Jeremy Tuplin // The Slaughtered Lamb // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Jeremy Tuplin and his band (The Ultimate Power Assembly) took to the stage in what was an overcrowded and intimate affair in the candle-lit basement of the iconic folk circuit venue, The Slaughtered Lamb.

Opening with the more autobiographical ‘Can We Be Strangers’, the set-list continued with all the songs from his latest album, Pink Mirror, alongside older classics such as ‘O Youth’ and ‘Albert Einstein Song’.

Significantly, the placement of the opening, middle and closing tracks were punctuated by the social commentary on the modern world from new tracks such as ‘Love’s Penitentiary’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’, with ‘The Machine’ placed somewhere in the middle, before closing the night with one of my favourites: ’The Beast’ allowing Jeremy’s own vulnerabilities as a writer to come through structurally in balance to exposing human natures dark sides.

Tuplin’s crowd interactions were nothing short of sharp commentary in-between songs, framing his understated and dry humoured character, levelling that of his singer-songwriter personality. Sharply astute to the trajectory of his laconic lines upon his listeners; we followed his poignancy with equal measures of laughter, often double taking what we heard, re-considering our interpretations before digesting hidden irony.

We fed off his idiosyncrasies and were all here tonight in what Jeremy described to us as an “album awareness concert” for his second album: ‘Pink Mirror’ (officially released: 5 April). We watched on as band and solo performances were separated by the non-performing members covering themselves with white sheets, like little ghouls upon stools. Tuplin even donned a pair of rose-tinted shades for ‘Pink Mirror’, “these are meant to be pink, but you can’t really see that. Well worth 15 quid” he jested.

As the evening developed it was really intriguing how Jeremy engaged with his audience – it was not only the familiar warmth, “It’s great to see so many of you, loads of music people, my friends and family, and strangers too, soon to be friends, I hope” but that role he takes as a performer and writer. His deadpan baritone delivery and half rhyming poetry navigated its way to our hearts. Essentially identifying that we are all flawed human beings, and making light both lyrically and through stage props, offering his performance as a both a piece of art – a gift conjured from dreams – and a sharp depiction of reality.

It is songs like ‘Bad Lover’ where art imitates life; lyrics hint towards his role as a songwriter: “Here we go again yet another account. Whatever’s inside me I’m gonna twist around and spit it out.” Whether that be “..astronaut dreams intended for your escape..or detail all the pieces of my poor broken heart” Jeremy writes to address various issues, either escapist dreamlike stories or personal accounts of heartbreak, for our benefit, and agreeably “altering minds one lyric at a time.”

In reverse, life imitates art with the song: ‘The Machine’; in his day-to-day life as a writer something begs him to question and reflect upon his life and profession: “Then I think of everything I do, think feel or see, it barely contributes to the economy” and yet we do also “suffer these same internal dialogues”.

Whether life imitates art or his art imitates life itself, Jeremy, however consciously, has developed a voice of his own and narrates the chaos of life and the intimacy of desire, vanity and representations of love in a way that is both pensive and witty. He is without doubt one of the most subversive songwriters and performers of our generation.

Pink Mirror is out on 5 April 2019 via Trapped Animal Records & Cargo Records

Follow Jeremy Tuplin on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

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Durand Jones and the Indications Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

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“We’re not the type of people to say “all artists have a duty to write political music.” We just write about the things that are important to us.”

We caught up with Indiana-based soul artists, Durand Jones and the Indications, to get to the heart of their music and it’s power to connect with such a diverse amount of people worldwide.

Premiering new songs of their latest album: ‘American Love Call’ the other week, at Dingwalls, Camden, their sentiments resonated with the crowds; the album itself is very much a love letter to life and an expression of how people are feeling right now – their deep lyrics feed the soul.

Elizabeth: Firstly, take us back to the start of the band and where you all met?

Durand: This project got together in the autumn of 2012. I was working with the IU Soul Review as a graduate assistant. Soul Review is a class students can audition for. The ones who get in learn about and play soul music. I taught the horn section, wrote horn charts, and arranged horns parts. I was asked to sing for the class as well since this year was short on guys. They knew I sang with bands back in Louisiana, and since it was my job I reluctantly said yes. The particular category of study this semester was Motown. I sang backgrounds on some Temptations stuff, and had a solo on a Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell duet— ‘For Your Precious Love.’ That’s how I met Blake Rhein who gave me Charles Bradley’s ‘No Time For Dreaming’ on CD one day after class. In that way he established a friendship with me and invited me to hang with him to sing on a tune he was writing. The tune became ‘Givin Up’. He then introduced me to Aaron Frazer. And we all began writing together. We started to hang and listen to records as well. They introduced me to a band that they played in called Charlie Patton’s War. They were a rowdy rock and roll band and the first time I played with these guys was in a basement to Otis Redding’s ‘Dock of the Bay’ at party in a basement. That was the start!

E: Durand, you mentioned you were from a small town, in what ways has coming from a small town impacted you?

I’m from a very rural part of Louisiana. A place called Hillaryville, Louisiana. Coming from a rural area I got to explore for miles in the woods, go fishing and swimming in the Mississippi River and learn a traditional style of singing that isn’t practiced much anymore in the Baptist church. Our parents forced us to be outside and wouldn’t let us back in until the sun was going down. That is how I discovered my love and need for nature. In the country things are still so all of your senses and emotions are heightened. Moving to Bloomington was a wake up call. I didn’t realise how poor I grew up until I moved up there, or how country I was. I recently moved back to Hillaryville after doing stints in Chicago and NYC and I must say it truly feels like a completely different world between Hillaryville and those places. I love the country life and it’s where I want to be for the rest of my life.

