LONESTAR MUSIC MAGAZINE
NEW MYSTERY GIRL
Crawl Through Your Hair!
Fourteen years ago, I wrote a review of Chrissy Flatt’s Wings of a Butterfly in which I called it “the best debut by an unknown singer-songwriter I’ve ever heard.” Effusive? Yeah. But given that I still listen to that album today, I stand by it. Flatt, born in Austin but raised in San Antonio and Waco, could write and sing a hauntingly beautiful melody, but what set her apart from most acoustic guitar-strumming women (and men, for that matter) on the singer-songwriter scene was that she was a rocker to the core: heart on sleeve but tough-as-nails, like a Texan Chrissie Hynde weaned on Buddy Holly and Johnny Thunders. That became even more evident on her second album, 2004’s Walk With Kings, but it wasn’t until a few years later that Flatt shed the last vestiges of her songbird cocoon and came fully into her own on 2010’s Twist City — not as a solo artist, but as the frontwoman of New Mystery Girl. The songs, voice and vision were still Flatt’s own, but the new outfit seemed to absolutely liberate her, infusing her music with an electrifying jolt of newfound focus and verve. Six years of honing that persona to a razor-sharp edge — and locking down the perfect crew of seasoned cohorts in lead guitarist Erik Hishaw, bassist Bobby Daniel (Alejandro Escovedo’s Sensitive Boys), and drummer Hector Muñoz (Javier Escovedo, True Believers). Crawl Through Your Hair! is a concentrated blast of all-killer, no-filler garage rock ’n’ roll with explosively catchy, classic pop hooks and cool swagger to spare. The six Flatt originals here are all variations of the same trashy pulp-fiction escapism (“Passion! “Lust! Mystery!”) and ’60s girl-group sass that gave Twist City much of its wild-ride kick: “Crawl Through Your Hair,” “I’m Not Ready to Let Go,” “Brand New Love” and “Stepping On My Toes” zip along like the Ramones cruising for Ronettes (or vice versa), while “Minute Man” and “Here He Comes” venture into buzzing Aftermath menace and Between the Buttons psych-pop whimsy. Best of all though is the last song, a ragged-but-right, live-in-the-studio crack at the New York Dolls’ “Subway Train” that feels like a woozy ride home after a dizzying night of mischief. That’s the thrill of New Mystery Girl and this 20-minute EP in a nutshell: It all flies by so fast, you might not know what hit you — but odds are you’ll be twitching for more. — RICHARD SKANSE
BLURT MAGAZINE New Mystery Girl “Crawl Through Your Hair”
Austin’s New Mystery Girl also fields a rootsy vibe on Crawl Through Your Hair! (Gutsy Dame), but calling them just another band of that ilk is a mistake. Singer/songwriter Chrissie Flatt and guitarist Erik Hishaw have deep roots in country and Americana music, but also a smart pop sense and a raw attack, while rhythm section Bobby Daniel and Hector Muñoz did many years with Alejandro Escovedo. Add quality songs like “Stepping On My Toes” and “I’m Not Ready to Let Go” and a rollicking rip through the New York Dolls’ “Subway Train” and you’ve got something more developed than just roots rock. ~ Michael Toland
TEXAS MUSIC MAGAZINE
New Mystery Girl is the new nom du rock adopted by Chrissy Flatt, whose Wings of a Butterfly and Walk With Kings were two of the finest albums by an Austin songwriter to slip under the radar in the last decade. The new handle may be may be a mystery in theory, but it fits the swagger and attitude of “Twist City” like a glove. Flatt’s always been a rebel rocker at heart, and a dozen songs here evoke the myriad thrills of both 60’s AM radio and trashy pulp fiction (“Passion, lust, adventure…” reads the teaser on the back cover). Flatt doesn’t shy from flashing her key influences (the Kinks, Stones, Beatles and Ronettes all get a gleeful shout-out in the terrific “Pirate Radio”), but her sharp melodic hooks and spitfire lyrics “I twist through the city on electric wire”) are far too fresh and inspired to ever be mistaken for retro rehash. From the runway rush of the opening “Drop Dead Gorgeous” through to the haunting, drop dead gorgeous closer, “Ocean & Moon,” “Twist City” is a gas, gas, gas. – RICHARD SKANSE, Texas Music Magazine
