciplines of art into an event that remains diverse yet cohesive at the same time. won best gay promotions website from NYC Event Patrons in 2008 & he was granted an award from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Gov. Patterson & Michelle Clunie (QAF) saluting him for his hard work in nightlife. Chris Ryan has also begun working with many renown companies, including; doctors, lawyers, physicians, modeling agencies & more. Chris Ryan has been responsible for wide-scale promotions for all these companies & generating tremendous business. Chris Ryan has even started to become National with events taking place in LA & Miami this year. In May of 2009 Chris Ryan received the very prestigious honor of being named a "40 Under 40″ Gays in America by the Advocate Magazine. He also created three successful parties that generated over 1,500 patrons each. In January of 2010 Chris Ryan was featured as one of the top promoters to look out for in Noize Magazine Chris Ryan joined forces with legendary promoter/event producer, Lee Chappell and created one of the most talked about events of all 2010, Desire @ Capitale. Chris Ryan and Lee featured one of the most outstanding artists NYC has ever seen, "Oh Land." Her performance coupled with an exquisite and unforgettable set design added to this extravagant event that held over 1,000 patrons in one of NYC's most successful PRIDE events! Chris Ryan then joined forces with legendary Pacha promoter, Rob Fernandez in addition to Jake Resnicow and Tommy Marinelli to bring one of the largest and most successful parties worldwide to NYC, MATINEE. The event on Governor's Island saw over 2,000+ attendees and one of the most ambitious productions ever. In 2011 Chris Ryan started Emerge Music Promotions with business partner Darren Melchiorre. Emerge Music promotions began signing artists with plans to develop and market the artists to the community at large. Emerge Music promotions has big events planned for 2012 and 2013. Chris Ryan debuted the IMAGE events which took place on top of two of NYC's most beautiful rooftop venues, Rare View and Indigo Hotel. The events were blogged everywhere and featured the fashion designs of several clothing designers, artists and photographers. Chris Ryan felt that fashion and art should be displayed at every event and attracted the likes of Malan Breton, Calvin Klein and even Katy Perry. Chris Ryan began an extremely successful event which incorporated the concept of a house party into a nightclub atmosphere. The event Twist'D at G Lounge has been one of the most talked about events in NYC and allows it's audience to play nearly-naked Twister, beer pong, flip cup & more with other attendees. Chris Ryan was granted an excellence in volunteering award from AVP (Anti-Violence Project) for all his efforts in supporting the organization. 2013 has a very promising landscape on the horizon and Chris Ryan is complacent in saying "you haven't seen anything yet!"

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