Aaron, when we met at your Dingwalls show, you mentioned you played in a punk band. How did you find the transition in going from punk to soul?

Haha, well more punk-blues than straight up “punk”. Before we met Durand, 3/4 of The Indications had been in our own rock n roll band called Charlie Patton’s War. We had a reputation for putting on super rowdy performances; Blake used to stand on top of my kick drum etc. We played a ton of shows over 3 years – mostly house shows and dive bars. But that meant that when we met Durand, the band was already tight. The soul and rock artists we enjoy are ones that celebrate passion and prize grittiness.

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Durrand Jones and the Indications owning that stage at Dingwalls, Camden

And at what point did you all realise you guys had something special as Durand Jones and the Indications? – Do you guys still play in other bands?

Blake: Last year when we played the Troubadour in L.A., the whole room sang every word to  “Is It Any Wonder,” which was completely surreal. People we’re even singing along to “True Love,” which at that point only existed live demo on YouTube.

Aaron put out a really great 45 under the name The Flying Stars of Brooklyn. That band featured Eli “Paperboy” Reed and they are amazing live. They play a fundraising show once or twice a year, so if you’re in NY keep your eyes peeled.

You all have such amazing energy on stage. I remember the first time seeing you play (at the Lexington, London) and was blown away by your energy and humbleness. You guys put so much energy into each show. How do you consistently maintain this? 

Durand: A lot of it comes down to touring smartly. We don’t drink or smoke much and try to eat right. There’s so much music out there, and so many touring artists, that when people decide to pay attention to what you’re doing, you better return the favour and give them your all on wax on stage.

How do you find touring? How was last years 10 week tour – any crazy stories to share with us? 

Blake: I had a hard time with being on the road for long periods of time at first. I love having my own space to be creative, draw, and paint. That’s basically impossible on the road. But I’ve found my ways to stay happy and healthy on the road and I’ve really come to enjoy it.

One of my favourite stories was from Kansas City last year. After the gig, we all ended up at the same little jazz club down the street from the venue. Most of us were at a table in the back and there was a little quartet in the front playing standards. Out of nowhere comes a wild-as-hell trumpet solo, and sure enough it Kiinch, who was touring with us at the time. The crowd was way into it, but the house band, who were undoubtedly upstaged, were not.

At Dingwalls the other week, we really loved the bands matching shirts, reminds us of the soul bands. We were also admiring how there was a real diverse mix of people and ages. Soul music is what brought them there, you have really connected to people. Tell us more about the support coming through as of late?

Blake: Early on, we had a small coalition of fans who came from the record collecting community. That group along with the independent record stores clerks that were recommending the record were crucial in getting us off the ground. But the more we’ve toured around, we’re meeting all different types of music fans. We’ve met some fans who love live music more than anything and will come see us multiple times over the course of a week on tour. We’ve met fans who are totally new to collecting soul 45s who probably bought their first single at our merch table. One of the most rewarding group of fans we’ve connected with is the lowrider community throughout southern California. A lot of these folks have been listening to this style of music for 50 years. They’ve been incredibly enthusiastic and supportive about what we’re doing.

Durand Jones 3; Elizabeth Andrade

Framing the moment after their sold-out in-store gig and album launch at Rough Trade, East

Congratulations on the new album: ‘American Love Call’ – it feels like a love letter or expression of your feelings to America. Tell us more about the dynamics in writing and  sharing vocals.

Durand: Everyone writes and brings ideas to the table when it comes to the songwriting. Sharing the vocals is something that reminds us of all of the vocal groups that we have come to love. With the resurgence of this style of soul music, many bands call upon high power shouting soul singers but no one has embraced the musings of someone like Eddie Kendricks or Damon Harris, and Aaron has filled that void I believe. He gives us a unique and refreshing dynamic to the group. Although I’m not doing much soul shouting anymore, it’s a nice contrast between us two.

I’m loving the political commentary on your songs. It really connects to what people are going through. I heard what you said at Rough Trade East, that 78% of Americans are living from pay check to pay check. It kind of reminds us of Charles Bradley ‘World is Going Up in Flames’ and Aloe Blacc ‘I Need a Dollar. It feels like you are following on from them but doing it in your own way. 

Aaron: It’s a crazy statistic, but it’s true. We’re not the type of people to say “all artists have a duty to write political music.” We just write about the things that are important to us. And among those things is the idea of intersectionality. Racial identity is at the forefront of the political conversation, and that’s essential! But only focusing on that leaves out the things that unite us. And a big uniting force is class. We can acknowledge what makes us different while working together to improve conditions for poor people, regardless of their colour.

We spotted that you raffled one of your records for The Poor Peoples Campaign – can you tell us more about your involvement in this movement?

Aaron: I learned about the Poor People’s Campaign last year, and it verbalised so many things I’d been feeling. It’s a non-partisan movement created by Martin Luther King Jr. that revolves around uniting people across racial lines to address issues of economic, racial and environmental inequality. I’ve been trying to organise shows and fundraisers like this to raise money for the organisation because I believe this movement could be the source of hope and positivity so many people are searching for.

Follow Durand Jones and the Indications on: Twitter // Facebook  // Instagram

Words and photos: Elizabeth Andrade (@LizzyyEA)

Bazooka Zero Hits LP Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
Bazooka; Credit Sarah

Athens-based psychedelic punk outfit, Bazooka

Bazooka shook us up last year with their turbulent psychedelic EP: ‘Zougla’ (‘Jungle’ released Nov 2017) – in case you missed it, here’s our review. Their chaotic and acidic punk 4-track EP has now given birth to this completely face-melting full-length record, Zero Hits.