3rd COAST MUSIC
Since the credits list Chrissy Flatt as lead vocalist, I’m hardly revealing her secret identity, but not putting her own name on her third album seems fairly obviously a way of creating a new persona for a new direction that’s rather different from her two self-released singer-songwriter albums, Wings of A Butterfly and Walk With Kings, neither of which , as I recall, billed themselves, like this one, as offering “Passion, lust, adventure.” After Flatt took up with grunge/punk/rockabilly guitarist Erik Hishaw, he evolved into a significant singer-songwriter himself, now, cross pollinating as it were, Flatt has mutated into a garage rock-cum-60’s girl group with attitude singer, though she’s her own Tin Pan Alley, writer of all twelve songs. The opening track, Drop Dead Gorgeous, with it’s Shangri-La’s Leader of the Pack motorcycle rumble, sets the tone for a riveting set which peaks with the abpsolutely fabulous Sally’s Rumble, about a wallflower snagging the man of her dreams, which is a neo-rockabilly classic, not to mention a terrific showcase for Flatt’s new style and deadpan delivery. It takes me back to the days when one would play certain 45’s over and over again. With a core band of Erik Hishaw, baritone, 12-string and acoustic guitars, Ron Flynt bass, B3, Wurlitzer and tambourine, backing vocals, Lisa Pankratz plays drums on seven tracks, Freddie Krc on three plus harmonica on another, while Eve Monsees of Eve & the Exiles plays electric guitar on the title track, another of the standouts, and singsñ backup on seven other tracks. Though there were shades of rock & roll in her earier outings, with this one, Flatt has blossomed in another unexpected, but in a very welcome way. Now I’m going off to play Sally’s Rumble a few more times. It’s my Song of the Year (so far). – John Conquest
AUSTIN CHRONICLE Texas Platters
BY MARGARET MOSER
New Mystery Girl – Twist City
A motorcycle engine revving the start of “Drop Dead Gorgeous” kicks New Mystery Girl’s old persona of Chrissy Flatt to the curb, and when the dust settles, Twist City spins with crunchy, roots-driven rock (“Staring Down,” “Dangerous Lines,” “Heard It All Before”), country-flavored roll (“Dandelion Roars,” “Pirate Radio”), and sweet sentiments (“Gather All the Roses”). Here’s hoping New Mystery Girl doesn’t stay a secret.
For the better part of the past decade, Austin’s Chrissy Flatt recorded and toured under her own name, earning plenty of “up-and-comer” notices along the way. A year or so ago, however, she decided to shift gears and slip into the persona of New Mystery Girl, and with the release of Twist City the level of regional attention appeared to accelerate accordingly. With a fistful of glowing press notices in hand, Flatt’s now rolling the album out nationally, and it absolutely deserves to take its rightful place on the larger stage.
Featuring a host of Austin luminaries – among them, Erik Hishaw, Freddie Krc, Brian Standefer, Ron Flynt and Lisa Pankratz – Twist City kick-starts things with “Drop Dead Gorgeous” – literally, via the Shangri-Las-referencing sound of a motorcycle, which leads directly into (appropriately enough) a sassy, saucy slice of garage rock. The sonic trajectory duly established, our New Mystery Girl duly charts a course down the road away from the Austin city limits and into Brit-pop – by way of the Pretenders – territory (“Pirate Radio,” which namechecks the Kinks and the Stones), “60s girl group/Brill Building pop (“Staring Down”), rump-shaking surf/rockabilly (“Sally’s Rumble,” with the delightfully retro lyric “now she’s learning the Rumba and she’s learning the Stroll”) and sweet, Searchers-like jangle (“Dandelion Roars”).
