Bendrix Littleton announced his debut album Deep Dark South (releasing September 25, 2020 with NNA Tapes) and shared a video for the contemplative lead single and title track “Deep Dark South,” which is a compilation of iPhone clips shot around the time of the record’s creation and edited together by Will Taylor (from rock duo Hovvdy whose latest album, Heavy Lifter, was produced by Littleton).
On “Deep Dark South,” Bendrix Littleton conjures the feeling of looking up at the Southern night sky — “and realizing how big and full of wonder it is down here,” he says. Built on a foundation of steady, elegant piano chords, Bendrix’s gently-picked guitar loops create a lush soundscape, making space for his hazy, solitary voice to ponder solitude and time.
Bendrix Littleton is the writing and recording project of Nashville-via-Dallas musician Bennett Littlejohn. The project’s namesake, Maurice Bendrix—the protagonist of Graham Greene’s 1951 novel The End of the Affair—is described by enotes.com as “sometimes an unreliable narrator, for he is so consumed by jealousy, self-pity, self-hatred, and bitterness, that he measures everyone else by himself…[and] confesses that from time to time ‘a demon’ takes possession of his brain.” It’s an appropriate moniker for the self-aware, malaise-filled songs of Bendrix Littleton’s debut, Deep Dark South, due out September 25 from NNA Tapes. While in the album is imbued with the contradictions and painful beauty of the modern American South (as opposed to Greene’s WWII-era London), the hazy, solitary narrative voice remains.
Formerly one half of the “NyQuil-Pop” duo Bent Denim (dissolved in the summer of 2018), Littlejohn sought a fresh outlet that was more individual and freed from any preconceived artistic notions. During this time Littlejohn began taking on significantly more studio work, including production credits on Hovvdy’s Heavy Lifter (out now on Double Double Whammy), new material from Katy Kirby (out on Keeled Scales), and forthcoming work from Sinai Vessel. While production on this music was deeply rewarding, it was nonetheless work that was beholden to someone else’s vision. And it was out of this craving for artistic autonomy that Bendrix Littleton was born. Deep Dark South has provided a space for Littlejohn to experiment, collage, write, and record in a completely independent manner—a long-awaited and welcome zone of unfettered creation.