Returning this January with their 3rd LP – and for the month that’s in it, it’s been the most well timed irreverent psych-punk record to lift those ominous clouds.

Their lead single: ‘Fylaki’ (‘Prison’) in the bands words: “..was born from the thought that we are seemingly free, yet we are locked up in our own mental cell. You know, we create our personal hell and we don’t even know it. And some of us even believe that it’s a place of love and happiness.”

The Athens based four-piece have irrepressible passion, and you cannot help but feed off their contagious energy. Singing entirely in their Greek mother tongue is of no barrier, sonically, you will appreciate just how ambitious and different their sound is; driving surf-rock crossed with new wave and laced with fuzzy guitar riffs. It would certainly find a fitting home on BBC Radio 6 Music – a refreshing spin for Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable we reckon!

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Bazooka LP artwork credit; George Chandrinos

Zero Hits (released via Inner Ear Records) is out now: Inner Ear RecordsiTunesBandCamp

Follow Bazooka on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Ten Fé Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
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Ten Fé; Photo Credit; Abi Raymaker

Leo Duncan, who shares lead singer-songwriter duties with Ben Moorhouse of Ten Fé, spoke to us about the recording of their second album, the evolution of their sound, and positivity in the face of increasingly declining physical record sales.

It’s obvious when you speak to a musician that music goes beyond their occupation, or satisfying self indulgence of project ‘cool’. As Keith Richards once said: “Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” Discussing the bands origins almost feels an insult in the face of Ten Fé, who clearly have music in their “bones”.

The band wear hearts, not pride, on their sleeves. The follow up to their ‘Hit The Light’ debut, ‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’, that coincides it’s release (March 8 via Some Kinda Love) with a second American tour, certainly cements how they have really come into their own both personally, and musically.

Originally starting out as a busking duo, Duncan and Moorhouse naturally gravitated towards a five-piece to include childhood mates from Birmingham. And it’s on this second record that you will notice how they have really honed into their sound, doing away with the electronics stylistically, and recording the album mostly live as a five-piece band. Subsequently, the material is more raw and honest and was a reaction to the reception when touring their debut album. “Being honest as performers and the more we’ve cut down on, the backing track, the PA, the electronics, I feel the easier it’s got. And on this album, everyone is playing their instruments, we’ve harnessed raw energy – there’s a real magic passing from one another.”

The first album was not only recorded as a duo, with both Duncan and Moorhouse alternating instruments in the Berlin studio with Ewan Pearson (The Rapture, M83, Jagwar Ma) but had electronic leanings and 90s influence (Primal Scream, Happy Mondays). ‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’ ramps up the Americana elements coming through on the last record; Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac and The War On Drugs. “Our listening became more concentrated and particularly The War on Drugs – but also Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’, R.E.M’s ‘Automatic For The People’ – we kept it pretty tight, it wasn’t a conscious thing, it’s just what we were listening to at the time. Obviously our beloved Stones and Beatles too and a touch of The Lighting Seeds at the end.”

Lyrically speaking, poetry retains a large component and privilege as the listener, almost as though the material wasn’t meant for prying ears. “In terms of this album, the lyrics are deeper, there’s less word play and wit in the lyric. It’s more concentrated on being honest – on speaking and not wanting to shout, there’s a softness to the lyrics.”

People may be keen to associate them with their hard grafting roots; London buskers on the District Line at 5:30pm, but it’s coming through that is more significant. Music is expression, an art that Duncan says they are fortunate to have avoided the down trodden routes for, and having been a musician over in Dublin, Ireland for a year in his early twenties this was where he learnt how to hold an audience.

When Duncan shares with me his stories of working over in Dublin, there’s an underling and unflinching self confidence to his worth as a performer that I cannot help but admire. “I would play lots of pretty tough pubs along East Wall and on the Northside, where I lived saying, ‘Listen do you mind if I play for you tonight, I’ll play for free, if you give me drinks all evening?’ ‘Right, well, we’ll put you in front of the TV and the football is on at the moment, but if you can distract the people from the football then we’ll let you have the gig.” And I loved that, because you know, if you can make people turn their attention from the football onto you, then you know you are onto something.”

It wasn’t just learning how to hold an audience, but the Irish culture and attitude towards music in turn, took a hold on Duncan: “There’s a very interesting attitude to music in Ireland, you know, there’s a very inclusive attitude to performance – if someone has a guitar, they’re expected to play, and that’s just the given.”

Ireland’s very different, inclusive attitude towards music is the mentality that continues to drive the band forward and is taking them places. Inclusivity is pivotal to their music. “In London the attitude is a stark contrast – if you have a guitar then you have to perform – it’s not an intimate or inclusive thing, because there’s so many people striving to do the same thing, it’s a lot harder. I’ve always connected more to the Irish ways. It happens in Birmingham too – it’s not about networking or showing off, everyone can enjoy these songs, that’s my mission. It’s got very clear roots for me with Birmingham and Dublin.”

While their attitude towards music is rooted in Ireland, they have a greater kinship with American music stylistically. “America is such an important place for us musically. Kurt Vile, War on Drugs, Mac De Marco, Twin Peaks, Whitney is the music that inspires us – when we get up in the mornings, that’s what we put on. Not British bands, apart from Idles and solo acts – I’m excited by Westerman and King Krule, but in terms of bands, America is where it’s at right now”.

When questioning his thoughts on the British music industry, Duncan is positively optimistic about the future of not only the industry itself, but the band’s ambition to sustain a positive headspace. “Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, it’s a struggle sometimes – but if you surround yourself with good people, its always positive. Not just between us as a band, but our management and label are our best mates and they’re always there to support us.”