This is not to say that she completely eschews the territorial imperative to twang like a Texan. There’s plenty here for roots aficionados to chew on – check the wallop ‘n’ crunch of the title track, wherein Flatt purrs, growls and roars as if in acknowledgement of the CD’s back sleeve manifesto “Passion, Lust, Adventure…”. Come to think of it, that’s a good summary of the music itself. She’s your new mystery girl, at that. ~ FRED MILLS
New Mystery Girl is Austinite Chrissy Flatt’s new project with longtime collaborators Erik Hishaw and Ron Flynt. Twist City is a no-frills roots-rock disc – like the Pretenders on a low budget – and Flatt’s sandy drawl works perfectly with these gentle tales of passion, lust and adventure. Turn this one up and it is bound to grow on you. Flatt moves beyond the confines of singer-songwriter-dom with this jangly take on rocking girl bands of the past. – Christopher Gray
SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS
NEW MYSTERY GIRL
Ten Little Indians
This fantastic new album could easily have been titled How Chrissy Got Her Groove Back. Austin singer-songwriter Chrissy Flatt has taken on a persona, an invention called New Mystery Girl. And much in the way that the Beatles shed their mop-top facade and became Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Flatt reinvents herself (if not quite so drastically as the acid-drenched Fab Four) to free up her songwriting and deælivery.
That’s especially evident on the opening number, Drop Dead Gorgeous. Flatt conjures the Shangri-La’s Leader of the Pack with the motorcycle rumble at the top of the number, which she propels with a perfectly disinterested punk vocal recalling Belinda Carlisle, Juliana Hatfield and Liz Phair – had those singers fronted the New York Dolls, the Ramones or the Seeds.
The garage-rock and pop elements fuse beautifully with Flatt’s folk and country side. The title track and Sally’s Rumble lovingly capture that sense of mystery and fun that made the records of the girl groups of the 60’s such a groovy ball. – Hector Saldana
“…the opening number, Drop Dead Gorgeous. Flatt conjures the Shangri-La’s Leader of the Pack with the motorcycle rumble at the top of the number…The title track and Sally’s Rumble lovingly capture that sense of mystery and fun that made the records of the girl groups of the 60’s such a groovy ball.” – Hector Saldana
3rd Coast Music
JC’s Best O’2010
SONG – #1 New Mystery Girl: Sally’s Rumble
DEBUT ALBUM – #3 New Mystery Girl: Twist City (self)
LAVA MAGAZINE – “BEAST” 30 Albums Of 2010
#13 New Mystery Girl – Twist City
The biggest mystery here is why a whip-smart singer-songwriter (Chrissy Flatt) with two fine albums under her belt but who’s still by no means a household name, even on her home turf (Austin, Texas), would choose to release her strongest record to date under an alias. Just chalk it up to art over ego. Flatt’s dozen new songs on Twist City snap and sizzle with a genuine rock ’n’ roll energy that’s as fun and feisty as the best pulp fiction. And therein lies the charm of her New Mystery Girl persona/project: You can tell Flatt and the rest of her band (anchored by guitariœst Erik Hishaw and bassist/organ player Ron Flynt) are having an absolute blast. Flatt’s melodies are fresh and exciting, but there’s no hiding her love for such bygone heroes as Buddy Holly, Del Shannon and the Ronettes (“Drop Dead Gorgeous”), along with the Rolling Stones at the height of their mid-60s pop phase (“Dandelion Roars”). The retro dance party peaks with the second half’s title track and the rockabilly stomper “Sally’s Rumble,” but Flatt saves her best for last, riding out with a pair of exquisite, twilit ballads (“Gather All the Roses” and “Ocean & Moon”) that share a haunting, dream-like sense of, yes, mystery, that lingers in the air like thick blue smoke. “The party’s over,” Flatt sings on “Gather All the Roses.” “Hope you’ve enjoyed the show.” And how.
The Casbah Best of 2010 #6 “Twist City” (New Mystery Girl)
MACCA’S REZ RADIO
“Favorites of 2010″ “Sally’s Rumble” (New Mystery Girl/Twist City)