Posts Tagged ‘Arms Around A Vision’

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Our new album, Stains on Silence, is now available to pre-order on limited edition ultra clear vinyl, and comes with a different colour sleeve and poster. Only 200 copies.

It stands to reason that many vital albums come critically close to never being made. The eight-track upshot of doubt, upheaval and financial strain, Stains on Silence by Girls Names is one such release.
Following 2015’s blitzing Arms Around a Vision, and the parting of drummer Gib Cassidy just over a year later, the Belfast band suddenly found themselves facing down a looming void. “There was a finished – and then aborted  mix of the album, which was shelved for six months,” reveals Girls Names frontman Cathal Cully. “We then took a break from all music and went back to full-time work. We chilled out from the stress of rushing the record and not being happy with it, as well as being skint with no impending touring on the cards and constantly having to worry about rent.” 

The stumbling blocks that proved a strain became the album’s defining breakthrough. Recorded in various locations including Belfast’s Start Together Studio with Ben McAuley, Cully’s home and the band’s practice space, spontaneous creation, cut-up techniques and self-editing took centre-stage for the first time. “We started tearing the material apart and rebuilding, re-editing and re-recording different parts in my home in early Autumn last year,” says Cully. “When we got them to a place we were happier with we went back into Start Together Studio with Ben to finalise the mixes to what they are now.”

Where AAAV proved a brazen statement of intent, Stains on Silence bounds forth as its feature-length comedown. What could have seen the band buckle became an opportunity for approaching things tabula rasa. During its two-year transmutation, Cully, bassist Claire Miskimmin and guitarist Philip Quinn had a single aim for their fourth album: to make an old-fashioned record clocking in around 30 to 35 minutes in length that made the listener reach straight for repeat. From the Bang Bang bar-summoning swoon of opener ’25’ and the submerged disco doom of ‘Haus Proud’ to the rapt, dub-leaning ‘Fragments of a Portrait’, Girls Names have excelled in their goal by forging an LP of synchronous nuance and defiance. 

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Marked by the presence of drum machines and programming throughout, these eight masterfully-woven tales are once again commandeered by band founder Cully, whose words, understated yet defiant, mine purpose and meaning from the mire (“I want to bathe again, I want to swim again / In a pool of twisting bodies, blackened gold.” — ‘25’). But while Stains on Silence came critically close to never being made, having lived with it, reconfigured it, and guided its metamorphosis from flickers of inspiration and half-formed schemes, it’s both a statement of pure perseverance, and a head-on confrontation with ambivalence that couldn’t be more assured. 

Releases May 4th, 2018

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‘A Hunger Artist’ is the second song to be taken from Girls Names third album, “Arms Around a Vision”, out 2nd October 2015.

Where ‘Reticence’ was all primordial clang and clatter, recalling the best moments of early ’80s no wave and its forerunners – think Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham’s respective guitar ensembles – bookending one of the most immediate, accessible songs the band have ever written at its core, ‘A Hunger Artist’ is an altogether more colossal and meandering beast.

While its chiming guitar introduction might again bear passing resemblance to Branca’s deft melodic interplay, its much quicker to cut to the chase. And what a chase it is: leading you over moonlit autobahns and down dark European back alleys. Drawing to mind Neu! and Roxy-era Eno, the Northern Irish quartet lay down a motorik groove that rarely lets up across its almost six-minute runtime, allowing gossamer synths and insistent bass to dance atop with aplomb.

Alongside this, the band are set to return to London for a one-off show this October (the 19th) at the historic 100 Club: a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see Arms Around a Vision brought to stunning life in the live setting.

UK/EU Live Dates
July 16th | Bagnacciuga, Fano, Italy
July 17th | Bolognetti Rocks, Bologna, Italy
July 18th | A Night Like This Festival, nr. Turin, Italy
Oct 19th | 100 Club, London TICKETS

 

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Northern Ireland’s Girls Names return this autumn with their third full-length album, “Arms Around a Vision”, due for an October 2nd release via long-term home, Tough Love Records.

Pre-order LP, CD or limited edition cream vinyl
smarturl.it/GirlsNames.ToughLove

“We look to Europe for inspiration. For romance. For the idea of a better life,” says the band’s frontman, Cathal Cully, when discussing the album. “For me, living in Belfast just makes you focus on your own art.”

Girls Names formed in Belfast, but they’ve long considered themselves a European band. The distinction is important – their vision of Europe is one of weird, labyrinthian histories, blackest-ever-black coffee, and long drives to dismal places. Romantic notions for those of a certain disposition, but behind the thousand-yard stares they’ve always been a soft-hearted lot. As the title of Arms Around a Vision would suggest, they’re all set to let love in.

The band initially came together as a relatively lean two-piece back in the summer of 2010, but over the course of a handful of EPs and three very different albums, they’ve grown in number and ambition. Their last album, The New Life, was an unexpected underground hit in early 2013, taking the band around the world and garnering much critical praise, culminating in nominations for both the Northern Irish and Irish Music Prizes. Emboldened by the reception to that record, in March they returned with an 11-minute single that was played in full on Radio 1 and, typically, does not feature on their new album. Girls Names like to do things a little differently.

On Arms Around a Vision, they’re more widescreen than ever but also more direct and aggressive. The bass, drums and guitars are still there, but so are saxophones, organs, detuned broken guitars and pianos, and even sheets of metal assaulted with hammers. Conceptually, Arms Around a Vision acts as a love letter to European elegance – Italian futurism, Russian constructivism, Germany’s Zero Group and both Neubaten and Bowie’s Berlin.

Love and pain, romance and fucking. It’s all in there somewhere. Grand claims, perhaps, but in an ever bleak world, why not skygaze? The album opens with ‘Reticence’, a song in two parts that’s half metallic knockout, half midnight swagger. It sounds unlike anything they’ve ever done before, and is a perfect primer for an album that treads a course between Eno-era Roxy sleaze, Birthday Party dissonance and M.E.S’ three R’s: repetition, repetition, repetition.

As confident as it sounds, hardship has equally played a role in shaping Arms Around a Vision. “I’m not starving or anything, but I’ve practically been living hand to mouth since I was 22,” confirms Cully. “Most guitar music now is just a playground for the rich middle classes and it’s really boring and elitist. We’re elitist in our own way, in that we’re on our own and you can’t fuck with us when we’ve nothing to lose”. The near-6 minute ‘A Hunger Artist’ tackles that subject full on, addressing that age old adage of suffering for one’s art.

While the songs aren’t narrative-driven as such – the band still generally favour abstraction and ambiguity – there is a consistent underlying message: “We’ve got nothing. We’ve never had anything. And we don’t expect to. The only person I ever wanted to impress was myself. I’ve never got anywhere close to succeeding in doing that until this album. I’m proud of it. I think I can start saying I’m a musician now.”

Tracklisting:

1. Reticence
2. An Artificial Spring
3. Desire Oscillations
4. (Obsession)
5. Chrome Rose
6. A Hunger Artist
7. Málaga
8. Dysmorphia
9. (Convalescence)
10. Exploit Me
11. Take Out the Hand
12. I Was You