“You really have to go for it as it’s so competitive right now, but at the same time, the quality of music isn’t dampening, people are making just as good of music as ever, and the people listening aren’t going deaf, shows are being attended and playing shows are as good as it’s ever been.”

Over the phone this afternoon, it seems only topical to bring into conversation todays closure of HMV. I question insofar how Spotify is helping bands, which Duncan enlightens me, helped fund Ten Fé’s last tour of America.  “Things are changing, yes, HMV shut down but when was the last time you bought something in there? (Very true). Lets work out the next way to ingest music – people don’t pay for music now, that’s just the reality – that’s had an enormous impact thing on music – the way to get around it is not to think about it too much. Make sure you’re singing songs you believe in and work with a team you believe and trust.”

There is no room to feel precious on the District Line, you have to hold your own, on a stage of your own making, there’s no gap between the audience and artist. So when it comes to their shows, that are growing in size, the last was in support of Adam Ant at Camden’s Roundhouse, it’s rewarding to see how deep their music is connecting with people.

When I question Ten Fe’s proudest moment to date, Duncan modestly responds. “I always try and avoid feeling proud, maybe its the Irish in me, but I’m always really happy when we finish a recording – finishing this album was the best feeling, it wasn’t easy to make either. When you play in a band, this might sound cheesy, I don’t care if it does – but if you have a connection when you’re playing with someone overtime you play, and we do, it feels wicked. There’s also a point where it feels amazing. We’ve all known each other for over 10 years and have a deep connection with one another so yeah it’s like being in a pub with your best mates and you’re drinking and you have this moment when you think “ahhh this is f***ing wicked” it only last five seconds when you’re in a pub at Christmas – or you’re at a gig and there’s a point where you just feel it. That’s why I know we’re on the right track – that’s all the Beatles had and that’s what the War On Drugs have, a chemistry on record.”

Chemistry is something you cannot forge, and just like music, you either have it “in the bones” or you don’t, and as more people are noticing, Ten Fé are gifted with both.

‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’ is released March 8 via Some Kinda Love Records

Follow Ten Fé on: Spotify // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

 

The False and the Fair Whelans, Dublin Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized
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The False and The Fair; EP launch at Whelans, Dublin (18-11-2018); photo credit: imagery.by.ro

Despite the late switch to the larger venue tonight, there wasn’t much room to move in Whelans for The False and The Fair’s EP launch. Ahead of the main event, we were treated to fantastic support from Aisling Jarvis and a solo performance from Vernon Jane.

The False and The Fair arrived on stage to the ambient glow of a projector showing off their new EP artwork, kicking off with their always popular “Blue Bottles Blues”. The catchy riff helped set the tone for the evening as they passionately launched into their ever increasing and established repertoire.

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It’s hard to pin down a genre for The False and the Fair, they play their unique and brand of hard rocking blues-folk but they are not afraid to branch out into different styles with the likes of “Psychedelic Smile” (which features on the new EP) that wouldn’t be out of place on a Radiohead album.

 

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They were joined by a host of guests on the stage during the night, including the familiar face of Emily Jane from Vernon Jane who jumped in to lend her vocals to the fan favourite: “Bald Apes” (just as she had done on the recorded version).

The evening drew to a close with one encore, the lead (and personal highlight) track lifted from their EP: “The Space in Between”. The band were joined on stage by a trio of backing singers which enhanced their already expansive sound, giving an edge fans hadn’t seen before. All in all, it was yet another great set from the South Dublin band which certainly piqued interest here tonight – there’s really no limit to how far these guys can go!

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Their new EP: ‘The Space In-Between’ is out now!

FOLLOW THE FALSE AND THE FAIR ON: SPOTIFY // TWITTER // FACEBOOK // INSTAGRAM

WORDS: Niall McDermott: @NiallMcDermott7

Photos: Róisín: Imagery By Ró

Feng Suave // Sebright Arms // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized
Feng Suave; Spiral Magazine

Amsterdam-based psych-soul band ‘Feng Suave’ at The Sebright Arms (05/12/18)

When you see a band mid-week amidst the hustle and they not only unhinge you from your daily life, but in their wake, completely re-adjust your focus, that’s something beyond the control of the many. Feng Suave’s lo-fi psychedelia blends silky bass and reverb’d guitar wrapped around soulful vocals. And when paired with their sensitive lyrics, you cannot help but be encouraged to reconsider what we otherwise take for granted; the stars above our heads and the earth at our feet is all we need. Keeping grounded and in touch with the harmony to be had with natural world is the result of Feng Suave induced daydreaming.

Tonight (5th Dec), was the third night of their first tour, the final UK date and, as one half of Feng Suave, Daniel De Jong, told me after the show, was without doubt the “highlight of the tour so far”. Being their first tour, De Jong wasn’t too sure his vocals would last the duration, a question that had never entered my mind, especially given tonight’s established performance. His lead singer duties required his every vocal range and tone, even the soft croon and hushed notes were used to their full capacity – and you had to hand it to him, his pitch-shifting vocals were mesmerising. As an outfit, the keyboardist, drummer and guitar trio were cool and collected. They gifted us with their grace and warmth.

The evening may have been just as intimate as De Jong went onto compare with the Servants Jazz Quarters (their last London show) but there was definitely something magical about tonight. The interaction from their sold out crowd in response to their every track must have felt pretty rewarding, with the greatest audience chorus arriving with ‘Sink Into The Floor’. Their latest single: Venus Flytrap (an instant hit with BBC 6 Music) and the encore: Notre Ochre were personal highlights.

On the back of a successful year, amassing millions of streams for their eponymously titled debut EP, this tour for the Dutch duo (and touring ensemble) certainly cemented them as ones to watch here in the UK. There’s also a pretty good chance everyone went out into the night floaty, finding “…solace in just noticing the stars above..” It might be momentary but it’s all that we need, truly.

Follow Feng Suave on: Spotify // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

Mark O’Reilly L’Etre Politique Album Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
Marc O'Reilly Band; Kirsty Burge Photography

Marc O’Reilly pictured with his band; Photo Credit: Kirsty Burge Photography

Marc O’Reilly is an artist that cannot be defined simply as folk or blues, but instead teases elements of both, achieving optimal emotional depth that is unwinding and stirring. He understands his power behind those versatile vocals and in his wake, balancing and challenging genres. And between the trio’s synchronised drums, keys and guitars, they maintain off the scale rhythms and impeccable timings. The standout guitar solos of Walk With Me and Be Alive almost rival the folk elements.

Yet when those folk elements arrive mid-way, it’s exquisite – the unwinding, acoustics  of Fire with its sweeping strings and echoing vocals provides momentary calm. Think White Denim at their most pared back on ‘Corsicana Lemonade’ with echoes of Nick Drake’s instrumentals on River Man (‘Five Leaves Left’).

The lighter, huskier, James Vincent McMorrow-esque vocals and barely there instrumentals of Solitary Ease and Walk With Me are absolutely sublime – we reckon a collaboration between the pair is long overdue.

On this record there are more contemporary parallels with American/Canadian artists to be drawn and it’s the sharp timings and garage-rock leanings of Quiet Place which give warm echoes of Jesse Mac Cormack. While it is Walk With Me that takes centre stage, channelling the Americana-Psychedelia of White Denim.

This fourth album: ‘L’Etre Politique’ is inspired (as it’s title hints) by the politics of human interactions and of being; capitalism, war and globalisation. The album opener: Enemy Of and the epic closer: Shadows are equally full bodied explosions of guitar and drums encasing a solid record, that frames O’Reilly at his finest.

L’Etre Politique is out now via Dox Records!

Marc O'Reilly L'Etre Politique; Album Artwork

Follow Marc O’Reilly on: SPOTIFY // TWITTER // FACEBOOK // INSTAGRAM

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

The False And The Fair Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

The False and the Fair press shot 1 2018 - photo credit Joanna O'Malley

We spoke to The False And The Fair who were in the heart of Hell Fire Studios recording their latest single: ‘The Space In-between’ lifted from their eponymous EP (released 16th Nov) ahead of what will be an epic headline show at Whelans tomorrow (18th Nov).

The lads have a great way of volarising nature and romanticising the otherwise mundane band origins, inspiration and recording processes, and are proud to be belong to Dublin’s thriving music scene. For us, their record is an exquisite slow prog-rock burner with warm harmonies and transfixing layers of psychedelic guitar lines that just narrate the EP so well.

Rachael: I was gutted to narrowly miss you playing The Crow Bar when I was last over in Dublin – how did the night go, and generally speaking, how do you find the local music scene – where’s your favourite haunt to play?

Jacob: The crowbar gig was great. We stripped back all the songs, took away the drum kit and rearranged some of them to suit the more acoustic vibe we were going for. The crowd were really attentive and respectful too which is nice when you’re trying something new.

There are times when it can feel like parts of the songs, such as the harmonies, can get lost during gigs so it was nice to expose those a bit more and put the songs in a new context. I got to play a wooden box that Adam found in a warehouse so I enjoyed the challenge of playing the same songs in a different way on a different instrument.

The music scene here is booming. There are so many new bands being born every day and they’re all so different. No matter what type of music you play everyone just seems really supportive and encouraging. Having colleges such as BIMM Dublin and Newpark jazz has made people realise that they can actually have a career in this industry and it’s very encouraging to see you friends succeed at doing what they love.

Tommy: In terms of venues, we’ve had fun playing all over. Workmans, Sin E and the Grand Social are all great spots, as well as Whelan’s where we’re launching this new EP. The Harbour Bar in Bray also has a special place in our hearts. We’ve got roots in Bray as well as Dublin so it’s always nice to come back to that home crowd.

Your origins of the band sound awfully romantic…atop the Wicklow Mountains at dawn, which feed seamlessly into the outdoors themes of this EP. I suppose coming from such a beautiful country it’s inevitable that you become consumed by it’s natural beauty – can you continue the story as romantically as possible please, haha…

T: I can try, although the songs on the EP might do a better job of it! There is something about being out in nature, isn’t there? You just feel so big and small and lost and hopeful and peaceful all at the same time, and it’s nice to have space to breathe and think. There’s something about the headspace of writing songs that I always connect with the outdoors, even though I’m usually inside when I write. I think looking out at something bigger than yourself is one of the major themes with this collection of songs, so hopefully some of that energy comes through. You’re not just yourself; you’re part of a living, breathing world and it’s too easy to get stuck inside your head sometimes. I hope people will be able to put this EP on and let their minds wander a bit.

You dropped a reference to Townes Van Zandt – I’d love for you to share with us more what this American artist means to you as a band?

T: Townes is the man. Listening to him up in the mountains that morning definitely helped spark the creative energy that ultimately led to this EP coming together. There’s such an aching beauty to his writing, a real rawness and a yearning quality that I find utterly breathtaking. A lot of it’s really sad actually, but whatever way his voice hit me that morning just made me appreciate what I’ve got and where I was at.

Psychedelia seems the compass of TFATF’s sound – are there many likeminded souls that you’ve collaborated with/do you find yourself part of a scene, inspiring, jamming and gigging together?

Adam: I think we’ve been really lucky with the people we’ve gotten to collaborate with over the years.  We’ve all been huge Vernon Jane fans since seeing their first show, so getting Emily-Jane O’Connor to lend her voice to Bald Apes made us all a bit giddy. Having been a part of the BIMM scene, we got a chance to mingle with tonnes of unbelievable musicians. Through the college we met Laura O’Sullivan and Claire Z, who provided vocals for the last half of The Space In Between and have really promising projects of their own.

Ultimately though, I think we’re still trying to find our place in the broader Dublin music scene. No one here wants to be pigeonholed, which is amazing because you end up getting some really incredible genre-bending acts like Wastefellow and Fehdah, but it can also be a bit of a pain when you’re trying to put a show together! Ultimately I think it becomes more about quality over genre at a certain point though.

Cormac: When I joined the band, there seemed to be an established sound that I felt was very organic yet unprotected. Knowing that we had mutual interests, I felt that as we progressed we would be comfortable exploring each of our individual personalities as musicians. I think it’s evident that we all like psychedelic music to one degree or another, but we aren’t psych rockers. We enjoy much more of the genre’s soft, playful nature but you’ll get the occasional freak-out. Collaborations are always fun, Emily’s vocal on ‘Bald Apes’ is amazing. That section would have suffered without her. We’re currently taking on a lot more as individuals when it comes to the recordings. Rather than feature a new musician, we might try out something new ourselves. We like to experiment with different instruments and effects because it’s a lot of fun.

Have you ever heard of TAU – only discovered the artist myself recently (Shaun Mulroney is the mastermind behind the project) and they’re actually heading over to Dublin next month, I could really see your soundscapes sitting well together! 🙂

A: I hadn’t, I can definitely see what you mean though! Myself and Cormac are big fans of a Swedish psychedelic band called Goat and there are a lot of similarities there. We might have to shoot him a message!

The False and the Fair Space EP artwork by Grace Ryan

‘The Space In Between’ EP artwork by Grace Ryan

The guitar work is exquisite, I have to say, it’s warm progressive rock that just seems to narrate the EP so well – how do you each approach songwriting?

A: Tommy will come into our rehearsal room with the bones of a song and we’ll all sit around feeling out the track and throwing melodies about until we find something we like and the vibe sits right. Once we all have an idea for our main parts, we’ll start arranging it and adding little flourishes and accents – we’re basically just kids with crayons and a colouring book at that stage.

J: We’ve all played together for so long that when we work on new material it all comes quite naturally. We know what we like and we know what to expect from each other from a musical standpoint. We’re at a stage where we can trust each other and nobody is afraid to try something to see if it works.

C: When writing guitar parts I usually try to hear what the music is telling me. I hear how the lads gravitate to it and I find a way to make my own emotional tie to the sound. That said, we’ve all had a hand in writing the main riffs on this EP. I tend to become very attached to the sounds that I develop in the early stages of an arrangement. If it works I usually don’t try to push it too much, but there’s always room to explore new ideas.

T: I spend a lot of time writing by myself so it’s always a joy to get together with the guys and play. The more they contribute creatively the better, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve had a lot of fun writing together in the same room recently, so I hope some of those songs take shape and find their way onto future projects.

You’ve included ‘Gone’ on this EP which you previously released as a single, this song must bear a particular weighting – what does this song mean to you? 

T: Gone Tomorrow’s one of those songs that’s been with us forever, must have been the second or third song we ever worked on as a group and it’s certainly the oldest song remaining in our set these days. I think we’ve all got a certain fondness for it and it helped define our sound early on, to some extent. We released it last year but it was out on its own, and since it was just one track we only did an online release for it. We decided we’d like to have it on this collection for the blessed souls who want to buy our CDs and listen to the tracks that way, and when we realised that it worked nicely leading directly on from our new song ‘Psychedelic Psmile’ we knew that was the perfect place for it.

Would it be fair to say that you’re recognised by your most popular track: Bald Apes, which is very different sound to where you’re at with this EP, two years on, would you agree, not least in reference to the vocals (screamed to gentle-vocal hooks)? Can you talk us through this journey?

A: I think Bald Apes has always felt like a bit of an outlier for us tonally. It was written around the same time as Gone Tomorrow and In The Shade of the Mountain, yet it has this totally different perspective and scope. We’ve always been open to experimentation and I think back then we were still very much crafting our collective voice. I’m really proud of what we came up with, considering we actually recorded it 2 years prior to releasing it. This last year has really helped me to understand our dynamic and the direction we’re going in together, but I think that our recent musical development has had a lot to do with the shedding of pretense, a new level of openness, and a mutual acceptance of our individual voices and talents.

T: For me, I just thought Apes was one of our strongest songs at the time. As Adam says, we didn’t necessarily know what direction things were going for us musically. We decided to just go for it with a tune we were all excited about, and that seemed to have a great impact and energy when we played it live. I also won’t rule out more shouting in the future.

Even the location you chose to record your EP was in the heart of the Dublin Mountains – Hellfire Studios, where some Dublin legends like Hozier and David Keenan have recorded – how was the experience?

A: We got really lucky actually, I was studying Music Production in Bray and it turned out one of my lecturers Ivan Jackman is heavily involved with the studio. We ended up recording In the Shade Of the Mountain, Gone Tomorrow and The Space In Between with his students as part of one of their assignments, then once we realised that we wanted to make this EP, we booked in another few days to lay down Another Life and Psychedelic Psmile. It’s not your typical stuffy studio and the distance from the city gives you an opportunity to really focus on what you’re doing. It’s amazing up there – totally secluded with this amazing view of the city and the sea! I think we all fell in love with the place. Besides, their gear is delish!

What elements of an era do you hear in your songs – whether they are conscious choices made or unconscious results?

J: As far as the drums are concerned I grew up listening to a lot of Nirvana, Tool and The Smashing Pumpkins. It may not come across in the songs too much but there are definitely elements of that mid-late 90’s angst in the drums. Another Life is the best example of that, I really let loose on that song.

T: In terms of a broad influence the most obvious reference is probably a late ‘60s, early ‘70s kind of vibe. The likes of Love, Pink Floyd and Neil Young would be touchstones for me, but we’ve got such varied musical interests within the group that I hope we’ve come up with something reasonably unique that stands on its own two legs. We recently put together a Spotify playlist featuring some of the tracks that influenced us on this EP and I’ve really enjoyed listening back over them and reflecting on where we’re coming from.

Check out their latest single: ‘The Space In-Between’, recorded live by Ivan Jackman at Hell Fire Studios:

Catch them live at Whelans tomorrow (18th Nov) €8.50 (Adv) €10

Follow The False and The Fair on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Exhauster Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Stay Out_Cover_Low

Emerging South London-based Artist, Exhauster

We can’t keep it to ourselves when we discover artists we love, and this week we’re delighted to share with you an emerging artist, Exhauster. We caught up with the mastermind behind the project, Elliot, to discuss his latest single: ‘Stay Out’, a glimpse into his musical background and his attraction to the disparate elements of music.

Having been involved in many previous projects, the South London-based artist (via the US and Yorkshire) now finds himself in his first foray into singing and arranging his own songs. “I have been in bands as a drummer and general tradesman for ages but I started writing material for myself over the last couple of years which got some nice reactions from friends, so decided to keep going with it. My initial plan was to surround myself with sublime voices to paper over any cracks and we just kept papering on sounds until it became Exhauster.”

Speaking of his latest single, he reveals how it changed direction entirely, organically, for the better. “It was originally supposed to be a pretty relaxed, motorik little ditty, but somewhere down the line it started to get really frenetic and I’m still not 100% sure how the ending happened. We were originally only going to use some subtle drum machines, but I played around with the track in the studio when we were recording something else and accidentally recorded the drum parts”. Elliot goes on to jest: “I like assembling music in a kinda patchwork way. Actually I can only assemble music in a patchwork way.”

Just as we begin to speak of influences it becomes apparent that the style of his musical legends match that of where he wants to be with Exhauster. The ways boundaries of electronic and organic elements are pushed together in “really beautiful ways. I also love music that is obviously tooled to make disparate elements fit. You’re going to get a lot of that with Exhauster. We’re ultimately trying for something ecstatic, even if it’s a little sad.”

When tasked with the question of influences, Elliot intelligently lists many obscure almost esoteric bands, so niche, we love it! “Recently I have had the latest Serengeti album on repeat, which was produced by Andrew Broder from Fog, who are one of my favourite bands. The Daniel Brandt album “Eternal Something” that was released last month is also amazing. I’ve been really enjoying the latest album from the Declining Winter too.”

Keen to know when we might expect an EP to drop, satisfyingly it’s all recorded and he will be sharing things regularly every few weeks over the coming months, plus live dates are coming soon. “We have the personnel and I’m remembering how to play drums and guitar in front of people again. I’m really looking forward to that.”

The EP was produced by the multi-talented Nick Trepka (Emmy The Great) who, as he beams has “known and loved since we were very young lads. He brings much needed musicianship and discipline to the process. He is also useful in that he knows when I’m being objectionably out of tune. We have a lot of fun”. Nick, also plays guitars, bass and keys and sings backing vocals alongside, he adds, “another producer and musician of note, Grace Banks, who everyone should check out.”

As we begin to wrap things up, Elliot speaks fondly of his current home town, South London, and it’s local music scene. “But I’m a bit of a hermit working on my own thing at the moment and I don’t really know what is happening around me. The Windmill is the local place where you are likely to see interesting music though. Listen to OD Davey, I think he’s somewhere around here and he’s great.”

Follow Exhauster on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram 

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

 

Carmody Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Carmody FB Profile; Create Often (copyright)

Carmody (photo credit: Create Often)

When we’re in conversation with musicians, instead of chasing that ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse, we go ‘beyond the surface’ allowing you and us, as readers, writers, fans and musicians alike, achieve a familiarity and reassurance that we’re all in this together! 

Sharing and opening up more will continue to create a more accepting world, and within the music industry particularly, progression in this direction hasn’t been more imminent. Getting to the root of everything universal, London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Carmody, discusses matters of mental health, feminism and the language of the heart.

Rachael: I think it’s really important, particularly as of late, where growing concerns of treatment within the music industry have been brought under spotlight – what are your thoughts on the support available to musicians? If you don’t mind sharing – what support, maybe a network or community initiative helps you creatively and socially. And financially, are there any trusts or bursaries that are worth knowing about for any musicians reading? 

Carmody: I think mental health awareness, particularly in the music industry, is really improving, Help Musicians UK have recently set up a 24/7 helpline just for artists. Personally, I find that when I speak to other artists in sessions about how I’ve been feeling, they are usually having similar experiences and it’s nice to speak openly about it. I also find that the women involved in the ‘Time of the Month’ Podcast are like a lifeline to me and, when we do manage to organise a meet up, it feels very therapeutic. 

Financially I’ve had funding support from The Arts Council when I supported Tom Misch on tour in 2016, PRS also have some incredible funding options available. Digital distributors, like AWAL and Believe Digital, will also support some record projects, so it’s worth contacting them too. 

How do you keep that momentum going during dark days, maybe you’re under pressure writing, recording even booking shows? We all experience moments of self-doubt – what gives you the fuel to bypass it all?

I don’t think I ever manage to bypass those feelings. The music industry is a really tough place and I sometimes question why I put myself through it, as it takes a type of strength I don’t always feel that I have. But, when I am feeling low, I often reach out to others, or do something else creative, my friend recently bought me a ‘vagina colouring book’ and I’m finding that really entertaining and calming at the moment. Failing all these, there is always Pinot. 

Do you find your style of delivery, because of it’s very raw, heart-on-the-sleeve material, that it connects and unites people? In particular, has any connection provided you the motivation to write a song?

I think all my songs are motivated by connections and relationships. They nearly always stems from something I’ve experienced. Songs are like diaries to songwriters, they catalogue our lives, I’m always motivated by what I’m currently living through. 

At the moment I’m in a place where I’m writing about my family a lot, but previously it’s been mainly about past lovers, in an attempt to get over them. 

Funnily enough, a few people have messaged me saying that they got married to ‘Skin’ or ‘The Ways of Your Love’, neither of these are love songs in my eyes, but I think it’s beautiful that they have found new meaning with others.

What drew me personally to your music, was not only your vocal talents, but the way you write about love – like Kate Bush and love experienced through a woman’s eyes – you touch on unrequited, lost and never quite made it love. You have a very intimate songwriting style – how do you judge what to release to the public? Are there any moments of vulnerability in the face of an audience and how best do you conquer these?

Thank you, that’s really nice of you to say, and it’s much appreciated. I’ve generally always been an open person and I think this comes across in my lyrics. I don’t think I’ve ever kept anything back, there’s a great Nayyirah Waheed quote, ‘the thing you are most afraid to write, write that’, I try to keep that as my mantra. 

When I’m performing my technique is to expose myself even more, telling anecdotes about each song, which I guess makes me more vulnerable, but it feels like it helps in a way.

Women’s perspective in music is really important to express, especially when the industry is so male dominated. It’s also unique to look to the male as a muse and objectify men for a change, tell us more…

Are we talking ‘Singing Your Love’ here? Ha! I guess that song came from a conversation I had with the ‘Are We Live’ guys in their podcast. I was speaking to Barney about how men are never objectified in songs and they’re never (to my knowledge) washing cars in videos. So I wanted to appreciate the male form, because some men are beautiful and they’re just not mused-over enough, but also flip things around and objectify them for a change. It was a fun exercise, one that I don’t think I managed for the whole song, but I’m proud of the first line.

Which female musicians do you admire, maybe ones you’re been lucky enough to collaborate with? And who would you like to work with in the future?

Laura Misch and Marie Dahlstrom have both been big inspirations to me, their dedication to their craft is incredible, they release beautiful music and we all support each other along the way, it feels like a good team. A dream collaboration would be with someone like Grimes, or possibly M.I.A, after seeing her incredible documentary.

What music are you currently listening to and who should we go check out?

Yes! I’m really loving Hayley Heynderickx, she has an incredible called ‘I Need to Start a Garden’. Also really into Big Thief’s record ‘Capacity’. I’ve also always been a big fan of Charlotte Day Wilson and a band called IDER. I’ve got a playlist of songs I love on my Spotify profile called ‘Carmody Loves’ (cheeky plug) if you do feel like checking anything else out, I’m proud of that playlist.

You often put pages of poetry up on your Instagram stories – what particular writers have inspired and encouraged you to take a leaf out of their book?

My three favourites are – Kim Addonizio, Mary Oliver and Leonard Cohen. They’ve inspired my work so much and constantly encourage me to push myself to the edges of my lyrical abilities. 

Have you considered publishing a book of poems one day – do you have any sideline projects we can look forward to?

Funnily enough I am working with my friend Alicia Mitchell, who was responsible for a great deal of the artwork on my previous records, to create a book of poems and songs for my next project, I think I’m going to call it ‘Flotsam’.

Currently enjoying your latest single: ‘Summer Rain’, which looks to the first stages of falling in love coinciding with a love of rain – which I discovered the other day is a pluviophile! 🙂 (love words, haha) – all I can picture right now is that Breakfast At Tiffany’s end scene… 

Thank you! LOVE that word. I am a word fiend too, I think we should be friends ha!

There’s a very sensual, distinctly unafraid and empowering quality to your music. What did you learn about yourself when writing this upcoming EP?

I guess the most important thing I learnt about myself was that I could write about more than love, although I realise these last two singles are about love, I’ve covered a lot of new ground, subjects that I never imagined I would be singing about. Such as dementia, depression and the way we struggle to talk to each other about death. It’s actually pretty dark, but was a very therapeutic lyrical challenge. 

Outside of music what hobbies help you to unwind? You’ve been part of a monthly podcast series (up on Soundcloud) – Time Of The Month, which I’ve been enjoying a lot recently – for those who don’t know, could you go into a little detail about the project? 

I enjoy writing poetry and go to a poetry course in London. I’ve also just started getting into photography, and I’m on the lookout for a dance class, after trying out some moves in my video for ‘Summer Rain’.  

The Time of the Month podcast is one of my favourite things I’ve been involved in to date. It started because we wanted to create a counter group to the ‘Are We Live?’ guys. Everytime we manage to record a podcast I leave feeling cleansed, but everyone is so busy at the moment it’s been tricky to find the time, but we’ll get there soon. 

Before you go, what gigs can we look forward to from you in the near future and when can we expect your EP?

I’m still hoping that the EP will emerge before the end of this year, it’s very nearly there. I have a gig on the 21st October at the Sebright Arms alongside some other very talented, female performers and it’s free, so come down if you fancy!

Follow Carmody on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)